Committing Journalism – Revealed

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 28 2012 @ 3:57pm

File this under "Journalism 101". It's an email from the newly released doc-dump from the State of Alaska. It's from Anchorage Daily News reporter, Lisa Demer, December 16, 2008, to Sharon Leighow and Bill McAllister, spokesman for Sarah Palin:

Hi Sharon,

Thanks for getting back with me so quickly.

Could you ask the governor if the family will send an announcement to the Daily News when Bristol’s baby is born? That would be helpful. There has been worldwide attention on this pregnancy, which Gov. Palin herself announced. This is the next chapter in the story. There’s a spot on the governor’s official Web site about Trig. Is this that different? Regarding the questions about Trig, it is within the governor’s power to put this to rest for most people. Maybe not all but certainly most reasonable people would accept a definitive statement from her doctor. If Cathy Baldwin-Johnson were given written consent to talk to me one more time about the birth, the questions that I keep hearing could be answered. The questions for the doctor: Did you deliver Trig? If not, who did? Who is Trig Palin’s biological mom and how do you know that?

Here’s one more request that might help. Would the governor make available a copy of Trig’s birth certificate? We could mention in our story what the birth certificate says.

We’re also looking for explanation about the earlier medical history statement. That statement wasn’t direct enough for some people. There also is a side issue related to it. A simple explanation of how it came together, who wrote it, and why it was released so late on Election Eve would be helpful. Dr. Baldwin-Johnson could help on some of that. But that’s less important than the issue of Trig.

Thanks for whatever you can do.

Regards, Lisa

McAllister responded thus:


Allow me to intervene in a completely off-the-record way: I never anticipated the depths of sleaze that your paper would come to countenance. That the governor would have to prove maternity to you is perhaps the most despicable idea ever peddled by an organization that once had Pulitzer Prize status (and that now won’t even staff the legislative session). This is a disgrace, an outrage and a damnable injustice. Stop forcing us to spend state time to respond to this trash. We will not participate in your continued self-debasement as a news professional. Your inquiries about this are hereby permanently rejected, and your arrogance will have us discussing if we want to have anything to do with the ADN at all. Do not reply, unless it’s to offer a sweeping apology.

Off the record,

The Anchorage Daily News dropped the inquiry, after McAllister went even more ballistic, and refused what her close aide Frank Bailey called "a simple solution:" just releasing the birth certificate and some medical records.

Continued coverage at the invaluable Politicalgates.