Sarah Palin's nosy new neighbor

Garance Franke-Ruta
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 26, 2010; 8:45 AM

Sarah Palin has a new neighbor in Wasilla, Alaska, and he's not just any old regular joe.

The former Alaska governor posted on her Facebook page Tuesday a shot of the back of a blue-shirted, chino-clad man who she says is famed author Joe McGinniss.

"Yes, that Joe McGinniss," Palin writes. "Here he is -- about 15 feet away on the neighbor's rented deck overlooking my children's play area and my kitchen window. Maybe we'll welcome him with a homemade blueberry pie tomorrow so he'll know how friendly Alaskans are."

McGinnis is perhaps best known for his youthful book on the Nixon campaign, "The Selling of the President 1968," which has become a classic of political journalism. But he has also written a book on the oil pipeline in Alaska, and his "Fatal Vision" from 1984, on the Jeffrey MacDonald murder trial, became a popular cause celebre.

McGinniss is a master of immersive journalism, and he is currently writing a book about Palin. (She was also the subject of a none-too-flattering profile by McGinniss in Portfolio last year).

His son, Joe Jr., confirmed Tuesday night that his father is renting the house in Wasilla.

Palin expressed surprise to see him overlooking her lawn and her daughter Piper's bedroom.

"Upon my family's return this morning from endorsement rallies and speeches in the Lower 48 states, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this evening! ... Needless to say, our outdoor adventure ended quickly after Todd went to introduce himself to the stranger who was peering in..." she writes.

"Joe announced to Todd that he's moved in right next door to us. He's rented the place for the next five months or so. He moved up all the way from Massachusetts to live right next to us - while he writes a book about me. Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of 'journalism' (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they'd ever encountered), we're sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he's penning. Wonder what kind of material he'll gather while overlooking Piper's bedroom, my little garden, and the family's swimming hole?"

An e-mail to McGinniss's publisher, Broadway Books, and to McGinnis, as well as a voice mail left with his agent, were not immediately returned. Broadway Books told the Associated Press, "McGinniss will be highly respectful of his subject's privacy as he investigates her public activities."

That is a topic McGinniss has joked about before, writing last July on his public Facebook page beneath a photo of Palin as a young woman, "Why won't media leave her kids alone when she's trying so hard to protect their privacy?"

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