Palin Hiding from Press

In perhaps the most bizarre turnaround this election cycle, John McCain has turned what has heretofore been one of his chief assets — a warm relationship with the press corps — into a liability by taking extraordinary measures to shield Sarah Palin from questions.

She has been a candidate for the second highest office in the land for nearly a month, but Sarah Palin has yet to hold a single press conference. Now, the McCain/Palin campaign is attempting to take an unprecedented step in their apparent effort to protect Palin from having to face impromptu questions from national reporters.

Last night, the campaign provided locations for Palin’s scheduled meetings with two world leaders and Henry Kissinger to a network TV producer, who was assigned to provide editorial content on the meetings for the five television networks. The reporter was not going to be allowed to sit in on the private meetings but would be permitted to be on hand as still and video photographers took pictures at the beginning of each meeting.

But just a little more than an hour before Palin’s first meeting was set to begin, the pool producer was notified that he would not be allowed in to the photo spray. This means that the McCain/Palin campaign would get the benefit of free pictures of Palin’s meeting with world leaders without having to face the possibility that the candidate might have to answer a question from the media.

This follows numerous campaign appearances, including in public venues, where Palin’s handlers instituted a “no questions allowed” policy.

Naturally, most media outlets are less than enthusiastic about showing up to shoot photo-ops without the accompanying right to ask questions.   CBS and others, in fact, simply refuse to send photographers unless they can also send reporters.  Indeed, as Kenneth Vogel reports for Politico, there may be a press boycott.

Journalists, displeased with Sarah Palin’s efforts to restrict their access to her, are threatening not to cover her events surrounding the United Nations conference here unless they’re allowed more access.  The unfolding boycott is the latest development in a rocky relationship between Palin’s handlers and the press, in which the campaign has sought to tightly control her interactions with the media.

[…]

But the imbroglio began developing Tuesday morning when Palin’s handlers informed the small print press contingent covering her campaign that the print reporter designated to cover the events, Elizabeth Holmes of the Wall Street Journal, would not be allowed to cover the sprays. The campaign’s reasoning was that there were not going to be questions or statements at the sprays, so they were only appropriate for photographers and cameramen.

The campaign also at first moved to bar CNN, the television network designated for pool duty, from sending its editorial producer — basically a hybrid print/video journalist — though the campaign budged when the network threatened to withhold its cameras as well.

The campaign ultimately relented, updates to both stories noted, and allowed Holmes in to “cover” the Uribe and Kissinger meets.   But, goodness, why institute such an obviously stupid policy to begin with?

Yes, Palin is relatively unseasoned in national policy issues or dealing with top-notch reporters.  But, surely, she’s mastered the art of the folksy non-answer answer?

And, frankly, she’d be better off giving weak answers than angering the national press corps. As documented on this blog and elsewhere, McCain often gets a pass for giving woefully bad answers and getting major facts wrong, even on issues in his areas of expertise, precisely because of his history of candor with the press.   By letting them exhaust themselves with questions, he’s built a rapport with them and gets away — quite reasonably, in my view — with slipping up sometimes. By contrast, to so obviously avoid the press is to invite them to take a no holds bar approach to coverage.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Media, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brett says:

    It looks like they don’t want to give her a chance to say something stupid, or get stumped on a question.

    That doesn’t change the fact that the entire policy is idiotic, because she is going to have to answer questions that her press handlers won’t be able to dodge, at the Vice Presidential debate. All this media avoidance strategy has done is ensure that the debate coverage will constitute an overly large factor in shaping public and press perception of her, so if she screws up (and that is entirely possible against Joe Biden, even with his tendency to mouth off), the screw-up will have a disproportionate impact on public perception.

    If she does badly at the debate, expect this “no questions asked” policy to vanish in heartbeat. They’ll be rushing to get her out there, to dampen its impact.

  2. Bithead says:

    And, frankly, she’d be better off giving weak answers than angering the national press corps.

    I’m not so sure whe wouldn’t attract voters, that way. There’s a number of folks out there who think the press should be a little upset… and I’m one of ’em. And here’s the thing;

    By contrast, to so obviously avoid the press is to invite them to take a no holds bar approach to coverage

    Maybe. But given what we’ve seen of hostile coverage of Palin thusfar from the usual suspects…(How many rumoers went unchecked from the DInosaur media?) one wonders if anyone would be able to tell the difference between the current situation and a more hostile media, or if such a thing is even possible.

  3. I don’t know if it is wise, but there is a legitimate question of goodwill or good faith, and frankly, the national press does seem to be a little wanting in this category. How many in the press want a “gotcha” response out of Governor Palin versus, say, Senator Obama?

    If you know all they are going to do is take pot shots, is it unreasonable to try and keep your head down as much as possible?

  4. Michael says:

    How many rumoers went unchecked from the DInosaur media?

    I give up, how many?

  5. Alex Knapp says:

    How many in the press want a “gotcha” response out of Governor Palin versus, say, Senator Obama?

    Dude, the press lives for gotcha answers. Doesn’t matter who they’re from.

  6. jim says:

    Well Governor Palin certainly has as much experience with fiscal matters as she does with foreign affairs. She can see Russia from her house, and out the other window, she can see her bank.

  7. Alex Knapp says:

    I don’t know if it is wise, but there is a legitimate question of goodwill or good faith, and frankly, the national press does seem to be a little wanting in this category.

    And this is just laughable. As VP, Palin could conceivably become President. Do you think that Putin will show “goodwill or good faith” in negotiations? What about Kim Jong-Il? Or Iranian leaders, if it comes to that?

    Not being willing to talk to the press because they might be a little hard on you is a sign of cowardice, pure and simple. And if the McCain campaign is afraid of a little press coverage, what does that say about how they will govern? Like cowards, would be my guess.

    Say what you will about Biden–and I am not a fan–the man makes a gaffe just about every time he talks to a reporter, and those gaffes get covered. You don’t see the Obama campaign pulling him back because they’re afwaid of the scawy weporters, do you?

  8. I’d like to believe that Alex, but too many journalists seem to be in the tank for Obama for them to want that on their resume.

  9. David Hinz says:

    I am trying to remember if there was any press outrage when Hillary Clinton would not allow press access except under very controlled circumstances and only with selected (favorable) press people. Or for that matter, Sen Obama doing much the same thing. Did the Democrats ever hold a debate on Fox?

  10. another jim says:

    Great beltway thinking James. The press will complain about whatever she does. If she was out there it would be overexposure. Why should republicans let there opponents in the media or politics dictate how they campaign?

  11. Mike54 says:

    Governors do not acquire foreign policy experience. When a guv runs for POTUS he has maybe a year behind the scenes to be coached. This is OK because nobody is born with that knowledge. So why would anybody expect Palin to be fluent after 1-2 months? She could and may be brilliant, but still only has a high level understanding after 2 months. Why would her competence be judged on that. Even a guv with a year to learn still would have too little background to speak fluently on foreign issues.

  12. Hoodlumman says:

    I’m with Bithead – how is the press going to treat Palin any different than they have before?

    I hope the press does up their “fury” a notch. Maybe a reporter could do something or say something monumentally stupid and swing some votes McCain’s way.

  13. Crust says:

    James Joyner:

    Naturally, most media outlets are less than enthusiastic about showing up to shoot photo-ops without the accompanying right to ask questions.

    Actually, it’s worse than that. Media outlets were just asking for the right to have a reporter present during the photo-op. They weren’t being so bold as to ask for the right to ask questions. This is what they were trying to avoid: a 29 second appearance in which a single reporter wasn’t allowed to ask a question and couldn’t even hear most of what was said.

    Think about it: The McCain folks aren’t just worried about Palin saying something dumb in answer to a reporter’s question. They’re worried that she might say something dumb in a brief exchange of pleasantries with Karzai.

  14. sam says:

    What is she hiding?

  15. Brian says:

    How many in the press want a “gotcha” response out of Governor Palin versus, say, Senator Obama?

    Oh absolutely. But I think that a lot of that has to do with the “newness” of Palin. If she was smart, she’d get as much exposure as possible to mitigate the feeling. The press is fleeting in its coverage. Had she gone out on the interview circuit in the days and weeks following the pick announcement, the next car would have come along for the press to chase. Financial Crisis! would have distracted them enough and McCain and Palin could have continued with the campaign with much less to worry about. Now, press has lost interest in the next big thing and are back on Palin because she idled on instead of moving ahead. A dangerous move this late in the race.

  16. Crust says:

    Mike54:

    [Palin] could and may be brilliant, but still only has a high level understanding after 2 months. Why would her competence be judged on that[?]

    I dunno. Maybe because the election is in November, roughly 2 months after her selection?

  17. Anderson says:

    But, surely, she’s mastered the art of the folksy non-answer answer?

    Apparently, the handlers in the Palin-McCain campaign aren’t so “sure” about that.

    The problem with alienating the media is that they quit softpedaling, and you get news articles that begin like this:

    ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Less than a week after balking at the Alaska Legislature’s investigation into her alleged abuse of power, Gov. Sarah Palin on Monday indicated she will cooperate with a separate probe run by people she can fire.

  18. Anderson says:

    If she was smart, she’d get as much exposure as possible to mitigate the feeling.

    Exactly right. She should be cozying up to the press, telling stories, being folksy, bringing donuts.

    Sad to say, that actually works.

  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    Maybe their still getting her road teleprompter ready, or making sure she doesn’t say something stupid to offend the liberals like how they cling to their Oscar programs and abortion clinics, or maybe they are still trying to make sure she knows how many states we have.

  20. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    Palin Hiding from Press

    Hiding, or showing them the respect that they deserve?

  21. Rick Almeida says:

    Did the Democrats ever hold a debate on Fox?

    No, but Obama was on the O’Reilly Factor just a week or 2 ago. Remember?

    Seriously, folks, the MSM was so ready to fawn all over Palin when her nomination was announced. You could tell…they were dying to do it, ready to pick up the “maverick” meme that’d become all but discredited.

    I think the McCain campaign made a real mistake by not getting her out during the honeymoon period. In so doing, her negatives quickly became the story, and the McCain campaign has been relatively powerless to stop it. When a Republican loses Will, Brooks, and the WSJ editorial page, it spells real trouble.

    McCain is even losing Broder. Then, time will stop and the Earth will crumble to dust.

