Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Most Important Blogger In the World!

Okay, that's totally unfair of me and I already feel bad about it. What Andrew Sullivan actually calls himself is: "the most popular one-man political blog site in the world." I'm sure that that's true--I don't dispute it. But should you really go around saying stuff like that out loud? Maybe I'd feel differently if I had more than three readers. Who am I to judge!

(New GS motto: The fourth-least popular two-man non-political blog site in Washington D.C.)

All of this is prelude to today's Howard Kurtz story on Sullivan's using The Atlantic to question whether or not Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's mother.

I don't have much to add to the story except to (1) Congratulate Kurtz for taking a look at it; and (2) Observe that there is a bit of a double-standard going on with The Atlantic and the McCain campaign.

Sullivan complains that the McCain campaign has ignored his requests for proof of Trig's parentage.

This is, however, common practice in political journalism: Campaigns often don't respond to reporters they don't like or to questions they don't feel like answering. This rarely has any nefarious implications. I wrote a ton of fairly sympathetic copy about Hillary Clinton during the primary season and had, I think, good relationships with people on her campaign staff. But when I wanted to find out who was running her speech-writing shop, I spent almost two months making calls and sending emails and knocking on doors and getting not a single reply. This didn't mean that Clinton had no speechwriter, or was trying to cover up the fact that Karl Rove and Dick Cheney were penning her speeches. (Or does it!) For whatever reason, they just saw no advantage in playing along with that particular question. That's the way the world works.

But here's what's funny: I know at least one person who has emailed The Atlantic's head honcho, David Bradley, asking for comment on Andrew Sullivan's recent work. I was copied on the email that was sent; here it is:

From: xxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Thu, Sep 18, 2008 at 11:10 AM
Subject: The Atlantic's official position re: Identity Theft

Mr. Bradley,

Does The Atlantic Monthly endorse identity theft as a legitimate political vetting tool? I'm only curious because a Sr. Editor at your publication recently endorsed this tactic on an official Atlantic blog:

If this is not the official position of your publication you might want to publish a disclaimer disavowing Mr. Sullivan's recent endorsement of said crime.


Bradley has yet to send a reply. Of course, Bradley is under no more obligation to answer questions from the blogosphere than the McCain campaign is. But perhaps Sullivan's gripe about not getting answers would carry more weight if his employer answered the questions being raised about him.

Update: Patterico goes all next level on Sullivan.


Anonymous said...

I am the most powerful commenter in the history of the universe!
Stop laughing...

Anonymous said...

I agree (and so does he) they had no obligation to answer his questions, but then why take the time to shop his private emails around until they found some hack willing to make a news story out of them? What purpose does that serve?

Anonymous said...

Has it come to this, Last? Really?

You are now letting other commenters defame me, your most loyal and potent commenter? I don't know who PG is, but I do know he doesn't power comment!!!


Anonymous said...

By the way, Kurtz sandbagged this one.

I understand that Last feels a little vindicated--it's nice to see Sullivan's madness get a hearing--but c'mon. Would it have killed Kurtz to pick up a phone and call David Bradley? Heck, if Bradley isn't around, I'm sure James Bennet would take the call.

Might be interesting to learn what Bradley thinks of his "reporter." Might also be interesting to learn if the Atlantic intends to do some investigating into how many abortions Michelle Obama has had.

Hey, just asking questions. Who's afraid of a little sunlight?

Anonymous said...

Sully - if Michelle Obama had taken a public stand against abortion, and yet her actions indicated that she had had one, then an investigation by the Atlantic would have some validity.

But Michelle Obama has taken no such stand. And if she had had an abortion, abortion is legal, and she isn't the one running for office, so one could consider it a private matter, like John Edwards affair - of momentary interest, but no real importance.

Sarah Palin is running for high office. She maintains an anti-abortion, pro-life stance in all circumstances, and if elected, might try to make her personal convictions the law of the land. (After all, as mayor of Wasilla, she charged rape victims for the investigative tool required to apprehend their attackers, purportedly because the rape kits contained "morning after" pills.)

So why did she undergo amnio, why didn't she go to a hospital when her water broke, why did she take an eight hour flight when labor was imminent, why did she drive past a hospital with a NICU? All of these actions were very risky for her unborn Down syndrome child, and hardly what one could call pro-life.

You can attack Sullivan all you want, on many issues, but his interest is not irrational. Palin's story of the birth of Trig raises questions. She's either a bald-faced liar who didn't actually give birth, or a damn fool. If someone can put forth another interpretation of her actions, I'm dying to hear it.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:13-

If you're going to make a claim like Palin charging rape victims for rape kits, you better make sure you're right. In this case, you're flat-out wrong, or as Sullivan would say, a bald-faced pathological liar.

