The PaRlance of Palin

      16 Comments on The PaRlance of Palin

Palin and TrumpThere’s no question that effective use of language is the foundation of good journalism and storytelling. Thousands of colleges and universities around the world teach future journalists the craft of the written and spoken word.

So it’s often painful to see a reporter struggle with syntax, mispronounce words or lose their place while reading. It’s even more disconcerting when a major public figure struggles to articulate the simplest thoughts–especially when that public figure has run for national office, is a former reporter, and holds a journalism degree.

Sarah Palin worked as a TV sportscaster, albeit for a little less than two years, in Anchorage, Alaska. She recently worked as a commentator for Fox News. She was a one-time Alaska governor and ran for vice president of the United States in 2008. Palin also earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism (incidentally, attending five different colleges before graduating).

Tina Fey made comedy history with her spot-on Saturday Night Live impressions of Palin, who has famously and often mangled the language. But little can top the speech Palin gave last week to endorse Donald Trump’s candidacy for president: “How about the rest of us? Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution,” she protested to the crowd. “Well, and then, funny, ha ha, not funny, but now, what they’re doing is wailing, ‘Well, Trump and his Trumpeters, they’re not conservative enough,’” she noted, and continued by criticizing President Obama with, “And he, who would negotiate deals, kind of with the skills of a community organizer maybe organizing a neighborhood tea, well, he deciding that, ‘No, America would apologize as part of the deal,’ as the enemy sends a message to the rest of the world that they capture and we kowtow, and we apologize, and then, we bend over and say, ‘Thank you, enemy.’”


Palin’s parlance is almost beyond belief. How a major public figure with a journalism background and degree can communicate so awfully is mystifying. Tina Fey, of course, ran immediately back to SNL last night; Palin already wrote the script. Your thoughts?


16 thoughts on “The PaRlance of Palin

  1. Lysa Carre

    I think Sarah Palin is very good at being a total embarrassment of herself. Therefore, any Republican Presidential Candidate will make themselves look poorly by even associating themselves with Sarah Palin. I hope it wasn’t Donald Trump’s P.R manager who encouraged Palin to endorse Trump. If it was, then I would highly recommend for Trump to get new P.R management because that was an epic-fail! Sarah Palin’s poor political image that is not well-respected or admired will therefore only bring Trump’s campaign down further than it currently is. Communication is fundamentally crucial, especially in fields such as politics for instance, which has tremendous influence on public perspective. Palin’s terrible speeches, punch lines, and comments along with Trump’s non existent filter will just be a circus among the media and newspapers.

  2. Lauren A.

    The fact that Trump used Sarah Palin as a supporter of him is a poor campaign decision on his part. Though she does have background in politics, America views her as a joke because of her language. It is extremely important to have proper rhetoric and grammar while speaking to an audience about something as important as the presidential debates.

  3. Brianna Vallelong

    My first reaction to this blog post was one in which I struggled to understand why Trump, who despite his interesting tactics to gain supporters is still ahead in the polls, would use Palin to further his campaign. I was aware of Palin’s past experience as a sportscaster but was unaware of her Journalism degree being a result of attending 5 different colleges. I am baffled by her inability to speak publicly and express her opinions on matters that seem to mean so much to her. I could not get through the quoted moments in this blog post with a full, or even slight, understanding of Palin’s intended message. Being in a field where it is stressed that language and wording are highly important in effectively conveying a message, Palin should be embarrassed.

  4. Shawna Gregson

    I believe that as a whole Trump’s campaign could be summed up as a complete joke. The things he says and stands for are so outlandish and crude that I sometimes wonder to myself if this isn’t all one big elaborate joke that has gone on too long. If my theory is correct, than Sarah Palin would be the perfect candidate to support Donald Trump. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they can’t even put together a cohesive thought. Sarah Palin I feel also plays into the persona that she was granted as somewhat of a political bimbo. That’s who the media painted her out to be and I think that she somewhat plays into that image because it’s the only one that can keep her relevant.

  5. katericciardi

    After seeing Palin speak in the 2008 presidential race, I feel that she is not the best public speaker. In a class that studied political rhetoric and performance, we discussed that Palin often times would stray from a prepared script and say what she felt was right. Which in most instances, could be seen as the wrong thing. What comes to mind is her infamous interview with Katie Couric and the impressions that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler did to mock that. I am surprised to learn that Palin has a degree in journalism. Trump using her to endorse his campaign is a move that most definitely benefits Palin because her name is back out there and is once again relevant since the 2008 election. On the other hand, I feel that because she has struggled in the past, it may hurt Trump. I think that her lack of communication skills has the potential to do more harm than good if Trump continues to use her.

  6. pollakvictoria

    It’s almost baffling to know that Palin was chosen to endorse Trump. Her track record hasn’t been the most pristine, especially after losing the election for vice president. Some might think it was her nerves of public speaking for this event that resulted in her lack of proper word choice and phrasing. I disagree because of her experience in politics, being a sportscaster and having a journalism degree. I think it was really just a reflection of her personality and what she truly thought about all of this. Her words looked forced, insincere and recited. Especially in her introduction of the speech, she looked like she was scrambling to get any words out that made sense and that had a positive connotation to American citizens. It seemed phony. Trump should think twice about who endorses him.

  7. Jillian Berardi

    Honestly, I have always struggled to understand Sarah Palin. I tried to chalk it up to a thick Alaskan accent but as time went on and transcripts were released, I came to the conclusion that I genuinely have no clue what she is trying to say. Does she even know what she is trying to say? I was very surprised to learn that she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and worked as a TV sportscaster. This is a profession where your words and your ability to convey those words clearly are extremely important. I understand nerves may play a role but how can you hold a position in public office if you can’t successfully get through a speech?

