LAS VEGAS – Sarah Palin rallied an online army of conservative bloggers and activists Friday night at a Las Vegas conference, lambasting the “old media” establishment for what she described as a failure to “tell the truth” – and pointing to President Obama’s election as the product of that failure.
Palin headlined the RightOnline convention with a speech that accused the media of not properly vetting Obama, whom she labeled a socialist, during the 2008 presidential campaign. She charged the media were more focused on investigating the price of her wardrobe than they were on probing Obama’s record.
“If the media had done their job, we would have known of his strange attraction to leftist, radical ideas,” she said. “We would have known that he actively sought out Marxist professors.”
The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee went on to trumpet the work of the hundreds of bloggers and social media-savvy activists gathered at the conference inside the Venetian Hotel as critical in the 2012 presidential election.
“You do what many in the old media can’t do, won’t do, and that’s tell the truth,” she said.
“You are an army of Davids against the old Goliath,” she said, referring to traditional news sources, which she repeatedly attacked throughout her fiery speech. “New media is giving voice to the people because you are of the people and you are leading the charge.”
But in her 35-minute speech meant to galvanize conservative online activists ahead of November’s vote, Palin, a Fox News contributor, made no mention of Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Palin has yet to officially endorse the former Massachusetts governor, who has now earned more than the 1,144 delegates needed to secure his party’s nomination.
Palin, a Tea Party favorite, is heralded by her fans as a leader in her application of social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to appeal to like-minded conservatives and break news, such as political endorsements, to the masses. Her Twitter account has more than 791,000 followers to date.
“This is a political figure who when she does a Facebook post, half the world turns around and listens,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, the conservative, Virginia-based group that sponsored the event.
“She’s a pioneer on our side,” Phillips told FoxNews.com. “She’s probably the best political figure, as far as an elected leader, that has used social media.”
The RightOnline conference, now in its fifth year, arose as a counterweight to the progressive “Netroots Nation” of liberal online activists, which held its convention last weekend in Rhode Island.
The Netroots’ convention, now in its seventh year, was held amid a less enthusiastic crowd, compared to years past, according to most news accounts.
“We’ve had our fights with the president, and I’ve been happy to have those fights for three years,” former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told the crowd. “But the fourth year, we’re on the same team ... because the alternative is unthinkable.”
Palin also got personal in her speech, addressing the alleged “lamestream media lies” about her and her family, like rumors about the maternity of her youngest son, Trig, who suffers from Down syndrome.
“According to these news media reports over these years, shoot, by now I guess I should have been divorced how many times?,” she said. “And according to them, in my spare time I burn books and I shoot wolves from the skids of helicopters,” she said.
Throughout her address, Palin paid tribute to conservative online entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, whose sudden death from heart failure in March rocked the conservative blogosphere.
“The greatest gift he left for us was his fearlessness,” Palin told the crowd, as many of them held up red signs with the 43-year-old’s image and the words “Breitbart is Here” and “#war.”
Palin, at times, sought to have fun with the crowd by injecting some humor – in particular about Obama’s poll numbers.
“Here we are in Vegas — in Washington, too — they talk a lot about polls. There are a lot of poles in Vegas,” she said, referring to the poles in a strip club before turning to Obama’s poll numbers. “There is a reason that the figures in those polls are augmented, too.”