Sarah Palin likes to play up her outsider credentials while decrying the media elite, but she’s relied on both throughout her career. Belying her mockery of the “mainstream media,” Palin hired a well-connected PR firm to target East Coast journalists and courted conservative media insiders who eventually championed her VP candidacy. Jane Mayer of the New Yorker looks at a "surprise" nomination that was months, if not years, in the making.
Back-to-back Alaska cruises sponsored by conservative magazines brought influential pundits right to the governor's mansion, where Palin swiftly charmed the dazzled visitors. William Kristol climbed on the bandwagon, and veteran strategist Dick Morris offered advice about "outsider cred," one observer recalls. By the time John McCain’s advisers vetoed his preferred VP pick, Joe Lieberman, Palin's stock was high enough that top aides were pushing hard for her, and McCain relented.