The ADN Moves On

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 15 2011 @ 10:51am

A columnist, Julia O'Malley, tries to debunk all the questions about Palin's last pregnancy and child. She says the pregnancy was obvious before Palin even announced she was having Trig and it's absurd that anyone would still be asking for evidence. She also actually opposes Palin providing some easily available evidence, like a birth certificate or (my long request) some simple medical records of her pregnancy.

Sure, given the information we have, it seems Palin made a risky, even reckless, decision to fly when she suspected her water was breaking, but that doesn't mean that she wasn't really pregnant. She could just produce a birth certificate. But then I'm not certain that would make this story go away. Some people just want to believe, even when it's baseless. Just look at the birth certificate conspiracy about the president that Palin won't let go of.

But the president has produced his birth certificate, thereby doing what he had to do to define the continued question as conspiracy nuttery. Palin has actually said on the record that she has released Trig's (another truly odd lie) and subsequently proffered only her stretch marks to prove it. When Palin has said something untrue like this in public, and when she has told a completely incredible tale in "Going Rogue", and has repeatedly addressed the Trig question in speeches, do you really think the proper reaction of journalists is to insist that no questions should be asked at all. Not even a request to see evidence that would end the story for all sane people once and for all?

After all, O'Malley's own editor, Pat Dougherty, did try to clear this up in the winter of 2008-2009. Does O'Malley think that was inappropriate? She also seems to believe that the job of journalists is to adjudicate not just what's fit to print, but also what's fit to report. Based on what her friends say they saw in a gym.

Actually the job of journalists is to seek factual resolution of legitimate empirical questions. This should be easy. Why has it been so insanely hard?