Today I am going to take a bit of a detour from my fun, feisty, Quick Take Tuesday interviews with authors about their books and my nascent novel, to talk with a man whose most recent work truly intrigues me.

Bradford W. Scharlott, Ph.D., is a tenured professor of journalism and communications at Northern Kentucky University. Several days ago, he released an academic paper entitled “Palin, the Press and the Fake Pregnancy Rumor:  Did a Spiral of Silence Shut down the Story?”

You can find the paper here on Scribd, which is where, I feel compelled to add, I have more than 81,000 reads of my New York Times articles, essays and novel chapters. I also have about 45,000 subscribers and I know it to be a social media site where every manner of document is available for reading, commenting and sharing.

Dr. Scharlott’s paper is 29-pages-long. Three of those comprise the bibliography. It contains photos of Sarah Palin either appearing pregnant, or not.  But more importantly, it has ignited a firestorm of criticism, discussion, and indignation.

I don’t know Dr. Scharlott from Adam. But I’m going to call him Brad during our conversation because we’ve now emailed enough times to get this ball rolling.  I am also going to say this about Sarah Palin:  I have a character in my novel, Finding Clarity,  that I call “Sarah Palin with a penis.” That is because he has very disorganized thought and speech patterns. I’m going to try to limit my opinion on her to that disclaimer.

As anyone can see from browsing my website, I worked in television and radio news – yes, even with Rush Limbaugh many years ago! – and for The New York Times, for decades. I attended Columbia University as an undergraduate and for Journalism school and was there the same years as Barack Obama apparently, though I don’t ever recall seeing him and I suspect he’d say the same of me.

I now consider myself a novelist and a blogger. I am also a happily married wife, a very active volunteer in my community, and a mother whose child was born prematurely with very intense medical issues (I’ll go into that.)

That said, this is going to be an informal conversation. I don’t have five editors breathing down my neck, so we’re free to make this dynamic, meaning mutable or changing over time. Some of the grammar might not be perfect. Let’s just see how this goes.

LN:  Brad, I had no sooner read about your paper than I found myself reading criticism of it. Let’s start with that. What’s the reaction been? Are you getting hammered? Is the mainstream media taking note of this paper?

BS: Well the first reaction was pretty odd. Last week I sent a copy of my paper to Sarah Palin’s former press secretary asking if he had any comments, since he is mentioned in an unflattering way. He went ballistic. He called me a “scumbag” who is “in the service of evil.” He said he would slap me if he ever saw me, and that in a former age he would have challenged me to a duel. And then, under the heading “Brad Scharlott disgraces your university” he sent that critique of me in an email to all my colleagues in my department. I’m guessing he was used to using strong-arm tactics like that in Alaska. I guess he didn’t realize that 1) I am a tenured professor who can research anything I want, and 2) no one in Kentucky gives a shit about what he thinks.

And then something happened he didn’t count on. The student newspaper at my university learned what he did. So they interviewed me about his toxic rant and effort to embarrass me, and then they called him and got his view (he called for me to be fired), and then they posted a story about the matter in the online version of the student paper. And I thought, “What a golden opportunity!” So I asked the student newspaper editors if they wanted to post my paper online next to the story – and of course they did. And then it started spreading like wildfire. Exactly the opposite thing that Bill McAllister would have wanted.

As for reactions from journalists, a writer at Salon.com  took note of the paper in a negative way yesterday, suggesting my university should be embarrassed that I wrote it – but give the writer his due, he posted my paper for reading or downloading so readers could maker up their own minds. His article prompted Andrew Sullivan of Newsweek/DailyBeast to essentially defend the appropriateness of my research – and to make the observation that the Salon writer was basically providing evidence in support of my thesis about a “spiral of silence.”

So those are the heaviest of the heavyweights to weigh in on my paper. There are blog sites devoted to revealing the truth concerning Trig’s birth, such as ImmoralMinority.com and Politicalgates.com, and folks there have treated me like a rock star. I’ve had dozens of emails and phone calls from people basically saying, “Thank God you’re doing this.”

LN:  What’s your thesis? Why did you write an academic paper on this? What do you hope to do with it?

BS: My contention is that the mainstream press averted their eyes from obvious holes in Palin’s story about the birth of Trig, her supposed fifth child. My thesis is that, for a variety of reasons, a spiral of silence choked off any discussion of a possible hoax, and the very topic is so taboo the mainstream press has avoided it like the plague.

In a nutshell, a spiral of silence takes hold when people perceive an idea they hold is outside of what most people seem to think and therefore censor themselves, to avoid disapproval or ridicule. And the more such people censor themselves, the more outside the mainstream their view becomes, until the view is virtually extinguished from the mainstream, at least as represented in the mass media.

My hope for the paper has always been twofold. One objective is to do what academics like me typically do: present the paper at an academic conference and then publish in an academic journal. (I’ve submitted it to a conference – I’ll hear in next month if it has been accepted).

But the other objective has always been the overriding one: to use my paper to force the mainstream media to confront their negligence concerning the fantastic birth story and report on it. Since the fall of 2008 I have been dismayed by the cravenness of American journalists. I’m a former journalist myself, and now I am a journalism professor. My aim, in part, is to help reveal the truth. But even more than that, my aim is to help American journalism regain its integrity, in some small measure.

BS:  I’m now going to ask you a question, Laura. You were a reporter for a long time. Yet you’ve been out of the MSM for a while. What do you make of this pregnancy story?

LN:  At some point I pitched the idea of investigating this story to one of my editors at The New York Times. I think we had some other conversations going and I never heard back on that specific point. This is a very awkward story. And because of how polarizing Palin is – and I think people on all sides can agree with that – this birth story is also very polarizing. But from a journalism standpoint, the story the Anchorage Daily News proposed about why this story won’t go away was an appropriate one. I actually emailed Pat Dougherty about why his paper gave up on it following that contentious email correspondence with Mrs. Palin. He told me, and I must have the email somewhere, that Trig is her son. He seemed to perhaps have some inside knowledge. Still, I think it was a valid question to pursue publicly. But they stopped doing that. I still wonder why. But back to awkward.  This controversy involves body parts and an innocent child. In many ways it’s the perfect story because it’s so untouchable.

BS:  You mentioned your own experience having a child with medical problems. How did that affect your own interpretation of this pregnancy story?

LN:  Let me state clearly that I can see this story going either way. I can see arguments on both sides, which makes it such a great story because if anyone really reported this thoroughly, they could make arguments or find voices to articulate arguments either way and really write a fair story. I’ve looked at many photos on many blogs and one minute I can say: Oh right! And the next: Nah, not really.

But what I can state unequivocally is this:  My son was born in Berkeley at 6:50 p.m. I’ve never said in one speech that he was born 10 miles away in San Francisco or 40 miles away at Stanford. I’ve never said in one speech that he was born “that night” and in another that he was born “the next morning.”  Those are the things that are immutable. Those facts cannot come out of my mouth differently from one day to the next.

My son also spent three months living in neonatal intensive care. When he was older, I spent five years volunteering in that unit. I’ve written extensively and publicly about both times in our lives. So I’ve seen many comments over the past three years stating all manner of misinformation or speculation about what would happen to a preemie with a hole in its heart (reportedly Trig) and what kind of bed or environment such a baby would live in. So in the absence of any real reporting, holes are filled in with conjecture, speculation, innuendo, and supposition.

But I’ll leave off today with this thought:  my son was born at 36 and 5/7th weeks. To. The. Day. He weighed 5 pounds 14 ounces. When anyone asks, that’s my story. I’ve never said he was 7 months, 7.5 months, 8 months in utero. Again, these are immutable facts. And it’s the notion that a public figure, a famous woman, cannot adhere to the most important facts or moments in not only her life, but in any woman’s life…well, that’s what makes this story not go away. That’s what makes this intriguing and compelling.

Let’s put together some more questions off line and come back and talk another day. We can dive in to more detail and really have a conversation about this. Thanks for joining me, Dr. Brad Scharlott.

 


Comments

ANON
04/13/2011 18:57

Great work bringing Brad on board for this very concise discourse. I'm thrilled that this is getting renewed attention. She is a fraud from the beginning to end and it needs be told. The media complicity in her rise is palpable. Hats off to you for this original format to discuss your topic with your guest instead of a monologue.

lilly lily
04/14/2011 08:17

Great interview.

It is about time this was main stream media. They have been negligent in the nth degree.

I have followed the story and it is a faudulent hoax in all its aspects on the American public, for years with the blogs Palingates, Politicalgates, and other blogs which vanished for many reasons, including Palin fatigue, which hits us all.

Whatever it is a bumpy ride on a rutted road. Loads of "Yes Maams" along the route.

lilly lily
04/14/2011 08:20

LOL.

Starting to write like Sarah Palin speaks. My apologies.

I have followed this, and once you are hooked into the hoaxes twists and turns it becomes more addictive than eating salted potato chips.

04/14/2011 08:22

No apologies necessary. So glad you stopped by. We will continue this conversation and hopefully offer a unique way to discuss this fascinating story. Thank you!

LizH
04/14/2011 08:49

Thank you both for a civil discussion regarding the complicit media in Sarah Palin's Wild Ride Story. I will look forward to your next conversation.

Unfortunately there must be very sad details to come out from under the hidden rock as to why Sarah would attempt a hoax of this magnitude.

My interest lies in who shut the media down from investigating the absurdity of these claims, looking the other way as hard drives and facebooks were wiped out during Labor Day 2008? Web sites would not allow conversations about Sarah. A Vice Presidential candidate is off limits? My 12 and 14 year old sons could smell a rat. Has the US truly dumbed down to this extent?

Jewels
04/14/2011 08:52

How does a 44-year old "seven months pregnant" woman hide her condition from her live at home grown daughters, and supposedly close family (i.e. sisters and mother)?

NOT POSSIBLE.

PB
04/14/2011 08:53

Thank you, Mrs. Novak. I think you are very brave to confront/discuss this strange story and share your personal insights. I look forward to reading more.

krbmjb05
04/14/2011 09:00

It was great to read your point of view as not only a journalist but a mother of a special needs child.

How they were able to present him based on his gestation, medical condition, etc. in a day or two (supposedly jaundiced as well?) is beyond fathomable to me. Also, the risk taken alone shows there is some mental issues there. For being so proud of not aborting him, saying how special he is, etc., she had no problem hiding her (supposed) pregnancy and not even telling her kids he had down syndrome. That doesn't say "Praise God/Choose Life" to ME!

Anyway, great additional insight and glad to hear that it didn't detour Prof. Scharlott. I hope it brings him the good recognition he deserves and notoriety for the school and program!

diz
04/14/2011 09:01

There's more than enough smoke for me to think someone's pants are on fire in the frozen north.

She has responded with vigor to even the smallest slight lodged her way yet refuses to address this issue other than her usual canned complaints that she and her children are treated so unfairly in the news.

Thanks for the great interview with Professor Scharlott. I had been feeling nervous for him but am now relieved to know that he is well supported by his faculty and students.

04/14/2011 09:17

I wonder Mrs Novak if you would forget where it was exactly that your child had been born? It would appear that Mrs Palin certainly did.

When Trig was born newspaper reports claimed that he was born in Mat-Su hospital, which is situated between Wasilla and Palimer, yet more recently Palin has claimed that he was born in Anchorage.

The interesting point about this is that Mat-Su does not have the facilities necessary in case of complications during child birth such as an NICU unit. Anchorage of course does.

According to Palin's own account in Going Rogue Trig Palin's birth was without its difficulties. He was premature, he had a hole in the heart and he was known to have Down Syndrome. Palin herself has said that her water broke before she gave her speech in Texas -- a further complication. If Palin's account is to be believed then Trig's birth required specialist attention that is not to be found at Mat-Su.

That is why I believe that Palin changed her account of his place of birth from Mat-Su to Anchorage. It is just a further oddity to add to Palin's claims to be the birth mother of Trig Palin.

kathleenpoliticalgates
04/14/2011 09:19

Sorry -- should read that Trig's birth was NOT without its difficulties.

Punkinbugg
04/14/2011 09:30

Thanks for delving into this story!

As you probably know, the lion's share of the research was posted by "Audrey" on http://palindeception.blogspot.com/, which is still viewable, but sadly shut down in August of 2009. "Bree Palin" gallantly took up the banner, but her site was wiped off the internet.

While most of us thought this was her fifth pregnancy, we found out after she published her first book that it was her 7th. She had two miscarriages and four live births prior to Trig.

The thought of her climbing onto two four hour flights while leaking amniotic fluid seems even more ludicrous.

Punkinbugg
04/14/2011 09:37

I meant to also say -- Jesse Griffin & Kathleen/Patrick continue to do great work on this story; I just wanted to point the new reader to some original research material at palindeception. You can see how the story unfolded over the course of a year. It's bizarre.

Ottoline Lyme
04/14/2011 09:46

Thank you for a good interview! I hope you will continue.

Prof Scharlott mentioned two good blogs for a lot of info, and I would like to add two more:

<a href="http://palingates.blogspot.com/">Palingates</a>, which has been at it a long time and also addresses 27! other questionable ethical issues SP is involved in.

<a href="http://palindeception.blogspot.com/">Palindeception</a>, which got everything started, is still online with a lot of good info, even though its owner, Audrey, stopped adding to the blog after her wellbeing was threatened.

04/14/2011 10:03

I am glad to see a professional interview with Dr. Scharlott about these issues. I would like to add a few comments. First of all, part of the problem has been the automatic entanglement of Bristol into the storyline. Secondly, there were quite likely several babies involved, and Tripp may or may not be a part of the fraud. So far the only published book that describes all the various suppositions and possibilities is PARADIGM SHIFT: The Palin Matrix. Anyone who is curious about the details of this political fraud should read it. Thank you.

melly
04/14/2011 10:16

Punkinbugg: While most of us thought this was her fifth pregnancy, we found out after she published her first book that it was her 7th. She had two miscarriages and four live births prior to Trig.

******

There's no reason for us to believe the miscarriage stories. I've come to consider them just another embellishment in her victim narrative. Yes, they can be used to argue that Palin was doubly reckless to take the flight she did...but remember, she wasn't pregnant. The only recklessness was the hoax, and the way she exploited Bristol in the whole thing. Cruel like nobody's business, esp a mother's.

Bill McAllister
04/14/2011 10:24

It's interesting that Professor Charlatan thinks he can speak for every citizen of Kentucky. But that's not even the point. The point is that he accuses me of being involved in a hoax, without the slightest shred of evidence. I might have to investigate whether that amounts to libel. In any event, it certainly is immoral.

paristokyo
04/14/2011 10:33

Interesting interview (and interesting research paper)! It's a fascinating story. Like many people, when I first heard about the doubts regarding Trig's birth in 2008, I dismissed the whole story (how could a VP candidate fake the birth of her child so brazenly?). Then, when I read about the whole "wild ride" (as related by Palin herself), I knew as a mother the story made no sense. The more I have learned about Palin and her many lies the less I became skeptical about the possibility that she faked Trig's birth. I hope more people will come to this conclusion as this story gains the attention it deserves. I look forward to reading the next installment (who needs mystery novels when we have the Palin bunch)!