  22. Crust says:

    Wow, Anderson @5:09. Ouch. That lede is accurate, but that’s a mighty aggressive way to put it.

  23. David Hinz says:

    @Rick Almeida

    Sure The Obamessiah was on OReilly just the other day — that was AFTER a complete boycott of FOX for months. And that boycott worked, didn’t it. If OReilly had thrown any more softballs at Obama he would have been in a League of His Own….which was, of course, what the Obama wanted all along.

  24. Dick Cheney did five (5!) Sunday shows the weekend after he was named to Bush’s ticket. Hell, even Quayle did press.

    Do you want to argue that the press just became liberal in the last few years? Or is Palin just not half the man person that Dan Quayle is?

    Dodging the press is pathetic. If you can’t either charm, bambozzle, or out-argue a gaggle of reporters you have no business even considering a career in politics.

  25. G.A.Phillips says:

    reporters

    lol, once again I ask for you to name some?????

  26. anjin-san says:

    You can say whatever you want about the press, but the bottom line is the McCain campaign Obviously has no confidence that Palin can work without a net.

    She is not ready to face “The View”, but she is supposedly ready to face Al Qaeda, Iran, and an economic crisis of historic proportions.

    Sorry, does not compute. Bottom line is McCain made a political choice with the Palin selection, not a country first choice. Now they have to keep Palin under wraps, so that this does not become painfully obvious to all.

  27. John Cole says:

    Better to sit there and let them think you are stupid than to open your mouth and prove it.

    Advice I wish I would take from time to time.

  28. anjin-san says:

    Dick Cheney did five (5!) Sunday shows the weekend after he was named to Bush’s ticket.

    Yup. I don’t like Cheney, but he is a formidable guy, an extremely intelligent and capable person.

    Palin on the other hand, is in hiding. ’nuff said.

  29. DMan says:

    It’s funny to watch the way all these right wing partisan commentators and bloggers react to all this. By hiding Palin from the press, the McCain campaign has managed to embolden their base into believing that EVERY SINGLE REPORTER must be in the tank for Obama.

    Who needs a press anyway? We don’t need to hear her respond to questions in real time when we already know she’s the foremost expert on everything! I don’t even know why we have elections or these stupid campaigns, obviously the only people capable of running this country should be just randomly selected from my party! Where’s triumph when you need him?

  30. Brett says:

    @Rick Almeida

    Sure The Obamessiah was on OReilly just the other day — that was AFTER a complete boycott of FOX for months. And that boycott worked, didn’t it. If OReilly had thrown any more softballs at Obama he would have been in a League of His Own….which was, of course, what the Obama wanted all along.

    You haven’t exactly seen McCain on Olbermann, now have you? The Fox boycott was stupid on the Democrats’ part, but it’s not as if that stupid doesn’t cross partisan lines in the Presidential Debate.

    It’s funny to watch the way all these right wing partisan commentators and bloggers react to all this. By hiding Palin from the press, the McCain campaign has managed to embolden their base into believing that EVERY SINGLE REPORTER must be in the tank for Obama.

    I think it is more funny to see them squirm around the fact that you generally want such a little thing known as oversight regarding a candidate. Perhaps if we had had more of such an unusual substance as that, we might not have elected a “nice, folksy, conservative governor” back in 2000.

  31. Bithead says:

    I give up, how many?

    Well, tell you what; Let’s go ask Charlie Martin, shall we?

    1. Yes, she is Governor of Alaska. No, she’s not the Lieutenant Governor. No, she’s not currently Mayor of Wasilla. Yes, she was Mayor of Wasilla, some years ago.
    2. Yes, as Governor of Alaska, she’s the Commander in Chief of the Alaska National Guard. And yes, her professional military subordinate is quite impressed with her in that role.
    3. And yes, the New York Times says the job of Governor of Alaska is one of the harder, and more powerful, jobs in state government.
    4. Yes, there are people in Alaska who think she’s too liberal.
    5. Yes, she did giggle when someone called Lyda Green a “bitch.” Yes, Lyda Green is a cancer survivor. Yes, it was the same Lyda Green who tried to force a scheduling conflict that would make Palin miss her son’s high school graduation. Yes, this would also be the Lyda Green who complained no one had asked her about Palin during the vetting process.
    6. Yes, she did push for and approve the Wasilla Sports Center. Yes, it did cost a lot of money. (People keep saying $20 million, that article says $14.5 million, but then they also added a $1.2 million dollar food service/kitchen piece. This year, after Palin was out of office as Mayor.) Yes, the city went into debt to do it (how did you buy your house, bunkie?) and raised the city sales tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent to pay for it. Yes, the city is paying it off early. Yes, there is an ongoing dispute about title (following a struggle with the Nature Conservancy and another buyer. And yes, at the time it was built, Wasilla had a Federal judge’s decision that they had title to the land. Here’s a place to think a little, folks: if Wasilla got a $15 million sports center, and got a mortgage for it, then the city incurred more longterm debt, you bet. It also got a capital asset. You do it with a mortgage; a city does it by setting up bonds and a tax base to service the bonds. Same thing. Whether it was wise or not is another question, but the bonds and tax increase were approved by a special election by the people in Wasilla.
    7. Yes, she did want authority to have wolves culled from the air, because they were taking too many moose and caribou. Which people hunt for food in the back country in Alaska. No, she isn’t shooting them herself. I mean, not that she couldn’t, but I’m sure she doesn’t have time. (Thanks to bluemerlin in the comments.)

