Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sarah Palin's Version Of Trig's Birth May Be More Troubling Than The Hoax

--- by Geoffrey Dunn *

This past week, the draft of an academic paper that focuses on the 2008 birth of Sarah Palin's son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, and the various theories that surround his birth, was made public prior to publication through a university newspaper and then exploded, quite predictably, on the Palin-centric blogosphere, where Trig's birth remains a cause célèbre and the source of considerable controversy. It has now spilled over into the mainstream media as well.

"Palin, the Press, and the Fake Pregnancy Rumor: Did a Spiral of Silence Shut Down the Story?" written by Bradford W. Scharlott, Ph.D., an associate professor at Northern Kentucky University, comes to two primary conclusions: 1) that Palin "likely" staged "a hoax" concerning the birth of her son Trig; and 2) that "a spiral of silence" prevented the mainstream U.S. media from adequately investigating the circumstances of Trig's birth.

As both a life-long journalist and an academic--and perhaps most importantly, as the author of the forthcoming book, The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power--I read Scharlott's draft thesis with considerable interest and anticipation.

Scharlott's initial contention that Palin orchestrated an elaborate "hoax" around the birth of Trig does not hold up to close scrutiny. It remains a premise, not a fact. That said, his second assertion about "the spiral of silence" raises several issues about Palin, her birth story and the mainstream media that must be scrutinized fully as Palin continues to position herself for a run in the 2012 Republican primaries.

In the end--as is the case with virtually all things Palin--the most troubling scenario regarding Trig's birth is the one proffered by Palin herself--a scenario that has been largely muted, or disregarded, by the focus on Trig's birth as being a "hoax."

Let me acknowledge that while researching my book I spent a considerable amount of time and resources trying to sort out the facts of Trig's birth. As with many elements of Palin's life story, there are disquieting discrepancies between what actually happened and Palin's version of events. Her capacity for deceit simply knows no bounds, and this duplicity has contributed significantly to the atmosphere of doubt regarding the details of Trig's birth. Contrary to Palin's contention otherwise, the rumors that Trig was not her son originated long before she was named as John McCain's running mate, commencing immediately upon her public acknowledgment, in March of 2008, that she was pregnant.

Palin, by her own account in Going Rogue, did not tell anyone but her husband Todd that she was pregnant with what would be the couple's fifth child. She kept the news from her parents, siblings, children and her closest staff--odd behavior under any circumstances. Moreover, she did not tell members of her family that the child she was carrying had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. So when Palin announced being seven months pregnant--to a handful of reporters in Juneau on March 5, 2008--the rumor mill went into overtime.

Hoping to disprove the conspiracy theory when I initiated work on my book--and to put the story to bed once and for all--I interviewed several close associates of Palin's, including her friends and political allies. I was anticipating, perhaps even hoping, that they would tell me conclusively that Trig was her child.

I was shocked by the response. One close friend of Palin's--a widely respected woman who had given birth to several children as well and who had close contact with Palin in Juneau up until the time of Trig's birth--told me that "Palin did not look like she was pregnant. Ever. Even when she had the bulging belly, I never felt that the rest of her body, her face especially, looked like she was pregnant." When I asked her point-blank if she was certain the baby was Palin's, she said, "No. I don't know what to believe."

The news of Palin's pregnancy came as a complete surprise to Palin's State Trooper security detail Gary Wheeler, a well-liked, 26-year veteran of the Alaska State Troopers who worked under several administrations in Alaska state government, both Republicans and Democrats. Only two weeks earlier, in late February of 2008, Wheeler had accompanied Palin back to Washington, D.C. for a Republican Governors Association Conference, where she had just met John McCain and his campaign manager Rick Davis, who was to be in charge of the vice-presidential nomination selection process. Wheeler remembers that Palin had changed into jeans upon her arrival in Washington, with no apparent revelation of pregnancy.

Wheeler also said that his wife, Corky, actually made fun of him when the news came out because he was supposed to be a "trained observer." Wheeler simply shakes his head: "I had nary an idea she was packin'."

