BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - ABC used Bristol Palin. And it worked to perfection.
Bristol Palin uses the media. And then she whines about it.
Palin is returning to "Dancing With the Stars" for the all-stars edition. She showed up at the Television Critics Association press tour to promote her appearance, which meant that people like me would write about.
Excellent planning, ABC.
Palin, however, proceeded to give the same robotic answers to every question - whether they pertained or not - and complained that the media just won't leave her alone.
First up, though, she offered thanks for getting back on "DWTS."
"I just think that God provides opportunities like this," she said.
Don't you think that maybe if you stopped appearing on reality shows - this is her fourth go-round - the media might pay less attention to you?
"You guys are going to be talking about us either way," Palin insisted.
That's baloney. Sure, the media attention wouldn't have disappeared had she gone home to Alaska - her mother is, after all, doing everything she can to stay in the spotlight - but it would have been considerably less intense.
And, as we've come to expect, Bristol portrayed herself as the victim in all this.
"I'm not whining, I'm not complaining," she said, and then she proceeded to do just that. "You guys, I do mean the media, you're going to talk about me if I'm in my little life in Alaska or I'm in L.A. so I might as well have fun with it."
And Bristol doesn't do well in the spotlight. She says the wrong thing; she sounds like a bigot; she sounds, well, less than smart.
Like when she told critics, ""I like gays, and I'm sick of people saying that I'm a homophobic."
(That's not a misprint. It is, perhaps, an indictment of whatever schools Bristol attended.)
Bristol made headlines for getting into a fight with a gay man on her Lifetime show, "Life's a Tripp." And there's been much speculation that her 3-year-old child tossed off a gay slur that was bleeped.
"Just because I'm for traditional marriage doesn't mean I'm scared of anybody," Bristol said. "I don't hate anybody."
Although teaching your child homophobic slurs might give people that impression.
"People are going to make up stuff about me no matter what, and whatever," she said.
Only when repeatedly pressed did some degree of honestly break through from Bristol. Why return to "DWTS"?
"Do I like to provide for my son?" Palin said. "Yes, I do."
Much better than her programmed responses.
The fact is that the Palins are quickly becoming the Kardashians. They just can't stay away from reality TV. Sarah had her show on TLC; Bristol did "DWTS" and "Life's a Tripp"; Todd is doing "Stars Earn Stripes" for NBC; and now Bristol is back on "DWTS."
You can't claim you want to keep a low profile when you keep going on TV.
The fact is that Sarah Palin showed up at a Television Critics Association/NBC cocktail party looking like she'd gone totally Hollywood and begging for attention. She knew exactly what she was doing - putting herself in the spotlight.
That's her choice. And it's been Bristol's choice, too.
The thing is - you can't go out of your way to grab the spotlight and then complain that it's too bright.
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