What is it about Palin that sticks in the craw of liberal journalists? Perhaps the same thing that has always annoyed them about Rush Limbaugh: Sarah Palin doesn't need their help, and all their efforts to harm her appear impotent.
David Warsh describes the importance of dispensing favors to traditional journalists:
It is a commonplace among news reporters that they operate in an informal economy of favors. Participation in newsgathering, for example, is usually based almost entirely on the (usually shrewdly) calculated rate of gain. Government officials in particular are experts at deciding which phone calls to return and which to ignore.
A name in the paper, a theory floated, a pet project boosted, a rival quietly gored, a scrap of gossip, even a fistful of clippings from the newspaper’s “morgue” (of greatly diminished value now that the files have long since become digital databases!) — these are some of the favors that newspaper reporters are free to dispense, or attempt to dispense, as they go about their business.
The anti-Palin reaction is not the first time we've seen journalists fall victim to rage fueled by impotence. I discussed an attack on the Powerline guys back in 2004:
All of this helps to explain the vicious columns Jim Boyd of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. wrote in response to the op-ed piece by the guys at Powerline.
From Boyd's perspective, it is bad enough that blogging barbarians compete against him in "explanation space." Once, bloggers were easy to dismiss because their readership is small. The situation became worse when the collective weight of blogger opinion and reporting forced the MSM to cover the questions about Kerry, Cambodia, and his war record. That was a sign that his side was losing its ability to determine what was newsworthy.
Hindrocket and The Big Trunk went further. Their op-ed column usurped the journalist's 'rightful role" and appeared on the pages of Boyd's own paper. The barbarians had breached the walls and were roaming free inside the city. Boyd reacted like an Edwardian butler who discovered a group of Welsh miners gathered in the grand dining hall. It is not what they did; it is that they were there at all.