Accuracy in Media

The New York Times, which is no fan of Sarah Palin, came to her defense in a backhanded way with a less than favorable review of a new anti-Palin book due out next week.

In May 2010 bestselling author Joe McGinniss moved into a house that just happened to be next door to the Palins in Wasilla, Alaska so that he could have a birds-eye view of the home and hopefully dig up some dirt for his new book, The Rogue.

But according to Times reviewer Janet Maslin, McGinniss wound up writing a book that is dated, petty and full of unsubstantiated gossip and unnamed sources.

Mr. McGinniss explains that he was shocked, just shocked, at the angry response his presence in Wasilla provoked. But “The Rogue” makes the Palins’ widely publicized anger understandable, even to readers who might have defended his right to set up shop in their neighborhood and soak up the local color. Although most of “The Rogue” is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like “one resident” and “a friend.”

And these stories need not be consistent. “The Rogue” suggests that Todd Palin and the young Sarah Heath took drugs. It also says that she lacked boyfriends and was a racist. And it includes this: “A friend says, ‘Sarah and her sisters had a fetish for black guys for a while.’” Mr. McGinniss did in 2011 make a phone call to the former N.B.A. basketball player Glen Rice, who is black, and prompted him to acknowledge having fond memories of Sarah Heath. While Mr. Rice avoids specifics and uses the words “respectful” and “a sweetheart,” Mr. McGinniss eggs him on with the kind of flagrantly leading question he seems to have habitually asked. In Mr. Rice’s case: “So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?”

So for McGinniss, a basketball player having fond memories of a younger Palin means that she had sex with him? This sounds like something more worthy of the tabloids than of a “serious” book on Palin.

Maslin summed up her feelings by saying that McGinniss is “too busy being nasty to be lucid,” which maybe should have been the title for her review.

Despite Maslin’s panning of the book McGinniss will more than likely be the toast of the liberal media, since when it comes to discussing Palin the truth doesn’t seem to matter.

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