I like Jules Crittenden's take:
Mocking pols is not only a fine American journalistic tradition, it’s an important part of our nation’s political discourse. My own newspaper put an Elmer Fudd hat on Mitt Romney when he claimed to be a hunter, a party hat on Deval Patrick for living large, had steam coming out of Boston Mayor Tom Menino’s ears, and periodically culls the photo archives for pol shots that will illustrate the tone of the story. Hillary looking like she’s about to claw your eyeballs out and the other where she looks like she just sat on a whoopie cushion are perennial favorites. My newspaper has a Bozo lookalike on the front page today to represent teachers unions that are … behaving like Bozos. But political mockery has become a (selective) minefield largely thanks to the kind of people who are now unexpectedly leaping to Palin’s defense.
There’s a saying in my business. Tabloid journalism is like rough sex. You need to know when to hold back. There’s always a risk of a little good clean fun going badly wrong, though Newsweek may have been caught off guard by the friendly fire in this case.
In this case, Newsweek is trying to make Palin look like a vapid, chirpy cheerleader. Did anyone think Newsweek was playing down the middle in this fight in the first place? I’d put this in the category of “they spelled her name right.” She looks great. They might think they look clever. But Newsweek might want to rent “Legally Blonde” for a simple, easy-to-understand allegory on the dangers of underestimating perky. Also, look up all the B-movie cowboy hits on Reagan. Apparently a lot of lefty feminists just woke up to the fact that Sarah Palin has been unfairly disparaged. Nothing new about that. A whole lot of other professional women and moms out there, if they didn’t know it already, will be able to do the math pretty quickly when they see it on the newsstands. Keep it up, Newsweek. You might even get her elected.