You’re not going to believe what I’m about to admit. I, um, <clears throat>. . . I feel sorry for Sarah Palin. Not on a macro-level. After all, Palin is the moth to the flame of celebrity. She has to roll with all of the adoration and brickbats that go with it. But after reading the blistering New York Times review of “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin” by Joe McGinniss, I felt a pang of pity. Even polarizing public figures deserve to be skewered by well-researched and thoroughly reported facts.
You’ll recall that McGinniss is the fella who rented the house right next to the Palins in Wasilla when he was writing the book last year. This caused the half-term Alaska governor and reality television star to build
a fence to shield her and her family’s privacy. By all accounts, McGinniss is a reputable journalist. But when bombshell allegations dropped a few days ago that Palin snorted drugs off an oil drum and had a “fetish for black guys” that led to her hooking up with a pro-basketball player, I knew this was not going to be on par with, say, a Bob Woodward inside-the-room epic.
Janet Maslin of the New York Times bluntly states, “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.’” Maslin points out that “many of these gossips are men.”
The sensational information in “The Rogue” would be truly devastating if it were nailed down with airtight confirmation from on-the-record sources or documentation. Something. Anything other than a “friend” or “one resident” of questionable motive and veracity.
Y’all know that I’m not a Palin fan. As a star she’s brilliant. But on the political stage, her mushy mutterings on policy are maddening. They add nothing substantive or new or out-of-the box to the ongoing national conversation. With so much material in this area, there’s no need to unpin loosely sourced grenades about blow and basketball. It might do wonders for publicity and book sales. But it does a number on the credibility and reputation of the author.