In an op-ed for CNN, Ed Morrissey discusses Governor Palin’s bus tour and how she’s adroitly playing the media like a Stradivarius while exposing their hypocrisy:
The tour started with MSNBC reporting (mistakenly) that Palin would arrive uninvited to the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington last weekend. This turned out to be untrue, and was based on an internal miscommunication at the veterans’ organization that took only a few minutes to diagnose, as I did the same evening by checking with Rolling Thunder’s media representative.
The coverage reached its nadir when reporters began claiming that Palin was putting their lives in danger by not giving them an itinerary of her bus tour, apparently because keeping up with a large and not exactly speedy bus decorated with the American flag was beyond the ability of journalists.
The media turned Palin’s bus tour into a celebrity chase, instead of covering it as a political event. As a political event, Palin’s travelogues show that it’s been pretty low-key. She has not made grand speeches or committed to a campaign, but instead is using the tour to raise political action committee funds — in the same way other announced and unannounced candidates have done for months, with little or no comparable national media coverage.
So why does Palin rate such a press gaggle and make headlines for her tour? Palin generates ratings and page views; she sells advertising. She puts money in the pockets of media outlets. And her bus tour has exposed the media’s craving for all things Palin, even while they treat her as a fringe character in American politics. The bus tour puts that paradox on display for all to see.
Beyond exposing the media hypocrisy, what significance is there in the bus tour? It strengthens Palin’s hand whether or not she decides to get in the race. A regional or national tour — with the media in tow — helps generate enthusiasm for a potential candidate and could affect perceptions and polling results. Assuming that the momentum builds throughout the tour, Palin would have the opportunity to announce her candidacy at a peak moment to take advantage of all the publicity.
More here. Although I’m a bit uncomfortable when Morrissey swerves into the "Palin as kingmaker" meme, it’s nevertheless a good piece.