It's wrong to cast those who question Trig's birth story as crazed conspiracy theorists when the media have not done their job
By Kathleen Baker, editor of Politicalgates
Originally published at "The Guardian"
Then Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell, and Sandy Parnell, as Palin announced her endorsement of Parnell in his run for a congressional seat, on 14 March 2008, at the state elections office in Anchorage, Alaska. Palin's son Trig was born just over a month later on 18 April. Photograph: Michael Dinneen/AP Photo
+++UPDATE: Very sorry guys - the Guardian has pulled the article AGAIN, now for the second time even with the reworded version which you can read below (the rewording was done because the Guardian had requested it). We will see what happens next...keep the fingers crossed that everything will turn out to be fine. The communication with the Guardian is very friendly and open. +++ UPDATE APRIL 29: The Guardian is still checking with their lawyers whether they can put the article back up again. +++ UPDATE 2, APRIL 29: Matt Seaton, editor at the Guardian, just told us: "Got legal clearance; no further changes called for. Article is back on site."
The rumours surrounding Sarah Palin's pregnancy with Trig have been an issue that found little attention in the media until two weeks ago, when a research paper by Bradford Scharlott, associate professor of journalism at Northern Kentucky University, hit the mainstream. Professor Scharlott asserted in his paper that there exists a "spiral of silence" in the media regarding the circumstances surrounding Trig Palin's birth.
Scharlott was not the first person to make this observation. Since August 2008, the influential blogger Andrew Sullivan, editor at the "The Dish", has repeatedly and harshly criticised the media for its unwillingness to report on Sarah Palin's pregnancy in a long series of posts on his blog. In addition, Sullivan published an article in the Sunday Times (of London) on 22 November 2009, in which he gave a summary of Sarah Palin's incredible birth story and astutely observed that her account makes "Xena, the warrior princess, seem fragile" in comparison.
But what is Sarah Palin's birth story, and why is it relevant?
A short look at the available documentation reveals that a coherent birth story is hard to determine, as several versions exist – all told by Sarah Palin herself. The first version, audiotaped during a press conference on 21 April 2008, is the one where Sarah Palin went on the record right after Trig's birth. During the press conference, the following exchange happened:
Reporter: So did your water break?
Palin: Well, if you must know more of those type of details, but, um …
Reporter: Well, your dad said that and I saw him say it so that's why I asked.
Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labour being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let's call her.
This exchange established that Palin's waters broke during the early hours of the morning on 17 April 2008 in Dallas, Texas. Lisa Demer quoted in the Anchorage Daily News an obstetrician, who confirmed: "To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing. We are talking doctor-speak."
This statement by Sarah Palin was the "trigger" for deep scepticism on part of some journalists regarding the veracity of Palin's birth story, as well as the start of investigations by bloggers and citizens. I have played a role in these investigations since November 2008. Since then, a lot of new material has been discovered – and Sarah Palin has herself changed the details of Trig's birth story several times. In her autobiography, Going Rogue, there is no mention of her "amniotic fluid leaking", but Palin changes her account on page 193 by claiming that she was woken at 4am on 17 April 2008 by a "strange sensation low in my belly".
This change to the general storyline came as no surprise to the bloggers. By her own account, Sarah Palin's pregnancy was a "high-risk" one: she was 44 years old, and it was her seventh pregnancy (she had two previous miscarriages); the baby had Down's Syndrome, and was about to be born prematurely. The fact that Palin, despite the obvious complications, embarked on a ten-hour plane journey from Dallas to Anchorage with a stopover in Seattle, bypassing the first-rate Baylor Regional Medical Centre in Dallas with an NICU situated ten minutes away from the conference she was attending, is mystifying – even more so since Palin also bypassed Providence hospital in Anchorage, which is also equipped with excellent NICU facilities which would have ensured a safe delivery for her premature son.
Sarah Palin officially gave birth at Mat-Su Regional Medical Centre on 18 April 2008, a local hospital with no NICU, to 6lb 2oz Trig, who was presented by his grandparents to the journalists just a few hours after his birth. Oddly, in a memorable appearance in Waco, Texas, on 14 September 2010, Palin, after bragging that she holds the "world record" in hiding her pregnancy and joking about the "Trig truthers", told the audience that she "had the baby in Anchorage", when official accounts have her giving birth 45 minutes away in Palmer.
Why are there so many apparent contradictions in Palin's account of Trig's birth story? Many blogs have addressed this question: for example, on the blogs Politicalgates, Palingates and Palin's Deceptions, as well as Andrew Sullivan on the Daily Dish. The controversy was known at the time of Sarah Palin's nomination for vice-presidential candidate, with Michael Carey, an editor for the Anchorage Daily News, making explicit reference to rumours, at the Republican convention. Despite the considerable attention that Professor Scharlott's paper has received since it was released, Sarah Palin and her fans have been strangely silent on the issue. Palin could end the public discussion immediately by presenting hard evidence, such as hospital or insurance records. She once claimed to have shown Trig's birth certificate, but to this day, no journalist has seen it.
This issue is not about misogyny, as Megan Carpentier claimed in her recent commentary in the Guardian. We are not misogynist and we have no interest in examining Sarah Palin's "vagina". The majority of our readers, supporters and researchers are female, and they are usually women with experience in giving birth. There are also many readers who have medical backgrounds who strongly question Palin's account of Trig's birth. I also would like to point out that we are also not fixated on the pregnancy, as Carpentier asserts, but have written about many different issues regarding Sarah Palin.
The questions about Sarah Palin's pregnancy are relevant, because they raise issues of trust about a woman who almost became the vice-president of the US and who still has a large following and political influence. Journalists who now quickly declare this matter "closed" without having examined the evidence should be reminded that former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt is on the record saying that Palin's book Going Rogue comprises "not 70%, but 100% fiction". Journalists should take this statement more seriously before putting their reputation on the line for Sarah Palin. Instead, they should ask her some tough questions.
"Babygate" has been covered in much more detail in previous and later posts. Far more pictures and other documentation exists. You can find all this information here:
Read all posts at Politicalgates about Sarah Palin's faked pregnancy with Trig - FOR THE COLLECTION, CLICK HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE AND HERE.
Read the old post at Palingates about the faked pregnancy with the pictures still intact HERE.
We break the "Spiral of Silence" - Read the details about the "biggest hoax in American political history!"
In addition, please don't hesitate to watch the excellent video-documentaries about "babygate" which our reader Lidia17 created - HERE, HERE and HERE.