Not Really Breaking: Mat-Su Regional Hospital Says Trig Palin Was Born There

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 28 2011 8:05 AM

Not Really Breaking: Mat-Su Regional Hospital Says Trig Palin Was Born There

Yesterday, Andrew Sullivan wrote another post calling on me to do some reporting on the birth of Trig Palin. For months and months, this has struck me as a silly exercise, because other reporters have confirmed all of the important details about Trig's birth. But it was fair advice.

I called up Mat-Su Regional Hospital, where, according to contemporary media reports, Trig Palin was born. I was patched through to the family birthing center. The director had left for the day, sadly, so I spoke to a unit clerk who answered my questions but politely asked for me not to use her name.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

Advertisement

Why'd I call the hospital? One of the original concerns Sullivan had with the Trig Palin story -- one that's based on an absent fact, and not on innuendo -- was that Mat-Su Regional did not list Trig Palin's birth on its website. There's a portion of the web site, the baby nursery, where newborns are listed . Trig, born on April 18, 2008, is not there. And that's somewhat curious. So: Is every baby born at the hospital listed on the web site?

"No, it's not automatic," said the clerk. "Truth be told, we do take security photos of all the babies, but if the parents want their babies listed on the web site, they can request it. We're really sensitive about it, though. I think the hospital took up the policy not to publish names automatically because of possible baby kidnapping issues."

The clerk, realizing that Washington, D.C. reporters don't typically cold call her hospital, asked me if this call was about "our former governor." It was. Was Trig Palin born there?

"Oh, that's not even a question," she said. (If my reception was better I could have heard her eyes rolling at this point.) "Yes. Everybody here remembers that. Yes, this is where the Palins come -- this is their family hospital."

Ideally, I would have gotten the family birthing center's director on the phone and gotten more confirmation with a name to go with it. But is anything preventing Andrew, or one of the Daily Dish's assistants, from making that call? During the 2008 campaign, he definitely demanded answers from the McCain campaign on what it would reveal about Palin, and when, but the current tone of his Trig-blogging is horribly meta -- "just asking questions," without asking questions of the people who can answer all of this stuff.

Oh, I'm not naive. Andrew's response to Salon 's investigation of the Trig story was a plea for Salon to ask Sarah Palin to release her son's medical records. He's asking a politician releasing an additional record to prove something that had been proven, repeatedly, by contemporary evidence, reporting, and state documents. Remind me how that usually turns out?

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Dec. 19 2014 4:15 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? Staff writer Lily Hay Newman shares what stories intrigued her at the magazine this week.