The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

‘His Typical Silly-Bitch Passive-Aggressive Gay-Gossip Insinuation Act’

Posted on | April 23, 2011 | 15 Comments

Andrew Sullivan gets a memorable beatdown from Ace of Spades, after Sully returned to old habits in reaction to Justin Elliott’s debunking of Trig-Trutherism at Salon.

A couple days ago, I was interviewed by a reporter who is working on a story about Trig-Trutherism and other anti-Palin memes that have circulated over the past two-and-half years. You may remember my post from Wasilla, “How to Write an Anti-Palin Hit Piece.” As I subsequently explained in an article for The American Spectator:

My trip to Wasilla was prompted mainly by curiosity about the origins of the mental disorder known as Palin Derangement Syndrome.
Long before she became the subject of international media scrutiny, Palin had become the idée fixe of a clique of home-state enemies, including former Republican state legislator Andrew Halcro; Anchorage “progressive” talk-radio host Shannyn Moore; University of Alaska music professor Phil Munger; and a gadfly Democrat named Jeanne Devon whose “Mudflats” blog became a go-to source for gossip after Palin was picked as John McCain’s 2008 running mate. The disgruntlement of certain erstwhile allies also fed into the anti-Palin narratives that developed in the media during the fall 2008 campaign and thereafter.

So when I got a call this week from a reporter who is working on an article about the anti-Palin narrative, what I most wanted to get across was my theory of how all this developed:

  1. Palin’s surprise choice — Almost nobody expected Sarah Palin to be chosen as John McCain’s running mate. I remember that the DNC had a page devoted to oppo-research on all of the likely GOP VP picks, and Palin’s name wasn’t on that list. So, in the immediate aftermath of her selection, there was a very small supply of information to meet an overwhelming demand.
  2. The Alaska sources — The choice of Palin suddenly elevated this tiny handful of Palin’s Alaska enemies, led by Shannyn Moore, to the status of authoritative sources. This was their 15 minutes of fame, and they were eager to capitalize on it.
  3. The “Save Obama” panic — Prior to the announcement of Palin as John McCain’s running-mate, Democrats had been confident that Barack Obama was cruising to victory. Within a week of the Palin pick, however, the Republican ticket surged ahead in polls and — by the time I covered a McCain-Palin rally in Ohio September 9 — it was obvious that Palin had struck a spark with the GOP grassroots. So there was an overwhelming impulse among Democrats to destroy Sarah Palin by any means necessary.

This combination of factors created a “perfect storm” environment in which such bogus narratives as Trig-Trutherism could flourish. There was a media updraft by which the most worthless pissant bloggers, like Jesse “Gryphen” Griffin, could be catapulted to national importance. A credulous willingness on the part of liberals to believe anything that made Sarah Palin look bad — a near-infinite appetite for anti-Palin “news” — was the essential element of this updraft.

Why, then, has Trig-Trutherism lately been resurfacing in the news? The main reason, I believe, is that Donald Trump and others have been pushing the “Birther” meme against Obama, which inspires liberals to respond, “Oh, yeah? Well, two can play that game!” The two memes are not analogous, of course, but in the minds of some people, unfair attacks on Obama justify a renewal of unfair attacks on Palin.

A secondary reason for the recrudescence of Trig-Trutherism: Several writers are under contract to deliver anti-Palin books this year.

Both “award-winning investigative reporter” Geoffrey Dunn (whose book is due out next month) and notorious Palin stalker Joe McGinniss (whose book comes out in September) have recently made excursions into that fetid swamp of speculation. Major publishing companies have invested many thousands of dollars in advances to these authors, who have an obvious incentive to assert themselves as authorities on the subject of Palin.

The laws of supply and demand operate in the media just as they do in any market environment, and the book companies that awarded contracts for anti-Palin books were like speculators who bid up the price of oil whenever there is news of turmoil in the Middle East. If Palin actually runs for president in 2012, those publishers (St. Martins for Dunn’s book, Crown/Random House for McGinniss’s book) are positioned to cash in. Of course, if Palin is really the scheming vindictive monster liberals believe her to be, she’ll announce in August that she’s not running — just in time to ruin sales for McGinnis.


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