  8. Lauren Conway

    It is definitely normal to feel nervous in front of cameras, and with all that pressure I do understand why someone may make small mistakes. In this case, it has happened more than once and I feel that someone with such a prestigious background should know better. Sarah Palin not only embarrasses herself, but she also makes the audience feel as if she doesn’t care what she is talking about. Errors like these make the audience lose trust and interest in the speaker. Just as you stated in class, even misspelling someones name can lose you a job or opportunity. Sarah Palin proves this point with her lack of communication skills. Just as someone can lose a job or opportunity from making these types of errors, Sarah Palin is losing Americas respect.

  9. Tyler Weatherly

    As an individual with a degree in journalism, one would think that syntax and grammar would be quite important to Palin, especially in the eyes of the public. Considering Palin has run for Vice President in the past and lost, I cannot help but to think that nervousness was inevitable when presenting herself to the public once more. Her butchered English seems to negate whatever reason Trump chose her to publicly support his candidacy. It almost feels as though her word choice seemed thoughtless and forced, as if she did not believe what she was saying nor care about what she was saying enough to articulate her thoughts.

  10. syanok

    I feel that Palin is not as bad at public speaking as she lets on, and that this is part of the political persona she has created for herself. As you said earlier it is mystifying that an individual with a journalism degree and even some broadcasting experience communicates in such an ineffective manner. Again, I am hoping this is intentional on her part and perhaps a tactic to appeal to her supporters? I am unsure. In terms of comedy, she has created a great platform for Tina Fey to show her talents.

  11. A. Murphy

    At this point in Palin’s career, public speaking should be no biggie. I am not sure why she was even up there or why Palin or Trump saw it necessary to have her publically support his presidency when she has fallen off the radar for most.
    Putting aside the poor language and ‘interesting’ word choice, maybe her inability to speak properly, even for her, is more a sign of the lack of dedication and engagement she has to what she is saying. Maybe on some level, she is stumbling through it because she doesn’t believe in what she is saying but believes that giving the speech will somehow help her in the long run.
    That might be a little too psychoanalytical but I believe that our dedication to the message we are putting out there reflects in how well we communicate that message.
    Overall, I would have expected more from presidential candidates as a whole (it was Trump’s final decision to put Palin on the stage) and strongly believe that the way presidential campaigns are conducted needs to be drastically changed.

  12. Tiffany Vellis

    I understand the nervousness that comes with a camera or microphone in your face as much as the next person, but as you alluded, for a person with her background, who’s been a public figure on multiple platforms, to struggle with basic language is unprofessional and frankly, embarrassing. With the immense number of times I’ve watched SNL simply reenact some ridiculous comment or speech that Sarah Palin has made, I find it hard to recall a time when she was a legitimate political contender.

  13. Emily Racanelli

    In any field that involves extensive writing or speaking in front of large crowds, syntax and grammar are paramount entities. They are arguably the two most important factors that will determine the way the general public perceives what you are communicating. For some, trouble comes when using an extensive vocabulary. Throw in the fancy words “plethora” or “exultant” and suddenly people are left struggling to determine a meaning instead of fully grasping the speech/article. While large words can be detrimental, it is safe to say that an extremely simplified jargon full of stutters and repeats might be even more dangerous.
    As the blog post reveals, Sarah Palin falls victim to this issue constantly, speaking as if she has had limited schooling and extreme nerves in front of people. I had absolutely no idea Palin has a journalism degree and used to be a TV sportscaster. It completely baffles me that she is even allowed to grace television screens with her kind of unprofessionalism.
    Of course, even those who act with utmost tact and poise are bound to slip up on a sentence or make a typo. However, when one becomes so well known for botched phrases that they become a regular on SNL, there is cause for concern. It leaves me wondering what kind of precedent this is setting for future journalists who see a woman on TV unable to pair words together.

  14. Danielle Tana

    Any person who is required to speak in front of hundreds of people would most likely feel nervous and under intense pressure, therefore perhaps affecting not only the way he or she speaks, but also affecting his or her thought process. Yet, Sarah Palin most definitely isn’t just “any person”. As you said, Palin is a former reporter and holds a journalism degree. Sorry Palin: no excuses here! Witnessing such awful communication skills makes me question why she was even running for VP of our country in the first place. At least Tina Fey can make a career out of Sarah Palin’s unfortunate parlance.

  15. Emily Hassett

    I definitely agree with the fact that it is very uncomfortable watching public figures struggle while speaking when it comes to mispronouncing, or as you said, losing their place while reading. I was unaware that Sarah Palin had a degree in journalism until I read this post, which was very eye-catching based on the fact that it seems she does not know how to speak publicly very well, which is one of the most important factors of being a broadcast journalist. I find it especially interesting that Sarah Palin also had the opportunity of high power in our country, which requires even more so than some journalists to be great at public speaking. It seems that Sarah Palin continues to worsen her image the more public she makes herself. In the end, it seems that the spotlight might not be the best place for her to be.

  16. Kristina Weller

    It is definitely interesting to see Trump use Palin in what he thought would help progress his political campaign. Ultimately, it is discouraging to see someone who was so close to holding the position of Vice President of the United States be so poor at properly using the English language. This is a direct example of how the spoken word can immediately alter peoples’ opinions, as well as their decision making in a discouraging fashion — especially during a political campaign.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.