The Truth about That Dishonest Vanity Fair Palin Story, from One Who Was There

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(From Big Journalism–www.bigjournalism.com)

Remember Vanity Fair (you know–the stale, old magazine that no one buys unless they are on the cover or they are wishing they were, like Joy Behar)? The recent hit piece on Sarah Palin by Michael Joseph Gross reveals that they must be as desperate as the rest of the MSM for sales/ratings, because they have lost all credibility, if they ever had any.

Reading his tripe was excruciating. Some 90% of the hard accusations are attributed to anonymous “sources.” This is billed as a profile piece, not exactly Watergate. You have to do better than attributing everything to an anonymous “Deep Throat.”

I have read a lot of MSM slime over the years, but never, ever have I felt subjected to a more jealous, petty, sophomoric, disturbed piece of ragslime than I do after reading this latest on Sarah Palin. Gross left nothing alone. He attacked her beauty, intelligence, marriage, parents, friends, family, children, ability, sincerity, honesty, faith, state, husband, home, shoes, speeches, pastor, book, job, cooking, hunting skills, supporters, church, weight, undergarments… the list goes on. I honestly cannot think of anything about her that he did not attack.

Sarah Palin doesn’t need me, or anyone else to defend her. She is strong, self assured, and she has heard all of this unoriginal slime before now. The only thing new in his story is the new depth of utter disregard for professionalism in journalism. Here is an excerpt:

“When …Piper Palin turns around, she sees her parents thronged by admirers, and the crowd rolling toward her and the baby, her brother Trig, born with Down syndrome in 2008. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, bend down and give a moment to the children; a woman, perhaps a nanny, whisks the boy away; and Todd hands Sarah her speech and walks her to the stage.”

Unfortunately for Mr. Gross, it happens that I shared the stage with Sarah Palin at that event. I announced my BUYcott of Arizona that day, and I remember it well.

As I stood backstage with the Palins I remember a reporter asking me if I were “Trig’s Nanny” with a hint of something I didn’t trust in his eyes. I coldly retorted, “no, I am Samuel’s mother.” He looked confused, and had more questions to follow. In his VF story, he said that no one is willing to speak about Sarah “on the record” unless they are paid by her, or afraid. I was one of the people you interviewed Mr. Gross. I am not paid, or afraid. But since you opted not to print what I told you, here is the rest of the story: Since the first time the Governor saw my son Samuel (who also has Down syndrome), she bolts across the room to greet him every time she sees him. She nuzzles him like a mother who loves children with Down syndrome does. I remember commenting to my husband that she always “does the mama smell” of Samuel, that only moms understand.

All of the Palin children circle around Samuel the moment they can get close, but Piper, in particular, cannot seem to get enough of him. She literally plays with him (Gross does say she played with “the children” in his story) from the moment she sees him, until the moment she is pressed to let go of him. It is so sweet, and it speaks to the parenting in her life. She has obviously been taught a real, tangible love for “special children” by her parents, and it shines when she lights up at the sight of a baby with Down syndrome. This is not an ordinary reaction in children. Most children step away, look curious, or frightened, or confused. Not the Palin children, and especially not little Piper.

After an event in Nashville, the Governor went to the trouble of making a special call to me to thank me and tell me how much Piper enjoyed “loving on” my Samuel. During the event where the Governor and I spoke in Independence, the Palins stood backstage for a long while as others took the stage. Sarah pulled me aside to ask me how blessed I felt to be the mother of someone chosen and special, like Samuel. She held both of my hands and confided her fears and love for her little Trig, and the miracle of all he has taught her. She glowed as she explained how he greets each morning with a smile, and we talked about the gentle touch of a child with Down syndrome that feels almost like the wing of an angel. I would love to tell you more about the depth of her love, concern, and compassion for her child, but she deserves my confidence. She spoke from a tender, mother’s heart, one that Mr. Gross wouldn’t know if it slapped him with a silicon spatula in a moose stew pot!

After I explained which children were Todd and Sarah’s, and which were mine and my husband’s, Mr. Gross moved into a sinister line of questioning. I let him know that I was surprised that he believed the baloney written about her during her 2008 race with John McCain. I told of my work on Governor Palin’s “advance team” and that I was there when the whole St. Louis “story” about her alleged expensive taste became more important to some writers than her stellar performance in the debate. I told him the Governor I know was always polite, always a lady, even behind the scenes in her darkest moments. I remember one night after a day of campaign season attacks when she came back to the hotel afterward. She held Trig in one arm, and cuddled Piper with the other. She was patient with her other children when they were asking about exploring the hotel. She kissed her husband who, though tired, glowed with pride in his bride (he spent hours earlier in the day hanging out and smal -talking with the advance team while her plane was running behind schedule), and she was careful to stop and say hello to all her staff and advance team despite the fact that she must have been exhausted after battling the press all day. I remember that night because I could not understand where she was getting all her energy, joy, and warmth after such a wicked day.

I told Mr. Gross that the Palin family is so real, it is unreal. What you saw in front of the cameras is precisely what you saw behind the scenes. I have known a lot of politicians. The interesting thing about the Palins is how grounded they are, despite their astonishing success. Mr. Gross says he talked to her hairdressers, makeup artists, waiters, and clerks at the Independence, Mo., event, and he tells of scandal, self absorption, and power slinging.But he never mentions talking to me, or to others I heard echoing the sentiments I offered to him. One of the most endearing components of the Palin family is their ability to point out, and laugh at their flaws. The Palins were gracious enough to let Mr. Gross follow them for months backstage, behind the scenes, and in their private moments around their staff and friends and family, and this is how he thanks them?

Here is petty, but further evidence of Mr. Gross’ slander. Sarah is a size 4. She is tiny. So when you try to hit the woman in the place that would really hurt, and accuse her of spending $3,000 of campaign money on her underwear, namely Spanx girdles, it tells your readers so much about you. Oprah doesn’t spend that on her Spanx, and if she did, you wouldn’t write about it, because she is a liberal. That’s the poorly veiled truth about you, Mr. Gross, you are jealous of Sarah (it glares through your non-story) and you hate her because she stands for good, conservative values. And she has great shoes!

The playground politics is not new to the political world, but this article employs the “takes one to know one” bully tactic to a whole new level.

I do agree with you on one thing, Mr. Gross. You said that “Her talk of leading with ‘a servant’s heart’ is a dog-whistle for the born-again. Her dig at health-care reform as an expression of Democratic ambitions to “build a Utopia in the United States is practically a trumpet call (because the Kingdom of God is not of this earth), and perfection can be achieved only in the life to come.

But it is Palin’s persistent encouragement of the prayer warriors that most clearly reveals her worldview: she is good, her opponents are evil, and the war is on.” Agreed. She is good, her opponents are evil, and the war is on!

One more thing among your errors: “the boy” in the excerpted quote above, was not Trig Palin. That was my Samuel, also a beautiful boy with Down syndrome. No “nanny whisk(ed) the boy away.” I am his mother. I took my son, Samuel from Sarah before she went on stage. I told Mr. Gross that fact, but he didn’t let that divert him from his pathetic narrative.

That is not journalism. That is just gross.