It’s official. Every liberal pundit with an ounce of credibility is either ignoring the latest Vanity Fair column about Sarah Palin, or is running like heck from it. The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Hill have all ignored the story. And now, many noteworthy progressives, such as Kirsten Powers, Ben Smith, Julia Baird and David Weigel are panning it as untrue, disgraceful, sexist blather. In fact, only the far left nutter websites, like Crooks and Liars, see it as any sort of plus for the progressive cause.
So, why the mad dash away from this column by the leftist elites? It’s bashing Sarah Palin, so one would think that they would love it. Well, without much ado and mincing any words, I can tell you the four major reasons why liberals can’t seem to distance themselves from this column fast enough.
1.) Michael Gross, the author of this column, sounds like a blithering idiot, his column is dripping with hatred, and he manages to prove Sarah Palin correct about the “lamestream media”.
First of all, Gross’ column is a poorly written, non-flowing, rambling mess consisting of too long paragraphs, run-on sentences, dangling modifiers and non sequiturs. Second of all, his column is completely unsourced–everyone he quotes is either “some say”, “others say”, “someone who knows Levi Johnston says”, and some unnamed woman who says that Sarah Palin used to be her babysitter. (Mr. Gross explains that the reason why nobody will go on the record with him in Alaska is that the Palins are like “the mafia”, and that everyone’s afraid of them. He refers to Wasilla as “a city of fear” that is “populated entirely by abuse survivors”. I’m not kidding–you can read all of his insane fantasies about Sarah Palin cracking kneecaps in his long and crappy article.)
Furthermore, the one person that Gross did name, Shannyn Moore (a well known Sarah Palin hater), wrote him a nasty email where she basically tore him apart for misconstruing her words and taking her out of context. Her entire email is printed below:
Mr. Michael Gross,
You just “Sarah Palined” people here.
I’m going through a list doing damage control and telling people I’m so sorry I gave you their contacts and vouched for your professionalism and credibility.
You have neither.
I don’t give a rip what you said about me – though it was so completely wrong, and put me in such a completely inaccurate and unfavorable light people are mad on my behalf.
Fine thanks for Alaskan hospitality. I have extended the Alaska Spirit to dozens of journalists and visitors, and I will continue to do so. It’s on YOU, not me, as you are the only one who has broken agreements with sources you promised complete anonymity.
I’m sure you’re thrilled to be on TV now. Just know, like Sarah, Alaskans paid a price for it. Specifically, a 79-year old woman, with failing health, who spoke to you under anonymity who hopes her adult children will speak to her again.
Shame on you. You’re not a writer…you’re a climber.
With no respect,
Second of all, Michael Gross’ column was loaded with half-truths, innuendos and out-right lies, all not-so-cleverly disguised as facts. For example, Gross began his column with the following quote–
“Erratic behavior and a pattern of lying matter little.”
Now, you would think that if Gross was going to come out swinging like that, then he must have some serious evidence to back up such powerful assertions such as those–that he, again, makes on Hardball. (See the embed below where Chris Matthews cuts Gross off and goes on to Norah O’Donnell, because he realizes that Gross sounds a little nutty and unhealthily obsessed with Sarah Palin.)
However, it turns out that his column is rich in over the top rhetoric, but deeply lacking in facts or evidence. For instance, his smoking gun that Sarah Palin is a crazed liar is that she once said that she didn’t have a lot of experience with special needs children before her son Trig was born, but at a later time mentioned that she has an autistic nephew. (Mr. Gross makes no mention of how much time Palin has spent with her autistic nephew.) Oh, and his airtight evidence that Sarah Palin is a crazy woman with a violent temper who needs to be on “psychiatric medications”, is a story from an “unnamed source” about her and Todd Palin getting in a fight and throwing canned food at the refrigerator–and the fact that one of her teenage kids was supposedly embarrassed by her praying in public and called her a “phony”.
[“Coming up on Live News at Five, married couples sometimes fight and teenagers are embarrassed by their parents. Next up–dog bites man.”]
