Friday, April 8, 2011

Sarah Palin's former spokesman Bill McAllister hits back at Journalism Professor's research regarding Palin's Trig pregnancy hoax

By Kathleen

Dan Carpenter, Sarah Palin and Bill McAllister (taken April 13th 2008)

In a recent post Patrick hinted that there is more to come. Here is some of it.

The Northerner, the student newspaper for Northern Kentucky University, reveals that Bill McAllister, Sarah Palin's former communications director, has hit back at suggestions by a Northern Kentucky university professor, Brad Scharlott, that he may have been involved in a hoax regarding Sarah Palin's alleged pregnancy with Trig Palin.

Brad Scharlott is an Associate Professor in Journalism and has taught at Northern Kentucky since 1991. The Northerner writes that Scharlott recently completed a research paper "Palin, the Press, and the Fake Pregnancy Rumour" which explores the mainstream media's role in dealing with the rumours surrounding Palin's pregnancy with Trig and quotes Scharlott's motivation for doing so:

Scharlott said he first became interested in the pregnancy hoax rumor after Palin was nominated as a vice-presidential candidate, and said he was fascinated that no one from McCain’s camp chose to rebut the rumor.

In his paper, Scharlott says that the “oddness of the McCain’s campaign response to the fake birth rumors should have caused reporters, ostensibly skeptical by training and nature, to wonder if something was amiss.”

Scharlott asserts that this topic is relevant because Palin is still saying she may decide to run in the upcoming presidential election, “because if Palin has lied about the pregnancy, it says a lot about her character, her fitness for the presidency, and maybe even her mental health.”
“[There’s] a theory out of mass communications that ideas not in the mainstream can be squeezed out of the public sphere entirely,” Scharlott said. “I think that’s what happened with the idea that Palin may have faked the pregnancy and now, while some people may privately speak about it, no one in America wants to be quoted about it."

Scharlott sent the paper to Bill McAllister as a matter of "fairness" because he had suggested that McAllister may have been directly or indirectly "involved in a hoax". According to The Northerner McAllister's response was that he never knew anything of the rumour until she announced her vice-presidential bid. In the email McAllister asserts:

“I had never even heard a rumor [about this] until she was chosen by McCain, then that weekend all kinds of shit came out that no one had heard before,” McAllister said. “[Scharlott’s research] defames me and I’m just not having it."

It is hard to believe that McAllister had never heard of the fake pregnancy rumours before the election when you consider the fact that half of Alaska was discussing them at the end of March/beginning of April 2008 and that Palin herself wanted to prove the rumours wrong. How can it be possible that a highly experienced Alaskan journalist had missed hearing about such suggestions regarding the woman who was the Governor of his state? I find it hard to accept McAllister's denials.

You can read more at The Northerner which reveals details such as the fact that McAllister thinks Scharlott "should quit" and that he forwarded a copy of his email to five other members of the faculty. It would seem that McAllister would like nothing more than to curtail the distribution of Scharlott's paper and that he wants to discredit it in whatever way he can because it has the potential to open up a real investigation into the rumours of Palin's pregnancy with Trig.

Personally I am looking forward to seeing Professor Scharlott's research paper in the public domain. I hope you will not have to wait too long before you can read it.

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