Michael Joseph Gross Defends Himself

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 8 2010 10:02 AM

Michael Joseph Gross Defends Himself

There was enough heat on his Vanity Fair profile of Sarah Palin to get him to publish a defense of the article. He ends by looking for solidarity with other members of the press whose coverage of Palin is hampered by her control of information.

After the 2008 election, Sarah Palin and her advisers decided thatit was time to "go over [the] heads" of the media, as one of her formerpress aides told me, and, in effect, invent a new way of doingpolitical business. Palin began using Facebook and Twitter to sendmessages directly to the public. At the same time, she and her staffmade themselves virtually inaccessible to reporters. Palin, moreover,is the most powerful person in a sparsely populated, geographicallyisolated community. She has often used intimidation. Many who have beenclose to Palin say they are frightened of her. They claim they haveseen her ruin reputations. To speak out against such a person in asmall community is risky.

This reality presents reporters with a choice: either repeat theofficial statements and official facts that are made in Palin’s name,or find a way to report other information under the terms that sourceswill permit.

I made the latter choice—very cautiously.


Sure, I'm sympathetic to that. It's just not clear what Gross got from this approach. Rumors about her family life? Vanity Fair already had that when it gave the unreliable Levi Johnston lots of space in 2009. Details about Conservatives 4 Palin blogger Rebbeca Mansour's work for Palin? OK, I guess.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.