Saturday, September 20, 2008

Evidence Gibson Was Prejudiced Against Palin

Evidence Gibson Was Prejudiced Against Palin: Comparison of Palin and Obama Interviews
Nancy Kallitechnis

I compared Charles Gibson’s interview of Palin with his interview of Obama and there is much evidence that Gibson was prejudiced against Palin. He interviewed Obama right after he became the presumptive presidential nominee and he interviewed Palin shortly after she became the vice presidential nominee. So the situation of the interviews is similar. And because the situation of the interviews is similar Gibson’s extreme prejudice against Palin is very obvious.

For example, Gibson asked Obama a lot of questions focused on the positive aspects of Obama being a champion and breaking a glass ceiling for African Americans. Yet he didn’t ask Palin about her potential of breaking the infamous glass ceiling and the benefits that would create for women who are a much larger percentage of the U.S. population than African Americans.

Furthermore, Gibson often questioned Palin’s ability to lead, but he never questioned Obama’s ability to lead. This is outrageous because Palin has more political executive experience than Obama and far more political accomplishments. Another reason why it was prejudiced for Gibson to question Palin’s ability to lead and not Obama’s ability to lead is that Palin is seeking the much less powerful job of VP. And to add insult to injury Gibson even asked Palin if it was conceited of her to accept the vice presidential nomination, yet he did not insult Obama with that question even though Obama is applying for a much more powerful job.

Also Gibson maintained an almost constant sour face when interviewing Palin and his tone of voice seemed to imply that he was disappointed in her. I haven’t watched the entire Obama interview but the part I watched showed Gibson with a pleased expression on his face and the transcript shows that there was frequent laughter during his interview with Obama.

Even the camera angle was designed to be prejudiced against Palin. She is filmed from the side and slightly with her back to the camera. Although there are close ups of her face the long shot shows her back to the camera. It seems filming her with her back to the camera was meant to make her appear less likeable. In contrast, the film crew placed the long shot camera facing Obama so at all times when he is speaking the camera looks him in the face rather than looking at his back.

And Obama was asked much easier questions mostly about feelings about winning, breaking the glass ceiling and 2008 campaign decisions. In contrast, Palin was asked numerous specific policy and military strategy questions that required extensive knowledge about treaties, U.S. anti-terrorism strategy and world history. And Gibson misquoted Palin falsely stating that she said our troops were in an alleged holy war when what she said was that she prayed that we were doing God’s will. The following is a breakdown of the questions asked of the nominees:

Obama interview:

How does it feel to break a glass ceiling?
How does it feel to "win"?
How does your family feel about your “winning” breaking a glass ceiling?
Who will be your VP?
Should you choose Hillary Clinton as VP?
Will you accept public finance?
What issues is your campaign about?
Will you visit Iraq?
Will you debate McCain at a town hall?
What did you think of your competitor’s [Clinton] speech?

Palin interview:

Do you have enough qualifications for the job you’re seeking? Specifically have you visited foreign countries and met foreign leaders?
Aren’t you conceited to be seeking this high level job?
Questions about foreign policy
-territorial integrity of Georgia
-allowing Georgia and Ukraine to be members of NATO
-NATO treaty
-Iranian nuclear threat
-what to do if Israel attacks Iran
-Al Qaeda motivations
-the Bush Doctrine
-attacking terrorists harbored by Pakistan
Is America fighting a holy war? [misquoted Palin]

There’s no doubt the Charles Gibson interviews showed extreme prejudice against Palin and extreme favoritism towards Obama. His manner towards Palin was much more negative. He asked her much more difficult questions and the questions were more adversarial. He constantly questioned her ability to lead but never questioned Obama’s ability to lead, all the more amazing considering that Palin was the only one with executive experience and the presidency is the highest level executive job in politics. The camera angles always focused on Obama’s face when he was talking making him the center of attention yet during Palin’s interview the angle often focused on her back apparently for the purpose of lessening the impact of her presence.

The questions, camera angle, and manner of the interviewer were designed in a way that favored Obama. Because Palin is a historic woman candidate and has been attacked with sexism it is reasonable to believe that ABC News is trying to harm her candidacy due to sexism. Of particular note is that Gibson asked Obama four questions about breaking the AA political glass ceiling but asked Palin zero questions about her breaking the women’s political glass ceiling. ABC’s prejudice against Palin was wrong and is blocking women’s progress towards equality. Palin is brave and strong and she, along with her supporters, will battle sexism and other forms of harmful prejudice in order to improve our world. This is a wake up call for ABC and the sexist news media to help them achieve their potential to be fair to candidates because fairness in the media is essential to a democracy.

*I will send this to ABC at:

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