04/14/2011 10:38

I have written a lot about neonatal issues and medically fragile children. And as this conversation continues, I will share what I can of MY OWN experience in an ICN (as we called it) or NICU. That might shed some light on the way people view this story.

Now, I am going to re-read the paper and prepare Part 2 of this dialogue. Thank you all for reading and maintaining open minds.

Midnight Cajun
04/14/2011 10:41

Thank you for your courage. I've been doing a lot of thinking about Dr. Scharlott's concept of a "spiral of silence" and I've found my thoughts don't reflect well on my own behavior. The blatant, contemptuous falsity of this story has driven me nuts for years, yet I have never dared to utter a word about it except under the anonymity of the Internet. So kudos to you.

icantsay
04/14/2011 10:47

Oh, Mr McAllister! Since you are here, perhaps you can answer some questions. Did you notice the difference in the size of Mrs. Todd Palin's stomach between the time you met with her on April 7 and the time her picture was taken and you were present on April 13? Also, can you explain why, if she was as pregnant as she appeared on April 13th, why the flight attendants for Alaska Air did not notice her condition? She probably would have needed a seatbelt extension for that flight, judging from that April 13th photo.

Ture Blue Girl
04/14/2011 11:02

Sarah Palin had her tubes tied after the birth of her last child, Piper. It was well known at the time, especially among the other moms with whom she carpooled her older kids. In fact, she made such a big deal out of her surgery that it was memorable if for no other reason than that it was just another time she shirked her carpooling turns, with much complaining and excuse-making.

That's one of the main reasons she only provided a letter, somewhat suspect in its own right, the night before the election in November 2008, saying then and later that she had actually provided her "medical records".

Furthermore, a simple comparison of her own statements in interviews, speeches, and her two books provide more than enough inconsistencies to raise the doubt of any reasonable, thinking person.

Add to that the very odd facts regarding the hospital's lack of NICU, etc and there is no question that something is, well, hinky at the very least.

As to the possibility that a mother would do what she did, undergo multiple and sustained risks to the health of a known special needs child at birth... well, best case, she's criminally negligent and almost certainly pathologically disconnected from both her child and reality.

Hard to know which is worse.

Philly
04/14/2011 11:06

The aspect of Palin's wild ride I find disturbing is one few have publicly said: Trig could have died.
If her story is true- and we are obligated to believe it to be so, then the governor of a US state took an extraordinary risk with her child's life.
Think about the outcry had Trig not survived the wild ride. The outcry, the blame, the lawsuits, the damage to the airline- it would never end. Plus, few, very few, would blame Palin for her foolishness. No, they would blame the doctor, the flight crew, and the hospital.
Giving birth, as you clearly know, is serious business. Now imagine you are a state governor.

daisydem
04/14/2011 11:13

I cannot begin to thank you Laura or Brad (Professor) for what you have done. I don't know if this is it ... if finally the truth will come to light regarding Trig Palin's birth, but this is without doubt the most important breakthrough we have had: to have two respected journalists and professionals actually look at the data at hand and conclude that at the very least, the birth events could not have taken place as she described, and furthermore, her description(s) of the events vary. And we are not talking about her words being misquoted, or misrepresented by the MSM; she cannot claim that on these: we are using her own words coming out of her own mouth, or written on her own pages (the recording of the "Wild Ride" and the pages of her book, Going Rogue) plus comments made in several speaking engagements. One of the complaints by her "believers" is that well, he is her son now and some say she never says she "had" him; it may be true that he is her son now (by adoption); however, she does talk about being pregant, she even told the story at a speaking engagement, then again in Going Rogue about going to the Walgreens in New Orleans to get the pregnancy test and how when it was positive, she had to make a choice. Yes, she, Sarah Palin, a right-to-lifer to the end, regardless of circumstance, speaks of possibly doing away with it because "no one would know," she was out of town. But Trig was used; he was her one credential during the campaign that only the lowest of low could argue against because, hey, she did not abort a special needs baby! We have nothing against that decision; in fact we applaud it but not so he could be used as a badge to win an election.

I would like to address Mr. McAllister who posted above: that paper says nothing libelous about you and you know it. Furthermore, if you think it does, get a lawyer and bring it on. However, what you really know is that you are complicit in a huge coverup (and not just on the Trig birth issue)of Sarah Palin's tenure as governorship of Alaska, and I will have to check my records, but you may have received correspondence from me well over a year and a half ago relative to things you did/said or failed to do in your role. You were sent a copy of the paper as a courtesy because you were mentioned. And what happened is that the truth scared you. Good. Maybe you can now deal with what you did and get closure.

daisydem
04/14/2011 11:16

Mr. McAllister, one more thing, at the same time I sent a letter to Governor Sean Parnell who I feel was derelict in his duties as Lt. Governor during Palin's supposed governorship of Alaska. I believe you were/are still in his employ?

daisydem
04/14/2011 11:25

One more thing and I will be quiet for awhile: you are right Laura, a mother does not forget the details of the birth of a child they carry; my son is 36, soon to be 37 born on November 26,1974 at 9:18 am, weighing 7 lb. 14 oz. and 21 inches long (yes, we are aware of the numerology evident in his birth numbers, it is even more significant when you add in the time I checked into the hospital, etc.). But not only can I tell you where he was born, but what I did the day before (I passed the mucus plug (sorry guys) but my water did not break, and my contractions were light and irregular, so I was in touch with my doctors, with orders to lay around, feet up, eat nothing, I could drink 7-up and water, etc. I won't go on; point is I remember all these details as though they happened yesterday and the same for my daughter's birth 3 1/2 years later, though different entirely, and a different hospital in a different city!

dmoreno
04/14/2011 11:27

Thanks so much for exposing more sunlight on this dreadful infection called the paylins. I look forward to part two and Midnight Cajun--don't beat yourself up, you still have time to make a difference, go for it! Oh and Mr. McAllister, have you not already dug yourself into a rather large hole? I would suggest for your family's sake that you just be quiet. If you cannot do it for yourself, then at least think of them.

Martha
04/14/2011 11:28

The whole hidden pregnancy and wild ride story is insane, but one of the craziest parts is that her seven-and-a-half-month old Downs Syndrome baby was "induced" at a hospital with no neonatal intensive care unit, by a doctor who wasn't an obstetrician. Sarah then commented on what an easy delivery it was. !!! PLUS, don't forget the photos we have of "the" baby with Sarah's parents at the hospital. A chubbier preemie there never was! "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

04/14/2011 11:31

I look forward to more of this discussion!

dominicastar
04/14/2011 11:43

You know, I am almost 29 years old, I just call my mum, my little cousin answered, she said my mum is on the phone, I told her to tell her I want to quickly ask her a question, she relayed and I heard my mum say hold on to the person on the other end. I said, mum what time was I born, she respond, eight... no 7:45 I had my last stitch at 8:15 why? Can you believe it. My aunt the other was telling me about her 10 year old, she mentioned she was born at 8:05, now soon after speaking to.my mum my cousin called me to speak about her hair, I stopped her and ask what time did her 11 year old born, straight away she said 6:35. Firstly, why do you all remember the time so well. When I get pregnant and give birth, I wonder if I'll remember just as well. My cousin fainted while giving birth so I'm truly surprised she remembered.

04/14/2011 11:45

Thank you, Brad and Laura. When it is all laid out, it is clearly very improbable that Sarah gave birth to Trig. On his own blog, Joe McGinnis has strongly hinted that his book on Palin, to be published in September, will go into this more. I hope that efforts to restore the integrity of journalism will bear fruit, but as the saying goes, "the truth will make you free - but first it will make you very uncomfortable." Lying about babies is small potatoes in a country whose military is committing world-wide crimes against humanity.

