First off, and pace the McCain campaign, it most certainly was not "gotcha journalism." Couric asked broad, reasonable questions, and when Palin dodged them (which was often), gently restated them once or twice before letting the matter drop.
That said, we are disappointed by the heavy editing. What we saw was basically a series of jagged clips -- some on a plane, some in a hallway, etc. -- which leaves open the question of whether what was omitted would have been flattering or unflattering to the candidate. Sort of like The Colbert Report, except that (a) we all know those are edited to be unflattering to both parties, and (b) it's fake news anyway. We realize that Gov. Palin is a busy woman right now, and may not have time to sit down, face to face, and talk at leisure, and we realize that Couric is thrilled to have scored such a rare interview. But we can't help thinking that both women, as well as viewers, would have been better served by longer portions, shown without editing so that we could better evaluate both the reporter's fairness and the candidate's answers.
Now as to those evasions, we noticed a pattern worth mentioning. When asked about various hot-button issues, Palin would consistently (a) work hard to avoid answering, and when pressed would (b) offer a strange demurral to distance herself from the answer she did give (e.g., "I'm not speaking for the McCain/Palin campaign here," which makes leaves us wondering who does), and finally (c) offer a half-way answer, which sounds reasonable but leaves open a less reasonable alternative.
Watch, for example, the section in which she is asked about abortion. She (a) says, clearly, that she is pro-life, which is a philosophical position admitting several varied policy positions. But when pushed, she (b) starts talking not about laws or public policies, but about personal advice she might give a friend facing an unwanted pregnancy. Well, sure, Couric says in effect; but what about the law? At which point, Gov. Palin says, "If you're asking whether I think somebody should go to jail because she has had an abortion, the answer is no." Refreshing, yes? But Couric fails to ask the follow-up question, something like, "Actually, Governor, I was asking whether you believe that doctors and nurses who perform abortions should go to jail."
She does something similar with evolution: "It's an accepted scientific principle ... [and] science should be taught in science class." Sounds promising, but we can't help thinking she may have left something out here.
But all this said and done, we have to admit that in one place Gov. Palin does give a straight answer and it is stunning. Couric asks what newspapers and magazines she reads, and her first answer is "most of them," which -- given the number of newspapers and magazines -- is an impressive claim. But it gets better. Couric asks her to be specific, to name one of the newspapers or magazines. Palin doesn't, which those mean-spirited liberal thugs at HuffPo see as a hint that she doesn't in fact read anything. But they have missed the point of her actual response:
"Um, all of them."
That's right, people: Gov. Palin reads all the newspapers and magazines. This impresses the hell out of us at the Egg, who are hard pressed to the side panel on a cereal box these days. Now we wish we were governors. For example, we really, really like the Chicago Tribune, by the way, but our newsstand doesn't carry it; governors can probably get their papers flown in by plane. That's surely how she gets the New Orleans Times-Picayune, which has easily got the best name of any American paper (rivalled internationally only by Le Canard Enchaine, which we would also read if we had either the time or the paper). Magazines? Well, we're two years behind on both National Geographic and the Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, not to mention Vigiliae Christianae and the old Zeitschrift fur Theologie und Kirche.
So, yeah, we're impressed. Apparently glasses, even the stylish little ones, really do make you smarter.