As Wesley Loy of the Anchorage Daily News reported it at the time, Governor Palin "shocked and awed just about everybody around the Capitol" with her announcement.

This is at seven months.

More significantly--and thus begins the troubling nature of even Palin's own account--according to Wheeler, Palin did not tell the Alaska State Troopers who were assigned to protect her that she was pregnant, even though her age and the fact that she was carrying a child with Down syndrome presented potential health complications. All of this both foreshadows and serves as an important prelude to Palin's troubling journey from Texas to Alaska, during which she was experiencing--again by her own account--early signs of childbirth, including the so-called breaking of her waters.

Palin was scheduled to make a speech at an RGA energy conference in Dallas on April 17, slightly less than eight months into her pregnancy. At the last moment before her trip to Texas--which involved a stopover in Seattle--Wheeler says that Palin made an "out-of-the-ordinary" announcement that she wouldn't be needing a Trooper to accompany her on her junket, and that her husband Todd would be traveling with her instead. An email written by Palin--obtained through a Alaska Public Records Act request--confirms Wheeler's recollection. At 9:26 on the morning of April 14, 2008, only a day before her scheduled departure, Palin sent the following email to her administrative assistant, Janice Mason:

J- instead of rga paying for staff, and/or rga (or state) paying for Security on this Texas trip, pis let them know First Spouse is available to travel instead - they can pay for Todd. Pls chk on flt availability for him (on my flts). [sic] Thanks

I cover the ensuing details of Palin's so-called "wild ride" from Texas back to Alaska in considerable detail in my book, but in short--according to information she gave at a news conference immediately following her return--Palin claimed that she called her physician in the middle of the night from her hotel room in Texas to discuss what Palin referred to as "amniotic fluid leaking." Despite the presence of this fluid--a strong indicator of impending birth and which potentially exposed Palin and her child to infection--Palin stayed in Dallas and delivered her speech later that day.

Rather than getting checked at a nearby hospital in Dallas before her departure (Baylor Medical Center was less than ten minutes away), Palin and her husband commenced on their return flight home to Anchorage via Seattle. They did not tell flight attendants of Palin's medical situation. The failure of the Palins to inform airline personnel of her impending medical situation not only put her infant and herself at risk, it also potentially put all passengers and staff on the two flights at risk as well. As The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan (who deserves a commendation for keeping this story from being buried completely) dubbed it, Palin's decisions were "reckless beyond measure."

Once returning to Anchorage late in the evening of April 17, Palin claims to have bypassed the Providence Hospital in Anchorage (which has a neonatal intensive-care unit and is located only a few minutes from the Ted Stevens International Airport) for the roughly hour-long drive to the Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, located just off the Parks Highway, roughly seven miles outside of Wasilla (and which has no neonatal intensive-care unit).

Three days after Trig's birth, Palin and her husband held a news conference in Anchorage, with Trig joining them. The audio recording of the news conference provides a fascinating glimpse into the Palins' mindset at the time of Trig's birth and their chafing at criticism of their decision to fly back to Alaska. Again, I cite several passages from the press conference in my book, but what follows are some highlights:

Sarah Palin: Well that was again if, if I must get personal, technical about this at the same time, um, it was one, it was a sign that I knew, um, could lead to uh, labor being uh kind of kicked in there was any kind of, um, amniotic leaking, amniotic fluid leaking, so when, when that happened we decided OK let's call her [her physician, Cathy Baldwin-Johnson].

The answer was classic Palin--evasive, circuitous, garbled and indirect. In fact, The Anchorage Daily News story the following day, by Kyle Hopkins, reported that Palin had not asked her physician "for a medical OK to fly."

Hopkins also contacted an obstetrician in California, Dr. Laurie Gregg, active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who said that "when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out."

As for the distinction that Palin was trying to make between "breaking" and "leaking," Gregg was not buying into it. "To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing," Gregg asserted. "We are talking doctor-speak."

