The XX Factor

No News Story Complete Without Lady Gaga and/or Sarah Palin

In 2010, it sometimes has seemed as if every news story was about either of our two collective fascinations, Sarah Palin or Lady Gaga. The pop singer even had a bit part in the WikiLeaks scandal (the private who leaked the information supposedly pretended he was listening to her CD, but was in fact transferring the secret data onto it). And now Palin’s also part of the WikiLeaks story: She  e-mailed ABC News to claim that Julian Assange-defending “hacktivists”  tried to shut down her PAC’s Web site, and disrupted her personal credit card accounts, in retaliation for her remarks about Assange. (She compared him to al-Qaeda and said that “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.”) Palin apparently believes she’s alone in speaking out against Assange, telling ABC that it’s “No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange’s antics. This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.” Plenty of other people, of course, have spoken out against Assange, though they have perhaps tried to parse their words a bit more carefully. That’s what really fascinates me about this episode: It’s so typical of Palin’s approach. She’s managed to cast-and promote-herself as at once both hero and victim, as she did after the 2008 campaign, after every bad interview she’s given, in her dealings with Levi Johnson and Joe McGinnis and even the teenage boy sniffing around Willow on her reality show. And, of course, there’s the way that she was eager to let the lamestream media know that she was now actively involved in the biggest story of the year.