I’ve heard mothers talk about a phenomenon that occurs in hospitals around childbirth time during which they lose all shame. The discomfort and/or pain of childbirth takes precedence over any personal humiliation they might otherwise have felt. It’s as if nothing that needs to be done to them can cause any embarrassment as long as what’s done will result in the delivery of the child.
It may seem an odd connection, but the media’s excitement over Sarah Palin’s emails appears to me to be another form of that phenomenon. In fact, their ongoing preoccupation with a former governor of a lightly-populated state who ran unsuccessfully for vice-president demonstrates that nothing they do or say can cause any embarrassment as long as it results in helping to keep them from going out of business.
It was the McCain campaign that selected Palin, but it was the media that created and promulgated the storm that surrounded her; it’s the media that has helped sustain the storm with its non-stop, breathless, misogynistic coverage; and it’s the media that has discovered that it needs Sarah Palin even more than she needs them. While early coverage was almost surely driven by a political agenda, the continuing coverage is driven more by the hunger for survival. There are a lot of other national and world issues that need to be covered with the same thoroughness, but when subscriptions are drying up and viewership is plummeting, shame disappears.