However, CNN reporter, Peter Hamby, has since contradicted Michael Gross with the following Tweet where he states:
I was w/ Palin for entire VP bid. never got a hint that she “lashed out at the slightest provocation”
So, another one of Michael Gross’ accusations bites the dust.
And finally, the most embarrassing part about Michael Gross’ article is that it has two serious factual errors in it.
One major mistake Michael Gross made in his column is he referred to Dr. Gina Loudon as Trig’s nanny, when she was actual the mother of Samuel, another special needs child with Down Syndrome that was backstage at a fundraiser with the Palins. Here is an exert of Gross’ column below–
“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.”
Now, here are some exerts from Dr. Gina Loudon’s column rebutting the above statement by Michael Gross (be sure to click on the link to her column to see an adorable picture of Piper):
“Unfortunately for Mr. Gross, it happens that I shared the stage with Sarah Palin at that event.”
“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.
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.”
Ouch–that’s gotta sting a bit. I mean, Dr. Gina Loudon makes Mr. Gross look like he was so busy with his witch hunt on Sarah Palin, that he couldn’t even bother to get his facts straight–you know, like who the child in question really was, or who his mother was (however, he probably thinks that all Down’s Syndrome children look alike).
Now, the second major mistake in Michael Gross’ column is that repeats a rumor about Sarah Palin supposedly wanting a shotgun wedding for her daughter Bristol and Levi Johnston, that everyone who’s anyone in the media and blogs knows is total bunk. Both Ben Smith and Dave Weigel call Gross to the carpet on printing this known fabrication. To be specific, Michael Gross wrote the following with regard to the supposed plans that Sarah Palin had for a shotgun wedding for Bristol and Levi:
“Soon after her nomination, she brought up with McCain aides the subject of Bristol’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by Levi Johnston: “Would it be good for the campaign if they got married before the election?” she asked, and went on to wonder whether one weekend or another would be more advantageous for media coverage.”
Dave Weigel responds to this unsubstantiated rumor in Gross’ column by writing the following–
“Smith explains that the quote came from a wild yarn in a UK Times story, passed on by a McCain campaign source, even though “the idea was never brought to Palin, much less seriously considered.” I can confirm that because I heard it from the same source, albeit after the campaign was over. It was, as I understand it, a goof, and it went to print because, basically, UK papers have more lax standards on what they print than American papers. Of course, it’s not like American papers have covered themselves in glory when “analyzing” Palin’s family based on rumors.
Point is, this anecdote is bunk, and it makes me wonder about the rest of the story.”
Dave Weigel just took the words right out of my mouth–I couldn’t have said it better myself. In a nutshell, what it looks like, is that, at best, Michael Gross was so obsessed with his witchhunt to paint Sarah Palin as Lucifer, that he engaged in some really sloppy journalism–and at worst, that he was outright lying (I vote for all of the above).
Now, on to the second reason why liberals are running scared from Michael Gross’ disgusting column.
2.) Michael Gross’ hit piece on Sarah Palin was just dripping with blatant sexism.
Gross goes out of his way to paint Sarah Palin as a bad mother, which everyone knows is classic sexism 101. One example that he gave was that she missed her children on the campaign trail, so when they were with her, she hung out with them too much and didn’t insist that they do their homework (someone needs to call child protective services…rolls eyes). Oh, and she insisted that her little girl get the pink and purple markers that she wanted to sign autographs with, and that a hairdresser do hair and make-up for another daughter. Please, allow me to put this another way. Could any of you imagine if someone wrote a column implying that Barack Obama was a bad father because he wasn’t around his daughters much during the 2008 campaign, and because he got them some pink markers to sign autographs?! Liberals would be screaming at the top of their lungs that the column was ridiculous garbage–and they would be right.
