Sunday, 31 August 2008

On journalism

You’d think the first thing a journalist would do if hearing 17th-hand that the McCain campaign didn’t search the archives of Sarah Palin’s hometown newspaper would be to find out whether or not archives of that paper exist at other locations besides the one the Democratic opposition researcher allegedly used. I’m told that public and academic libraries (a search here says at least five of them) tend to keep back issues of newspapers, for example. I’d also think the entire exercise of trying to keep one’s veep pick secret might be undermined by waltzing into a newspaper office in the middle of nowhere and saying “hey, I’m a random person from out of town you’ve never heard of, can you please dig up all your articles on Sarah Palin? Thanks!”

This is a basic undergraduate-level research skill. Is anyone this year even trying?

Granted, if the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman is anything like most small-town newspapers, I doubt you can believe a word that was written in it anyway (particularly since a fair percentage of them will be misspelled or appear in sentences in more-or-less random order), and I’ll submit that there’s a fair chance the McCain campaign didn’t think the archives of the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman would contain anything worth reading, but you’d think the Democrats could come up with a better line of attack. Then again if their imagination is limited to questioning the parentage of one of Palin’s children, maybe such stupidity is par for the course—and if they don’t yet have a perceived misogyny problem, they soon will.