The police chief made this statement and to this day there is not a single shred of evidence that any rape victims were ever charged for rape kits while Palin was mayor.
Why don't you do yourself a favor: learn how to use the internet and check your facts before you make comments that reveal you to be a complete and total moron. Perhaps then people might take you seriously when you make similarly idiotic comments regarding the parentage of Trig Palin.
But why bother to learn facts when you can simply repeat easily refuted lies. Makes me wonder whether those that refer to Palin as a "pathological liar" are simply suffering from a bad case of projection.

Anonymous said...

pg - there are those who disagree with your assertion re Palin and the rape kits. Have a look:

If you're so hot at using the internets, why didn't you find that?

But even if she hand-delivered rape kits to victims at her own expense, it wouldn't change the fact that Palin's actions before the birth of Trig, if they happened as she said, were idiotic. I will admit that her interview with Katie Couric is more persuasive than your "insults" (ooh, scary!) that maybe she's telling the truth about the birth, because evidently she is that dumb.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: It is my considered opinion that you are a dipshit and a virgin. Hope that meets with your approval. If not, that's fine too.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:48

You're really embarrassing yourself citing HuffPo reporting over and CNN. Here is a very very simple fact:
There is zero evidence that any rape victim was ever charged a red cent for a rape kit while Palin was mayor.

Those who claim she either knew or implemented the changes in the budget are her vanquished nemeses Stein and Stambaugh, both with obvious incentive to go after Palin.
So you can continue to get your news from such stellar outlets as DailyKos and HuffPo and embarrass yourself in arguments because you're an idiot, and I'll continue to read real news outlets (which is, after all, what the entire Sullivan anger is about, his turning The Atlantic into DailyKos).

Anonymous said...

pg, jim treacher, et al - typical small time debate tactic - when you don't have the answer, change the subject. The rape kit controversy is a diversion - although I stand by my assertion that Sarah Palin did charge victims for this investigational tool.

But what I asked originally was if anyone had an interpretation of Palin's actions, regarding the birth of Trig, that didn't make her out to be a liar, or a fool. So far, you guys have been a big disappointment. Love the phony outrage though.

And for your reading pleasure:

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:23

Ok, you want another "interpretation"-
How about Palin's doctor told her she was ok to fly and Palin felt well enough to make the long trip to her hospital. Makes her neither a fool nor a liar. She had 4 previous pregnancies so she was obviously experienced to recognize warning signals. I know from my wife's experiences that no two pregnancies are the same and that mothers often have a far better sense of what is right that others who second guess them ex post facto.
Are these decisions I would make? I don't know, I'm all man, not really capable of finding out. If my wife made the same decisions, and her doc said it was ok to fly, I'd back my wife and wouldn't second guess.
But it's easy for you to second guess months later with all your obvious expertise in such matters.

BTW- linking to an op-ed in the NYT does not qualify as reporting on the rape-kit issue. I've answered your question, now answer mine: cite a SINGLE piece of evidence that any rape victim was charged for a rape kit during Palin's tenure as Mayor? Your claim is that Palin charged rape victims, you should be able to cite at least 1 person actually charged. If you can't, at the very least you should amend to Palin "planned" to charge rape victims, or "budgeted". But even then, the budget was drafted by the Police Chief, and not Palin, and again there is no evidence whatsoever that Palin ever backed this policy or ever knew about it.
So I say once again, you would do yourself a favor to educate yourself on these issues before spouting nonsense.

Anonymous said...

pg - fair enough. Here's an article from USA Today.
Here's the money quote:

"It was more than a couple of cases, and it was standard practice in Wasilla," Peggy Wilcox said, who now works for the Alaska Public Employees Association. "If you were raped in Wasilla, this was going to happen to you."

Understandably rape victims don't often make their identities known to the public, so you're correct - I can't cite one by name. But it's clear that charging victims, or their insurance companies for rape kits did happen in Wasilla on Sarah Palin's watch. In fact this is what prompted the Alaska legislature to pass a law against the practice.

As to your other point, you contradict yourself. You point out that Palin had four previous pregnancies, so she knew the drill, so to speak. And then you state, correctly, that no two pregnancies are the same.

One would think that a woman of advanced maternal age with a high-risk fetus would exercise more prudence than to take a flight of many hours after she starts to leak amniotic fluid, no matter what any doctor said over the phone. Had the airline been aware of the situation, Palin would not have been allowed to fly. But she took the flight and they made it back before the birth.

So tell me, why did the Palins drive past the Anchorage hospital with a neo-natal intensive care unit to go to one that didn't have such a facility? If her Down syndrome baby was so precious to her, why did she risk his life? And I'll add, why did she engage a doctor who wasn't even an obstetrician, let alone an expert in high-risk pregnancies? Did she allow cronyism to endanger the life of her child?

Bottom line, it isn't "nonsense" or "crazy" to ask these questions. If you accept the Palin line, that's fine. But that doesn't mean that others do. Her story does not make sense.