I empathize with Sarah Palin regarding the endless cultural destruction campaign on her character and personality which-- don't kid yourself on this-- is a sophisticated destruction of American democracy.
On a vastly, vastly smaller scale, this is what happened to myself and the Underground Literary Alliance. A distorted image of the target was created, one with just enough of a tangential connection to reality to make it believable. I was portrayed as a semi-rational megalomaniacal dictator to enough extent that as I tried to keep the team moving, some members believed the portrayal. By the ULA's end, major ULA figures believed I was the campaign's major problem. When I finally had enough and stopped pulling the wagon, the campaign stopped moving. I'm sure those ULAers who bought the portrayal are still standing with mouth agape, wondering, unknowingly, what happened to the ULA.
The ULA itself was characterized by established lit's hatchetmen as "terrorists" and Stalinists. Also, a favorite trick was used, one I've seen used again and again in different places and situations. That's to turn the marginalized voice into a threat able to marginalize the dominant mindset. The ultimate absurdity for us was The Believer's false 2003 claim that we wanted to-- or ever could-- shut out a writer like Jeffrey Eugenides. In 2007 this was still being thrown up to me, such as in a radio interview with a local PBS station. It's as if, once it was printed in The Believer, it became reality.
What was the truth? Does anyone care about the truth? The truth is that Jeffrey Eugenides continues to be published and win Pulitzer Prizes, while ULA writers are blackballed, nonpersons for eternity.
Of course I waste my time just typing this. It does no good to correct the false narrative if you don't control the culture or media. As with Sarah Palin, the narrative has become the reality. Truth shredded. Our establishment doesn't need Putin-like strong arm tactics. So primitive! Our subtle authoritarian anti-democrats are exponentially more sophisticated. There's also no Masha Gessens anyplace to investigate, to examine credibly such things as a Harvard versus Harvard presidential election choice-- for that would be to investigate themselves, those who are consciously or subconsciously doing the selecting and the distorting.
Or, to make counterarguments, to bring up facts afterward doesn't matter. The victimizers never apologize.
(p.s. And Julianne Moore, please stop the endless rationalizing. You've participated in a nasty smear project. In doing so you've besmirched yourself as much as Sarah Palin.)