10 October 2008

Palin (Preemptive) Ethics Report

Steve Benen comments on an AP headline:

In all sincerity, I saw this headline this morning, "Palin pre-empts state report, clears self in probe," and assumed it was satire. Those under investigation don't get to clear themselves. I have this image in my mind of Nixon, in July 1974, issuing a statement: "I've looked into this whole Watergate thing, and I've decided I've done nothing wrong. Time to move on."
Turns out it's not satire. The McCain-Palin campaign has seriously issued a Troopergate report that relies on evidence from a blog post in Alaska to exonerate Sarah Palin from any wrongdoing.

You cannot make this stuff up. The party that decries the "liberal blogosphere" anytime a writer strikes a nerve has found a connection between Palin's former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, and Andrew Halcro, a former opponent of the Palin campaign. This is thin, folks. Thinner even than Palin's resume.
"It is tragic that a false story hatched by a blogger after drinks with Trooper Wooten led the legislature to allocate over $100,000 of public money to be spent in what has become a politically driven investigation," the 21-page report concludes.
The goal, I suppose, is to preempt today's release of the report of the independent investigator in Alaska. Special investigator Stephen Branchflower's role in all this remains murky, as it is tough to tell whether or not he'll issue a decisive comment on the abuse of power investigation since he never actually subpoenaed Sarah Palin to testify.

That said, the campaign must be pretty damn nervous about the pending news cycle to draw more attention to the thing by releasing its own report on Thursday. Conventional wisdom has it that bad news is best delivered on Friday afternoon when no one's watching, to be hashed out on Saturday when no one commutes or reads the paper. The preemptive move on the part of the campaign suggests that the campaign hopes to blur the reporting on the report, so that Thursday's listeners and Friday morning's readers will head into the weekend with one idea about what happened, and that by Monday there will be a new campaign narrative launched to eclipse the lingering effects of any real bad news released Friday afternoon. Bristol Palin wedding announcement, anyone?

Interestingly enough, I didn't catch the AP story until I hopped over to Steve's site, which makes me wonder if it's getting the exposure the campaign hoped for. So far I've found FOX News carrying the story on their homepage, but no one else, not even CNN. Makes me think that the media doesn't even care to play into the transparent ploy.