The Palins were clearly irritated by the direction of the questioning. "There's a lot of new doctors out there on the streets in the last couple of days," Todd Palin asserted irritably.

An aide to the Palins decided it was time to wrap things up. One final question was allowed.

Reporter: Was it important to you to have the baby in Alaska?

Sarah Palin: It was very important that we have...it was more important that, that Trig arrive safely and healthy and um, and that is exactly what happened. The extra blessing was that Trig was able to be born into this great state, you know, kind of like, I feel like this extended Alaskan family, that he was here, for that.

Todd Palin: Can't have a fish-picker from Texas.

That became the family mantra.

There have also been a number of discrepancies in Palin's story. In Going Rogue, for instance, she makes no mention of her waters breaking. At a speech delivered in Waco, Texas, last year, Palin claimed that she delivered Trig in Anchorage. (Note the passage at 16:55 into her speech.)

The response to Scharlott's paper has been both troubling and predictable. On the one hand, those who continue to subscribe to the "hoax" theory have championed it as a work of academic brilliance. On the other hand, Palin's former flack Bill McAllister threatened to "slap" Scharlott and said that in "a different era," he'd have challenged Scharlott to "a duel." Salon's Justin Elliot used the occasion to take a cheap shot at Andrew Sullivan by describing him as a practitioner of "Trug Trutherism" -- the belief "that Sarah Palin faked her 2008 pregnancy because Trig is actually the son of Bristol Palin"--when, in fact, all Sullivan has ever asserted is the absence of "easily available and definitive" evidence that Palin is the mother of Trig.

And in what can be described only as pathetic response to Scharlott's paper, Anchorage Daily News columnist Julia O'Malley contradicted her own newspaper's body of work on this matter by invoking a "spiral of silence" perspective and demanding that "someone" should "Make. It. Stop." She doesn't say who and she doesn't say how. What she means is that she doesn't want the issue even discussed.

Perhaps O'Malley was too high on her horse to recall that in December of 2008, in the aftermath of the national election, the Anchorage Daily News tried to confirm once and for all--as did I--that Sarah Palin was the mother of Trig, only to be rebuffed by Palin herself. The ADN's executive editor Pat Dougherty assigned his fine reporter Lisa Demer to the task of investigating the rumor. But a story was never published.

On December 31, Palin sent Dougherty an email attacking him for the line of questioning:

And is your paper really still pursuing the sensational lie that I am not Trig's mother? Is it true you have a reporter still bothering my state office, my very busy doctor (who's already set the record straight for you), and the school district, in pursuit of your ridiculous conspiracy?

Dougherty's response should be of particular interest given O'Malley's commentary. He said that his goal was "to let a reporter try to do a story about the 'conspiracy theory that would not die' and, possibly, report the facts of Trig's birth thoroughly enough to kill the nonsense once and for all." Dougherty said that Demer received "very little cooperation" from Palin or her family. He killed the story. But he made a telling observation to Palin:

It strikes me that if there is never a clear, contemporaneous public record of what transpired with Trig's birth, that may actually ensure that the conspiracy theory never dies.

And there's the rub. O'Malley's own editor did not Make It Stop because Sarah Palin has never provided sufficient concrete evidence to put the conspiracy theories to bed. She hadn't in 2009, and she hasn't now. The problem is rooted not in the wild imaginations of bloggers, as O'Malley would have us believe, but in the calculated obfuscation of the issue by Sarah Palin herself.

A week after her email to Dougherty, Palin issued a formal State of Alaska press release from the Governor's office. "As a public official, I expect criticism and I expect to be held accountable for how I govern," Gov. Palin said. "But the personal, salacious nature of recent reporting, and often the refusal of the media to correct obvious mistakes, unfortunately discredits too many in journalism today, making it difficult for many Americans to believe what they see in the media."

Held accountable? Throughout her political career, Sarah Palin has been the master of the dodge. She has never held herself accountable. At one point she claimed that she had made Trig's birth certificate public; she did not. The hospital has never issued a formal birth notice. She said that she would make her health records public. She did not. It was another lie.

