Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New media narrative: Why is Palin not hiding her kids away?

Politicians from all parties since the beginning of time have appeared with their children at political events and conventions. The media have still typically recognized a private sphere for presidential and vice presidential kids. They haven't used the fact a kid sometimes appears at a political event/convention to invade that sphere or to call the politician a bad parent. They certainly didn't say those things about Obama, when he brought his kids on stage.

But now the new media narrative seems to be: Don't criticize us for obsessing about Bristol's stomach as if she's a teen celebrity! Don't criticize us for magnifying a non-issue into a scandal about a female politician's motherhood and career choices! How dare Sarah Palin allow her children to come to the convention? Maybe the media would be happy if Palin put a mask over the kids' faces like Michael Jackson or something.

These are two young people trying to figure out what to do in a difficult personal situation. The global scrutiny of it is a teenager's worst nightmare, and under normal circumstances they would be allowed to find their way unbothered.But one big obstacle stands in their way: Sarah Palin the candidate.

Bad mother!

(If she hadn't brought Bristol to the convention, they'd be saying she's ashamed of and hiding the girl).

I just turned over to CNN, and they're talking about the same thing on Larry King - whether or not Palin was "using" her children by allowing them to appear at the political convention (specifically, Stephanie Miller, identified as a talk radio host, made the comment about Palin "using" her kids). Has a male politician ever been accused of "using" his children by allowing them to accompany him to a convention? Isn't that normally what occurs?

The bad mother narratives are really getting offensive.

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