Anyone who has a career has found himself or herself in a position where they did something that was a nice line on a resume but really didn’t amount to much if you looked at it. Such was Sarah Palin’s high-touted-on-Fox News (Palin gave Fox sole access — a continuing part of the narrative where she controls her message and coverage by limiting herself mostly to Fox, Facebook, Twitter, her Alaska reality cable show, and scripted speeches and keeps news media that can be adversarial at bay) trip to Haiti. Time says it was was so short locals didn’t even notice it.
But she did get lots of publicity. She was able to use the setting to call for more supplies. It came at a time when Haiti is battling a massive cholera outbreak. She also was the center of a truly silly controversy that totally deflated on examination about getting her hair done. If she runs for President expect to see clips of a compassionate Sarah visiting the suffering people of Haiti, and calling for more supplies, even if the trip was faster than an apology coming from a Republican who criticized Rush Limbaugh (expect those clips in ads rather than ones of her killing an animal on her reality show). But fast or not political or not there is an indisputable positive: any world attention and supplies Haiti gets is a huge help to its people.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.