Thursday, October 29, 2009

Politico, Blamin’ Palin. Again!

From Taxes4Palin by Josh Painter

The Palin-hatin' media just keeps pouring it on Sarah Palin. The latest example is Politico's distortion of a report that a pro-family group wants to bring her to Iowa. The Iowa Family Policy Center has asked Team Sarah, which has no formal ties to the former governor, to help it raise $100,000 to stage an event on November 21 for which the organization hopes to book Palin to be the speaker. Team Sarah's Bill Collier says that IFPC has already raised $59,000 for the event, and his group is trying to raise another $41,000.

The headline for the Politico piece -- "Sarah Palin's $100K speaking fee has Iowa Republicans wincing" -- gives the impression that the money Team Sarah and IFPC are trying to raise is needed to pay the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate's speaker fees, and the lede is likewise designed to paint Palin as a mercenary of the speakers circuit:
A conservative Iowa group’s effort to lure Sarah Palin to its banquet next month has had an unintended effect: Rather than exciting conservatives about the prospect of a visit from the former Alaska governor, the group’s plan to raise a six-figure sum to bring her to the state has GOP activists recoiling at the thought of paying to land a politician's speaking appearance.

The Iowa Family Policy Center’s effort to cobble together $100,000 for Palin would represent a striking departure from customary practice in the first-in-the-nation state, these Republicans say, noting that a generation of White House hopefuls has paid their own way to boost their party and presidential ambitions.
Were Palin to appear in Iowa on November 21st, it would mark her first trip back to the state since she spoke to a handful of rallies there last fall as the GOP’s vice-presidential nominee. She would offer powerful counter-programming to another major political event that night: The Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson Dinner with Vice-President Joe Biden as the headliner.

But representatives from other Iowa-based political advocacy groups said they would never consider shelling out money for what many politicians see as a privilege: the opportunity to speak to a room full of sure-fire caucus-goers who often serve as precinct captains and can be instrumental to a presidential candidate’s success.
Jonathan Martin, who wrote the hit piece, then goes on to quote a number of Iowa advocacy group leaders who say that they have never had to pay politicians to attend their events, and they are not about to start now.

There's just one problem with this piece of Politico prevarication. The money the two groups are hoping to raise is not necessarily earmarked to pay Sarah Palin to speak. Major events -- and IFPC says this will be a major event even bigger than the banquet in Indiana where Palin delivered a pro-life manifesto of a keynote speech -- require large venues which can seat thousands of people. Such venues have to be rented, and they don't come cheap. In addition, these events have to have security which is usually provided by hiring off-duty police officers. Other workers have to be contracted to take tickets, run the lighting and sound systems and clean up after the event. Then there are promotional costs for local media buys, printing flyers and the like. Such an event as being proposed by IFPC can easily cost $100,000 or more just to stage, exclusive of any speakers fees which the intended speaker may or may not charge.

And indeed, one has to read all the to the sixteenth paragraph to learn that IFPC spokesman Bryan English told Martin that the effort to raise money was only to secure a venue, pay for lighting and promote the event and that English was "not personally aware of a speaker’s fee." And it's not until the twenty-fourth paragraph that Martin admits:
"There is no indication that the former governor has requested a fee or that her decision whether to attend is being influenced by whether she’ll be paid."
False? Misleading? Distorted? Deceptive? Biased? Anti-Palin? You betcha! That's Jonathan Martin. That's Politico. That's reprehensible. Why is Sarah Palin the only political figure Politico goes out of its way to treat in this manner?

UPDATE: Holly Bailey writes for Newsweek
But hang on: did Palin actually ask the group to pay $100K for her appearance? An IFPC spokesman tells Martin he's "not personally aware" of a speaker's fee. "There may or may not be, I don't know," he tells Politico. For their part, the Palin camp tells NEWSWEEK there's no fee. Meg Stapleton, Palin's spokeswoman, tells your Gaggler that Palin "has not requested anything" and that she "does not charge people to campaign for them." According to Stapleton, Palin would instead cover such travel costs through her political-action committee, SarahPAC. Of course, that doesn't mean she's going to Iowa. Palin's book, Going Rogue, is due out Nov. 17, and she's got a major publicity tour planned around that, including a Nov. 16 appearance on Oprah. "We don't believe she will be able to attend with her tightly scheduled book tour, and the group has been told that through formal and informal channels," Stapleton says in an e-mail this morning. "However, it appears that some enthusiastic members are willing to try anything to entice the governor as we look at her schedule."


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