Palin Lawyers Up

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 27 2011 9:26 AM

Palin Lawyers Up

Jon Karl scoops the letter that Palin attorney John Tiemessen has sent to Random House warning of a possible suit over The Rogue. The basis for the complaint is the e-mail from Joe McGinniss to anti-Palin blogger Jesse Griffin, sent in January, in which the author beseeches the blogger to produce some sources lest six salacious stories go unproven.

There is no evidence that Mr. McGinniss somehow magically discovered 'new sources' between January of this year and the present date. Certainly the book does not report any. Since both your company, and the author, clearly knew the statements were false, admitted that they had no basis in fact or reality, but decided to publish in order to harm Governor Palin's family, you and Mr. McGinniss have defamed the Palins.
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McGinniss will not comment on this situation, but when I asked him last week about the e-mail, he said: "I continued my reporting into June of this year, almost six months after I asked Griffin for his help in getting anonymous sources to go on the record," and provided an example of exactly that. This example was of a story that did not make it in the book. The stories subject to debate here are rumors about the Palins that remain in the book as rumors. The stories of Trig Palin's birth and what Bristol Palin did or didn't do after her son was born appear as rumors, things that McGinniss heard but can't confirm, as opposed to the facts McGinniss gets through sources. The Glen Rice story, the newsiest item in the book, is confirmed cold. The stories of Palin affairs are put in the mouth, first, of a named source who's showing McGinniss around town -- he elides the question of whether he believes them.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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