The Softer Side of Sarah

Sarah Palin last week was the leather-jacket wearing, polarizing figure who, after the passage of healthcare reform, Tweeted, “Don’t Retreat, Instead — RELOAD!”

This week, it’s “Real American Stories with Sarah Palin,” her first effort to go the “hope-ey change-ey” route in her TV persona.

The Fox News special was full of uplifting stories — some interesting; some too long — with Palin making sure to say, maybe a half dozen times, that these were stories of “inspiration.” It was as if she had to remind the viewer that, despite the Fox News logo and a ticker crawl of the latest alarming news items, this was something completely different. 

Palin had slight periods of awkwardness in her delivery, but otherwise she was fine. The only jarring thing was that she wasn’t the attack dog she’s been on the trail. (There was a pooch in the special, but it was a service animal that has helped a young boy with cerebral palsy walk).

Save for a brief mention of the power of the private sector to step up and volunteer, in a story about billionaire George Weiss helping at-risk youth, there was not a tinge of partisanship found in so much of the rest of the Fox schedule. It was as if, for one brief shining moment, the nation wasn’t under siege and the network had adopted the Pax business model.

You may have forgotten about Pax, as you may have forgotten about countless other efforts through the years to present newscasts with just “the good news.” The problem all along has been getting and holding an audience, so we’ll see if Palin can draw them in and keep them there. I have my doubts. Oprah can do uplift, few others can. But for Palin, a persona who inspires passions but high negatives, success or failure isn’t as important as the fact that she’s seen in a softer light.

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