Once you go black…

I remember when Sarah Palin first became John McCain’s presidential running mate. She was an enigma to most of us because the last thing that we in the lower 48 do is pay a lot of attention to who is running that State Up North and To The Right. So while the Republicans thought she was, and this is quoting one of the magazine covers she graced back then, “The Hottest Governor in the Country”, the rest of us simply said, “Sarah who?”

But from that moment on, we’ve learned so much about Sarah Palin she’s practically family. Granted, she’s the Black Sheep of the family, but she’s family nonetheless.

We were there when she sent out the press release that let everyone know that her daughter Bristol was pregnant, something that has led to a radio show, television appearances, and as a stint as the poster child for abstaining from sex before marriage for teens. We were there when she went out on a bus and showed the entire world that she slept through American History class. (See the post “Me, My Horsey and a Quart of Beer” on this blog…)

And now, we’re learning that not only was she possibly the most unprofessional news reporter in the free world, but that if she had actually made it our of Alaska, her reporting style could have set female sports reporters back at least 50 years.

In the new book The Rogue: Searching For the Real Sarah Palin author Joe McGinnis tells us a whole gang of things that we may not have known about La Palin. Things like she’s done a little cocaine. Like she’s messed around on her husband Todd both before and after they got married. Like she got it on with former NBA star Glen Rice when he was playing for the University of Michigan in the Great Alaska Shoot-Out and she was a sports reporter covering the tournament.

it’s that last one that seems to have gotten the most notice.

(I could make some snide remark about how this makes sense considering that Rice played for Michigan and guys from Michigan have really bad taste, but I’ll try and leave the whole Michigan/Ohio State thing out of this.)

In any case, the reason why the tryst, which took place in her sister’s college dorm room according to the book, is getting so much notice is because (a) Rice admitted to it, (b) he’s black, she’s not, and a lot of Palin’s political rhetoric implies that she believes black men problematic and (c) when you go around wagging your finger at people who engage in the kind of behavior you appeared to have engaged in yourself, the word “hypocrite” starts getting thrown in your direction.

Naturally, those who are Palin partisans have labeled the book “petty”, and filled with lies and innuendo. Even the New York Times Review of Books, not a publication that LaPalin would read frequently if her television interviews are any indication, have panned the book.

But good or bad, people are buzzing about it.

Now to be honest, part of the reason for that buzz stems from the fact that Sarah Palin is about as likable to some people as a bad case of poison ivy. Some folks don’t think she’s very bright. She’s kinda irritating because she believes that we all ought to aspire to live in a land where only the rich have health insurance, the poor deserve to be there, and folks like her should have a say on whether or not you have a kid.

So being able to give her grief about her Black Man Fetish (according to the book, not me) is probably some folks’ idea of fun.
But I really could have gone my entire life without knowing about her peccadilloes.

However, I am really, really glad that she didn’t decide to stay in my line of work. Having someone who would sleep with a potential source, especially when that source was a college kid and they’re a professional journalist, working with me would be a nightmare I don’t want to think about.

You see, once upon a time I was a sports reporter. I covered the Phillies and the Eagles for WRTI, Temple University’s Public Radio Station. I had always been a big football fan, so naturally I wanted to cover the Eagles game when they played my favorite team, the Oakland Raiders.

The Sports Editor, a guy who I really liked otherwise, told me that I had to cover a Temple football game before he’d let me cover the pros. So I did. But he didn’t let me cover the Raiders game despite my being more knowledgable of professional football than most of the GUYS in the newsroom.

I then asked if I could cover the Eagles/Miami Dolphins game. Again, I was told that I had to cover another Temple football game before I could go and cover the pros.

(Did I mention that Temple’s football team was simply abysmal in the early 1990s? Those two games added up to six hours of my life that I’ll never get back!)

So after putting myself through another Temple football game, I asked for the newsroom credential for the Eagles game. The Sports Editor told me that he didn’t think it would be a good idea if I were allowed to cover the game because “girls don’t go to these games to cover the game…”

I went to the News Director, taking the Sports Editor with me, and told the both of them that either I get the Eagles credential, or they’d get to me my attorney and the EEOC when the discrimination lawsuit goes to trial.

I got to go, but the message was really clear to me: If I was going to cover sports, I’d have to kick the whole professionalism thing up another notch. I don’t wear button down shirts unless I have a sweater on over it. If I wear a skirt, i’ll also wear tights instead of panty hose. I’m friendly to the men I interview, but I don’t flirt.

In other words, I make sure that these guys know that I’m there to do a job, and while I know this job may require that i kiss your ass a little, I won’t be giving you head. That’s a far too intimate act that I don’t like you enough to even consider doing. Besides, you’ve got a wife and a whole lot of groupies for that.

Or, if you’re Glen Rice, you have Sarah Palin.

On that note, some Parliament/Funkadelic…