This past week Palin had the gall to giggle and smirk her way through an interview on Fox News in which she supported Donald Trump's investigation of President Obama's birth certificate in Hawaii: "Well, uh, I appreciate that 'The Donald' wants to spend his resources in getting to the bottom of something that so interests him and many Americansm," Palin opined. "You know, more power to him."

The hypocrisy is staggering. There is one person who can put an end to the Trig matter immediately and instantly, and that is Sarah Palin. Before she takes another step in what has been a hapless bid to position herself for a run for the presidency, the American media should demand that Palin produce full and conclusive evidence of Trig's birth and parentage. It's that simple.

Once that step is taken, then the American media needs to break its "spiral of silence" about Palin's "wild ride" from Texas to Alaska and to demand direct answers from her about the decisions she made, the actions she took and what motivated her to do so. Anyone who examines Palin's own story closely will come to no other conclusion that she was "reckless beyond measure"--as Andrew Sullivan so succinctly put it--and entirely unqualified to hold higher office in these challenging and demanding times.

Geoffrey Dunn is the author of the forthcoming book The Lies of Sarah Palin.

[* reprinted with permission of the author]


Laura Novak said...

The 3rd part of my interview with Prof. Brad Scharlott is now up: http://www.lauranovakauthor.com/blog.html in which we continue to discuss his paper, the media, babies and even Watergate.

ella said...

YES YES YES! Sarah's OWN story is far more damning! How DARE she experience leaking fluid and contractions and THEN go flying through the air for 10+ hours (including layover). HOW DARE SHE endanger the life of little Trig.
Pro-life? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

She was without a doubt irresponsible bordering on criminal. My husband would never have been complicit. Todd Palin is as guilty as Sarah for this behavior. NOT vice presidential material. McCain was irresponsible when he foisted her on the American public. I just keep wondering what happened during the vetting process.

Anonymous said...

I’m interested in Julia O’Malley’s involvement. Her own article raised more doubts about Palin’s pregnancy. O’Malley said, ”People I know saw her on the treadmill sweating in workout clothes. She had a belly. I repeat: she had a real pregnant belly.” O’Malley emphasized A REAL PREGNANT BELLY.” Is this even remotely plausible? Walking is fantastic exercise for pregnant women. Running? Hummh! O’Malley said, “People . . . saw her on the treadmill sweating . . . .” She said it -- SWEATING. So, Palin was running (to be sweating) and had a real pregnant belly. Does O’Malley expect this to pass the truth test? Maybe some pregnant runners continue to run. But O’Malley is trying to tell us that Palin was running & sweating with a real pregnant belly knowing full well she was carrying an at-risk, Down’s Syndrome child! What pregnant runners continue to run knowing they’re carrying an at-risk child? Palin knew she was carrying an at risk child and was running & sweating with a real pregnant belly. So, one final time, let me see if I have this right. Those around the office where Palin worked didn’t know she was pregnant; O’Malley is telling us Palin was at the gym running & sweating with a real pregnant belly carrying an at-risk, Down’s Syndrome child. O’Malley, you want to change your story?

Philip Munger said...


Thanks for posting the link here. I already read it from the link at Malia's place.

I'm going to be posting a compendium of recent articles on the issue of TriG's birth around the middle of the last week in April. I'll also be hosting firedoglake's book salon session with Geoffrey on Saturday May 7th, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Alaska time.

MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel said...

$P is either a liar or a child-endangerer of the first order. (I won't rule out both.) Neither speaks to sound judgment.

Anonymous said...

Palin has shown poor judgement over and over, not only in regard to Trig but many other areas.

You're damn straight the media needs to demand some answers! A lot of answers!

Anonymous said...

Spoke with an OB-GYB friend who feels the only explanation is that Palin was ambivalent about the pregnancy and having a live child.

Daisydem said...

