Any remaining doubts that Sarah Palin is the most media savvy politician out there should have been erased entirely with last week’s premiere of her new TLC show Sarah Palin’s Alaska (SPAlaska!). Back in March when rumours that Palin and producer Mark Burnett were shopping a reality show first surfaced speculation that the proposed series would be about Palin’s family were quickly shot down. Two weeks ago during a spashy premiere party for the show, hosted by Discovery, the savvy team promoting the show insisted to attendees it would not be political. Of course, within minutes of last week’s premiere, in which (blurred out) write Joe McGinniss — who has rented out the house next door to the Palin’s in order to research his new book — featured prominently, both claims were quickly proven untrue. The show is nothing if not an extended political commericial for (decisive! adventurous!) Sarah Palin, starring her family members, each of whom get their own shout-out in the opening credits.
Conclusion? Essentially Palin has convinced TLC to pay her six figures every week to convince the country she is presidential material (making Mark Burnett her Karl Rove?). Or, at the very least, she possesses the kind of decisive backbone required to stun a Halibut with a billy club (part of last night’s mother/daughter day with Bristol) and by extension her political opponents.
The result is apparently enough to convince Frank Rich that she has a shot at being President.
Thanks to the in-kind contribution of this “nonpolitical” series, Palin needn’t join standard-issue rivals like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty in groveling before donors and primary-state operatives to dutifully check all the boxes of a traditional Republican campaign. Palin not only has TLC in her camp but, better still, Murdoch. Other potential 2012 candidates are also on the Fox News payroll, but Palin is the only one, as Alessandra Stanley wrote in The Times, whose every appearance is “announced with the kind of advance teasing and clip montages that talk shows use to introduce major movie stars.”
George Will is, not surprisingly, less than convinced. On This Week yesterday (video below) he declared all this reality TV is going to lead Palin anywhere but the White House: “After the 2008 campaign she had two things she had to do: she had to go home to Alaska and study, and she had to govern Alaska well..Instead she quit halfway through her first term and shows up in the audience of ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and other distinctly non-presidential venues.”
One might argue that national politics has turned into its own reality show these past two years and Palin is merely one step ahead of the game, meanwhile, as we wait to see whether Palin is, in fact, shopping for office space in Iowa at the moment we can probably expect to see more than a few 2012 hopefuls posing for gratuitous halibut shots in the next little while. ABC clip below.
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