I
04/14/2011 11:50

lilly lily
04/14/2011 11:51

I'm 75 and I vividly recall everything about the birth of my children, outside of the exact time, since I was put under anesthesia. I know where they were born also, the location doesn't alter.

One thing that always bothered me in the story. She by passed the native hospital with a well equiped maternity unit in Anchorage, and they drove to the small unequiped hostital in a snowstorm, with risky roads.

Ludicrous.

No husband would do this to a beloved wife. He would have to be as much an idiot as Sarah.

If she doesn't have a brain in her head, her husband must have just a tad of common sense.

The woman constantly talks about common sense, yet seems to have none at all.

gracez
04/14/2011 11:54

What an excellent interview! Thank you for covering the fake pregnancy rumor.

It's fascinating that Pat Dougherty, ADN, insists Sarah is Trig's birth mother yet has never stated the facts on which his conviction is based. Is there any chance you can ask him for an explanation?

I look forward to your continuing discussion. I hope Sarah Palin's wishes about the media will be granted:

“Wh...what is the double standard here why people would choose to believe...um...lies and reporters especially not just taking one extra step to uh get to the facts and report the facts and instead continue to spread things that are not true."
http://www.howobamagotelected.com/sarah-palin-unplugged-on-the-media.asp

Keep stirring up the pot until enough reporters insist that Palin provide facts (birth records, DNA) so the truth can be reported.






lilly lily
04/14/2011 12:00

For anyone unaquainted with the Palins. Todd Palin has native blood, and uses Native insurance plans for his children, his wife and himself. He would be entitled to use the Native hospital in Anchorage.

Sarah Palin also didn't take any Maternity leave. Has Sarah Palin ever, EVER passed up a material gain, or money in her life?

The My Puppy capped and very full faced baby, is also not the ruffle eared delicate baby presented as hers for a baby shower.

Ivyfree
04/14/2011 12:08

Ms. Novak, Professor, I'm so grateful for every byte of publicity this story gets. It is amazing at how unwilling people are to look at the possibility of a fraud- and I don't necessarily mean a legal fraud, because I have no idea who paid for Trig's birth and neonatal care- but a moral fraud.

And speaking of immoral: the thought of callously taking somebody else's special needs infant and waving him around in an attempt to achieve votes, is immoral and contemptible. And Senator McCain, and the republicans, not only nominated her but actively supported her even after they realized she was entirely unsuited to the Vice- Presidency. I am only grateful that a majority of the population had more sense than to vote McCain/Palin.

lilly lily
04/14/2011 12:17

Also must mention, while I wasn't as huge as Sarah Palin in her first pregnancy. (Red shirt)

Being a short 5'4 woman I certainly did show at 7 months without the aid of a square pillow, or the Gusti empathy belly shot.

From flat abs to pickle barrel size in 2 weeks..

A miraculous pregnacy, or complete contempt for the public, and especially the men around her? She didn't even attempt to make it seem like a real pregnancy. Scarves, coats indoors." Why bother, they are all dopes anyway. They won't dare ask about my uterus."

"Gee whiz, she says she is pregnant so she must be. Why would anyone lie about something like that"

Gyalist
04/14/2011 12:36

The "spiral of silence" exists because Sarah Palin has very powerful backers who control the media.

Another spiral of silence surrounds the very clearly pregnant-looking Bristol Palin on "Dancing With The Stars", yet no one in the media dared ask the obvious question.

Berkeley Mom
04/14/2011 12:48

I am also the mom of special needs preemie, now an adult, who was born at the same hospital as your son.

I have been on the Palin story since I saw the first blog comment on Daily Kos. I have confined myself to blogs and rants to my family and friends who are patronizing, at best. They mostly think I've gone senile -- or just can't bear to consider the full implications of the Palin baby hoax.

I, too, have been in touch with Brad Scharlott..who has been most kind.

Thanks to you and Brad for what you are doing!!!

We need to meet when this is over (or sooner).

Amazed
04/14/2011 12:49

Since this is my first note to you, I'll address you as Mrs. Novak. Thank you for this interview with this brave professor. I look forward to further interviews on this spiral of silence.

One more point about her "Wild Ride" is that among the emails that were made public from Sarah/Todd's political email, there was a note from a man who spoke with Todd and Sarah during their layover between Texas and Alaska. He said that he did NOT see any signs of labor. In fact, that she was sitting peacefully reading a book. So, he was surprised to hear later that she had given birth when she arrived home.

Personally, I was NOT relaxed enough during labor to sit quietly and focus on a book.

Finally, a comment about Sarah's behavior since that time. We hear nothing about her passion for special needs children. The birth of your son led you to volunteer for five years and to write numerous articles. I'm certain that you have detailed every bit of his progress and celebrated every victory. We hear none of that from Sarah. She have gotten millions of dollars, yet only donated $1,000 (NOT even her own money -- this was SarahPAC funds) to the National Association for Down Syndrome.

That is NOT the heart of a mother who gave birth to her precious baby. That is the action of a woman who perpetrated an unfathomable fraud on our nation.

dominicastar
04/14/2011 12:50

Did anyone see Palin in the governor spouses luncheon meeting, well ms Palin didn't even have that famous pregnant waddle at supposedly 7 months pregnant.

sallyngarland,tx
04/14/2011 13:24

Palin seemed dishonest to me the first time I heard the Tx to Ak flight story which is a horrible story of negligence. I say that because, after my water broke, my son was born with the cord wrapped around his neck 3 times. At the hospital, they immediately put on a baby heart monitor and it revealed my son was losing oxygen. He was being strangled. I remember them running me down the hall on the gurney to have an emergency C-section. If I had delayed at all from the time my water broke to my trip to the hospital, my son would be dead. (He is 25 and healthy.)

It absolutely infuriates me that the media glossed over the "wide ride" story from Tx to Ak and then the drive to Wasilla. If Palin had been pregnant, the baby could have died.
And, what if some woman follows Palin's example and a baby dies?

peggy
04/14/2011 13:32

Thank you Laura!

I would like to remind everyone that this story is NOT about figuring out who Trig's birth mother is. Not at all.

It is not about Bristol, it is about the fact that a sitting Governor, Sarah Palin, either:

1. Endangered the life of her unborn, special-needs baby by flying through the air while in labor OR

2. Faked a pregnancy (my belief after seeing the "square-pillow" photo) and perpetuated a HOAX on the American people.

Punkinbugg
04/14/2011 13:35

@melly: Good point! As much as I mistrust every word that woman utters, I somehow never considered that the two reported miscarriages were fabrications. My point should have been: The Wild Ride was especially dangerous, given that she had already lost two babies... OR .. The pregnancy must be a hoax, because nobody in her right mind would board those planes.... (Unless they weren't pregnant & it was safe to do so.)

Oh and Bill? You lost all credibility when you stooped to Palin's level and called a professor of higher learning a schoolyard nickname... right after trying to have him fired. Shame on you, and the bullies you call friends.

MariaT
04/14/2011 13:42

Thank you Laura and Brad for having the courage to discuss this issue. The absurdity of Sarah Palin's 'Wild Ride' led me to Audrey's 'Palin's Deceptions' in September 2008 and I've been an avid follower since then of various blogs that focus on Sarah's hypocrisy.

The best outcome I wish for is that the truth of this Palin hoax is finally proven and Sarah and her family receive the help they need.

