During the infamous O. J. Simpson double murder trial, The New York Times correspondent covering that cause celebre wrote that The National Enquirer had beaten the “legitimate,” high-class press to some important stories.

It did it again with the John Edwards scandal. During the Clinton impeachment era, Hustler editor Larry Flynt hired an investigative reporter to expose the sex scandals of certain national politicians who were haranguing Bill Clinton for his sexual adventures. Flynt said it was their hypocrisy, not their sexual habits, he intended to uncover. I recall these instances because they expose a sad state of post-Watergate investigative journalism by mainline media that has left questionable and sensationalistic media to unearth important controversial stories.

So it is with the Republicans’ protective stance about vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She is being shielded from the intense vetting the other three candidates have received; and the media is being set up as scoundrels for even thinking about giving her the same critical attention every other national candidate has gotten.

ABC’s Charlie Gibson was granted the first interview with Gov. Palin since her nomination as vice presidential candidate. Where is the rest of the press? Why is it accepting Republican politicians’ manipulative controls over public information? Will Gibson go where, say, Tim Russert would have gone in this instance? Hard, fair, thorough, polite, but no-holds-barred interrogation? Gibson was very tough with Barack Obama in the primary debate. Will he be equally so with Sarah Palin, who will, no doubt, claim she is being picked on when the first tough question is asked?

Gibson is there for us, the public. We hope he will live up to that responsibility. If not, he will have been used, the public will have been shortchanged, and the media diminished.


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