Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 19, 2009

DISCLOSURE IS A VIRTUE.... On her show Tuesday night, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren devoted an entire segment to criticizing David Letterman. His offense? He'd made jokes about Sarah Palin and her family.

There seems to be a pattern here. In fact, it's hard not to notice that Van Susteren seems to enjoy closer ties to Palin than most media professionals. Matt Corley explained, for example, "In September, she hosted a one-hour 'documentary' on the GOP vice presidential candidate, titled 'Governor Sarah Palin -- An American Woman.' She also scored an exclusive interview with Todd Palin, in which she grilled him 'on everything from the story behind the name 'First Dude' to how he feels about the name 'First Dude.'' After the election ended, Palin chose Van Susteren for her first national television interview. Since then, Greta has consistently covered Palin, keeping an eye out for any potential sleights of the governor and gushing over her popularity."

As it turns out, there's a reason that helps explain why Fox News' Van Susteren has taken on the role of media publicist for the Alaska governor -- Van Susteren's husband helps guide Palin's political image.

[John] Coale, a well-known Washington lawyer and the husband of Fox News Channel's Greta Van Susteren, drew national media attention when he endorsed Sen. John McCain's presidential bid in protest of the way in which Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who he backed in the primary, was treated. Coale, in an interview with the Fix, described himself simply as a "friend" of the Alaska governor but acknowledged that he suggested she start a leadership PAC and helped her navigate through some of the questions surrounding her family that lingered after the campaign. Others familiar with Palin's political team insist that Coale has far more power than he is letting on -- essentially helping to run Sarah PAC.

Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing Van Susteren might want to disclose to her viewers?

Steve Benen 10:45 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (34)

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Comments

Call the Blogger ethics panel STAT

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on March 19, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

reptiles

Posted by: neill on March 19, 2009 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Someone married Greta van Susteren?

Posted by: Trevor J on March 19, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

Greta van Susteren has viewers?

Posted by: in vino veritas on March 19, 2009 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I see that I've been beaten to the punch by Trevor J and in vino veritas. Damn it.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on March 19, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, it's not a conflict of interest-- it doesn't conflict with any of her interests.

Posted by: MattF on March 19, 2009 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Every time I see Greta van Susteren, I am reminded of O.J.'s trial and the media circus it became, primarily because of idiots like Greta van Susteren.

Then I change the channel in disgust.
.

Posted by: Screamin' Demon on March 19, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing Van Susteren might want to disclose to her viewers?

I'm not sure Fox News needs to disclose things that suggest right wing bias. But I suppose some people think Greta is in the journalism field, like Howard Kurtz, Campbell Brown or Andrea Mitchell.

Posted by: Danp on March 19, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, okay. Different direction.

Sarah Palin had help cultivating her political image?

Posted by: Run Up The Score on March 19, 2009 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

EEEWWW Try and keep yer breakfast down...

http://www.newyorksocialdiary.com/i/partypictures/12_08_08/redcross05.jpg

I hope they didn't breed

Posted by: John R on March 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

I'm as confused as vino. Why would a woman who's gay for Palin marry a man?

Posted by: Grumpy on March 19, 2009 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, Greta van Susteren has an entire segment on her show tonight criticizing Steve Benen!

Posted by: Chris S. on March 19, 2009 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

poor greta -- her vision of being spokesperson and best buds with president palin is really distorting her ability to perceive reality.

greta needs to get out from in front of a tv camera for a while. she seems to be confusing her script with real life.

she probably thinks john galt is an actual person.

Posted by: karen marie on March 19, 2009 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

The fact that she works for Fox "News" is all the disclosure you really need. The rest is just details if you really want to confirm why she's a waste of bandwidth.

Posted by: jimBOB on March 19, 2009 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

remember how funny it was to them Rethugs when Limbaugh used to call Chelsea the White House dog?

