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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Frontiersman v. Times of London

TALKEETNA, Alaska -- Looks like a feud has kicked up between The Times of London and the local paper that covers Gov. Sarah Palin’s hometown, the Mat-Su

Elisa Mueller
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 09, 2008

TALKEETNA, Alaska — Looks like a feud has kicked up between The Times of London and the local paper that covers Gov. Sarah Palin’s hometown, the Mat-Su Frontiersman.

Here’s the paragraph that started it in The Times:

[Wasilla is] a small, unkempt-looking place, defined by a series of out-of-town stores, a huge lumber yard, a ramshackle bar named the Mug-Shot Saloon with Harley Davidsons parked outside and a lake, by the side of which is Palin’s house….

The Frontiersman, which — good for them! — has some home-town pride, hits back:

It’s as inaccurate and unfair as it would be for anyone else to define England by a stereotypical lack of dental hygiene.

I think the problem here, as several locals have pointed out to me, is that Wasilla is not really about it’s main highway drag of fast-food chains and big-box stores that visiting national reporters have been covering.

Most residents live nestled among trees and nature and spend free time enjoying the many outdoor activities Alaska has to offer. One source cancelled on me yesterday morning because he heard the moose hunting was particularly good right now! So, I see the Frontiersman’s point that painting the place as a dump is unfair.

However, the press, national and international, isn’t here to write travel columns. We made the trek to take a look at the city that Palin ran as mayor. The McCain campaign has cited her time as mayor as one of her qualifications for the vice presidency.

The Times is “defining” Wasilla in terms of what Palin could control. Perhaps they should have mentioned the beautiful mountain views to the south of town. Still, it’s fair to evaluate the look and feel of a downtown that clearly didn’t have much planning or zoning restrictions put in place by its mayor.

It’s a harsh world.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.


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