One-Minute Book Reviews

October 31, 2008

Late Night With Jan Harayda – What Sarah Palin Has in Common With Ishmael Beah

Filed under: News — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 10:01 pm
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Watching how tightly the McCain campaign has controlled the media access to Sarah Palin, I thought: Where have I seen something like this before? Answer: the publicity campaign for A Long Way Gone, which Ishmael Beah continues to bill as a memoir of his years as a child soldier despite serious challenges to the credibility of many of his claims. Farrar, Straus & Giroux has done with Beah what McCain has done with Palin: Restrict speeches and interviews severely, offering them mainly to safe audiences and journalists. Beah has never been interviewed by an American broadcaster who has asked tough questions and followed up on them as directly as Charles Gibson and Katie Couric did with Palin. Cynthia McFadden – one of the few who had a chance to do it – wimped out unabashedly in her interview with Beah earlier this year on Nightline.

© 2008 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.


  1. Admitted, it’s from CBS News and not a reliable source, but Sarah Palin’s been more accessible of late than Joe Biden.

    “It was less than two weeks ago when Sarah Palin astonished her traveling press corps by lifting the curtain (literally) and journeying to the back of her campaign plane to answer reporters’ questions for the first time after 40 days on the campaign trail. But the candidate who has been criticized for having a bunker mentality when it came to the national media can now lay legitimate claim to being more accessible than either Joe Biden or Barack Obama.”

    “In the past two days alone, Palin has answered questions from her national press corps on three separate occasions. On Saturday, she held another plane availability, and on Sunday, she offered an impromptu press conference on the tarmac upon landing in Colorado Springs. A few minutes later, she answered even more questions from reporters during an off-the-record stop at a local ice cream shop.”

    Let’s face it, if I were Obama and my vice president has said, a) that FDR went on television to reassure voters during the Depression; b) that the US, “along with France” kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon; and c) that Obama never said he would sit down unconditionally with Iran, I’d tell him to put a sock in it, too.

    Comment by bpeschel — October 31, 2008 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

  2. Maybe I’m the one with the “bunker mentality.” I’d missed that trip to the back of the campaign plane to answer questions. Thanks so much for the link to a good story.

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 1, 2008 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  3. Palin’s campaign – and willingness to answer questions – has turned an obvious corner that wraps around – and past – John McCain.

    But, to the point of the blog (certainly more literary than political), Beah’s reluctance to grant open interviews now seems more telling than merely suspicious. It is unfortunate because his story was so compelling when it first appeared, albeit not extremely well written.

    Comment by draabe — November 1, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Reply

  4. “More telling than merely suspicious” … Not quite sure I follow. Do you mean it seem more revealing now than when his book first came out? (And, yes, I was definitely trying to make a literary point more than a political one …)

    Comment by 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom — November 1, 2008 @ 4:04 pm | Reply

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