Professor Jacobson argues that Sarah Palin's appearance on The Tonight Show marks a turning point for her and in how the media covers her. I agree:
"Usually, late night references to Palin are of the demeaning variety, most notably David Letterman's near continuous anti-Palin jihad and the Saturday Night Live Tina Fay skits mocking Palin. When Palin appeared on SNL during the campaign, the appearance was damage control, at best.
Palin's appearance on Conan's show was very, very different on a variety of levels. Most obviously, Palin was presented in a sympathetic, humorous manner, and allowed to present a side of her personality most media viewers never see. Palin was part of the show, not the target of the show.
Palin . . . established her popularity independent of, and despite, the entertainment media. When it comes to Palin, the entertainment media is following not leading. We have reached the point where the mainstream entertainment media needs Palin more than Palin needs the media."
Indeed. Palin displayed grace, warmth, a great sense of humor and obvious preparation - something that her detractors are having a difficult time coming to terms with now, after having done their best to portray her negatively for so long - and note that these are the very same qualities they themselves lack. If Palin's approval numbers keep moving steadily upward, this appearance may well have marked a turning point, as Professor Jacobson has so correctly observed.