From NBC's Mark Whitaker
Sarah Palin hardly needs defending. She prides herself on being a supportive hockey mom, but she can lace on skates and deliver hard checks into the glass with the best of them. Still, while watching and listening to a lot of the media discussion of the rollout of her book, I can't help noting that some of the coverage is more than a little selective, and hypocritical.
Still, the widespread suggestion in some of the media commentary that she simply isn't qualified enough to be considered a viable presidential candidate is ridiculous.
For male politicians, it's always been a rule of thumb in politics and the media that once you were on a presidential ticket, you were automatically elevated onto the short list of contenders for future races. If George H.W. Bush had lost in 1988, does anyone think Dan Quayle would not have been talked about as a potential candidate for 1992, even with all the political flaws he revealed in that race? Would the media have taken John Edwards as seriously in 2008 if he hadn't been John Kerry's running mate in 2004?
Call it sexism or what you will, but why should the media only compare ambitious women to impressive men, when so many ambitious but underwhelming men get so far in this world? Is she qualified to be President? If she decides to run, that's a judgment for voters to make, not us in the media.
Mark Whitaker is NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief.