Since her resignation, Sarah Palin hasn't been talking to the press. Instead, she's using Facebook to get her message out without "filtering." And her transformation from governor to Internet celebrity looks pretty successful so far.
Politico's Andy Barr says,
Since resigning her post as governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin has essentially gone dark, making almost no public appearances and successfully avoiding the media outlets that are clamoring to talk to her.
But that doesn't mean Palin has been quiet.
Nope, she's been Facebooking — successfully enough that she added hundreds of thousands of followers after her resignation. And that a fan recently bid $63,500, plus travel costs, just to have dinner with her. And that she started the summer's "death panel" meme — which itself was successful enough that Americans United For Change took out an ad against it, on Facebook no less.
The social networking site is apparently perfect for Palin, because it allows her to just say shit without being held accountable for accuracy, logic, or basic truth. A former staffer says Palin "loves the unfiltered medium because she can make her statement and not be questioned directly about any nuances." But the death panel statement wasn't
"nuance," it was outright false — the kind of thing you can get away with saying when you're talking to several hundred thousand of your friends. Of course, that's not how Palin sees it. Barr quotes an Alaska insider, who says, "There was so much difficulty in her getting her message out without it being deliberately, in my opinion, twisted by members of the media. Now, even if a story gets twisted, they all know they can go right to Facebook and see what she said."
Now that she's not in office anymore, Sarah Palin is selling herself as a homespun oracle of truth, independent of the nasty mainstream media. It may be working — in part, says Reason magazine's Greg Beato, because we like our oracles of truth kinda crappy. He compares Palin to Paris Hilton, who "can't act her way out of a YouTube clip, but she recognized that it's no longer necessary, and often counterproductive, for Hollywood stars to spend all day memorizing mediocre sitcom dialogue when they can be doing the things the public finds truly compelling, like attending nightclub openings, making sex tapes, and getting arrested." He says that "Palin embodies the Internet's insurgent, user-oriented spirit," that "her resignation announcement-poorly timed, awkwardly staged, emphatically meandering-was a pitch-perfect masterpiece of YouTube verité," and that her "abrupt departure was a stroke of genius, the most sensible move she could have made." Because we live in the Internet age now, an age in which we apparently love fuckups and amateurs.
This is all pretty convincing — Palin as netroots heroine and poster child for e-mediocrity — until you remember that we didn't need Facebook to elect a former governor who had poor qualifications, couldn't string together a sentence, and lied all the time. If Sarah Palin ever does win the presidency, it won't be because she's a savvy new-media maven who understands how to tap into the spirit of the age. It will be because Americans have short memories.