A number of forthcoming books promise to delve deeply into – and, they believe, give mainstream credibility to – some of the more salacious Palin rumors and conspiracy theories that have sprouted in the anti-Palin blogosphere and on supermarket tabloid stands, but have mostly been rejected by the mainstream media.
“We’re at a tipping point, where her character and her lack of ethics will be revealed on the national stage,” asserted Sherry Whitstine, a 49-year-old grandmother who lives in Palin’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, and has infuriated her famous neighbors with blog posts and online comments accusing Palin of being unfaithful in her marriage and corrupt in her political career.
“Some things are just going to come light that they just won’t be able to shake and I have faith in that. It has already started, but these books will add to it,” she said.
Ken Vogel indicates that more inconvenient revelations about Sarah Palin are bound to be published during the next months:
St. Martin’s Press has scheduled a May 10 release of “The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power,” by Santa Cruz, Calf.-based author and documentarian Geoffrey Dunn, who has joked that he might need three or four volumes to adequately cover the subject matter suggested in the title.
He told POLITICO he decided to write the book after hearing stories from Alaskans about Palin’s “childhood through her governorship that were troubling to me.” He said his goal is to frame Palin’s career in the contexts of both an Alaska political scene “plagued by a culture of corruption” and also in “the larger tradition of American political populism and demagoguery.”
A couple of weeks later, a Simon & Schuster imprint is set to offer a tell-all memoir by Frank Bailey, a disgruntled former top aide to Palin, using her personal emails to paint an ugly portrait of her as a vindictive and vain dilettante obsessed with her public image, who allegedly broke election laws and targeted a state trooper by leaking damaging information.
Then, in September, Crown will release “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” by journalist and author Joe McGinniss, whose decision to rent the house next door in Wasilla last summer prompted Palin to warn him to “leave my kids alone.”
Dunn insisted in an email to POLITICO that he has never actually advocated the “Trig Truth” theory and is merely asking questions — a stance similar to that taken by influential Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan, a hero among Trig Truthers and the broader anti-Palin movement.
Though Dunn said his book barely addresses Trig’s birth, other books are reportedly in the works that deal with the rumor. It also is the subject of an academic paper by a professor at Northern Kentucky University that was released this month that sparked debate about whether the maternity of Palin’s children is an appropriate topic for political discourse.
Many of the rumors about the Palin family can be traced back to a coterie of bloggers in Alaska, including Whitstine, a self-identified Christian conservative who alleges Palin’s gubernatorial administration pursued a “socialistic redistribution of wealth,” and liberal anti-Palin bloggers Jeanne Devon, Jesse Griffin and Shannyn Moore.
Their posts have been linked, amplified and complemented by a broader network of blogs around the world, from the France-based blog Palingates (which lists its mission as “examining the many lies and deceptions of Sarah Palin” and whose devoted readers helped it win a 2010 Bloggers Choice award as “Best Political Blog”) and its Germany-based offshoot, Politicalgates, to Sullivan’s widely read Washington-based The Dish, which recently moved from the Atlantic to the Daily Beast/Newsweek.
The 30-something Frankfurt, Germany-based lawyer behind Politicalgates, who goes by the pseudonym “Patrick” because he fears retribution from Palin and her allies, sounds a more ominous tone in describing his motivation for originally joining Palingates as an investigative blogger.
“There are quite a lot of reasons to compare her to someone like Hitler, but of course, you have to look at Sarah Palin’s life really closely, investigate her really closely to find these details,” said Patrick.
Those investigations have run the gamut from Trig Truth to posting pre-publication copies of both of Palin’s books to revealing that Palin had flown on a private jet between stops during the much-hyped bus tour to promote her first book, “Going Rogue,” to revealing that her political action committee had hired leading independent Palin attack dog Rebecca Mansour.
The members of this loose network have had their spats and rifts. Moore and Devon, for instance, reject Trig Trutherism, while the founder of Palingates asked Patrick and his partner to leave the blog after he posted an item about a massage therapist who had been implicated in a prostitution sting and with whom the National Enquirer tabloid alleged Palin’s husband, Todd, had a dalliance — a report the Anchorage police pushed back against.
Of course I strongly reject Ken Vogel’s conclusion that the bloggers “have miserably failed to expose” Sarah Palin, but we also have to remember that the mainstream is only beginning to discover the work and the influence of the bloggers. At least some parts of the mainstream have apparently realized by now that the investigative bloggers cannot be ignored any more, and Ken Vogel does mention that the bloggers on several occasions scored what he calls “mini-scoops.”
Patrick asserts that the cumulative effect of all the efforts of the anti-Palin movement has helped cut into Palin’s support.
“It’s not me alone, of course,” he said. “It’s a group of people who are working on this, and I think we definitely got under the skin of the Palin clan.”
Indeed, the reactions of Palin and her allies have arguably drawn more attention to the attacks themselves.
The paper by Northern Kentucky University professor Brad Scharlott — which argues that Palin “likely … staged a hoax concerning the birth of her son Trig” and that the media “failed to show appropriate skepticism about Palin’s unproven claim that she is the birth mother of Trig” — only got attention after an outburst by Palin’s fiercely loyal former spokesman Bill McAllister. He sent Scharlott an email — which wound up in the student paper, eventually making its way to the anti-Palin blogs — calling his study “reprehensible” and threatening to “slap” him, then forwarded the missive to five other members of the faculty, with the subject line “Brad Scharlott disgraces your university.”
Yes, Sarah Palin is thin-skinned indeed.
Voters have every right to ask candidates for information if they so choose. I’ve pointed out that it was seemingly fair game during the 2008 election for many on the left to badger my doctor and lawyer for proof that Trig is in fact my child. Conspiracy-minded reporters and voters had a right to ask… which they have repeatedly. But at no point – not during the campaign, and not during recent interviews – have I asked the president to produce his birth certificate or suggested that he was not born in the United States.
– Sarah Palin
Already back then, Sarah Palin complained about the faked pregnancy allegations, but had no intention to show evidence in order to debunk them. Apparently this didn’t strike the mainstream media as strange behavior. Now we have a situation in which parts of the mainstream, especially liberal media outlets, have started to do Sarah Palin’s job and declare the faked pregnancy rumors as “debunked” – relying only on deeply flawed witnesses, the misrepesentation of facts without any subsequent corrections and viciously branding everybody who continues to ask questions about Sarah Palin’s faked pregnancy as loony “conspiracy theorists.”