Stop picking on Palin

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

There are moments when I am ashamed to be a member of the press.

Thank goodness I am not employed with the so-called national media.

If I was, I think I would have had to quit my job as a result of the press coverage of the last few days.

For those of you who have been following the presidential election coverage, you know what I’m talking about.

I’m referring to the media’s intense scrutiny – no, scratch that… their all-out attacks – on Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

Now, note that while I identify more with the Republican party than with the Democratic, I made the decision months ago to vote for Obama.

I don’t agree with Obama’s views on just about anything socially (abortion, the death penalty, gay marriage, etc.), but to me those aren’t the most important issues facing the country today.

Like millions of others, my most important issues are the war and the economy.

Therefore, I will not be voting Republican this year no matter how much I like the candidates… and I do very much like both McCain and Palin as people.

Regardless of the fact that my vote will not go to the McCain-Palin ticket in November, the way the national media is treating her absolutely disgusts me.

It’s true that as a political figure in a presidential election, your life is naturally open for public speculation and inquisition.

But these guys are taking it to a whole other level.

If Palin had been a man, this would not be happening.

So what if she has a 17-year-old pregnant unmarried daughter?

So what if she herself is a mother of five?

What in the world does that have to do with her qualifications to be the Vice President of the United States?

I saw one story on CNN today that made me and everyone else in this newsroom who also saw it furious.

The headline — &uot;Can of mom of 5 be VP?&uot;

It was a request from CNN for i-Reporters to chime in on the &uot;issue&uot; and send in their opinions… as if the topic were up for a legitimate debate.

I couldn’t even believe what I was reading.

Have you ever heard the media critique how many children a male politician has?

Of course not, because it makes no difference to the job performance.

However, that question even being posed proves that sexism is still very much prevalent in the political world today.

If Palin’s first name was Samuel, you can bet your bottom dollar there would be no headline asking, &uot;Can a dad of 5 be VP?&uot; – It would be understood there was no issue here.

In traditional and historic family values, of course the mother is the main caregiver to the kids and the father is generally the breadwinner.

But in today’s America, I thought we had progressed further than expecting every single family to conform to that stereotype.

Obviously, I was wrong.

If Palin and her husband have an agreement where he will shoulder the burden of childcare while she helps run the country, then more power to them and it’s none of the rest of our business – whether we are Democrats, Republicans or anything else.

However, if the talking heads on national news channels want to discuss the probe into Palin’s so-called &uot;trooper ethics probe,&uot; then so be it.

That’s a valid possibility, although I hope nothing comes of it.

Just leave her family out of it.

Jennipher Dickens is a Staff Writer for the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

For comments and column suggestions, she can be reached by calling (252) 332-7208 or by emailing