I was startled to hear on the radio this morning the voice of the unpopular former Massachusetts governor Jane Swift. She is now the head of a “truth squad” tasked with countering “vile rumors and smears” surrounding Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin. During her interview with NPR, Swift blamed the “elite media” for their troubles.

First, I object to the tired implication that the media’s criticism is part of a hidden political agenda. If the McCain campaign is so certain that she is a capable candidate, they would let her prove it to the world. But so far Palin’s handlers have not allowed her to speak to the media. Says the Associated Press:

So far, Palin has barely spoken with voters either. Since the convention, she and McCain have breezed through a Wisconsin ice cream shop, a New Mexico restaurant and a Missouri barbecue place, shaking hands with diners but not taking any questions. Photographers and television cameras have been allowed full view while reporters are typically kept too far away to ask questions or hear most of the conversations.

I could understand why they’re scared. Palin had a chance to speak her mind prior to being selected as the VP candidate, and she said this: “As for that VP talk all the time, I’ll tell you, I still can’t answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day.” Yikes.

Finally, a comment for the McCain campaign. Could you have chosen a creepier, more Orwellian name than “truth squad?”