Gwen Ifill

If I may state the obvious, the fact that Gwen Ifill apparently has a forthcoming book titled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama is a huge advantage for Sarah Palin. If you look at the demographic breakdowns of any poll, you could probably count on one hand the number of college educated African-American women who are favorably disposed toward Palin. But because of the book, and because Ifill has a reputation as a professional to maintain, she’s now in a situation where she’ll bend over backwards to avoid appearing too hard on Palin.

Meanwhile, if you watch Palin’s interviews you’ll see that she’s perfectly capable of parrying an initial question with some nonsense and then shifting to her pre-prepared talking points. What was so devastating about the Katie Couric interview is that Couric would gently — very gently — prod Palin with follow-ups that revealed she doesn’t know anything about anything. But with this cloud of suspicion hanging over her, Ifill will probably treat Palin with kid gloves and she’ll be able to turn in the sort of competent performances she offered on the Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity shows.