However, Gross’ disgusting sexism doesn’t stop at attacking Sarah Palin’s parenting skills. He goes on to say that “someone” (his favorite source) told him that an aide asked if Sarah Palin needed psychiatric medication–again, a classic and very transparent sexist technique implying that she’s some unstable “harridan” with raging hormones. Furthermore, Gross even goes so far as to write that “some say” that Todd Palin is “henpecked”. (I’m not kidding–he actually wrote the word “henpecked”.) Progressive Newsweek columnist, Julia Baird (who is certainly no Sarah Palin fan), wrote a column titled, Will Feminists Rally Around Sarah Palin?, where she did an excellent job defending Sarah Palin from these pathetic attacks. The excerpts below from her column pretty much say it all:
“It’s just about the lamest card in the pack of criticisms leveled at powerful women: you must be a Bad Mother. Just when you think we’ve accepted that a woman can have a job and still love her children, along comes another piece of reporting to remind us that some people still think it’s fair to judge a female public figure on the basis of what kind of parent—and wife—she is. This is something male politicians, who have long perfected the role of absent father, deal with very, very rarely.
While all politicians are vulnerable to personal attacks, some attacks are particularly shameful. So what is the substance of these allegations?
First, Palin may have something representing a modern marriage, which has prompted some locals to speculate that Todd may be “henpecked.” Fancy that charge being leveled at the husband of a woman with opinions. It’s striking that while the husbands of successful women are frequently portrayed as emasculated by their wives’ success, the women who marry powerful men are usually seen to benefit from their greater status.
Second, Palin’s work has affected her closeness to her kids: we are told that “at least since the start of the 2008 campaign, Todd has been shouldering the bulk of the parenting and that Sarah’s relationship with her children has grown more distant.” And yet a few sentences later we also learn that when she grew lonely on the campaign trail, Palin wanted her kids to travel with her because she “seemed comforted” by having them around. But instead of empathizing—who wouldn’t hate to be separated from their kids?—the implication is that she is selfish: the kids came, but not much homework was done. What choice would you make?
The third allegation is that she was a sloppy parent when her kids traveled with her, and she failed to discipline them adequately, at least in the eyes of some observers: “On the road, aides say, Sarah spared the rod.” She reportedly demanded one child use the pink and purple Sharpies the youngster wanted to sign autographs with (not the black one that was provided) and insisted another have hair and makeup done by a campaign stylist. She was hardly being cruel; it’s stupid to judge such trivial incidents without context.”
Furthermore, liberals now have a perception problem that they seem to tolerate blatant sexism within their ranks–as long as it aimed at any woman that gets in Barack Obama’s way. Throughout the 2008 Presidential election, many prominent liberals seemed to gleefully participate in a dogpile of sexism and misogyny directed at both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. In fact, liberal sexism became so rampant during the 2008 election that Democratic strategist, Kirsten Powers, (one of the many progressives currently running away from this Vanity Fair hit piece) was alarmed enough by it to write a column in the summer of 2008 titled, A Brilliant Trap Makes Dems The Male Chauvinists. To be specific, Powers wrote the following with regard to the appalling behavior of many Obama supporters:
“One Obama supporter and political operative blogged, “In picking an unknown, untested half-a-term governor from Alaska . . . John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen.”
Do we really have to do this again?
No sooner was Hillary Rodham Clinton out of the race, and a new woman is in the cross hairs.
On CNN, during a discussion about whether it was appropriate for Palin to accept this job when she has a baby, Dana Bash pointed out it’s unlikely anyone would ask this of a male candidate.
I can’t help wondering if this is a trap. The McCain camp watched and learned as Obama supporters offended Hillary supporters by their treatment of her. The McCainiacs had to know that this group is incapable of behaving, that Palin would bring out their worst instincts.