04/14/2011 13:43

@Berkeley Mom: I wonder if we've seen each other? Have we fought over a parking space? :-) I think one of the most intriguing facets to this story is how personal it is. How everyone feels they can relate, yet no one really knows what happened. I'm stating again that I don't know and am not locked in to any theory. I want to maintain an open mind. But I believe that keeping an open mind is what allows us all to listen and pursue. And since Dr. Scharlott wrote this paper, which I've got marked in red and I'm ready to go! I think he's a great place to start. Places, dates, weights at birth: these arcane details are what help us grasp the most momentous events in our lives. If we can't process that information, how can we possibly process the rest? Thank you for reading and visiting. And sharing.

FrostyAK
04/14/2011 13:51

I see little Billy McAllister is still calling the Professor sophomoric names. Along with threats of lawsuit. IMO, he protests way too much, which would be indicative of complicity to any normal human being.



SME131
04/14/2011 14:01

There are a few thing the professor left out, perhaps because he is not aware of them.

Ask any doctor and he/she will tell you that any woman who starts leaking amniotic fluid is told to go to the hospital immediately. The woman is subject to serious infections once a leak or break occurs. Actually more so in the case of a leak. The woman doesn’t need to do anything bad for an infection to occur. This is why they put you in the hospital and if need be induce labor. Trig was already a high risk baby and Palin’s doctor would have told her to go to the nearest hospital had she actually been pregnant.

Let’s not forget Palin HAD HER TUBES TIED AFTER Piper. She told anyone who would listen and milked the situation to get out of her turns in the car pool for Piper and her classmates. She made a point of telling people she had her tubes cut and burned so no chance of more babies.

No woman, I don’t care how tight her abs are, will be as big as a house (not fat, but huge with a pregnancy) with all her other kids – especially her first son – and then not show at all in the 5th one. Although a woman may not show much in a first pregnancy she will in later ones. When she DID show a LOT in the first one she will do so in all in them. Ask any doctor or nurse.

I don’t believe Bristol is the mother, but I also don’t believe Sarah is either. I do believe a plan was hatch to make Palin seem the obvious choice as a running mate for McCain. What would conservatives love more than a middle age female Governor that is so pro life she gives birth to a special needs child. And the entire wild ride story is concocted to make her seem like wonder woman and show her loyalty to her state by risking everything to give birth in her own state. It is all hogwash, but so is everything that Palin spews.

I think Trig became “available” earlier than she anticipated and therefore the sudden need to give birth early arose.

If fewer people focused on Bristol being the mother far more would see the legitimacy of those claiming Palin did in fact pull off a huge hoax.

The true importance in all of this is two fold. One if she isn’t the birth mother she has lied to the entire world to further her ambitions, she has used an innocent child as her prop for self gain. If she is the birth mother it is even worse because she did countless things that risked that child’s life. Traveling late in a pregnancy is risky by itself, traveling late in a high risk pregnancy is asking for trouble and further complications – possibly even the death of that child.

04/14/2011 14:05

It is an article of faith within the pro-life community that special needs kids are especially to be celebrated (and really, who can blame them for thinking this), so you know that it would be impossible for SP to ever admit that she DID NOT WANT Trig. I cant abide the woman but the only time she has ever seemed likable to me was when she spoke about learning that her prenatal tests revealed Down Syndrome. She didnt say so specifically, but it was clear that she was deeply, deeply unhappy (and again, who could blame her?); and that it was Todd who bucked her up, who kept saying "Why NOT us?" She also related that when she was at a speaking engagement outside Alaska, she thought (just for a moment) "nobody knows I'm pregnant. I could have an abortion." But, of course she didn't -- a redemption story the pro-lifers lapped up. I think she didn't adjust to Trig's disability, and tried her best to ignore the fact that she was pregnant -- literally, ignore it -- until she couldn't anymore; in the hope that maybe somehow God would "make the decision for her." I think that explains the refusal to deliver in Texas or wherever she was when her water broke; the refusal to delivery in Anchorage; what I don't understand is the airlines' allowing her to fly, but she must have looked as if she were very early in her pregnancy. When I delivered my last child (of two) I weighed over 200 lbs and looked like a whale. No flight attendant in their right mind would have let me board a plane. I know I have suggested a horrible thing, but I get a sense of resentment from her about Trig; I also think that explains Levi Johnston's stories about her referring to Trig as her little retarded baby...All of which just makes me pity her. She has such talents -- imagine if she advocated for special needs families! She could do so much good instead of fomenting so much nonsense.

Berkeley Mom
04/14/2011 14:08

I've just been reading your bio...and talk about personal lives overlapping!

I m not sure if we've ever fought over parking spaces...but we have so much more in common than just our preemies and their birthplace!

I think you may have my email address from the blog reply form. If you'd like to get in touch, email me and we can meet.

Lunch/dinner at Chez Panisse? My treat, and I promise I won't even think of trying to park out front.

Do svidanie!

04/14/2011 14:57

Da svidanya! Razvye? I'll look you up. This big world goes round and there's someone standing right next door!

Physicsmom
04/14/2011 15:12

Thank you Ms. Novak for covering this story. As many others have, I've followed this since August 2008 and have changed my position over time. At first I thought she had just acted recklessly vis-a-vis the "wild ride." After looking at the great work done by Audrey at PalinDeceptions and later by the gang at Palingates (some of them now at Politicalgates) I've become convinced that the story is indeed a hoax. (Jesse at Immortal Minority has also contributed good information to the compilation).

The biggest problem with coming to a decision is that there is no one single piece of evidence that seals the deal. However, it is the combination of ALL the evidence that makes the case so convincing. The best source of information has been put together by the folks now at Politicalgates: two videos titled "The Perfidy of Sarah Palin." Part One is, I think, the stronger of the two, however others have argued that Part Two is more convincing. In any case, I would recommend that everyone, including Mr. Scharlott, if he hasn't already done so, visit their site and watch the videos (listed in a sidebar).

Finally, to reiterate what another poster said: this story is NOT about Trig or Bristol - it is only about Sarah and the lies she's told and the disservice she has done her children in doing so. We actually don't need to know who Trig's biological mother is. It doesn't really matter. But the underlying hoax has to be exposed. Imagine if she were a Democrat. Does anyone think the Republican media would ignore it?

Whatsgoingonhere
04/14/2011 15:13

This is already an interesting post. I think that your personal experience will make your analysis more compelling.

I wouldn't be too worried about that joker posting as Bill McAllister. I doubt it is the real Bill. He's such an important and well respected journalist that he wouldn't have time to post these comments everywhere the story is mentioned. Someone is mocking him by emulating the juvenile attacks that have been falsely attributed to the Dean of Alaskan Gubernatorial Spokespersons, and the former King of Statehouse Reporters. In his off hours McAllister apparently contemplates chivalry and feudal conflict escalations rather than trolling the internet.

He did use the word libel, so if it actually comes to a lawsuit,and it's really Bill McAllister; be sure to find out which legislator described Bill McAllister as "Palin's fucking lap dog". (Direct quote)(McAllister was apparently interviewed for the story this quote appeared in). Was there the slightest shred of evidence that
might make any legislator think that? Did only one legislator think that?
Did anyone think that before he started
issuing press releases on the government payroll? Particularly was this before or after that European family vacation.

Was there the slightest shred of evidence that anyone would ever think such a thing?

Rufruf

Enigma
04/14/2011 15:14

Thank you for bringing this story off the back page of the national media. One issue regarding the birth that speaks volumes is the actions of her hisband, Todd Palin, while in Texas Mrs Palin and he were getting out of Dallas to go back to Alaska and the blessed event. Todd emails his wives aides to say "Sarah's speech kicked ass" and nothing about quickly returning home to see his baby being born in Alaska and not Texas. Rather odd to put an email about a speech ahead of his sons life when by Sarah's admission he was trying to get her to leave the stage to rush back to Alaska and looking at his watch and was supposedly worried. It's too bad politics has resorted to lying and downright fabrications to entice the voters.