Thank you, thank you Phil and Mr. Dunn and Laura and all the bloggers who have not let this unbelievable story die, I thank you. I am not sure why you hesitate to use the word "hoax" as regards Trig's birth story, so I may have to consult a dictionary and bone up on the nuances of the word, but I do think it was all a hoax. The reasons behind this ... I cannot even fathom. Unless, it simply is power. But please make it known that this story is important because she used this child, this little boy with special needs, as her credential, her badge, to get the vote of the right-wing conservatist right-to-lifers and win an election. It is for this reason, that we could have come anywhere near close to having someone so devious, such a pathological liar one heartbeat away from the Presidency of the United States that we have doggedly pursued the truth for almost three years, and will continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

I have posted a group picture of Palin, front row, standing upright and looking pretty skinny at the Feb 23-25 2008 conference referenced above - on Palingates, under today's Open Thread.


Anonymous said...

The wild ride = child endangerment
She was in Seattle (SeaTac) maybe WA state would press charges against her.

Anonymous said...

I had a child born with juandice after my water broke. He was in the hospital for THREE days under treatment (which is pretty standard). Then he was sent home and I was told to come in again the next day to have him re-examined. Trig had juandice, a hole in his heart and was premature. A premature baby is in the neo-natal unit, which Mat-su Hospital did not have. So, how was he treated?! Palin then brought Trig to her office THREE days after he was born to show him off. If this is not a bold faced lie, then please tell me what is? If you don't want to use the word "hoax," then call it was it is a "LIE."

Philip Munger said...

"The wild ride = child endangerment
She was in Seattle (SeaTac) maybe WA state would press charges against her."

I've written before that had Palin done the wild ride scenario, and was a Black, Latina, Native or Arab heritage American politician, she might be facing jail time for what she did. She certainly would have seen the end of her political career very, very soon.

Anonymous said...

Until last night, I had no idea the possibility of this hoax existed. But as an RN, having read a bit about it, consider the following scenario. Bristol is pregnant, is supposedly transferred from one school to another but never attends the second school due to mono (or pregnancy). The plan is to put the kid up for adoption. In early Feb, Bristol has an ultrasound revealing the DS (nuchal fold/other abnormalities). The baby is unadoptable, and a scandal for the governor. After the ultrasound, Bristol is so upset she has a wreck just outside the clinic. SP considers her options and decides to fake the pregnancy to increase her pro life bona fides. Bristol goes into labor the day before the Texas trip. Security is cancelled, the waters break, and the wild ride occurs. End of story.

jamie said...

And in the meantime the legislative lines are literally being redrawn from underneath you, the one-day opportunity for public testimony passes without mention, and most of the supposedly leading liberal blogs in Alaska are instead preoccupied with their own version of a Birther Conspiracy.

The irony here is that you don’t have to wonder how or why stupidity runs rampant and is always rewarded in local politics. In fact this is the very same reason The Quitter probably should be elected president: you damn well deserve her.

Philip Munger said...


I've been through five redisrictings. This one is no more fixed than the rest of the GOP ones. There is absolutely nothing I feel I could do to change one single legislative district boundary. Meanwhile, I WILL mail my MEA ballot.

FrostyAK said...

The main premise of Professor Scharlott's research is that the press was complicit in a cover-up, no matter which version of the story you choose to believe. The spiral of silence has been deafening.

Only now, with the publication of his draft on the net, has this controversy surfaced in the media, not yet in the MSM.

I find the circumstantial evidence to indicate hoax. No matter which it is, hoax or neglect/abuse, it should preclude $palin from any credibility in ANY political conversation.

Anonymous said...

i left a link at hp, we'll see how long it stays.

sallyngarland,tx said...

I always considered the wild ride story to be either made up or horribly dangerous if not. If made up, it is awful and , if not, it is still awful and I hope nobody ever follows Palin's example.

I posted many places about my experience and the danger Palin's story suggests. My water broke, the doctor told me to go to the hospital, a monitor was attached to my baby's head (I'm very grateful and it was absolutely necessary.) I had only had mild contractions(like Palin says.) My son's heartbeat plummeted and I was rushed to surgery. At delivery, the cord was wrapped around his neck 3 times and he was strangling. Had I followed Palin's example or made up example, my son would be dead. He is 25 and fine, but a delay of minutes would have killed him.

