TV review: ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ shows her as fun, nothing more

By Andrew Shepherd

Sunday night was the premiere of the new show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” on TLC. Designed to show the life of Sarah Palin as she takes care of her kids, travels around the state and prepares for appearances on Fox News, it’s been described as the world’s longest campaign ad.

Palin is shown as an avid adventurer, going salmon fishing next to grizzly bears and hiking glaciers in Denali National Park. She’s a strict, loving parent, taking care of her mentally disabled son, Trig, and preventing her 16-year-old daughter Willow from taking boys upstairs. This show seems like the perfect opportunity for Palin to craft an image ahead of another run for national office, but is it really? And will it work?

“Sarah Palin’s Alaska” isn’t supposed to be about politics, so you won’t hear her saying much about policy. Instead, she talks about how beautiful her home state is and what life is like in such a remote area. One of the main things that makes her so appealing to many Americans is her image that she is one of them: a blue-collar mom with no interest in Washington power politics.

However, her television show portrays her as quite different from the majority of Americans. For example, how many Americans live on a lake with a private dock and take a seaplane everywhere? How many Americans have the time to go adventuring as often as she does? How many Americans have a television studio in their home? How can she understand the struggles of everyday Americans from such an isolated location?

Of course, hardly any politician can be described as an “average American,” but nobody claims to be one more than Palin does. Does it really matter if she’s average? No, but the fact is that if she decides to run for office, many people will vote for her because they perceive her to be one of them.

To be completely honest, Palin seems like a lot of fun, somebody who knows a good time and would act as a good guide to her home state. However, this show only reinforces the belief that she is not fit to hold national office. She’s a good mom who spends a lot of time with her kids, cooking with her daughter Piper and going shooting with Bristol. Does she really want to lose all that time dealing with the stresses of the White House? Of course, Barack Obama has two young daughters, and Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and John F. Kennedy all had young kids while in office.

Is there a double standard? Maybe, but none of their kids had special needs like Palin’s infant son does, nor did they live the sheltered, rural lives that the Palin kids do. Being a mom definitely shouldn’t be held against her, but based on how they’re portrayed in the show, she and her kids would absolutely hate life in Washington, D.C.

Palin is very good at delivering a message and stating populist slogans. She’s made a good amount of money being a contributor for Fox News and will make even more with her new TV show. She’s not stupid like she is often described, but it remains to be seen how much she actually knows about policy and how the federal government works. She loves her life in Alaska. In the show’s trailer, she says she’d rather be there than in “some stuffy political office.” By all means, Sarah, stay. Please.

Read more here: http://wildcat.arizona.edu/perspectives/sarah-palin-s-alaska-shows-her-as-fun-nothing-more-1.1778424
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