Sarah Palin told Matt Lauer of NBC's Today Show this morning that the "lamestream" media — presumably NBC et al. — had a bias against conservative candidates.
Then after that putdown, Lauer thanked Palin for joining him and said, "I want to mention that you are going to stick around, which technically makes you part of the lamestream media for that hour."
Palin was touted as a co-host for the second hour of today's program, but she was also there to promote her book.
'Doing Her Homework'
She opened her segment on the Today show couch, covered in a pile of newspapers.
"I see she's doing her homework," said Lauer.
The joke is a reference to Palin's infamous interview with then CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric, who asked the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and former governor of Alaska what newspapers she regularly read. Palin could not name one.
Palin's appearance on Today has her battling Couric for ratings, who is co-anchoring rival network ABC's Good Morning America this week.
The Today show has been the most-viewed morning show for 16 years, but Good Morning America is rapidly closing the gap. Recent Nielsen ratings show that Good Morning America is behind by 140,000 viewers.
Today Show 'Feeling The Hot Breath' of Good Morning America
Couric hosted the Today show for 15 years, until her departure in 2006 to CBS. She is set to launch a daytime talk show with ABC this fall, but her return to morning television this week appears to have NBC worried.
When Palin called in to the show on Monday, she told Lauer and the other Today show hosts that she appreciates "NBC’s boldness in having me on, and, you know, doesn’t it kind of reflect the diversity of opinion that I hear that you all espouse?” Wherein Meredith Vieira replied, “Or desperation.”
Mark Jurkowitz , associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, says that Sarah Palin's appearance is "nothing other than morning television hype wars" because longtime ratings leader "The Today Show is feeling the hot breath of GMA" in terms of viewership.
Co-Host Or Guest?
But is Palin a co-host or a guest?
"Sarah Palin was not in any way, shape or form a guest host," Jurkowitz said.
Jurkowitz points out that Palin participated in some segments, but didn't do any interviews or really ask any questions.
"She was a part of the on-going conversation on a range of topics, that barely touched on anything that involved politics or news," he says.
And the blogosphere agrees. The Guardian writes during a live-blog of the show:
7.54 am: Palin hasn't really done any hosting yet. We've had her larking around with some newspapers, blustering through an interview with Matt Lauer, and shown writing something on the palm of her hand backstage, but there's been a distinct lack of any actual hosting.
Sarah Palin as Today Show co-host? Ha ha. Good one, NBC. You had me fooled and apparently you had everyone else fooled too. Palin was not even remotely a co- host or even guest host over two hours - arguably she did brush up against the role for a minute when she stood next to Tori Spelling - but she was a guest.
Morning shows have become a hybrid of news and entertainment over the years. Jurkowitz says the only reason Palin is able to get away with saying something like "I don't like the 'lamestream media,'" is that "there is nothing close to anything resembling normal news coverage during the hour she was on."
He adds that NBC could have made better use of Palin's appearance on the show. If she had been a guest instead of a co-host, there could have been "a very interesting discussion on some of the issues that she is closely associated with."
"Let's face it, she's one of the most polarizing politicians in America today," said Jurkowitz. "You would have had more juice, frankly, if you had interviewed her and raised some of these issues."
- Mark Jurkowitz , associate director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism
This segment aired on April 3, 2012.