Sarah Palin's "bombshell" holiday announcement that she will resign
as Governor of Alaska managed to trump Michael Jackson as the lead on
the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts Friday night as NBC's Chuck
Todd predicted she will now make fundraising appearances for GOP
candidates where she'll draw in "car-wreck watchers." CBS reporter
Nancy Cordes reflected the tone of the stories when she described "a
rambling, at times confusing announcement," while on all three newscasts Palin's decision was called "bizarre."
NBC News White House reporter Chuck Todd, who suggested she decided to quit so she could "make a lot of money" on the speaking circuit free of ethics complaint hassles, also predicted she will bring in big crowds at fundraisers for GOP candidates which will also entice those not so impressed by her:
She may spend the next year campaigning for Republicans all across the country. She's probably going to be the person that can attract the largest crowds, some of it is car-wreck watchers - you know, they just are coming, kind of curiosity-seekers. It doesn't matter. She can attract a lot of people.
Audio: MP3 clip  (16 seconds)
Before Todd, NBC reporter Peter Alexander applied the "bizarre" label: "It was just the latest bizarre twist for the self-described maverick..."
ABC and CBS reporters refrained from using that description themselves and left it to others in their July 3 coverage. In the World News story by David Wright, ABC's own Cokie Roberts maintained:
It's mystifying. It was a bizarre statement. It didn't make a lot of sense and it doesn't seem to be the kind of thing someone would do if someone was running for President.
On the CBS Evening News, in the piece from Nancy Cordes, the Politico's Mike Allen, a veteran of Time magazine, declared:
This is very unusual, even bizarre. Governors just don't stop in the middle of their terms when there's no clear reason.
Following Cordes, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson, also a veteran of Time, told fill-in anchor Maggie Rodriguez:
It's bizarre and there's no good explanation. And if she were trying to do away with the kind of speculation that she says has so irritated her, this not the way to do it.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center