One top Republican said to me: “Just wait until she is debating Joe Biden and he starts attacking or condescending to her. Hillary voters are going to say, ‘Oh yeah, I remember this.’ “
Ironically, two feminist, leftist bloggers recently wrote an op-ed in The New York Times titled, A Palin of Our Own where they lament the rise of Sarah Palin as a feminist icon. However, what is so ironic about this column is that liberals helped to create the superstar that is Sarah Palin by sending moderate, suburban women (some of them former Hillary Clinton supporters) running into her arms with their obnoxious, misogynistic behavior (for example, Keith Olbermann hoping that someone would beat up Hillary Clinton). And, deep down inside, they know that this is true–which is why they are running like heck from this recent vicious, sexist hit-piece on Sarah Palin.
Now, on to the third reason why liberals are throwing Michael Gross under the bus with gusto.
3.) When Michael Gross is not attacking Sarah Palin in his column, he is attacking her supporters–who are his fellow Americans.
Gross paints Sarah Palin’s supporters at her rallies as a bunch of incurious simpletons who “cling to their guns and their religion”. To be specific, Gross writes the following about the people who attend Sarah Palin’s rallies–
“People who admire her believe she is just like them, and this conviction seems to satisfy their curiosity about the objective facts of her life.”
Whoa. If that’s not a round about way of calling Sarah Palin’s supporters a bunch incurious, uneducated dumb dumbs who don’t understand “the objective facts of life”, then I don’t know what is.
Moreover, Gross writes in his column about how Palin is sending out a “dog whistle” to Evangelical Christians in her speeches when she uses the phrase, “Leading with a servant’s heart”, and then prattles on about how she gets emails from Evangelical Christians who pray for her and call themselves “prayer warriors”. Mr. Gross is clearly bothered by the prayer warriors and thinks that they are a bunch of dangerous crazies–it is painfully obvious when he writes the following:
“The term “prayer warrior” describes a person who offers a specific kind of supplication: asking God to direct an unseen battle between forces of light and darkness—literal angels and demons—that some Christians believe is occurring all around us.”
Yeah, those Christians have always been a delusional, dangerous bunch. Remember how they were personally responsible for ending the African slave trade? They’ve always been unpredictable and crazy like that. You never know what they’re going to do next (rolls eyes).
Now, do I really need to explain to anyone why attacking and mocking random American citizens is a big no-no for a journalist? This really should be common sense. It is one thing to attack a politician, a journalist, a blogger, or any other public figure. It is quite another thing to show such disdain–as well as religious bigotry–towards your fellow Americans. In other words, private citizens who are minding their own business should be able to attend a Sarah Palin rally, or attend any church that they want to, without some know nothing, liberal elitist journalist mocking them in Vanity Fair.
And finally, on to the fourth reason why liberals are high-tailing it in the the opposite direction of Micheal Gross.
4.) Franky speaking, Michael Gross sounds like a pervert who is way too interested in Sarah Palin’s undergarments, as well as her sex life.
For starters, Gross writes about how “this person” told him that Sarah and Todd Palin don’t always sleep in the same bed and that Todd once supposedly said, “I don’t know how she even gets pregnant”. Yuck. I feel like I need to take a shower now. I mean, could any of you imagine if some right wing journalist started asking local people in Chicago about the Obama’s sex life?! I rest my case.
Furthermore, Mr. Gross admits to having dinner with Joe McGinniss at his house–you know, the weirdo who moved in next door to the Palin family in order to stalk, I mean, report on them? Now, right away, Gross freely admits that McGinniss is lying about not being able to see into the Palin’s home. Gross writes that, when he was standing on McGinniss’ deck, “it was possible to see several of the Palins’ windows, a fair bit of the yard, and much of the lakefront edge of their property”. However, Gross then goes on to sympathize with Joe McGinniss and paint him as a victim who has received over 5000 hostile emails and has had one of his truck windows shot out. Oh, oh, I have an idea! Pick me Teacher, pick me. How about not stalking the Palin family, and then you won’t have to worry about receiving hostile emails by people calling you a “stalker”? But, I digress.
However, by far the creepiest part of Michael Gross’ column was when he not once, but twice referenced what kind of undergarments Sarah Palin wears. Specifically, Gross writes about how “a friend” of Sarah Palin supposedly told him the following:
“Once, while Sarah was preparing for a city-council meeting, she said, ‘I’m gonna put on one of my push-up bras so I can get what I want tonight.’ That’s how she rolls.”