    Look, this is one of those that I’m tempted to categorize under “cripes, what city folks will believe.” You don’t sport hunt from the air; this isn’t some fascination with “blood sports.” This is wildlife management; the authority wasn’t general, it was for only a limited number of wolves, and it was to be done by people with state-issued permits. Here’s how this happens in the wild in a predator-prey model: the predators build up to the point that they cut the population of the prey animals dramatically. They then starve. The prey animals then build up again. Repeat. Only, in this case, the predators who would starve include Alaska’s native (and Native) human population.
    8. No, the Downs baby (Trig) isn’t Bristol’s kid, and no, the kid wasn’t born with Downs because (a) Palin flew on an airplane (b) went home to have the baby after an amniotic leak (c) because he was the result of incest between Todd Palin and Bristol.
    9. No, Track (the kid who is leaving for Iraq) didn’t join the NG because he was a drug addict. (It’s worth noting that drug addiction is a medical disqualification for service.) He may have joined the NG because he was tired of people saying his Mom was getting him into the good hockey leagues. (Yes, that one was original reporting. I’ve got sources in Wasilla.) It also wasn’t because he had been caught for some juvenile crimes (see the end of the list.) That “join the army or go to jail” thing doesn’t happen much any more, and in any case he didn’t enlist until two years after the supposed vandalism thing.
    10. No, Willow and Piper aren’t named for witches on TV. Among other things, Willow was born before Buffy came on TV, and Piper was born before Charmed was a popular girls name in 1994. In any case, try to settle on one theory, okay: she can’t both be a witch and be a crazy AoG fundamentalist, can she?
    11. Yes, Trig’s name may be misspelled. Isn’t it usually “Tryg” as in “Trygve”? In any case, I doubt he’s named for the Secretary General of the UN (1948-1952), either. But at least that was before he was born, unlike the others.(Thanks to Chris, via his blog.)
    12. Yes, it appears that she has a Big Dipper tattooed on her ankle. She lost a bet.
    13. No, she’s never been in any porn as far as anyone can find (and God knows I get enough google hits on those very topics.) I would think the Big Dipper tattoo would be a giveaway.
    14. No, no one seems to be able to even find swimsuit pictures of her from her beauty queen days; God knows I looked. The bikini pictures that are around are photoshopped, just like the Vogue cover I have up.
    15. No she wasn’t a member of the (wild-eyed libertarian) Alaska independence Party, although her husband once was
    16. No, neither the (Canadian) National Post, nor Marc Armbinder at the Atlantic have troubled themselves to issue a correction. Yes, the New York Times did finally correct their story of September 1 — on September 5. And on page 14. This was after Elizabeth Bumiller was quoted by Howard Kurtz as saying she was “completely confident about the story.” Yes, that was after the New York Times’s source retracted the story. Yes, this should embarrass the Times, Bumiller, and Howard Kurtz. No, there have been no signs of embarrassment.
    17. No, she was never a Pat Buchanan supporter; even when Buchanan claims she was, she was on the board of Steve Forbes’a campaign in Alaska. Yes, Palin was a Steve Forbes supporter in 2000.
    18. No, she’s not anti-semitic. In fact, she has an Israeli flag in her office. (Contrary to popular belief, the usual Evangelical thinks Israel has a right to exist, granted by God.)
    19. No, I don’t think she’s being “indoctrinated by Lieberman and AIPAC as we speak”; I don’t get the feeling that being indoctrinated is something that Palin does well.
    20. Yes, it seems unlikely that she’s going to be in hiding for the next two weeks seeing as she’s been in rallies twice in the last two days. Or at least it’s going to be real rough, given that she has three media interviews scheduled today (6 September) alone. Note: Since then she’s been interviewed on several occasions, and it’s still not quite two weeks.
    21. Yes, it does appear that Palin’s local pastor preached about an end time when God will judge everyone, even Wasilla, Alaska, and the United States. Duh. This is called the book of Revelation, and while I don’t believe it personally, I don’t see it as a disqualifier for the hundred million or so Baptists, Methodists, Evangelicals, Episcopalians, Catholics, Assembly of God, Presbyterian, Lutherans (traditional and Missouri Synod), African Methodist, and so on Christians in the US.
    22. Yes, I do sometimes wonder about the state of Andrew’s health. All of this is true, but it screws up the numbering. The next update will introduce a new ordering with a new numbering.
    23. No, she’s doesn’t believe that the Iraq War was directed by God. Yes, she did pray that proceeding with the war was God’s will: “they should pray ‘that our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God, that’s what we have to make sure we are praying for, that there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.’” (Ever hear the phrase “Not my will, but Thine, be done”?) Yes, this apparently freaks some people right out. But it’s worth mentioning that Obama has also prayed that he was acting in line with God’s will. Here’s a little hint for the confused here: if someone prays for rain, that doesn’t mean they think it’s already raining.
    24. It’s a little unclear who Buchanan supports now. At one point, he seemed to be supporting Obama. (Buchanan did think her speech was amazing, but then so do 80 percent of the people who saw it.) Buchanan did say “I stand with Obama” after Obama’s acceptance speech. Buchanan sure doesn’t like McCain though.
    25. Yes, she was apparently pregnant when she got married
    26. No, so far there’s no confirmation she had an affair while she was married, and they’ve denied it pretty strongly. No, she wouldn’t be the first Christian woman who got a little on the side, if it were true.
    27. No, she wasn’t named as a co-respondent in a divorce; there’s no evidence she had an affair with her husbands’ business partner. The partner tried to have his divorce records sealed because he was being harrassed by journalists who used them to get his phone number. The National Enquirer seems to still be pushing this one.
    28. Yes, barring immaculate conception virgin birth (whatever), Bristol appears to have had sex with her fiancee. No, Bristol didn’t receive only “abstinence-only” sex ed.
    29. Yes, I have it on reliable report that Sarah Levi’s mom has been heard screaming “Way to go Levi!” at her future son-in-law son. No, it doesn’t appear to have been when Bristol broke the news to her family.
    Note: I originally understood this story to be about Sarah, not Levi’s mom, in the context of hockey games. As such, it’s shouldn’t be in a Sarah Palin Rumors story, but I like the story too much to delete it.
    30. yes, her 17 year old daughter is pregnant; no, the baby’s father is not an eighth grader; no, having sex at 16 is not statutory rape in Alaska. And no, there’s no way that a 17 year old can be 5 months pregnant as a result of having sex before she was 16. Learn to count for God’s sakes.
    31. yes, she did fire the public safety guy, Monegan — but he said in the Anchorage paper that, for the record, she never, and no one else in her administration ever, tried to make him fire her ex-brother-in-law.