Berkeley Mom
04/14/2011 15:43

@ LN

Da Razvye... a eto ne fsyo....

(Sorry everyone, I couldn't resist)

04/14/2011 15:48

RAZVYE??? Ee schto esho? Kto toye (how does one spell that symbol in latin?)

Berkeley Mom
04/14/2011 16:04

"Kto toye?" "Kto ti?" ...Ne uvyerena... ne znayu kak eto napishitsa po-latinski.

Ya ne hochu skazat myoe imya i familia vpublike potomushto ya uzhe poluchila groza.

Wow, is this ever hard to do in Latin characters! I feel like the language centers of my brain are fighting for a parking space.

04/14/2011 16:42

Laura Novak says that Pat Dougherty told her "Trig is her son".

---------------

Pat Dougherty DIDN'T say "she gave birth to Trig". That is a statement Sarah Palin has never said either.

No doubt the "inside knowledge" is details about who the birth mother is, or the adoption source, or Trig's real birth date and at which hospital NICU he spent the first few weeks (months?) of his life.

Laura Novak also said: "So I’ve seen many comments over the past three years stating all manner of misinformation or speculation about what would happen to a preemie with a hole in its heart (reportedly Trig) and what kind of bed or environment such a baby would live in. So in the absence of any real reporting, holes are filled in with conjecture, speculation, innuendo, and supposition."

---------------------

Trig wasn't REPORTEDLY with a hole in his heart -- he did have that congenital defect, which was downplayed in the (alleged) Baldwin-Johnson Nov. 3, 2008 letter, but verified by Sarah Palin herself to Barbara Walters on 20/20, and the anecdote about Trig's heart anomaly is in this article, reported by Alan B. Goldberg and Katie N. Thomson.

http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Palin/sarah-palin-trig-raising-syndrome-son-exclusive/story?id=9127544&page=2

04/14/2011 18:29

Thank you, Laura, and thank you, Dr. Scharlott, for publishing this information and interview.

The most difficult aspect of the case of Sarah Palin's faux pregnancy is simply this: it is ever so hard to prove a negative. One can say, "I gave birth," and one can counter, "No, you didn't." The latter is a negative and trying to prove something did not happen is fraught with difficulties. There is, after all, a child who has been photographed multiple times with Mrs. Todd Palin, and she has told a variety of stories over the years about how wonderful and brave and true to pro-life principles she was when she chose (yes, she had a choice that she would like to remove for everyone else) to carry a known DS child to term.

Yet, consider this: Mrs. Todd Palin has had several years and many opportunities to prove the positive, that is, that she is Trig's birth mother. But there is no such evidence, other than her own statements. Think on that a moment -- what could it mean that Mrs. Todd is unwilling (or perhaps unable?) to provide the simplest proof: a release of medical records showing pre-natal visits; permission for a physician or other hospital attendants to confirm the birth they attended or witnessed; a birth announcement posted on the hospital's website; or even, dare I suggest, a birth certificate?

The circumstantial evidence proving the negative is, frankly, overwhelming. But it could have all been dissolved with a single display proving the positive and yet that has not been forthcoming.

I and all the others over the last few years who have challenged Mrs. Todd Palin's "official story" have yet to be sent a "lawyer letter" demanding retraction, or ceasing and desisting, in spite of her fondness for demanding such when she feels under siege. One has to wonder why...

JR
04/14/2011 18:29

The wild ride story is what drew me in, and reading the incredible amount of information put on the blogs (some now defunct) kept me. It is fascinating how Sarah has used her femininity to keep people away from this story, even to go as far as to email "I'll show them my stretch marks" to divert the questions. I would guide you to read "A tale of two babies" on the Immoral Minority blog and get your take, as I find this portion of the story very odd. The blatant use of innocent babies for political gain, even to go as far as substituting when necessary. Incredible story, and thank you for this interview.

Dubiousky
04/14/2011 18:45

I agree that the story about Trig's "preemie" gestational age and apparent lack of any special medical care at birth do not ring true. I am a nurse and the mother of two children, both born at weights near 6#. In photos from their first 2 weeks of life they look very, VERY tiny, like elves. Even when wrapped papoose style, their small size is evident, especially in their thin faces.

Trig's appearance in the picture in April 2008 and his birth weight and length more closely match that of a full term (37 wk or later) baby. This could be possible one of two ways: Either 1) he WAS a full term baby born to another mother in April 2008 and Sarah made the "Wild Ride" to be there for his true birth date; or 2) he was born earlier to another mother, and had at least 4-8 weeks in between his birth and the Heath photo to gain weight (and those chubby little cheeks). The last 4 weeks of fetal development is when a baby adds most of its external body fat. Were Sarah's story of a 36-week preemie delivery truthful, Trig should have looked much different.

Other facts to consider:
a) trig was identified as having Down Syndrome and a heart condition;

b)Sarah apparently did not gain weight appropriately during her alleged pregnancy to aid Trig's development, a additional risk factor for an already less-than-ideal fetal condition, and her physician would have known this;

c) at 36 weeks gestation, a potential lack of lung surfactant could have made breathing difficult for Trig at birth; and

d)Sarah had allegedly just taken a full day's worth of irresponsible airline flights from TX with "water broken" nearly 24 hours before birth, increasing the risk of uterine infection.

Considering these four factors, Trig should have automatically been placed in ICU care and observation, even if it meant flying him to another hospital with appropriate facilities for this level of care. Any physician who handled a high-risk birth otherwise could face malpractice charges and possibly even lose their license.

Regardless of who the mystery mother might have been, and how the hand-off was accomplished, I do not believe there is any way that Sarah Palin delivered this baby out of her own body. She may have HELPED TO deliver it out of another woman's body---say her own daughter's---anytime from january until april 18, 2008!!!---but Sarah is not the birth mother.

Berkeley Mom
04/14/2011 19:18

OK, here's one piece of the story that I don't get. (And there are SO many others..)

Palin (allegedly) gets to the Mat-Su hospital, and -- with all of her baby's ALREADY KNOWN risk factors -- Palin's MD (who is not even an OB-GYN, much less a high -risk OB, but who is part of Palin's Dominionist religious pursuasion) induces labor...

Really?

You do NOT do this when you don't have a NICU at hand (and Palin passed several good ones to get to the Mat-Su Hospital -- which Palin, politically, controls.)

Why wasn't Palin transferred back to Anchorage to a real NICU before the baby was delivered?

If there was time to induce labor, there was time for Palin to be transferred to a hospital that could provide adequate post-natal care to an obviously (per-Palin) high risk baby.

This whole story makes no sense on so many levels.

Have at it, fellow NICU professionals!

04/14/2011 21:01

It is so incredibly refreshing to hear a coherent and intelligent exchange on this topic.

There is a lot to explore,really a book could be written on it all. I look forward to seeing more here, especially a further exchange between you and Prof. Sharlotte.

Trig Onama Tree-+
04/14/2011 22:56

Heidi3
04/14/2011 23:30

To Laura and Prof. Brad Scharlott: My sincere gratitude to you both for having the courage and compelling need to have the truth be known about this topic, which has so long been ignored by the media. 'Spiral of Silence' indeed, in its most obvious and egregious incarnation!

From one who has devoted many hours/day reading the details of this unconscionable hoax since McCain first uttered Palin's name, I/we salute you. To have the information now finally being openly discussed is a dream come true for all of us readers & investigators, and of course, the blog writers and book authors.

