Friday, April 20, 2012

Check This Out

On Thursday, Sarah Palin reacted to the revelation that a Secret Service agent, who was caught up in the Colombia prostitution scandal, had been in her security detail during the 2008 presidential campaign. He also posted photographs of them together on his Facebook page, and commented that he was "checking her out."

"Well check this out, bodyguard, you're fired," Palin said during an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren. "I hope his wife ... sends him to the doghouse -- as long as he's not eating the dog, along with his former boss."

Palin's joke was in reference to the recent push by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign to attack President Barack Obama for eating dog meat as a child in Indonesia. The Romney camp's use of the anecdote, which Obama revealed in his memoir "Dreams From My Father," was to counter criticism the former Massachusetts governor has garnered for putting the family dog, Seamus, in a dog crate strapped to the roof of a car during a 1983 road trip.

Palin continued to link Secret Service misconduct to the president, stating that the carousing agents in Colombia showed a lack of leadership in Washington.

"Boys will be boys, but they shouldn't be in positions of authority, and I think it's pretty embarassing," Palin said. "But if you consider what's going on and the state of our government with, look who's running the show, boys not considering that there are ramifications to their actions."

Palin continued: "I've had enough of these men being dogs and not being responsible and not entrusting, being able to allow us to trust what these boys are doing in Washington."

Secret Service Agent David Randall Chaney was identified by the Washington Post on Thursday, revealing the Facebook photos he posted of Palin while protecting her during her campaign with GOP presidential nominee John McCain. Chaney, who during the Colombia trip was a supervisor in the Secret Service international programs division, resigned Wednesday under pressure.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sarah to Katie "Game On!"

Sarah Versus Katie Part Two: This time it's personal.

Sarah Palin is making clear that she's taking her upcoming battle with Katie Couric personally.

The former vice presidential candidate and current Fox News pundit is co-hosting "Today" on Tuesday, while Couric is guest hosting on arch-rival "Good Morning America" on ABC. It's being billed as the biggest showdown between the two women since Palin's infamous interviews with Couric in 2008, and it's at the epicenter of the raging news war between ABC News and NBC News.

Speaking to Breitbart News, Palin didn't shy away from addressing the Courice-shaped elephant in the room. "Game on," she said simply.

The Palin interviews are the defining journalistic moment for Couric; she won the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for her questioning, and Palin's somewhat flustered answers are so famous that Matt Lauer even poked fun about them on Monday.

Palin has been very frank about her loathing of the interviews —and, by extension, Couric herself — over the years. In 2010, for instance, she called Couric "biased" and swore she would never be interviewed by her again.

She also mocked Couric when the latter left her post at CBS News.

Katie Versus Sarah

The “Today” show has recruited the former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to be a guest co-host on Tuesday. NBC wants Ms. Palin to be a channel changer in the same way Senator McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign hoped Ms. Palin would be a game changer. Back then Senator McCain was worried about Barack Obama. “Today” fears Katie Couric, an alumna who is about to start her own syndicated show and on Monday began a week long star turn as a guest host on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” alongside George Stephanopoulos. 

“Today” has held the No. 1 spot in the weekly ratings for 16 years straight, but ABC is narrowing the gap. NBC was apparently so unnerved by Ms. Couric’s appearance on the rival morning show that the network jumped the gun, persuading Ms. Palin to give a phone interview from Minnesota on Monday, even though her gig as a guest host was not until Tuesday. The promotions made it seem as if Ms. Palin were already on the set. 

Ms. Palin, who never misses a chance to poke at what she calls “the liberal media,” said in the interview, “I appreciate NBC’s boldness in having me on, and, you know, doesn’t it kind of reflect the diversity of opinion that I hear that you all espouse?” 

Meredith Vieira added dryly, “Or desperation.” 

Her colleagues laughed knowingly. 

Ms. Vieira, who quit her job as co-host of “Today” in June, was also brought in Monday as a surprise guest host. Ryan Seacrest is expected to appear on Tuesday. 

Morning shows always compete, but usually it’s over guests, not hosts. Now contracts are up, change is in the air, and that means viewers have a front-row seat to the discomfort of hosts whose jobs may be on the line. 

Monday’s display was more savage than a ratings contest or a booking war; at times it looked as intimate and creepily intrusive as the elimination rounds of a particularly cutthroat reality show. It’s been a long time since NBC put Deborah Norville on the couch alongside Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel and turned “Today” into a morning show version of “All About Eve.” 

These days it is Ann Curry, who inherited Ms. Vieira’s place but not her popularity, who looks vulnerable. 

Ms. Curry had to sit, silent and smiling, on the “Today” set on Monday, alongside Matt Lauer as he urged Ms. Vieira to announce that she would help cover the 2012 summer Olympics and be his co-host, with Bob Costas, for the opening ceremony of the London games. (He did not say what role Ms. Curry would play, if any.) 

Earlier, when Mr. Lauer began announcing that Ms. Palin would be a guest host, Ms. Curry smiled grimly, then looked down at her desk, patting papers.

ABC at least had the grace to let Robin Roberts take a vacation and be off the “Good Morning America” set when Ms. Couric took her place.