Posted by: blush pimbo on March 19, 2009 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

I will never understand how anyone who ever supported Hillary Clinton's bid for president could have switched to McCain/Palin - no matter how terribly they think Clinton was treated.

Posted by: Mike on March 19, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

I actually used to like watching her on CNN. But I guess she decided to give up her principles for a face replacement.

Posted by: Danp on March 19, 2009 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

She also scored an exclusive interview with Todd Palin, in which she grilled him 'on everything from the story behind the name 'First Dude' to how he feels about the name 'First Dude.'

A hilarious recap, thank you. Some of you media watchers need medals of honor for sifting through this stuff and reporting on it. Climbing out of this muck and mire to tell people about it is heroic.

Posted by: Jan in Stone Mtn on March 19, 2009 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Who cares? I mean, really, why does anyone with half a brain care what FOX NEWS says or does?

Steve, I'm getting a little annoyed at all the coverage you're giving to FOX. They aren't a credible news network, so why keep talking about them?

It's very much like Governor Palin. She's not a credible leader, so why keep talking about her?

Posted by: JJC on March 19, 2009 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Here's another one that should disclose what kind of thing their spouse is involved in. Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.

Posted by: tko on March 19, 2009 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Word, tko.

Posted by: Run Up The Score on March 19, 2009 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Aside from being 100% pure GOP propaganda, I can't stand to watch Fauxnews just because of all the bad plastic surgery of its "news"casters. Van Susteren is one of the most obvious and worst. Ugh.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on March 19, 2009 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

GVS...she's married? I thought she had a hard-on for Palin.

Posted by: Cleo on March 19, 2009 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Last I knew, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale were committed Scientologists, paying many many $$ every year in their continuing effort to cross Hubbard's "Bridge to Total Freedom".

Maybe the religio-political deluded stick together?

Consider that Scientology has a big publicity machine that they are happy to crank up on behalf of their friends, and Palin lives on and for publicity.

Maybe Scientology has identified Palin as a possible celebrity ally and eventual convert (as they did Michael Jackson when they sent Lisa Marie Presley after him)?

Posted by: joel hanes on March 19, 2009 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Gotta disagree with JJC. Her Excellency the Baroness Munchhausen, Governor of Alaska needs to have a spotlight kept on her. Yes, she is losing popularity even in her home state. Yes, her simple ignorance and 'word salads' make her a joke to anyone intelligent who actually listens to her. Yes, she comes with a list of scandals -- any one of which would sink an 'ordinary politician.' Yes, there are even more scandals out there -- no one is asking how the Mayor of the town that became known as the 'meth capital of Alaska' during her watch and who was Governor during a time when Alaska was the 'spousal abuse' capital of America -- and who has no record of speaking out or acting against either problem -- has never been questioned about this. (And while the Bristol-Levi soap opera is a sideshow, it still is interesting that her grandson's father's mother was into the local drug culture.)

All of which should sink her chances -- if President Obama succeeds in returning this country to the path of sanity. But a lot of what was said about her -- except for lack of intelligence -- could have been said about Huey Long and his weird group of supporters -- yet FDR said that the only politician he was afraid of was 'The Kingfish.' (And Long would have had to run as an independent, The Baroness might even have a real party behind her.)

Obama's changes will begin having an effect, but there will still be people who are scared or unsatisfied or ready for quack nostrums in 2012. And if the "Blue Dogs' manage to 'help' Obama into immobility, there will be a lot more of them. And, sadly, when 'sense and honesty' are not seen to be working fast enough, people sometimes foresake intelligence for 'comfoprtable sounding quackery' in politics as well as in medicine. (Especially if there are some handy scapegoats to blame the whole thing on so it 'wasn't OUR fault.') And The Baroness offers plenty of that.

So keep a watch on her, Steve, and keep letting us know what she's up to. Don't count on Mudflats to do it all.

And, speaking of Mudflats , they have a great piece on the recent sighting of a familiar political figure in Alaska. Tim Griffin, who you may remember from the Attorney General Firings, the Swiftboaters, or just as "Rove's Rove."

