One Man’s Heroic Quest for Truth

Why not a little Palinmania on a Saturday when everyone is looking forward to football, cooking, or other weekend diversions? I saw this semi-explosive piece airing dirty laundry of Joe McGinnis and Jesse Griffen, one of the hardy band of Palin web stalkers, over at Big Government the other day. John Hinderaker raised the obvious question of whether it could be evidence of libel. As interesting to me are the many nuggets the (alleged) email contains reflecting on McGinnis’s MO and agenda, as well as his candid if unintentional indictment of the anti-Palin muckraking web posse. These two paragraphs are striking to me, if in no way surprising for what they admit:

I’ve neither seen nor heard anything that indicates that Ms. Tripp’s story has any basis in fact. None of the endless crap Patrick posted about her before getting the boot from palingates.com offers any substantiation.


And even you write frequently that you know things you can’t yet post, but that soon “all will be revealed.” This has been going on since I first became aware of your blog, but as far as I know you haven’t substantiated a single claim or provided verification for a single rumor that you’ve posted about Sarah’s personal life, or the personal lives of any Palin family members. Thus, she gets to denounce what she calls “lies.”

Here we see a desperate and apparently angry McGinnis, betrayed! by his fellow Palinphobes. Amazingy, McGinnis appears to have submitted his manuscript containing all these rumours while knowing that they lacked any substantiation whatsoever. Tawdry and pathetic are words that come to mind. McGinnis moved next door to the Palins to spy on them but was still scrambling after his manuscript went to the publisher to justify the sleaziest accusations he put in it, and castigating amateur smear merchants for letting him down. The lament at the end is priceless and telling. He isn’t concerned that the internet rumors spread by hate hobbyists might be lies, only that they give Palin the opportunity to call them what they are. Unfair!

18 Responses

  1. I started this just as an open thread with a couple of small items but got carried away. I guess I'm a little incorrigible. Anyone know why the post editor keeps insistently inserting multiple returns betwen paragraphs, and putting them back every time I delete them?

    Like

  2. First, life's not fair. Trust me. Second, Sarah Palin wants media attention. The problem is, most successful celebrities get not just the media attention they want, but also a lot that they don't. My guess is the 'unwanted media attention industry' is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, if not billions.Third, part of a celebrity's brand management process is to maximize the attention that serves the brand while minimizing the attention that diminishes it. Palin understands the former, but not the latter. The latter won't go away on its own, it must be either disincentivized, marginalized or distracted. Some colleagues at work started a rumor that I was 'faking' my illness to get attention. To call their comments unfair would have strengthened their position. So without taking them on directly, I marginalized their rumors to the point where they gave up. Personally, I'd love to have the Palin rumor machine vanish. Ain't gonna happen unless Palin wises up a bit.

    Like

  3. qb:Anyone know why the post editor keeps insistently inserting multiple returns betwen paragraphs, and putting them back every time I delete them?No, but it is annoying. I think if you edit in the HTML mode rather than in compose mode, you can get rid of the extra returns and not have them come back by getting rid of redundant and extraneous HTML code.

    Like

  4. MsJS:I see this post as being more about McGinnis than Palin. Whatever her deficiencies may be, McGinnis is clearly a lot less worthy of respect as a purveyor of truth and facts than I had previously thought. I quite enjoyed his previous books, especially Fatal Vision about the Jeffrey MacDonald murders in North Carolina, but I have confess that, knowing what I now know about him, I would read the book with much less credulity than I did when I first read it.

    Like

  5. Scott, I tried removing the returns in html many times, but they usually bounced back. Maybe kev can help.MsJS, my point was as Scott says more about McGinnis (and the Palin bloggers) than Palin. He seems to have thrown ethics completely to the wind. The bloggers he is talking about were fairly widely touted in places like … PL, but here even Joe is privately admitting it is just a bunch of "crap" that and presumptively lies.We don't excuse lie and smear campaigns against other figures because they make themselves public. Palin seems to be different, with a large contingent willing to say she has it coming for making herself public. I really don't get that. This kind of defamation isn't excusable.

