Palin makes paparazzi of us

    There have been a few times I’ve wished I could collude with other reporters in ignoring a meaningless media event staged by a politician. Such is the case with Sarah Palin’s “now you see me, now you don’t” bus tour.

    One of the best things I’ve seen written about the journey so far was by veteran Pennsylvania political writer Pete DeCoursey, who noted that among those who had to figure out where in the Gettysburg area Palin might appear Monday was Walt Tuchalski, county chairman of the Republican party.

    DeCoursey reports in the online service Capitolwire that the party leader introduced himself to Palin and “told her he spent the last four days unable to tell people where she was going. He sounded, and later said he was, frustrated.”

    DeCoursey recounted seeing Palin mom-flirt with the children of consultant Jeff Coleman, then offered this:

    At the battlefield here Sunday and Monday, I met dozens of people who wanted to find her and were disappointed they could not. I would bet there were hundreds I did not meet.

    Why? Because there is a line between politicians and celebrities in the eyes of most people.

    We expect to be able to find politicians and expect them to talk to us. At most we hope to glimpse a celebrity. Politicians are supposed to be available to us. Celebrities are not.

    Politicians tell you where they are going. Celebrities get stalked by paparazzi and try to duck them.

    Politicians want to be heard. Celebrities want to be seen.

    Politicians want to talk. Celebrities want to be talked about.”

    Greta Van Susteren of Fox News managed to get an interview with Palin on her bus. Palin had this to say about her disinterest in publicizing a schedule, and the media’s frustrations with trying to track her tour.

    “I want them to have to do a little bit of work on a tour like this, and that would include not necessarily telling them beforehand where every stop’s going to be,” Palin explained. “We’ll do a stop, we’ll do a lot of OTR’s, off-the-records. We’ll meet a lot of great Americans, and I’ll write about that at the end of the day…and the media can figure out where we’re going, if they do their investigative work.”

    I saw the video posted by Michael Shear of the New York Times blog, The Caucus. See our Jen Howard’s account of Palin’s Independence Mall stop here.

    But again, I wish reporters would agree to let Palin travel in peace and do her off-the-records with her fans and supporters. When she’s ready to actually talk to reporters, I’m sure she’ll let us know.

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