And his appearance on the scene is reason enough to keep an eye on GINO, The Baroness Munchhausen.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on March 19, 2009 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

What do you expect from a scientology wacko? I wonder how Greta's 'religion' goes over with Palin's fundamentalist christian friends?

Posted by: Jack on March 19, 2009 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

You asked: "Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing Van Susteren might want to disclose to her viewers?"

D'oh, to do so would endanger her standing with FoxNews, after all disclosure would really be "fair and balanced" . . .

Posted by: Greytdog Δ on March 19, 2009 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Thanx, tko. Bayh is, indeed, another one to keep an eye on. If anyone is positioning himself to head a new 'center-right' Party in opposition to Obama -- assuming the Republicans do manage to slide into total insignificance in the 2010 elections -- it's Bayh. (I'm sorry, but I see no evidence that a 'new party' would be to the left of Obama.)

Remember history. After the Federalists became a regional, preacher-led party attacking a popular President with all sorts of conspiracy theories -- wingnut coniesseurs will delight to know that the first appearance of the Bavarian Illuminati as 'secret masters of the world' came in anti-Jefferson literature -- the Whigs eventually formed as a party with no ideas except that they were opposed to "King Andrew" Jackson. They even tried the stunt of running three candidates at once, each of whom differed with the others on all the issues of the day but each of whom had a regional appeal, hoping to throw the election into the House.

Bayh strikes me as the obvious leader of such a movement and party, if Her Excellency fails and Obama succeeds enough that there is no 'turning to quackery.'

I still remember the people who praised the possibility of Bayh as VP. I didn't understand them then -- should there be an annual Blogger's Day of Atonement where people admitted their own stupid statements over the past year -- and I sure doubt that they would repeat their praise of him.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on March 19, 2009 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

(I'm sorry, but I see no evidence that a 'new party' would be to the left of Obama.) -Prup

I think so, simply because a party can't spring up overnight. The Green party is really the only party organized enough at this point to fill the vacuum.

I still see Democrats tacking further right, Republicans fading into obscurity, and the Green party taking hold on the left.

Of course, the Green party would help if they stop nominating people who are certifiably insane.

Another reason is because I think people are becoming more aware of their progressive beliefs, and are more likely to turn to a new face who espouses those same ideals.

I find this whole scenario more plausible than Mr. Right Vagina becoming the head of a viable national party. A lot of people called Obama an empty suit during the campaign; they obviously hadn't met Evan Bayh.

Posted by: doubtful on March 19, 2009 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing Van Susteren might want to disclose to her viewers?

She's been meaning to. And she will, as soon as she finishes bathing and feeding both the babies, picking up Sarah's dry cleaning and oiling the First Dude's "snow machine."

Posted by: shortstop on March 19, 2009 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Good to see your posts again, shortstop!

Posted by: Gregory on March 19, 2009 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't this seem like the kind of thing Van Susteren might want to disclose to her viewers?

Be nice if all "reporters" would disclose their politics to end this charade of mainstream "journalists" pretending they are not left biased. Sadly this is the very reason we will never have disclosure. Propaganda presented as news is more effective than mere commentary.

Posted by: Luther on March 19, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Luther, even ignoring your tiresome and completely unsupported attempt to continue the "liberal media" myth, do you really not understand the difference between bias and conflict of interest? Or the specific ethical implications in almost every profession of not disclosing the second?

Posted by: tanstaafl on March 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Last I knew, Greta Van Susteren and John Coale were committed Scientologists, paying many many $$ every year in their continuing effort to cross Hubbard's "Bridge to Total Freedom".

Maybe the religio-political deluded stick together?"

Good guess. The Scientologists also have a history of getting their famous gay celebrities to marry people of the opposite sex, so the religious angle is the key.

BTW, can't Science sue Scientology for misuse of its name?

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 19, 2009 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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