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Friday, December 10, 2010

What are the motives behind Sarah Palin's new TV show?

Have you been watching Sarah Palin's Alaska series on TLC Sunday evenings? If you haven't, there is so much you have missed! Regardless where your view on Palin lies, this candid glimpse into their lives is quite entertaining and the scenery of Alaska is absolutely breathtaking. (Makes me really want to go back and visit!)

Even before the show started, I began wondering, "Why on earth would Sarah agree to star on reality TV, especially after the media completely tore her apart during the vice-presidential campaign?" There had to be a reason. Of course, this only crossed my mind because I believe that every politically savvy individual has some ulterior motive for putting themselves in the spotlight. Although it is pure speculation, I have developed four possible motives behind what I believe the former governor hopes to accomplish through this show.

1. Increase the Alaska tourism industry.
When the average person thinks of Alaska, they generally conjure up images such as, snow, snow-shoeing, dog-sledding, and freezing cold weather! But the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) endeavors to position the state as a year-round destination, rather than a winter-only one. The Palin's TV series was filmed during the Alaskan summer and each episode is based on the family's outdoor summer activities. So are the Palin's trying to encourage tourism during the warmer seasons? Maybe, maybe not.

Another advertising strategy of the ATIA is to create a recognizable brandy identity. If you think of Sarah Palin, Alaska is probably one of the first items that comes to mind. What could be a more important brandy identity than an extremely recognizable political figure?

2. Expose the media lies surrounding herself and her family.
Sarah Palin's life is literally an open book. Her authenticity and genuine concern for America causes citizens to automatically gravitate toward her easy going personality. Although her first book, Going Rogue, mostly focuses on the truth behind the campaign, Sarah Palin's Alaska reveals the truth about her home and family life. The media can not stand at how "normal" she is, so they desperately try to showcase her as a freak. This show would admonish you to think differently and separate the truth from fiction.

3. Use money from the TV series to pay off debts from ethics fines and lawsuits.
After the vice-presidential campaign, Palin-haters and other troublemakers filed multitudes of FOIA paperwork against the governor. And it was for really stupid "issues". What was free to file for Alaskan residents, was costing hundreds of dollars for Sarah Palin. (Not to mention a complete waste of her time!) If Sarah were to fight these charges in court, she would incur a magnitude of legal fees, especially since she had to pay personally for her own defense. So, she picked and chose the ones that were worth fighting for and paid the silly ethics fine on those that weren't. In the meantime, attorney bills kept piling up. It makes sense for Sarah to pay down her debts by starring in her own show, but is that the real reason why she did it? [1]

4. Strategically place herself back into the minds and hearts of Americans for a 2012 run.
Seriously, what better way could Sarah Palin market herself for the Presidential campaign than to participate in her own reality show? Like I mentioned earlier, Sarah Palin is very personable and easy to relate to, even when putting aside your own political differences. Do I think she can win? The answer to that question may end up in a post of its own. :) But either way, she is getting paid to run an hour-long commercial about herself and her family which is a much sweeter deal than running million dollar 30-second ad spots.

Which motive am I more inclined to believe? I think all four have a semblance of truth as to why Sarah Palin agreed to participate in the show. But if I had to pick and choose, I would tend toward the presidential one. It just makes sense.

Any way you analyze it, the show has been extremely successful, so much so that even the The Huffington Post had to admit the facts. Sarah Palin's Alaska pulled in 5 million viewers the night the show debuted, becoming the largest new program launch in TLC history. Make sure you check it out - the series is half over, but you still have time to watch a few episodes. I think you will be captivated by their way of life and encouraged by their hard work ethic.
[1] Palin, Sarah. Going Rogue: An American Life. New York: Harper Collins, 2009


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