I refrain from taking cheap shots at Carrie Prejean because at this point, it's way too easy. But I do have a question that even people rooting for Prejean and her views should ask: if conservative women are serious about being taken seriously and communicating their views to a wider audience, why do they seem scared of the mainstream media?

A look at Prejean’s recent interviews, along with Sarah Palin’s recent public appearance, shows that conservative women seem to have a double standard: they'll tell you everything we want to know as long as it isn't a liberal asking the questions.

By now, you’ve all seen the clip of Prejean telling Larry King that the media has a “double standard” where conservative women are concerned and that it believes they are “fair game to be attacked.” She then threatened to storm out of a Larry King interview after he asked her why she settled her lawsuit with Miss California USA pageant. In case you haven’t seen it:

The strange is that Prejean was much more open and frank in her interview with Christianity Today. Sarah Pulliam Bailey asked her, “Can you comment on the reports that you settled a lawsuit against Miss USA because of sex tapes?” Prejean told Bailey, “Everything that was discussed in mediation was confidential,” but then she volunteered the information about the sex tape, apparently without being asked:

There is a video out there of me. I was really young and immature. It was the worst mistake of my life. It was a really stupid, stupid decision that I made. But I take full responsibility for it. Did I think I would ever be a celebrity or that my boyfriend at the time, who I sent it to, would ever blackmail me? No.

King’s question was certainly more probing—he asked what motivated the settlement—but that is, after all, a journalist’s job to ask probing questions. Why answer Bailey's question and not answer King’s?

Sarah Palin, as we’ve seen, banned reporters (along with video recorders, audio recorders, strollers and phones) from her speaking event at One Wisconsin Now. She often seems bent on speaking only to sympathetic audiences and suspicious of anyone who’s recording what she says or asking questions.  

This is bizarre for any public figure but it’s especially bizarre for anyone who is interested in doing what Prejean and Palin say they want to do—standing for what they believe. Standing for what you believe only makes sense if you are doing it in front of an audience that disagrees with you. There is no courage involved if you are standing in front of people who believe the same thing. Standing for truth is pointless unless you’re brave enough to take it to a wider audience.

Being a public figure with integrity means answering the people who are supposed to hold public figures accountable—journalists. Journalists have no choice but to ask tough questions—it is not an ad hominem attack but part of their job. King’s question was neutral: What motivated you to settle? It is only negative if you have something negative to hide. And actually, conservative women who decide to be public figures are "fair game."

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Alisa Harris

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