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Sarah Palin Newsweek Cover: Palin is not Carrie Prejean

Well, just one day after Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared on Oprah for what was a good interview and on the day her book "Going Rogue" was released (I have to admit I bought Star Trek on DVD instead), Newsweek helps keep Palin's name near the top of the public conversation (and makes her into Carrie Prejean) by using this cover photo:

The pict got the best of Governor Palin who took to her Facebook page to complain about it, writing:

The choice of photo for the cover of this week's Newsweek is unfortunate. When it comes to Sarah Palin, this "news" magazine has relished focusing on the irrelevant rather than the relevant. The Runner's World magazine one-page profile for which this photo was taken was all about health and fitness - a subject to which I am devoted and which is critically important to this nation. The out-of-context Newsweek approach is sexist and oh-so-expected by now. If anyone can learn anything from it: it shows why you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, gender, or color of skin. The media will do anything to draw attention - even if out of context.

- Sarah Palin

Palin's post - I can see her frowning as she wrote it - sparked a powerful reaction that's bound to keep her name up in online search results for another two months. (A momentary aside. Yesterday I wrote that Palin's Internet popularity was due to Oprah and not herself; today, it's due to Newsweek and not Palin.)

The LA Times asked if Palin was really concerned that the photo was sexist and used their entertainment blog for the Academy Awards to issue the observation, leading me to believe they're saying (or at least LA Times blogger Elizabeth Snead holds) that Palin's acting.

The Kansas City Star's headline was "It just goes on and on". Blog SheKnows.co asks if Palin is really offended or just seeking press. If she is looking for media coverage, she's getting it.

But aside from what Palin thinks, I will say it certainly is sexist.

Look, I'll use a revealing photo to get the readers attention in a second, so I know what Newsweek was doing and it was a ploy to sell magazines and draw web traffic in a recession. Governor Palin's no longer, well, Governor, which makes her tanned and fit good looks the perfect target for their intentions.

But the bottom line is Newsweek didn't have to employ the Runner's World photo and could have opted to just show Palin in the suits she's generally wearing in public appearances. Instead Newsweek wanted to grab a photo that really looks like one I'd expect to see on a truck with a gun rack.

Maybe that was the point.

Whatever the case, I thought Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham's explanation was massively weak:

"We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do,” Meacham said. "We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard."

Sorry but that's the biggest bunch of horse manure I've ever seen. Jon Meacham obviously didn't want to explain that they realy wanted to make a real point, which is 'Sarah wants attention and this photo's the best way to make sure she gets it, focus on our point that we think she's an attention monger, and get a lot of buzz, magazine sales, and Internet traffic too.'

But all of this to me is another wound in the scaring of Sarah Palin. All of this - the book, the book tour, the Oprah Interview, etc. - is a way for Palin to heal. It's not a path to Palin 2012. No.

Sarah Palin is damaged.

Here's a young woman executive plucked from obscurity and thrust at warp-speed into the hyper-media spotlight. Then, when Senator John McCain and the GOP were done with her and lost the Presidential election to Barack Obama, they turned on Palin, cast her aside, and made her feel crappy in the process.

Remember the accusations that Palin was essentially stealing clothes given to her for use by the GOP and a lawyer had to fly to Alaska to get them back? Or how about the constant drumbeat of statements on her lack of understanding of policy from everyone including me.

Sarah's saying "You can't treat me that way and cast me aside."  You know what; she's right.  

Look, I don't agree with Governor Palin on a number of political issues, but in my way of living that does not mean I have to want to see her mistreated by anyone. Newsweek's actions were horrible. The Newsweek photo was totally off base and I think they should apologize for using a photo intended for an athletic publication in the way they did.

To be clear, I agree with using photos like the one of Carrie Prejean, but hey, she's a model. Ok? Sarah Palin's a government executive not far removed from office (and if she kept herself in it, this would not have happened).

Governor Palin is not Carrie Prejean nor should her image be altered to make her look that way. Again, she may be a Couch Potato Conservative, but at least let her relax on the couch in peace. Now, she's scarred all over again and we're not going to hear or see the last of her until she's healed and that's going to take a long time.

Count on it.
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