Did The Liberal Media "Interrogate" A Conservative Teen?

A seventeen-year-old girl named Jackie is the latest victim of the dreaded "liberal media bias," all because MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell dared to ask her about Sarah Palin's policies at a book signing on Wednesday.

The clip above has been featured on The O'Reilly Factor, and on Glenn Beck's radio show, making Jackie a minor conservative heroine. One YouTube poster asks, "Can't the young girl just get her book signed without being interrogated by MSNBC?" and Jackie herself apparently thinks Ms. O'Donnell's questions about Sarah Palin's support for the bailout were unfair. Here's how she frames the encounter on the blog Red, White & Conservative:

I noticed [O'Donnell] look down at my shirt then, she turned around blackberry in hand spoke to a man, thumbs tapping the blackberry (I don't remember if she called or not, she may have. But she was on her blackberry), then jotted down a quick note. Little did I know that note would be used against me. She told us she'd be walking up to us. You know like she just stumbled upon us. The shot began… I kept telling myself answer her question well, don't freak out. Well, I thought she'd ask me the same question. She asked the man beside me (who by the way is NOT my dad) the same question she had before we went on air. Myself on the other hand, not the same story. She had me read my shirt and then proceeded to ask me "Did you know Sarah Palin supported the bailout" to be 100% honest I was like, are you kidding me? She is trying to use my shirt against me. I was so shocked by the craftiness she had that I was truly stumped. I asked her where she got her fact and she read her little note.

So was O'Donnell's Blackberry-tapping "craftiness," or just responsible fact-checking prior to asking a question? Several commenters on Red, White & Conservative call the question about the bailout an "ambush," but is it really so underhanded for a journalist to be prepared with information? O'Donnell doesn't really "interrogate" Jackie or go out of her way to humiliate her — she moves on relatively quickly to her next question — and while perhaps a teenager wasn't the most ideal person to talk to, Jackie's t-shirt did indicate some familiarity with issues. Jackie's reaction and those of her supporters mirror the anti-liberal-media attacks of Carrie Prejean and Sarah Palin, and echo the increasingly common conservative claim that the media is doing something immoral whenever someone on the right looks bad. Jackie writes,

In one day I met a role model, and met the liberal media and their crafty schemes. I fell prey to liberal bias, but I'd like to think I did an okay job. [...] But unlike Norah I didnt have my note cards with me. I was forced to think on the spot and answer a gotcha question. Her goal was clear, make this teenager look like an uneducated Palin supporting buffoon. To liberals, and the 5 people who watch MSNBC she succeeded. To conservatives, she was the only buffoon during that interview.


Maybe Palin fans think O'Donnell comes off like a buffoon for asking a teenager a legitimate question. But what's clear from Jackie's experience is that to some conservatives, a "gotcha" question is just one you don't have the answer to.

Palin Fan Responds To O'Donnell Interview [Politico]
The Day I Met Sarah Palin…And The Liberal Media [Red, White & Conservative]
Norah O'Donnell Grills A Young Girl For Her Support Of Sarah Palin [YouTube]

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Let me first start out with a couple of base points: first, fuck Grand Rapids. Second, I am in no way endorsing Sarah Pa(l)in or any of her views.

Okay, here goes: I think it's just a little bit unfair to ask hard policy questions of someone who is in a line to have a book signed which doesn't in any way deal with policy issues whatsoever. The book is a fluff piece, and basically an extended lesson in revenge. But it is NOT, nor ever claimed to be, a book outlining Mrs. Pa(l)in's views on any substantive political questions.

The best comparison I can come up with is going to a Martha Stewart cookbook signing, only to be asked about your thoughts on fixing America's overcrowded prision system.

In conclusion, fuck Grand Rapids.