    32. and yes, the state trooper (her sister’s ex-husband) she was worried about did: tase her 10 year old nephew; drive his state patrol car while drinking or drunk; did threaten to “bring her down”; and did threaten to murder her father and sister if they dared to get an attorney to help with the divorce.
    33. yes, the state trooper was suspended when he was put under a court protective order
    34. no, the trooper wasn’t fired
    35. yes, she did fire the Wasilla Chief of Police as Mayor; yes, it was because he was lying to the City Council.
    36. Yes, she did try to cut her own salary as Mayor by $4000 a year; yes, she had voted against the $4000 a year raise while on the City Council. Yes, she did hire a city administrator; she’d tried to get that through while in the City Council, and was apparently part of her platform when she ran for mayor.
    37. No, she didn’t cut funding for unwed mothers; yes, she did increase it by “only” 354 percent instead of 454 percent, as part of a multi-year capital expenditures program. No, the Washington Post doesn’t appear to have corrected their story. Even after this was pointed out in the comments on the story.
    38. No, she didn’t cut special needs student funding; yes, she did raise it by “only” 175 percent.
    39. yes, she did try, clearly unsuccessfully, to get Bristol married off to her fiancee before the story came out
    40. yes, she did ask the librarian if some books could be withdrawn because of being offensive; no, they couldn’t; yes, it was “rhetorical”, at least as was reported contemporaneously in 1996[1] ; yes she did threaten to fire the librarian a month later; no, that wasn’t over the books thing but instead over administrative issues; no, the librarian wasn’t fired either; yes, the librarian was a big supporter of one of her political opponents; yes, the librarian was also the girlfriend of the Chief of Police mentioned above; no, this is not the first time in the history of civilization that someone has been threatened with being fired over a political dispute
    41. No the list of books she wanted to ban that’s being passed around isn’t real; among other things, it includes a number of books published after her time in office there.
    42. No, that hasn’t actually deterred people from claiming it really is true even if the list isn’t correct. For example:
    “This list might not in fact reflect the books Sarah Palin wanted banned. As more than one person in Comments has pointed out, some of them were not published when Palin was in office. It is my hope that the mainstream media will not let this story drop and that at some point an actual list will surface. The very thought of having someone who once advocated book-banning possibly occupying one of the highest offices of our land fills me with profound dread. It should fill you with dread too.”
    43. No, I don’t understand why a fake list is supposed to fill me with dread, either.
    44. no, it wasn’t won’t be [bad tense, hasn’t happened yet] a shotgun wedding; Bristol and Levi been engaged for a good while according to Levi’s mother. It was either an accident or just an unconventional order.
    45. yes, she’s an was an Assembly of God Holy Roller. No, she doesn’t attend an AoG church now. Yes, she did leave the AoG because they were getting too weird for her.
    46. No, she’s not anti-Mormon. No, not all AoG churches are anti-Mormon. (AoG is even more hard-core about allowing each pastor and congregation to make their own decisions than the Baptists are.) (Thanks to AnonAmom in the comments.)
    47. No, she’s not from another planet. No, I haven’t actually heard that one yet, but you wait. Okay, I have now heard it.
    48. yes, she apparently believes in some variant of Intelligent Design.
    Note: This started an argument with my best friend, who is a Biology professor and rather more of an atheist than I manage to be. He thinks this is code for “Creationist”. But let’s look at what Palin actually said:
    In an interview Thursday, Palin said she meant only to say that discussion of alternative views should be allowed to arise in Alaska classrooms: “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.” She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    An AP article also makes it clear that Palin hasn’t pushed the idea in Alaska schools. Here’s the point, one which the AP seems to have missed themselves. (Another rant for later is on the state of science education among journalists.) “Creationist” generally has a lot stronger meaning than simply believing in a Creator. It’s usually used for people who reject the notion of evolution at all. Palin’s strongest statement on this has been “I don’t pretend to know how all this came to be.” But pretty much anyone who believes in a Deity will end up with some kind of “intelligent design”; even a complete Cosmic Clockmaker Deist thinks of a Designer, a Grand Architect of the Universe. Both Obama and Biden are professing Christians, who believe in a personal Deity, a Creator. So what’s the difference? Only what people have made up about what they think Palin must believe.
    49. no, she didn’t try to force the schools to teach it; she said if someone brought it up, it was an appropriate subject for debate. She did, however, say it shouldn’t be part of the curriculum.
    50. No, she doesn’t believe in “abstinence only” education. Yes, she thinks abstinence is an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Duh. Yes, she believes kids should learn about condom use in schools.
    51. Yes, she did smoke marijuana, when it was legal in Alaska. Yes, she apparently did inhale.
    52. yes, she kills animals and eats them, and wears their skins
    53. yes, she was a beauty contest contestant
    54. yes, she was once a sportscaster
    55. yes, she has a college degree in Journalism, but I won’t hold that against her, as she seems to have found honest work as well
    56. yes, she sometimes wears her hair up; no that’s not a “beehive”
    57. yes, her husband is Not A White Person (he’s a Yup’ik; an Eskimo but not an Inuit as my Inuit cousins have taken some pains to explain)
    58. yes, she has on occasion, as Mayor, tried to get money from the federal government.
    59. yes, she did finally turn down the money for the bridge. Yes, that meant changing her mind about it.
    60. yes, she was vetted extensively, not just in three days — I’ve got links to press reports about people coming to Wassila on 29 May, and we had her on our Veepstakes at PJM from the first day we ran it.
    61. yes, she want to a bunch of colleges before getting a degree. No, that’s not illegal. Yes, she seems to have made something of herself anyway.
    62. no, they didn’t talk to a lot of the R’s power structure during the vetting; that probably has to do with the fact that she beat them in elections and sent a bunch of them to jail caused a couple of them to leave the government, admit wrongdoing and pay fines. (Corrected because they didn’t apparently actually go to jail. Thanks to Frank for the correction.)
    63. Yes, Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech was written by a speechwriter. Duh. No, none of Obama’s, McCain’s, nor Biden’s speeches were impromptu off the cuff things either.
    64. Yes, she did put the Governors plane on eBay. No, that’s not how it was finally sold. Yes, McCain did say it wrong. Bad McCain.