    Like

  6. Having assumed that McGinnis was no better than grocery store checkout line reading, I am surprised to learn that he previously wrote a book anyone could take seriously.I agree with Scott that the post is about McGinnis. I agree that even under NYT v. Sullivan this could be actionable. I agree with MsJS that a defamation suit probably does not serve the interests of SheWhoMustNotBeNamed.I also think this raises for discussion a brand of sexism in public life. While there might be motivation to defame BHO or GWB for remote past alleged sins, no one has sought to make either out as a serial skirt chaser before marriage because if they were, their reputations would not be impaired. But the sex life of a pretty sports announcer in Alaska in her 20s is somehow of prurient interest. Am I the only one who thinks this is an angle worth discussing?

    Like

  7. I've never been much interested in tabloid stuff to begin with or "celebrity" type news or books. I don't care for Palin politically, even a little, but some of this stuff is out of bounds IMO. I would say the same of both men and women.I enjoy reading in depth biographical stories but not if they have an agenda, which this appears to have.

    Like

  8. I think the meaning of all this, at this point in time, might be that Joe as made himself irrelevant. There was a lot of hoopla surrounding his move to Alaska to do the great service of nailing down Palin for the POS she "really" is, but his performance and behavior have become the stuff of parody. His credibility is likely gone for everyone but the people for whom evidence never mattered anyway.

    Like

  9. This is somewhat relevant so I'll drop it in here. An editor over at Slate criticizes Ron Suskind for all his books, including the ones about Bush. As an editor, you develop a B.S. meter—an internal warning system that signals caution about journalism that doesn't feel trustworthy. Sometimes it's a quote or incident that's too perfect —a feeling I always had when reading stories by Stephen Glass in the New Republic. Sometimes it's too many errors of fact, the overuse of anonymous sources, or signs that a reporter hasn't dealt fairly with people or evidence. And sometimes it's a combination of flaws that produces a ring of falsity, the whiff of a bad egg. There's no journalist who sets off my bullshit alarm like Ron Suskind.

    Like

  10. Bob Woodward has some history of publishing unverifiable "just so" stories, too.

    Like

  11. Lms, the problem Anita Dunn had in contradicting Suskind is that he has everythig on tape.

    Like

  12. qb…I fixed the formatting to get rid of the extra returns. Required a lot of deleting of redundant/extraneous html. Not sure there is a way to avoid it. I've noticed that when composing in "compose" mode, and using buttons to create html, it uses a lot of extraneous code that sometimes has inexplicable effects. Plus, it seems that for regular text, a single return will but a space between graphs, but within a block quote you need two returns to create the space. Odd, but that is what I had to do to format your post properly.

    Like

  13. McWing, I'm sure there's some or even a lot of truth in Suskind's book, I was just pointing out that his veracity is in question on several books not just this one. And I thought it interesting that an editor from Slate questioned some of the stuff on Bush. Interesting because of the discussion yesterday of media bias. I haven't read any of his books so I really can't speak from any personal knowledge whatsoever. I generally call these kind of books "fly on the wall" or the by campfire game "telephone" and don't necessarily trust them much.

    Like

  14. I get that the post is more about McGinnis. But it's also about how the 'unwanted media industry' operates. As long as there's a demand for unsubstantiated stories, the celebrity in question has to have a strategy to manage it. As for those of us who read 'tell all' stuff thinking it's true (including me), it's always been a buyer-beware activity. We get duped into thinking the 'tell all' is true because we want it to be so. One day maybe we'll all wake up, but probably not soon.Mark, my view on the sexism angle is it's minimal at best. Since she ran as VP, Palin has made millions doing exactly what she loves doing, which is being adored by her fans and tailed by the media. Tailing Palin has been a profitable cottage industry of late because there's a demand for the output, factual or not. Eventually her star will fade and the folks who do this for a living will find another target.McGinnis may be temporarily down, but he'll resurface. Probably sooner rather than later.

    Like

  15. ScottC, thanks for taking care of that. I had noticed it too, especially when inserting links, so it sounds like you found the nub of the problem.

    Like

  16. I've pretty much read universal condemnation of the "biography", so it appears the MSM shares your views of Messr. McGinnis.BB

    Like

  17. Reminiscent of the October-surprisey Bush biography Fortunate Son. I was trying to find a way to publish my writing back in 2003, and so reading variousnwriting magazines. One of them had a great deconstruction of both the book and author, and I was surprised that nobody I that I saw picked it up, given that much of the tabloidy accusations about Bush came from that particular book.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Mr. Troll McWingnut Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: