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Video: Palin calls Newsweek cover ‘sexist’

  1. Closed captioning of: Palin calls Newsweek cover ‘sexist’

    >> meredith, thank you.

    >>> sarah palin launches her book tour today amidst a lot of dust that she herself is kicking up, including a new comment on the tragic shooting at ft. hood that she says will get her "clobbered." nbc's andrea mitchell is in grand rapids , michigan, with more on this. andrea, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: well, good morning, matt. even hours before sarah palin gets here to this mall just outside of grand rapids , some people, as many as 1,500 people, matt, have been camped here overnight just for a chance to get in line to get a wristband to come back later to get a chance to meet her. as the books went on sale in her home state of alaska and stores around the country --

    >> i'm going to go home and crawl inside my bed with my electric blanket turned high and lay there and read until i'm done.

    >> reporter: the kickoff of the "going rogue" book tour is as carefully organized as a military campaign.

    >> i'm already on page 142.

    >> definitely not going to buy the book.

    >> if you like her, you like her, if you hate her, you hate her. i don't think it will make much difference.

    >> reporter: palin delivers in an interview with sean hannity on fox.

    >> do you think it was an act of terrorism?

    >> i certainly do. to me, it was a fear of being politically incorrect to not -- i'm going to use the word -- profile this guy. because i used the world profile, i'm going to get clobbered tomorrow morning . the liberals, their heads are just going to be spinning.

    >> reporter: in her abc interview with barbara walters .

    >> there's so much bullcrap out there about my family, about my record, about my state, and it really hurts when i hear the negativity about the state of alaska , and of course, my family. so, a lot of bull.

    >> reporter: tuesday on the radio with rush limbaugh , taking on fellow republicans --

    >> you know, another key to this, too, is to not hesitate duking it out within the party.

    >> reporter: some political experts see palin as this year's ross perot , a populist with grood grassroots appeal.

    >> sarah palin looks to me like she's running for the leadership of the conservative movement , not the republican party .

    >> reporter: an author right now that is more celebrity than politician, but is offended by " newsweek " using a photo from "runner's world" magazine.

    >> she's right it's an out-of-context photo, but a sexist photo? i don't know. this is a photo she posed for, after all, not a paparazzi situation.

    >> reporter: just as levi johnston, the father of her grandson, released the first picture from his "playgirl" photo shoot . palin will be traveling by bus and mostly in battleground states like this one. and as for her political future, well, the store has set up her signing today in the mystery section. matt?

    >> all right, andrea, thanks very much. andrea mitchell in michigan for us this morning. tina brown is editor in chief of the website the daily beast and ed climban is with " newsweek " magazine. dan , let me start with you. here's what sarah palin says about the cover photo on your magazine -- it's sexist and a bit degrading. "this is focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant," adding "the out-of-context newsweek approach is sexist and oh so expected by now." what's your reaction?

    >> i don't think so. what we do every week is try to pick the most interesting picture, evocative picture to illustrate the cover story and that's the criteria we use every week.

    >> but this week as she's launching this book that she wants to use to kind of establish herself and perhaps as a run for 2012 , why that image? why do you think that represented what she's all about at this point in time?

    >> well, what it really represented was what the story was about, and that's what our mission is. i mean, look, since she's been on the national stage, there have been these questions about her gravitas, about her seriousness, and look, you know, frankly, you know, sarah palin has cultivated, to some extent, this image of the sort of down-home, folksy, outdoorsy woman. and i'm not suggesting it's not authentic, but there is a sense in which she understands that it resonates politically.

    >> tina, let me ask you a question that's probably impossible to answer, but do you imagine there was a meeting somewhere at " newsweek " with these smart people where there were chuckles as they chose this photo and said for all she's trying to do, this is going to cut her off at the knees a little bit?

    >> well, i certainly hope so.

    >> you hope that's the case?

    >> no, i don't think that. i actually think that sarah palin has as much right to criticize how to edit " newsweek " as she did to run for vice president. she posed for that picture. you know, nobody cried sexist when we saw bill clinton in his running shorts in 1994 or when there was a cover of eliot spitzer with an arrow towards his crotch saying "brain," you know? this was just her in her sporting clothes, and she's a runner. she's certainly running at the moment.

    >> it raises a question, tina does -- if you were doing a story on nancy pelosi or hillary clinton , would you have looked for some out-of-the-box photo or would you have had her take a picture specifically for the cover of the magazine?

    >> well, look, you know, this is a side of sarah palin that is real, you know? and frankly, she's a rorschach test , and a lot of people would see that image and say, you know, that's sarah palin , that's why she connects with people, there's that authenticity. and i don't think this is an image that's taken out of context, especially when you consider what the point of the story was, to raise these questions about her seriousness.

    >> go ahead.

    >> what i did find interesting about this whole publicity rollout, is that actually, sarah palin in a way has really become much more appealing on "oprah" and barbara walters ' interviews, because she's gotten back to herself, where she's not remotely interested in politics. in these interviews, she didn't show any desire to get back to the policy message, so as there might be. she was quite happy to play out a celebrity talk show guest and she did a fabulous job at that and i did actually see it on the oprah interview that the one really true thing she said was when she said, i certainly wasn't upset about the media knowing about bristol's pregnancy. she said i was more worried about whether they'd know that i had a "d" on my college course 22 years ago, and i think she spoke a lot of truth on that.

    >> let me ask one last question. either of you can weigh in on this. i have a feeling you'll want to do it more than dan . but the levi johnston thing -- and i don't want to get into the whole "playgirl" thing, but it occurs to me that there is nothing good that can come out of sarah palin even addressing this issue, other than to say he is the father of my grandchild, and then ignore the situation. would you agree with that?

    >> well, what is divine about sarah palin is the way she always says i'm not going to talk about that and then she proceeds to do so.

    >> and does.

    >> but it was sort of a great moment when she did the sharp sly comment on the porn.

    >> it depends on her true ambition. if it's to be the leader of the republican party , no. what she ought to be doing is going to the council on foreign relations or the detroit economic club and giving serious, substantive speeches. instead, she goes around and she's sort of enveloped in this soap opera atmosphere, this circus atmosphere. it's not helpful if she wants to be interested serious.

    >> dan kleidman, tina brown , thank you very much for being here.

    >>> it is now 18 minutes

By Founder, editor of The Daily Beast
updated 11/18/2009 11:08:23 AM ET 2009-11-18T16:08:23

Now that Palin has stopped pretending to be a politician, she’s back to being, uh, whatever she was before.

Sarah Palin was like a sparkling celebrity holiday gift in the Oprah interview. She was just shining with the thrill of being on that stratospheric studio sofa that would rocket her book sales even further off the charts. The only veiled moment of impatience that dimmed her gorgeous stare was when Oprah opened up with whether Palin thought she had snubbed her during the ’08 campaign by not asking her on the show. You could see Palin thinking, as we in the audience were, “Huh? Why the eff are we wasting time talking about you?”‪

Was it a rare small frisson of competitiveness that made the Queen of All Talk Show Hosts suddenly want to prolong the limelight on herself, rather than hand things over immediately to the mink-haired, fresh-as-a-daisy bombshell who could be the natural star to grab Oprah’s crown and her time slot?

Now that Palin has stopped pretending to be a politician — there’s been zero effort in any interview so far to leave the EQ stuff behind and divert to a policy message — the abdicated Alaskan governor is back to being as appealing as she was when she first made her debut at the GOP convention at John McCain’s side. (Admit it: We loved her at first when she thumbed-over-the-shoulder the now famous crowd-pleaser “The governor’s private plane? I put it on eBay!).

With Oprah, she was once again fun when she shafted Levi Johnston, that feckless dope of a near-miss son-in-law. She was wonderfully sly when, the next day, Barbara Walters on Good Morning America gravely quoted McCain adviser Steve Schmidt’s assessment that as VP she would have been an unmitigated disaster. With a roguish smile, Palin responded, “That sounds like Steve Schmidt!” And the appearance of her genuinely fond-seeming teenage daughter Willow with her younger sister — cute as can be Piper, who told Barbara it was “sad” when her mother was criticized — gave us, for the first time, a whiff of authentic Palin family feeling.‪

Video: Palin, Levi Johnston in war of words I believed her 100 percent, by the way, when she told Oprah she had not been fearful of the American public finding out about Bristol’s pregnancy: “Gosh, the only skeleton that I have to confess to is I did get a 'D' 22 years ago in a college course.” Of course that’s what Palin was fearful of, because that was the only true thing she had to fear — that America would discover that she knew, in her own inimitable phrase, “bullcrap” about the policy issues or international affairs. In that sense, she was right to resent the campaign’s effort to suppress her and keep her away from the traveling media. She knew she only had her charm to go on, but Schmidt & Co. kept trying to cram her head with index cards masquerading as a vice-presidential education. She stayed cocky after the Couric debacle because she knew the dawning revelation of her ignorance was the campaign’s fault, not hers.‪

My only regret in this recent series of star turns was Palin’s denunciation of the current Newsweek' cover to her Facebook following as “sexist.” That’s the boring old fake-gravitas Sarah speaking. The Newsweek cover shot, a months-old Google chestnut from Runner's World of sassy Sarah in shorts, didn’t show much journalistic enterprise on the magazine’s part, but you can hardly call it sexist. No one cried sexism when New York magazine took a photo of fallen Gov. Eliot Spitzer and added the word “brain” with an arrow to his crotch. And circa 1994 we were all happy to ogle Bill Clinton in his running shorts and never called out the media’s ethical judgment. If you don’t want the moment captured on film, don’t show up in sporty hot pants for a photo shoot. But Palin, like Carrie Prejean, is savvy enough to know that umbrage is a great Day 3 story when you are running the media marathon.‪

Indeed, her “hurt” retaliation is probably doing the same thing for Newsweek’s sales as what she suggests an appearance on her old foe Letterman’s show would do for the sales of her book (hint, hint). Everyone is someone else’s catalyst for selling something these days. And right now, by golly, Sarah Palin is out there selling herself.

Tina Brown is the founder and editor in chief of The Daily Beast. She is the author of the 2007 New York Times bestseller “The Diana Chronicle.” Brown is the former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk magazines and host of CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown.

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