Columnists award Palin dubious honor

Sitting Duck Award goes to 'the most ridiculed newsmakers in America'

Posted: Thursday, July 02, 2009

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists chose Gov. Sarah Palin last week as the winner of its annual Sitting Duck Award, a tongue-in-cheek honor that pokes fun at "the crème de la crème of the most ridiculed newsmakers in America."

Matthew Daly / The Associated Press
Matthew Daly / The Associated Press

Palin beat out runner-up Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor who was notable for his "vigorous hair, a vigorous public defense against abuse-of-office charges and a vigorous post-impeachment celebrity-hood," an announcement on the society's Web site states.

Several society members elaborated via e-mail on their selection, which was made by committee at a conference held last week in Ventura, Calif.

"Someone like South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was less likely to be named the NSNC Sitting Duck because his presence in the national media centers on one single, er, event. Yet throughout the past year or so - July 1, 2008, to June 30, 2009 - a newsmaker like Gov. Palin or runner-up Rod Blagojevich is more appropriate because they've made headline after headline, month after month," said society secretary Ben S. Pollock.

Past president Mike Leonard, a columnist for The Herald Times of Bloomington, Ind.: "As a Hoosier, I feel that she's done something that Dan Quayle could never do. Which was to make Dan Quayle look good. ... After the election, the video of Sarah and the poultry processing factory ... that pretty much says it all. The gift that keeps on giving."

There's no physical award to go with the Sitting Duck title, "But if there is ever an occasion when the winner should be present at our conference, we would certainly come up with something," said Robert Haught, the society's newsletter editor.

The governor's press office did not return a call for comment Wednesday.

• Contact Jeremy Hsieh at 523-2258 or e-mail at

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