Craig in the comments has already noted how Mark Mardell has posted a BBC online diary entry which is biased against Sarah Palin.
I am having a go at analysing why it’s so unfair, because it has some elements of straight reporting combined with deeply suggestive comments which slant the whole thing. No one could accuse Mardell of being stupid, so let’s look at what he does. It’s the kind of sly character assassination and snide socio-political bias which telly taxpayers pay for, after all. Let’s look at what they get for their money…
First Mardell sets up his supposed „angle“, that Sarah Palin is on the rise and may be a Republican Presidential candidate. He immediately then states that Palin dismissed as „idiot reporters“ journalists who suggested that she had sought to speak at a function in key swing and early primary state Iowa. Maybe, Mark, that’s because she stated clearly that she’d had previous invites and hadn’t had time to respond to them (and this is blatantly likely to be the case). The journalists ignored the facts, as usual, and in this case especially obvious ones. However it’s a useful introduction to Mardell’s underlying theme: the appallingness of Palin.
It frames the news that Mardell heralds of a „long, hostile“ Vanity Fair piece which paints her as „extravagant, vindictive, and rather more bad tempered in private than in public“. Mardell finds this thrust „unsurprising“, but, contra-appearances, this adjective suggests agreement with Vanity Fair rather than cynicism about the source. Why? Don’t forget that this is a „Palin on the rise, seeking power“ piece, rather than a „journos out to get Palin“ piece. The previous factoid about Palin dismissing „idiot journalists“ attempts to present as hors d’ oeuvre a character of prickly nastiness to which the Vanity Fair article will be a plat principal. There are certainly journos out to get Palin, and Mardell is one of them.
Lest we be confused (between grammar and context) about Mardell’s real position, consider Mardell’s own snark comments on Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin that „The dynamic duo are becoming something of an item. Talk about a balanced ticket.“ The „dynamic duo“ is a phrase straight from comic book America- something tells me we aren’t supposed to find it respectful. As for the „balanced ticket“, Mardell clearly shows his political balance in determining for the reader what balance is with his intentioned irony.
According to Mardell, whose tone is completely consistent with the Vanity Fair hit piece, Palin „drips political ambition“. Furthermore according to Marr, she generates „fascinated revulsion or slavering worship“ ie. She’s a kook.
In the end, Mardell would doubtless claim the theme was favourable to Palin- except that he never for a second examines the reasons why Palin is rising: successful interventions from Facebook over Obamacare (the masterstroke of the „death panels“ comment), successful nomination of candidates, the endorsement (mutual) of the Tea Party, the judicious selections of who to support- Mccain and Fiorina for instance illustrating pragmatism, her skilful use of Fox News… etc.
Helloooo Mardell- you overpaid tax-funded smarmbucket- I may not be a Palin fan but I certainly recognise that positive qualities are necessary for an outsider like Palin to make the impact she’s had. Time BBC journalists as well as MSM Journolisterswoke up and smelt the license payers’ coffee.