Since her resignation as governor of Alaska, private citizen Palin has not been writing articles for important newspapers or news magazines. She has not gotten a radio or TV show. She has not even set up her own website or blog, or joined an existing website or blog. Instead, she has been writing things on her Facebook Notes. And these, incredibly, have kept her views in the news, sometimes to the extent that they overshadow the news coming from the White House.
If we had a press that was not so politicized (which reporter broke the story that John Edwards, the Democratic VP candidate in 2004, had an affair and fathered a child?), it would be investigating some intriguing questions. For example, why did Mrs Palin decide to use Facebook as her way of communicating her views? If at the time of her announcement of resignation from the governorship, you had asked people if relying on Facebook as the principal interface with the public was a sound idea, I am quite confident that most of them would have thought that a crazy idea. Yet she is doing it and doing it effectively. Did she see something that almost everyone else missed? Of did she stumble on this solution by accident? What are the pros and cons of doing what she is doing? Is this something other politicians should think of adopting, or is it something that will only work for unusual cases such as Mrs. Palin? There are fascinating questions here but I do not expect to see them answered in the mainstream press.
There is another set of questions that is also interesting. Most mainstream pundits said after her resignation that she was finished politically. However, people who are politically dead do not get much attention, even when the clamor for it. (Consider Rod Blagojevich.) So if Palin really is politically dead, why the fascination with her? And it is not just her fan base that is interested--the Left is obsessed with her. The left blogosphere exploded with articles when she posted her "death panels" comments on Facebook. Why? People who spend the time to read these posts and make comments sometimes write things like, "Why does anyone care what she says?", and do not recognize that their very act of reading and commenting indicates that they care about what she says. Some of her fans say that the Palin-obsession of the Left indicates that they fear her. Perhaps, though any fear is at a subconscious level. I do not expect to see anything very perceptive from the mainstream press on these issues either.
Update: A related post with some interesting comments.
Update 2: It is only a month late, but Politico notices that private citizen Palin is a Facebook phenom, and it is the most read post of the day. Maybe there is truth in this American Spectator piece.
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