Monday, April 25, 2011

"Politico" reports about the anti-Palin bloggers, mentions "Politicalgates" - The "mission to expose Sarah Palin" continues

By Patrick

In a detailed article which has already angered the Palin-fans, Ken Vogel from "Politico" takes a close look at the anti-Palin movement and the anti-Palin bloggers in particular. Ken Vogel did not rely on "second hand information" for this article, but conducted several interviews, including with myself, which shows that Vogel takes his journalism seriously. This might sound funny, but in a world where even established and fact-orientated journalists and bloggers like Joe McGinniss, Geoffrey Dunn and Andrew Sullivan are quickly branded "conspiracy theorists" by parts of the liberal media, because they continue to ask very inconvenient questions about Sarah Palin, traces of "real" journalism are indeed hard to find. The heated political climate and the well-known fanaticism of the Palin-fans also makes the presentation of simple facts a real challenge for mainstream journalists these days.

At the beginning of the article, Vogel repeats the false "mainstream media mantra" that the faked pregnancy rumors have been "thoroughly discredited", linking to a flawed item about Sarah Palin's pregnancy which was published by in 2008 - an item in which declared the case of Sarah Palin's pregnancy as closed without having reviewed ANY documentary evidence. But Ken Vogel also explains that this might not be the end of the story yet:

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.”

Ken Vogel then reports in greater detail about Geoffrey Dunn's recent article regarding Palin's pregnancy, which was rejected by Huffington Post as a "conspiracy theory", but was published by "Business Insider" instead. The quotes by Geoffrey Dunn barely hide Dunn's disappointment about this controversial and almost inexplicable decision taken by Huffington Post:

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.

It's interesting that the article mentions that there are other books in the works "which deal with the rumor", because we have heard about similar rumours ourselves. This does not include the books that will be published soon by Dunn, Bailey and McGinniss.

What is important about this article is that the anti-Palin blogging movement is described in greater detail by a mainstream journalist:

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."

If you want to call them "mini-scoops" or "major-scoops" doesn't matter - they are scoops nonetheless, and Ken Vogel only mentions some of them. He included scoops by Jeanne Devon, Jesse Griffin, Regina at Palingates and also scoops which I published at Palingates like the exposure of Rebecca Mansour as an employee of SarahPAC and the revelation that Sarah Palin's highly publicised "bus tour" for the presentation of "Going Rogue" was in fact a "private jet tour" (see also the subsequent article by Joe McGinniss in the "Daily Beast"). But much is missing.

Other "scoops" that I worked on during my time at Palingates were for example:

- the revelation that Sarah Palin received a speaking fee of $ 75,000 for her atrocious appearance at CSU Stanislaus, four days before any other media outlet reported this figure (the LA Times in this instance)

- the revelation that the Palin family received a six-figure sum for a "family cover story" in In-Touch magazine (which was later confirmed by the New York Post)

- the publication of leaked excerpts from "America by Heart" at the end of 2010 (see for example here and here), the contents of which were then reported by many mainstream media outlets, including major TV-stations like ABC.

In addition, the contributor "micmac" revealed exclusively at Palingates that the influential NOW-member Elaine Lafferty secretly received $ 12,000 from SarahPAC (in addition to other large amounts that she openly received from the McCain campaign), while writing positive stories about Sarah Palin at the Daily Beast at the same time.

There were other scoops which I reported at Palingates that are not being acknowledged by the mainstream yet, for example

- the exclusive revelation that Todd Palin is not the biological father of Track Palin (wait for Frank Bailey's book who quotes email by Sarah Palin which deal with this issue...)

- the extremely close, long-established relationship of the Palin family to the family of convicted murderer Jeremy Morlock (link to the original posts HERE, and link to the posts with the photos still intact HERE)

In addition, there is of course Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy, which in my opinion is the most dangerous scandal for Sarah Palin. It's also a revelation which is still being rejected by the mainstream media - but this is going to change.

Ken Vogel points out at the end that the Palin camp is thin-skinned:

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.

Already in December 2009, her ultra thin skin started to show, when she published a short, but very telling facebook post titled "Stupid Conspiracies":

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."

The first chapter about "Sarah Palin and the bloggers" has been written, many more chapters will follow. It will continue to be an exciting and revealing ride.

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