The other two times our state gained national attention since I moved here were the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and Sarah Palin's selection to be John McCain's running mate in the 2008 election.
Last year, when I was blogging the Vic Kohring trial with Fred James, Joe's name came up more than once in discussions with other people attending and covering the event. McGinnis didn't come up because of Going to Extremes, but because of two of his other books about crime, Fatal Vision and Blind Faith. And, going through my three legal pads full of Kohring trial notes, I can't figure out exactly how Joe came up.
When Ted Stevens, of whom Joe writes in Going to Extremes, was indicted, I thought that McGinnis might end up coming back to Alaska. He didn't then, but he's been up here now for three weeks, working on a long article about this place. A Juneau friend called me last week to tell me McGinnis was headed to Anchorage and Wasilla. Then Shannyn Moore invited me to a dinner she and Kelly were hosting for Joe and some other local progressive folks.
Going to Extremes was an incredible book for its day. It did not fluff up or pastoralize (a word I've made up, derived from pastorale) about Alaska's future, as did many articles in the late 70s and early 80s about Alaska's prospects at that time. I've read it twice, and after meeting Joe today and talking with him for awhile, I'm going to read it again.
Joe had a lot to say about how Alaskans are dealing with our current notoriety. Like a lot of the writers who have come up to Alaska over the past three months, he had generous praise for our small team of Alaska progressive bloggers. Unlike almost all the other reporters and writers who have been here since Sarah Palin's selection as the anointed one of the GOP far right, McGinnis has lived here. And, he'd like to come back and write another book about us.
McGinnis is a writer who seems to recognize how important web logs are to the direction of American journalism and truth seeking at this point in time. Like about 99 other Outside writers I've spoken with since August 29th, he expressed disappointment both in the level of research help he's been able to get from local print and broadcast journalists, and in the depth of the product the mainstream media are managing to produce.
As Alaska's progressive bloggers have monitored the late vote count, and the organization of the new legislature, and a softening attitude toward our inept governor on the part of our Alaska legislators, we've felt frustration, as we've fallen a bit into infighting, and have had our suggestions for further ethics reform on the state level dismissed as undoable in the upcoming session. McGinnis told Shannyn and me to straighten up and keep pushing. Hard.
We didn't talk much about the turkey pardon fiasco. But when I got home, reading through emails and a couple of progressive Alaska blog posts, I realized, we are pushing back. Hard.
Linda Kellen has thrown the lie of both KTUU TV and the Palin press office back into their faces, with details about how the ambience of the turkey slaughter video happened in real time. She pretty clearly demonstrates that Palin's press office statement on this, to wit:
Palin's spokesperson tells ET the bird butchering wasn't going on when the shot was set up, and a cameraman "ignored" the governor's staff's request to remove the graphic sight once cameras were rolling.
"We're unhappy about it and the station is not happy either," Palin's rep tells ET, adding, "this was an attempt to lighten up and do something non-controversial."
Is A BIG FUCKING LIE!
Not only that, but ADN coverage of the playout of the governor's fiasco is lamentable. Here's AK Muckraker's description of what happened:
Of course, Palin or her staff could have stopped the interview at any time if this had been the case. Considering there were many people there who saw and heard exactly what happened during this interview, and that I know one of them personally, we can feel confident in saying this desperate attempt on Entertainment Tonight to rescue Palin’s image from the turkey pile sounds like exactly what it is - a big fat lie.
Once again the media becomes the whipping boy for Palin’s incompetence, lack of judgment, and inability to understand how she is perceived by others.
Dennis Harris, who has written a few guest posts at PA, put it boldly today, in a letter to the ADN writers covering this, and the ADN's publisher (I somehow doubt they will publish it):
Shame on you for believing Sarah and Bill McAllister about her inept handling of the turkey slaughter. She is lying about how the scene was shot and her awareness of what was going on behind her, which she said was just fine with her while the crew was shooting. In the full length video on YouTube, it's obvious that she's aware of what's going on behind her.
If you had checked with the actual camera crew, as Mudflats did, you would have had the true story, not Sarah's lies. When will the ADN stop regurgitating what Palin says as fact, and start checking the validity of everything she says? The woman is a pathological liar, and Bill McAllister, who I know and who I used to admire, is no better when he attempts to cover up her lies.
"Scott Jensen is the one who filmed the scene. He’s local station KTUU’s award winning chief photographer. He told CC from KUDO radio yesterday that Sarah Palin, who was standing next to her personal assistant throughout the entire interview, chose the spot on which she stood for the “turkey slaughter interview” that quickly went viral on the internet, and received wide coverage in the news media. The turkey slaughter was already underway when the governor chose the spot. The photographer pointed out what was going on and asked her if she wanted to move. She said, “No worries.”
Several of her staff were present the entire time while the journalism-major-turned-governor spoke to the people. And then there was the actual footage of her looking at the guy while he was killing the turkeys.
This was pretty much covered on the day it happened in various reports of the horrifying pr debacle. So why bring it up again?
Because now, Palin is denying it, and saying she had no idea of what was going on ten feet behind her while she gave the interview, and is basically calling the photographer a liar."
I suggest that you talk to Scott and if he was quoted correctly by Mudflats, run a STORY about the Governor's attempt to cover the true facts, not just a correction in the box on page 2.
Sorry, Dennis, not a chance. We have a governor who has a far higher chance of adding a few pages to the DSM-IV manual than getting her fucking TC pipeline built, and the ADN and KTUU will continue to enable her, and enable her, and enable her and.....
.....and back to Joe the Writer. I'm glad he feels our Alaska progressive bloggers can do the job nobody else seems to have the courage to perform,
images - Phil the composer with Joe the writer - by Judy Youngquist; turkey termination spot - by Linda Kellen.