    65. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t have such control of Alaskans that people are afraid to say bad things about her. (What, are you nuts? Look at this list.) No, I don’t think it’s likely that she called Obama “Sambo”. (Good God, man, I’m ten years older than she and I barely remember “Little Black Sambo.”) Yes, it seems unlikely to me that she’s be real racist and marry a Yup’ik (or a part Yup’ik.) But yes, people are capable of amazing things. Yes, I’m sure there are people who don’t like her — I’ve talked with some myself. And no, I don’t think this waitress would have been thrilled to be called an “aboriginal”. And yes, if she called Hillary a “bitch”, I’m pretty confident is wasn’t the first time anyone in politics has said that.
    66. No, she’s not a “global warming denier”, and when the crush dies down remind me to explain why the very phrasing “global warming denier” is anti-scientific, anti-intellectual, and a clear sign of a desire to impose your beliefs by coercion. But in the mean time, while I do believe that she has expressed some skepticism that warming is wholly human-caused, the existence of the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet and the Alaska Climate Change Strategy work demonstrate that she’s considering the problem and has brought together people more expert than she to advise her.
    67. Yes, Todd Palin did have a DUI. Twenty-two years ago. Get a grip.
    68. No, Sarah Palin’s brother isn’t in jail. Yes, there was a rumor that her brother was in jail. (If he were, it would seem she was in good company with a brother in trouble, see, eg, Billy Carter and Roger Clinton.) But in fact no one seems to have a source for this except for comments posted places like CNN; many of those comments have now disappeared. (Thanks to Galynn in comments.)
    69. Yes, Sarah Palin’s pastor apparently does believe that gays can “repent” and be cured of homosexuality. No, believe it or not, even fundamentalist Christians don’t have to believe every litle thing their pastor believes. Yes, Palin seems to be more libertarian about this. In any case, according to the interview with Greta van Susteren, this isn’t something he emphasizes.
    70. Yes, contrary to press reports, Sarah Palin’s mother-in-law plans to vote for her and the R ticket (when interviewed on Inside Edition.)
    71. No, the fact that some 17 year old was arrested for malicious mischief at the right time doesn’t mean Track Palin was. One of the actual perpetrators was interviewed by the New York Daily News, and he says unequivocally that Track wasn’t involved. The National Enquirer says “unnamed judicial sources” say otherwise. You pick which you believe.
    72. No, she didn’t try to charge rape victims personally for rape kits. This is one of those complicated ones with a tiny hint of truth behind it. First, the Chief of Police in Wasilla (not Palin) did apparently have a policy of asking a victim’s health insurance to pay for the rape kit as part of the ER visit. This, it turns out, is policy in a number of states, including Missouri and North Carolina. Second, the way this became an issue was after the then-governor of Alaska signed a bill forbidding it; this law was signed before Palin was Governor and no one tried to reverse it while she was Governor. Third, what the CoP in Wasilla wanted to do was charge the perpetrator as part of restitution.
    73. Yes, she did say that she figured if “under God” was good enough for the Founding Fathers, it was good enough for her. No, in context I don’t think that means she thinks the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance.
    74. No, she didn’t violate operational security when she mentioned her son was to be mobilized for iraq on 11 September. That was an announced, public departure ceremony. The way this works is you’re mobilized, then go to a US base for conditioning and final training,and then actually go overseas.
    75. Yes, she is apparently against an expansion of casino gambling in Alaska. No, she hasn’t tried to make home gambling illegal.
    76. No, Palin didn’t institute a “windfall profits” tax on the oil companies. She modified the existing severance tax, which works more or less like a sales tax on resources taken out of the ground. (A windfall profit tax, of course, is based on profits.) Just by the way, how is it she’s both “in the pocket of the oil companies” and supposedly instituting a windfall profits tax anyway?
    77. Yes, Todd Palin works for BP Oil. There is a rumor around that he was some kid of executive; it’s not true. He was originally a plant supervisor, and after the concern about conflict of interest, voluntarily was reduced to be a night shift plant operator, a regular technician job. In any case, he took leave from BP when Sarah became Governor, since she would be negotiating with BP, in order to remove the potential conflict of interests.
    78. No, British Petroleum/BP wasn’t the sole sponsor of her inaugural. It was among 20-odd sponsors. In any case, they certainly didn’t get their money’s worth if they were trying to use the inaugural to buy influence; Palin’s renegotiation of the severance tax cost them a pile of money.
    79. No, Palin didn’t eliminate or “void” the Alaskan WIC program as Newsweek claimed. Warren Throckmorton explored this in detail; the truth is that the WIC funding increased during Palin’s time in office; what was cut was a $15,840 separate line request for office supplies and literature. Based on his work, Newsweek was forced to issue a clarification.
    80. No, Trig isn’t an alien either.
    81. No, Sarah Palin doesn’t think that dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve 4000 years ago, In fact, this was a purposeful satire that comes from a post actually entitled Fake Governor Palin Quotes. This has, however, kept neither Matt Damon nor Maureen Dowd from propagating them as fact.
    82. No, Palin never said she and Todd would kill as many as 40 caribou at a time. That was from the same damn collection of fake quotes. No does it make any sense: can you imagine field-dressing 40 caribou?
    83. No, she did not cut the Special Olympics funding in a recent budget, except in the Washington sense of “didn’t increase it as much as someone wanted.” Warren Throckmorton shows is was actually a 10 percent increase over the previous year; voxitar in the comments gives a link to the previous year’s budget of $250,000.
    These have gotten sort of silly, though: she has a line-item veto power, and every last one of the cuts she made can be spun, by a political opponent, to say that she is hurting something that sounds good. She cut a new fire station building; she must be against fire departments. She cut an audio system for a grade school; she must be against education.
    But then, if she cut nothing she wouldn’t be a fiscal conservative, would she?
    84. Yes, she did bill the Alaska State Government for per diem on days when she was “home.” This is how it works: she is maintaining two households. The state law defines her official residence in Juneau as “home”, so when she’s up in Wasilla, she’s “traveling”. That’s the way the law is written, and it appears that she has documented and handled her expenses legally and appropriately, even if it seems odd. And yes, her expenses have been anywhere from a third to a fifth of the expenses of the previous Governor. The Washington Post suggests this calls into question her claim to be a fiscal conservative; personally, I think cutting expenses by 70 to 80 percent seems like a pretty good claim to the title.