Mentioned above are Palin's highly suspect 'medical records' (consisting of an adroitly worded 2-page letter) supposedly written by Palin's doctor, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson, who is not an OB/GYN. These 'records' were released by the McCain campaign at the 11th hour, mere minutes before the polls opened on 11-4-08.

From the blog PalinDeception, and referenced on several other blogs, here is a compelling 5-page analysis of everything that is amateurishly wrong with Dr. CBJ's (er,the campaign's) letter:

http://www.palindeception.com/pdfcbjpost/analysis.pdf

One of the most significant points discussed in this analysis is that neither HIPAA rules nor statutes of limitation apply in the case of fraud. Palin's entire story is fraudulent, and includes many people complicit in the deception.

I'm looking very forward to the next part of your interview!





Tan
04/14/2011 23:31

Thanks for this Laura. Finally the media is somewhat waking up to this fraud. And I thank you for at least trying to pitch the story at the time. I imagine alot of journos like yourself did have the integrity to, but were promptly shut down by higher ups afraid of it.

Brad is a hero. I've been a reader of Palin blogs for years but I'd say I'm one of a tiny minority in Australia that know about it. Until now I've never told anyone, not even my friends, about it because people just shut down and call you nuts. I'm a little disappointed that none of these articles are written by a true truther as any of us could tell you that there is MUCH more evidence than has been presented by Scharlott I.e. The fact that at least two different children have been introduced as 'Trig'. See Immoral Minoritys 'A Tale of two babies' (link on main page) for this. Also; we are not saying Palin is his grandmother. The mother might be Bristol but also it could be anyone! Maybe an anonymous woman that has no idea the child she put up for adoption is now Trig Palin. It's these little things that make the difference. If you'd like to follow up on this story (and please do!!) maybe Jesse Gryphen or Regina from Palingates or Politicalgates can help you with these details that really take months of study to discover. I've been following for two years and feel like my knowledge is almost there. Feel welcome to contact me if you want a truther 'sniff test' for any post you do.

Tan
04/14/2011 23:44

Also Laura, I'm really interested to know what evidence aligns with the story that Palin is Trig's mother and there's no lies involved? You say that the evidence is about the same for both sides and i'm a little confused by that. There isn't much evidence for the other side in my mind so I hope you can point me to it if you have any? I have a hunch that it's not so much actual evidence but rather your own internal sanity saying that it's too absurd to be true. That it makes Palin too nasty to be true. That it's all too much. Yes, all good people have that fight in their mind. I did too.

But Palin can't be measured like the rest of us. She is a chronic ongoing liar (there's a paper called 'sarah palin is a special kind of liar') and lies about everything. What makes her different to others is that she does it when it doesn't even help her or make her look better. She just does it compulsively, reflexively. For instance; last October as on offhand remark she said she and the family travelled to LA to watch DWTS in a campervan or Winnebago type thing from home. The media ignored it but a simple google search of her activities in the few days beforehand show it to be IMPOSSIBLE for this to have happened - and there's photographic evidence. Unless they got in the Winnebago just an hour north of LA (still a lie!) it's impossible. Now; why lie like that? Who knows? The woman has NO MORAL COMPASS. None. We cannot consider her to be a logical person. She's a lying, grifting, immoral person that on the spot made up a lie about travelling like the average American. Look up 'the odd lies of Sarah Palin' by Andrew Sullivan (which is only scraping the surface).

So instead of listening to your own logic, look at the evidence for what it is. I think you'll find the evidence is overwhelming that something is very very wrong with Sarah Palin.

Trig Onama Tree
04/15/2011 00:11

(Sorry for the blank post.)

Add me to the list of folks voicing surprise, relief, gratitude, etc. for the civility of this thread.

I became interested in Ms. Palin when she exploded on the media scene as McCain's running mate. Following her "exploits" has become a benign if occasionally infuriating hobby.

From the beginning, she struck me as someone who has, shall we say, a complicated relationship to speaking the simple truth about anything.

Searching the web for factual information about her statements and deeds does not paint a pretty picture.

For example, stumbling onto a web page of Republican Party campaign financial disclosure showing much of what was purchased during her early "shopping spree scandal" was amazing. I mean ... a $95 baby pacifier ???

I explain all this in order to put forth a theory as to WHY this thread is conversation rather than the usual conflagration: Scharlott's paper totally re-contextualizes the whole issue of Palin's most recent pregnancy.

While sites like Palingates.com (which I enjoy and admire) have done a great job of exposing many examples of Ms. Palin's misleading statements and dishonorable activities. But such sites are invariably clearly bannered with something to the effect of "Trig's not her child."

Thankfully, Scharlott's paper asks "Why didn't the media pursue this story despite the following list of widely-known yet rather questionable events?"

As a direct result of his paper and despite my long-held, less-than-favorable opinions of Palin, tonight was the first time I started seriously considering explanations for all the story's inconsistencies other than "She wasn't pregnant."

Essentially, Scharlott has done what journalists are supposed to do: report the facts.

Unfortunately, it seems that these days every article, regardless of topic, starts with a premise and then presents whatever information supports it.

In addition to contributing to our general "dumbing-down," the resulting toll on readers seems to include viewpoints shaped by emotion rather than fact, jarring close-mindedness, dimunition of civility and, most dangerously, the cessation of communication with anyone with a viable opposing view.

Thanks for presenting this story so well, also for letting me spout off.

AKRNC
04/15/2011 03:26


Thank heavens there are so many rational, well-spoken responses on here to this article and McAllister's reaction to the same. I can't say I'm surprised to see that Palin has TMZ reporting threats that she allegedly received before last week just in time to take the focus off her alleged pregnancy and in hopes that others will feel sorry for her.

I remember hearing the story about the birth and thinking "that is one crazy woman to get on a plane after your water has broken just so you can say your son was born in Alaska". It was originally on CNN when I saw it. They were talking about how strong and determined she was at the time and all I could think was, "what a bunch of idiots in not realizing the chances she was taking with the life of her unborn child". I didn't pay any attention to that, she was on the radar of the lower 48 nor on McCain's radar until he was desperate to find a candidate for the V.P. nomination.

Within a few days of Palin appearing at the RNC, I knew she was a phony and a liar. I did a few hours of research on her and I kept asking myself, "Did McCain's people see this stuff? If not, why not, if they did, how could they pick her?" I was so sick of her by the time the campaign was over and remember saying to the family, "well, at least we won't have to listen to Palin for awhile." LOL, little did I know how much this woman craved media attention, constant attention. She made my skin crawl.

While recovering from back surgery in 2009, I saw the nonsense she passed off as a resignation speech and got this negative feeling in the pit of my stomach. I knew she wasn't going away. She was ready to take on the lower 48, making sure nobody forgot her even though we wanted to do so. It was after that I started doing some investigating into the truth of Trig's birth. Between Audrey, Palingates, the Immoral Minority, Ennaelogic and a few others proved to be invaluable. The pictures posted, the comparisons to other slender woman at the same stage of pregnancy and the personal stories sent in by readers destroyed any semblance of reality that might have been initially believed in Palin's story.

For every person who told me that no mother would do that, especially not when she has other children and is in such a public position; I countered with the question as to why did she decide to run for office when she is facing the first year of life with an infant with extremely specialy needs that she claims to be unfamiliar with? Because she has lots of help, her spouse is very supportive, and great staff. She also decided this was an appropriate time to do this despite her unwed teenage daughter's request that she turn down the position. According to Frank Bailey, Palin said that Bristol will get used to it. No concerns of her daughter in front of the
national media, concerns for her natural embarrassment, not a sign of typical maternal feelings. How easy is it for this 17 year old unwed daughter to be paraded in front of the media, pictures being taken, questions shouted for her to answer. I don't know of any loving mother who would make the choice Palin did for Trig and for Bristol. They both need her at this time in their lives and she's leaving their needs in the hands of extended family and friends so $arah can pur$ue her dream$.

