Michael Joseph Gross recently wrote a scathing article on Sarah Palin for Vanity Fair. Or should I say, wrote an accurate article that echoed the fearful voices from Alaska regarding Sarah Palin’s penchant for retribution and revenge. Since publishing it last week, he’s been the subject of endless attacks and revisionism from the Palin camp’s fringes as well as Palin herself, who took to Hannity’s radio show to decry his accuracy as “yellow journalism”. Today, Gross printed a response to the criticism.
Let it not be lost on the reader that Gross now joins previously tossed under the Palin bus journalists evil Katie Couric who dared to ask Palin what she reads and the elite Charlie Gibson who had the temerity to ask Palin, then a VP candidate, if she agreed with the Bush Doctrine. When Palin couldn’t cute her way out of answering the questions and when her stumbling inadequacies and utter inability to comprehend even what the Bush Doctrine was became apparent, Palin blamed the journalists.
If Palin has a skill, it’s her sheer mastery in blaming others for her failings in a counter attack, thereby rousing a chorus of sympathy and influx of money to her PAC or her then illegal defense fund a.k.a. personal slush fund. The MSM is catering to the short attention spans of the average American, which means they can’t possibly debunk all of the little lies that allow Palin to sell her big lie, so controversies involving Palin end up being a “he said she said” debate. When in reality, it’s most often a “he said, she lied” matter.
This isn’t an opinion; it’s a matter of long established pattern of behavior by Palin.
Yes, Gross used a lot of anonymous sources in his article. But here’s the dilemma: Gross points out that Palin is the only political figure he’s covered about whom virtually no one will talk. They are scared. In his response today to the criticism, Gross presents the two options available to him:
“After the 2008 election, Sarah Palin and her advisers decided that it was time to “go over [the] heads” of the media, as one of her former press aides told me, and, in effect, invent a new way of doing political business. Palin began using Facebook and Twitter to send messages directly to the public. At the same time, she and her staff made themselves virtually inaccessible to reporters. Palin, moreover, is the most powerful person in a sparsely populated, geographically isolated community. She has often used intimidation. Many who have been close to Palin say they are frightened of her. They claim they have seen her ruin reputations. To speak out against such a person in a small community is risky.
This reality presents reporters with a choice: either repeat the official statements and official facts that are made in Palin’s name, or find a way to report other information under the terms that sources will permit.”
It is this fact that should be the subject of bi-partisan outrage; the fact that Palin refuses to submit to questions, that she hides in her cowardly bunkers of Facebook and Twitter while spewing bald-faced lies that impact our national welfare and debate is what should be at issue here. What should be at issue here is the Palin camp’s attempts to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs. Just what does she have to hide?
The theme of Palin’s revenge upon those who speak out is a common and oft-repeated one. It’s been proven true over and over again. Troopegate was a perfect example of the sort of lengths Palin will go to when she wants revenge.
Gross is learning what all people who write about Palin with any accuracy learn: You will pay.
If it isn’t her, she knows how to point her cult in your direction, sending them sniffing for blood. To this end, the attack dogs start with attempted character smears but will not stop until they’ve gotten you fired, humiliated, or your family threatened.
In this case, Gross is dealing with a Palin friend, Gina Loudon, who chose to attempt to impugn his character by suggesting that he took advantage of Palin’s generosity of access and further more, did not report accurately on what Louden claims she told him. The problem is, they never met as Gross wasn’t even allowed backstage where Louden claims she met him.
Gross writes today:
“Let me state this as unequivocally as possible: Loudon’s accounts have no basis in reality. I do not mean simply that the facts are wrong—I mean that the episode did not occur………And for the record: despite Loudon’s claim, the Palins offered me no cooperation or access at any time during the reporting of my article.”
He goes on to explain that Loudon is “no stranger to theatrical intimidation towards those with whom she disagrees,” and recounts Loudon’s participation in placing a coffin in front of Congressman Russell Carnahan’s private home.
Even without Loudon’s past history, this is an established pattern of behavior for Palin and her entourage. In fact, the very words he wrote echo the words of McCain campaign aids thrown under the bus by Palin in her “autobiography”. This behavior first appeared when she was Mayor of Wasilla and issued a press black out. Palin has been playing offense with the press since she first reared her rabidly ambitious head in politics.
It’s a transparent but effective way of avoiding fact checking and questions. It flies in the face of the role of the fourth estate, which is to question stridently, not to bow in obedience. If Palin won’t come to the mountain, the mountain will come to her. No one said she was going to like it.
While still serving her aborted term as governor, Palin attacked numerous Alaskan bloggers who took brave stands for their right to speak their minds. Lawsuits were threatened. There was no fight too petty for Palin to wade into, bringing the full brunt force of her power as Governor down upon the citizens of Alaska.
To give you some idea of the voracity and persistence of the average Palin fan, if you google Michael Gross right now, you’ll find this:
A different writer also named Michael Gross: “ATTENTION SARAH PALIN FANS: I AM NOT THE MAGAZINE WRITER MICHAEL JOSEPH GROSS, SO PLEASE LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR HIM.”
Oh, email and internet harassment, thou art the loyal weapons of mass destruction.
Read up on how they got tried to get David Letterman fired or a kindergarten teacher fired…. or the countless hours, days, weeks they will spend online hunting down their prey’s past in order to humiliate them into silence.
This is intimidation. Intimidation is the tactic of a coward who can’t handle the truth. In fact, in order to avoid people blogging and writing about her without her input, all Palin has to do is be willing to provide factual answers to questions. Like all normal politicians do. But she is too afraid to do so. She can’t hack even the most mild of questions without resorting to her wounded Poujadist pride as offense.
The examples of Palin’s zealous attacks are too numerous to list here. For a quick review see Palin Mean Girls, What’s Wrong with Sarah Palin, Alaskans Adamantly Rebuke Palin’s Denial of Stoking Violence and Alicia Lewis: Victim of the Sarah Palin Attack Machine Speaks Out.
Writing about Palin is tricky business. Each day presents the challenge of her one-way statements versus fact. One is often not sure whether to laugh or cry. But one can be sure that the statements put out in rebuttal will bear little resemblance to the truth, will contain a character assassination attempt, and will paint Palin as the martyred saint whom God has mantled to save America.
Palin herself claimed these “attacks” (“attacks” in Palinese are any sort of request for transparency or factual reporting on her) are stepped up when all is going well for “us” -– a nod to Palin’s frequent use of the royal plural when referring to herself — as well as her self-promoted image of herself as Jesus under attack because she is righteous.
And after all, Michael Gross, who are you to argue with God?