    Of course, the list is by no means complete, but it seems a reasonable place to start.

  32. G.A.Phillips says:

    lol she’s not ready for the View, Anjin your just made cause she wont go on your favorite show.

    Where’s triumph when you need him?

    probably watching olbermann.

  33. G.A.Phillips says:

    Sarah Palin doesn’t think that dinosaurs walked the earth with Adam and Eve 4000 years ago,

    well sh-t I do, I guess I can’t be vice president, Dang it.

  34. anjin-san says:

    she wont go on your favorite show

    Actually, she should go on my favorite show (Mad Men) as she clearly needs a script and a scrubbed room before speaking to the American people. Don Draper could help her out…

  35. Billy says:

    Hey Bithead. How many of those were “yes” answers?

    Please source the rest so we can confirm they’re rumors. No, Charlie Martin is not a source. Yes, you will need to link to someone actually spreading one as a rumor. No, you are not a source either. Yes, you are an idiot.

  36. I don’t get it Bithead… about half of the things you listed were true… and some of the rest are so absurd you wouldn’t expect any coverage of them… and the rest… well… which one were not actually covered in the MSM. That was the question, wasn’t it?

    The argument was, in effect, “Why should Palin agree to talk to people who won’t debunk obvious falsehoods about her?” Wasn’t it?

    So, the fact that they report true statements, and in some cases don’t bother debunking the absurd — Trig is an alien??! You want the NYT to have a story saying, “Trig Palin is not an Alien”? What am I missing? If you the narrow the list down to actual lies about Palin that the MSM has not debunked, it would be more useful.