OK–why would anyone who calls himself a journalist even bother to write down smut like this? But Mr. Gross was just getting warmed up. Further down in his column, Gross wrote that Sarah Palin spent $3000 on Spanx girdles during the 2008 campaign. Oh for crying out loud! It’s so obvious what Gross is trying to do here (besides acting like a real creep/weirdo)–he is clearly trying attack to Sarah Palin’s beauty and imply that her looks are just a mirage, and she’s really kind of fat. Yeah, that Sarah Palin–she’s a real uggo and a fatty. What is she? A size four? What a cow! (Rolls eyes.)
By the way, just an explanation here. You don’t have to be “fat” to wear Spanx or a girdle occasionally (especially after you’ve just had a baby). Every woman has that unforgiving dress that, on a “fat day” when you might be retaining some water, can make even the most svelt, toned woman look like she has a bulge. Full disclosure–I am a size two and even I have to sometimes use “help” when I wear an unforgiving dress on a bad day. If not, then even a very attractive, tall, slim woman with toned arms can wind up looking like this in a unforgiving dress–
And that’s no good, because that just doesn’t do any woman justice. Every well brought up red state woman knows that the right undergarments are essential to dressing well and presenting your self with style–otherwise, you can wind up looking like your letting it all hang out a bit too much. (Just ask Dolly–see 1:18-1:49 in the embed below).
However, let’s move on from this topic of conversation, because Michael Gross might be getting turned on–uh, I mean some of the guys might be getting bored.
So, in conclusion, Michael Gross not only made a flaming ass out of himself, but he also totally humiliated the liberal mainstream media. He managed to bring every caricature of an elitist, egotistical, out of touch, liberal journalist to life. And the worst part was that he was incredibly sloppy with many of the facts–which in turn, discredits his entire piece. Credible leftist/progressive journalists and columnists can’t flee from his disaster of a column fast enough–and I don’t blame them.
However, sad to say, this isn’t the first time that Vanity Fair has written an outrageous, totally unsourced hit piece on a politician. During the 2008 campaign Todd Purdum wrote a totally unsourced hit piece in Vanity Fair about Bill Clinton, implying that he was openly dating while campaigning for Hillary in South Carolina. (Whatever you may think of Bill Clinton, I live in SC. If Bill Clinton was going out publicly clubbing and picking up women, someone, somewhere would have seen him. SC is a small state.) Furthermore, Purdum then wrote a totally unsourced hit piece on Sarah Palin a year later. Surprise, surprise. (Has anyone ever noticed that Vanity Fair has never written an unsourced hit piece on Barack Obama?)
But now, Vanity Fair’s chickens have come home to roost. They have gotten away with writing unsourced hit pieces for so long, that they got over-confident. This time, they gave Michael Gross carte blanche to pretty much write what ever he damn well pleased–muddled facts, sexism, stalkers, underwear and all. To tell the truth, I’m not at all surprised that some columnist, somewhere, would write something like this; however, I am surprised that any editor would actually go through with publishing it. Basically, Vanity Fair unintentionally gave Michael Gross just enough rope to hang himself, and Vanity Fair’s credibility in the process. Michael Gross’ column should serve as a cautionary tale for progressive journalists everywhere. Don’t let your love of all things Obama and your hatred of Sarah Palin get the best of you–or you will wind up proving Sarah Palin correct about the “lamestream media”.
Update: Michael Gross has now come out and admitted that he was wrong about “the nanny whisking Trig away”, and he has now admitted that he wrote about the wrong baby–and the wrong mother. However, the fact that he would make this kind of ridiculous “mistake” in the first place, tells me that he really didn’t go to Alaska to find out the facts about Sarah Palin. Gross obviously went there to try to dig up dirt–and he failed miserably and made fool out of himself in the process.
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