Holy Mother of Gawd: It’s Sarah Palin’s E-mails!

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 29:  Former U.S. Vice pres...

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With the intensity typically reserved for tsunamis, coronation or world war, our nation’s news media stand poised, ready for the three-years-late release of then-Gov. Sarah Palin’s trove of e-mail.

The fact that this story is (1) so old it grows mold, that (2) it has less than no meaningful news value as the woman is not even a candidate for higher office, or (3) that nothing Palin says should be considered of any societal or informational import seems to have eluded the press corp. Take it from no less a hellraiser than David Corn at no less a paragon of muckraking than Mother Jones:

Today, at 9 a.m. local time in Juneau, the state of Alaska is scheduled to release 24,199 pages of emails Sarah Palin sent and received during her half-term as governor of the Last Frontier. State workers will distribute six-box sets and hand trucks (which must be returned) to representatives of a dozen or so media outfits, including Mother Jones. Immediately, a mad dash will be on, with journalists reviewing (and scanning) these thousands of emails, searching for illuminating or entertaining information regarding the GOP’s number-one political celebrity, who remains a possible 2012 presidential contender. (Shortly after the release, Mother Jonesmsnbc.com, and ProPublica will post online a searchable archive of the emails.) This saga began with a request I made almost three years ago.

The humanity! The absurdity! The waste of journalistic time, money and energy that could be devoted to actual newsgathering!

I did love this:

Matt Wells at The Guardian tweets: “Astonishing; Alaska will print multiple copies of 24,000 Palin emails from the internet and media orgs will scan them all back in again.”

Oh, and they are…and they are breathlessly reporting and crowdsourcing and blogging and Tweeting and….

It’s vacuous. It’s the Lewinsky report all over again, only even less important and more mundane, and yet the Wikileaks cables look like a day at the beach compared to this.

I do not belittle the media outlets who stuck with the FOI request. That’s what should happen, every time. But I know for a fact that there are so many more important requests to be made, to be litigated, in communities large and small all over the country, and it saddens me when the profession I love becomes a caricature of its worst excesses.


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