  37. Bithead says:

    No, Charlie Martin is not a source.

    Martin will serve for this particular, since this place blocks me when I link more than one, and he’s got the stuff pretty heavily linked.

    I don’t get it Bithead…

    Clearly, but maybe I can help you out.

    Tell me, Bernie… can you imagine the stuff hitting the fan if those same stories were posted about Obama?

    For example, let’s get SNL to do a skit, written by Al Franken, where he’s charged with having sex with his daughters, and see what comes of it, shall we?

  38. What does SNL have to do with the mainstream media? How is that a story? And do I really need to go into all the crazy anti-Obama stories? 10-15% of the country thinks he is a closet Muslim. Is there any crazy Palin rumor that has anywhere near that level of penetration?

    And don’t call me Bernie. It is presumptuous and best, and rude at worst.

  39. Davebo says:

    Tell me, Bernie… can you imagine the stuff hitting the fan if those same stories were posted about Obama?

    For example, let’s get SNL to do a skit, written by Al Franken, where he’s charged with having sex with his daughters, and see what comes of it, shall we?

    Blog posts from anonymous bloggers produce Saturday Night Live these days?

    I mean, I know it sucks, but is that the reason?

    Seriously Bit, refer to John Cole’s post above.

    Or perhaps you’re a little late in the game for that now.

  40. Derrick says:

    For example, let’s get SNL to do a skit, written by Al Franken, where he’s charged with having sex with his daughters, and see what comes of it, shall we?

    Wow, Bithead, with an imagination like that I’m hoping that you aren’t visited by Chris Hanson in the near future.

  41. Bithead says:

    Imagination?
    Seems you missed SNL. No matter.

  42. Bithead says:

    And do I really need to go into all the crazy anti-Obama stories?

    Why not?

    And don’t call me Bernie. It is presumptuous and best, and rude at worst.

    No offense…. didn’t mean to hit a soft spot… Friend of mine is named Bernard and everyone calls him Bernie, too. Course, he’s pretty easy-going, down to earth sort too. We DJ’d together for years. (Shrug)

  43. Michael says:

    Bithead, of that fairly extensive list only a small handful actually were covered by the media.

    I’m sure any random person at MSNBC will be aware of less than a dozen of them actually existing. Heck, I’m not even sure that Martin isn’t making up half of them just to pad his list. If it gets no coverage, nobody is going to debunk it, because it effectively doesn’t exist.

    I mean, we don’t take every stupid thing that G.A.Phillips or Zelsdorf says about Obama and claim it’s a rumor the MSM is refusing to debunk, so you don’t get to effectively do exactly that and play the Palin victimization bit.

  44. Michael says:

    well sh-t I do, I guess I can’t be vice president, Dang it.

    Trust me, thats only one of the many, many reasons you won’t ever be vice president.

  45. Michael says:

    Imagination?
    Seems you missed SNL. No matter.

    Yeah, the skit sucked, as do most SNL skits anymore, but it was obviously trying to mock the NY Times, not insinuate that there actually was incest. In fact, it was mocking the MSM for doing exactly what you are accusing them or doing, running unverified rumors.

  46. Bithead says:

    So why didn’t they use Obama, instead?

  47. anjin-san says:

    It’s very clear why the right wants to have an extended dialog about an important issue like an SNL skit.

    The McCain campaign knows that Palin is not ready to face the American people, the press and the world without training wheels, so the right is desperately (witness bithead) trying to alter the dialog.

    I for one would really like to see Palin take a few questions about the economic crisis. After all, she may be Vice-President in a few months. (Though that’s less of a possibility every day as McCain’s numbers head south).

    It’s classic GOP. We are at war, we have a vast deficit and an economic crisis of historic proportions. Let’s talk about a late night TV show.

  48. Jafar says:

    This is more evidence for the “Palin was a desperately poor choice” pile. For informed voters this is much like a bad dream.

  49. Michael says:

    So why didn’t they use Obama, instead?

    They had been doing skits about Obama for a while. They had been doing skits about all the candidates. They did Palin on this one because Palin was new, and SNL is obviously desperate for new material.

  50. Alex Knapp says:

    So why didn’t they use Obama, instead?

    Bithead, did you actually watch the skit? They were making fun of the New York Times and making it look like most of their reporters were completely clueless when it comes to Alaska specifically and flyover country generally. I’d’ve thought you would have liked it. (It was also a pretty funny.)

  51. davod says:

    “Maybe their still getting her road teleprompter ready,”

    What? Obama is going to campaign with Palin?

  52. LaurenceB says:

    It’s nice that folks are so well-informed about Palin’s religion and her family. But it would be even nicer if she would explain her position on immigration or health care, wouldn’t it? Does anyone on this thread know Palin’s position on NAFTA? Has she ever given it? How about minimum wage laws? Children’s health care insurance?

    Anyone want to expound on Palin’s position on these?

    That she is being hidden from the American public by the McCain campaign is nothing short of disgraceful.

  53. Bithead says:

    Bithead, did you actually watch the skit?

    Of course.
    It’s likely still up on YouTube.
    Of course so did a few million other people… and more than just watched the show. Interestingly enough, a goodly portion of these drew the conclusions I have here.