Thank you to all who have done their best to keep this issue in front of the media until the truth is told. $arah will be the person who brings about her ultimate downfall but the pressure needs to remain in place until the truth about Trig is revealed.

Jack
04/15/2011 07:39

A minor note. Palin was a sitting governor, at the time, yes?

Which means protocol, and scheduling. All fifty states, and every territory, use some form of it.

And all campaigns have protocol and itinerary for the principals. If you've ever even folded envelopes for the volunteer basement room of a campaign, you've probably had some experience of this.

It is extraordinarily detailed, when it comes to national elections. And obsessively so, for Pres. and Veep candidates.

The McCain camp - if it had even one competent research staffer - would have poured over and through all of this, looking for stories which the opposition could put to good use.

That means interviewing State Police escorts, staffers, secretaries nobody else notices, et cetera.

The problem with conspiracy thinking is that it ignores all of the people who are involved, have access to the principals of the conspiracy, but who never seem to see a conspiracy.

What of the literally hundreds of people who interacted with Governor Palin? Are each and every one of them members of this conspiracy of silence?

I'm not suggesting that Palin did not perpetrate a hoax. In fact, I think it's possible and even likely.

But, for the story to have better legs, people have to drop the conspiracism and get on the ground, to interview all those every day people who would have had personal contact with the Governor while she was allegedly pregnant.

The national press obviously didn't do it. The McCain campaign almost certainly did. There are a lot of people who worked for McCain who despise Palin.

A good place to start, I think.

04/15/2011 08:40

Thank you all for taking the time to read and comment. Dr. Scharlott and I are working on Part 2 and hope to have it up tomorrow (we're on different time zones.) I have further thoughts about life in a NICU and just some things that have struck me about this story - as it relates to my own experience. Again, not an indictment, just my own frame of reference that might give people some food for thought. Thank you again.

Amazed
04/15/2011 12:46

RedHeadedBitch, I heartily agree about your sensing Palin's resentment toward Trig. It's clear in the way she holds him like a sack of potatoes.

Thus, I could accept your premise that Palin just could not accept Trig's disabilities IF she had ever looked pregnant. But, she did not. With her first baby, she was huge (or, *smile* as you said, she looked like a whale). There is simply NO way that she would have been able to ignore the first six months of her FIFTH pregnancy.

Also, you mentioned her prenatal tests. Those, too, are suspect because doctors do NOT do those tests as early as she claimed, nor do they do them in the way that she claims. She describes the OLD method, not the one that is in use today.

Statements from the airlines do not mention that she looked as if she were very early in her pregnancy. They go further and say that the flight attendants (who are trained to watch for such things because they do not want births up in the air) did not notice ANY signs of pregnancy.

I heartily agree with your closing, that she could do so much good if she focused on special needs families. Instead, she only donated $1,000 of SarahPAC money. When she has given speeched at special needs events, she demanded her usual fee and accepted it (some speakers then donate it back to the cause).

Bobcat Logic
04/15/2011 14:09

A good place to start for background on the Trig story is Jane Mayer's article in The New Yorker, Oct. 27, 2008, entitled "The Insiders: How John McCain Came to Pick Sarah Palin."

Jane Mayer is author of the book _The Dark Side_ revealing torture carried out under the Bush-Cheney admins. Mayer knows a lot about the "dark side" of American political life.

In her New Yorker article, Mayer recounts the vetting and grooming of Palin to be a potential VP candidate, starting at least as early as February 2007.

Mayer tells about a shady Fundamentalist/GOP operative who began the process, and proceeds to describe Palin's "vetting" by GOP pundits, power-brokers, and dirty tricksters who came to Alaska in the summer of 2007.

They included such GOP luminaries as Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Rich Lowry, Michael Gerson, John Bolton, Robert Bork, Victor Davis Hanson, and Dick Morris.

They were worried about the possibility of a McCain nomination (or a Romney nomination) which would not play well with their Fundamentalist, Right-to-Life base.

They needed a VP candidate to bring the Fundies to the polls, and so they had come to Alaska to check Palin out and plan strategy for the upcoming campaign.

At one point, Dick Morris took Palin aside for a "very long" private talk in which they discussed such topics as how to burnish Palin's "outsider" "rogue" image.

One wonders if they also discussed Palin's right-to-life "cred" and how to burnish that, as well.

It is easy to imagine an Annunciation scene in which Morris announces to Palin that she has been chosen by GOD and the GOP to be the mother of DS baby.

Interestingly, some of the same pundits who vetted Palin were quick to announce, following her nomination (which was, apparently, forced on an unwilling McCain) , that the most important fact of Palin's candidacy and, indeed, of her entire life was that she has chosen to bear a Down Syndrome baby.

And Trig quickly became her most important campaign prop.

The Trig hoax is, apparently, much more than just a Palin family drama.

It is a major political con job conducted and enabled by people who are still powerful in the GOP.

Sterngard Friegen
04/17/2011 20:05

As salacious as the details may be about Sarah Palin's son Trig, she is now a private person, no longer using her son as a campaign prop (as she had done). As a result, and as difficult it may be for those of us raised in a gossip soaked society of "celebrities," this story should shuffle away. It is now none of our business.

Sarah Palin's birth peccadilloes and the potential lies of this entertainer -- for that is all she now is, and only to an audience that can stomach her -- are irrelevant to our national discourse.

It's time to let Sarah Palin fade into the abysmal obscurity that she and her hillbilly family deserve.

HP
04/17/2011 21:14

No, Mr. Sterngard Friegen, it is not time to let the case of Sarah Palin fade into obscurity.

That Sarah Palin got as close to the Oval Office as she did, demonstrates very clearly that the US media is broken. They are not doing their jobs. The media is supposed to investigate candidates prior to the election. Yet, they did not.

Anyone who listens to the "wild ride" story in Palin's own words can come to one of two conclusions, and neither looks good for Palin. Either she gave birth to Trig and exhibited terrible judgment, or she perpetrated a major hoax on the country. However, the US media just glossed over the whole episode.

We have another presidential election coming up in less than two years. I want to know that the media is on the job, making the voting public aware of ill-qualified candidates.

Mick_In_Amsterdam
04/18/2011 05:04

I commend the courage and integrity you've displayed by involving yourself with such a treacherous minefield of a story.

I've wondered for 21/2 years how Palin could continue to get away with such a clumsy deception.

The answer is so simple it's terrifying...

"How dare anyone attack my innocent, special neeeds child? By persuing this story, you are evil and must be destroyed. I'm the victim, so I win!"

Pure Sarah Palin!

I'm beginning to suspect that she special ordered a child with DS for just such a purpose.

This woman has no honor...and no shame!

04/18/2011 09:22

Dear Sterngard, I hear your dissent and I respect it. You articulate good points. As does HP who replied to you. I don't believe there is only one definitive way of looking at this story. Or, as I view it now, a story about a story. Had the draft of this professor's academic paper not been released, I don't believe I would be blogging this story about the story about the story. But I do address a little bit of what you're saying in my next interview with Brad Scharlott that I'll post tomorrow. Thank you for visiting. And I hope you'll come back.

10/24/2012 20:35

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06/26/2013 00:10

This is really an interesting article. I am a great fan of those authors who are famous for their books and novel. Taking an interview with these personalities is beyond imagination. I wish I could at least watch their conversations in real life.


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