- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day Two of Bristol Watch has plenty of sideshows.

The news that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston will wed has become, in fact, a veritable blank canvas for a rampant press ever eager to bash Sarah Palin and the happy couple, then speculate on whether they’re expecting another baby, or whether a reality show about their forthcoming marriage and home life is actually driving their plans.

Miss Palin and Mr. Johnston got a press honeymoon that lasted 20 minutes, perhaps. Journalists dwelled on a few sentimental details of the engagement - that she hoped to wear a Carolina Herrera gown, and that toddler son Tripp and his father would wear camouflage vests for a true Alaska-style wedding.

But it did not take long before the news hounds lapsed into unkind press parlor games usually reserved for the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie crowd. Like nicknames.

“We’ve got a few options in the running, namely: Lysol; Listol; Lalin; BriVi; and TheCoupleTheCountryWishesWouldGoAway,” said the Marquee Blog, a product of CNN.

“Rewrap the fondue pot for Bristol Palin,” noted Julie Bosman of the New York Times, who quoted Michelle Church, who was active in local Alaskan politics, saying of the couple: “They both learned from the best on how to be an opportunist. Everything’s a farce with this family.”

Snarkiness ruled.

“This marriage might be good for - well, someone in Alaska, maybe. One might even enjoy the spectacle, but only if one was quite, quite sure that it was not the prelude to a Rose Garden wedding for Willow in a few years’ time,” noted Amy Davidson, a senior editor at the New Yorker. “If Levi is David Eisenhower - I know, but bear with me - then who is Edward Cox? That would be, as Bristol said of her mother, scary.”

Bloggers unaffiliated with major news organizations got as much attention as mainstream journalists, including one who posited the idea that the couple’s announcement was part of a greater marketing ploy.

“Within the next four to six weeks Palin’s PR people will be releasing news that Bristol and Levi have signed on to ‘star’ in a new reality show. All about young parenting. And yes, they will also work up to a wedding. This is part of the planned ‘story arc.’ Sort of a ‘Bethenny Getting Married?’ but with a faux conservative/young Republicans spin,” noted an anonymous source associated with an anti-Palin blog.

The aforementioned show is a spin-off of the cheeky “The Real Housewives of New York City” on Bravo, a cable network.

Lost in all the coverage, meanwhile, were a few straightforward statements from the major players, however. Mrs. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement of calm support for the couple, noting that the pair was in their prayers. Mr. Johnston publicly professed his love for his fiancee and son, then vowed he would “make it right.”

Still, the Palin/Johnston nuptials appears to be the proverbial gift that keeps on giving. The woes of the groom’s close female relatives also became fodder as they pined for an invitation to the wedding in the blogosphere and on national television.

“I do wish you guys would take a little more time with this decision, and I certainly do not understand why you are rushing things. Unless of course there is some reason for the hurry,” wrote Mercede Johnston, sister of the groom wrote on her personal blog.

But she upped the ante during an appearance with her mother on “Inside Edition,” the daily gossip show produced by CBS.

“You would think that a normal family would call you and say, ‘We’re getting married.’ We found out through the media, which is heartbreaking and rude,” Miss Johnston said.

“I would love to be invited. I would love things to be put in the past, but in all honesty, I don’t think they’re going to invite us. Wouldn’t even tell us the date. It broke my mom’s heart,” she continued.

Echoed Sherry Johnston, the mother in question, “I would be absolutely devastated if I wasn’t invited to the wedding - it would be the last straw. They should elope if they can’t have the Johnstons and the Palins together. But don’t leave us out of it. That would kill me.”

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