The story Palin tells is dangerous and does need to be addressed. It is offensive to all women and men-not just those of us who had problems-but everyone because her behavior, described by her, was wrong.

Anonymous said...

The worst part is that she BRAGS about her wild ride and her supporters use it as evidence of her toughness.

If true (and we all know it's absolutely false), it is pretty much the most reckless thing I have ever heard, starting with her not going to the hospital in Texas to get checked out and ending with her delivering in a facility that is not equipped to deal with her circumstances.

Who in their right mind would think her decisions are something to be proud of?

She could have easily killed her unborn baby. Yet we hear nothing but praise from all her "pro life" supporters. These are the people who would make abortion illegal and who would prosecute anyone--including a pregnant woman--who knowingly or recklessly does something to threaten the life of an unborn child.

Anonymous said...

Fact is, it wouldn't still be an issue for anyone, if it wasn't still an issue. The fact of continued interest and speculation is evidence of unresolved question. No matter what the truth is.

Regardless of any other interesting/questionable detail: if she had really been pregnant, why hide it?
I've yet to hear an explanation for that; a core critical question that deserves an answer.
The U.S. president will need to justify decisions.

>> Mrs. Palin left this all out there for the drama and attention. It's patently obvious.
>> The Wasilla hospital doesn't induce or deliver pre-term high-risk neonates with known congenital defects. They send them into Anchorage. That's a standard of care - they wouldn't make some other special arrangement for a celebrity. It's medical care. If anything, they'd handle a sitting governor's new baby with greater precaution, not less.
And why would you want less care? Surely Sarah, Todd, Chuck, Sally, would want the highest diligence and level of care, the best possible outcome for that new baby, right?
See, it's about the baby, not the birth experience. It's about whether that pre-term neonate with a hole in its heart and identified birth defects could be supported with competent medical care.
Nobody who valued that infant would take that kind of chance. Including medical staff. That's the part that I can't believe. That's inconceivable that that would be an acceptable care plan.
A family practice doc without OB/GYN credential, much less a pediatric critical care specialty, would not have been allowed to induce delivery of that infant, under those circumstances.

>> Her active sporty teen daughter looked more pregnant and more post-partum than a 7th pregnancy in advanced maternal age. Weird.
Yup, you're hot, Sarah. Hotter than your teenager, you cougar you.

>> Bristol Palin: "I didn't go to my prom, I was pregnant with Tripp and never went to really any of my school dances."
September 15, 2010, Sean Hannity. Also said it on Jay Leno.
Tripp's birthdate: 12/27. Bristol was either not pregnant, or not pregnant enough to know yet. A flat-out deception.

AKPetMom said...

Pangs of labor and leaking amniotic fluid. 3500 air miles from home. What woman in her right mind would choose to risk laying down on the floor of a filthy airliner to birth an infant pre-term, much less a pre-term with a known genetic condition that most likely would require immediate assistance from trained medical professionals. There could have been a cord prolapse, cutting off oxygen once enough fluid had leaked form the sac. There also could have been a breech birth requiring assistance, plus the risk of hemorrhage following a birth with no other complications. Then there could have been a birth without any pain assistance. All on the floor of a filthy flying bus; all of this happening under close scrutiny of all of the other passengers. There is absolutely no reason that a little Down Syndrome late life "fishpicker" would HAVE to be born in Alaska ENOUGH to have these risks being taken with the health and modesty of Alaska's most well know narcissist. People like Palin do not put themselves in this sort of position. They like to tell tales of bravado, yet not a one would choose to bleed out while giving birth at 39,000 feet. Some say that Palin was simply trying to "abort" Trig "late term". At this late of term the "abortion" would have risked her life as much as his and that simply would not be an option to the Queen of self love.

We may never know the real story of Trig's genesis, but it's not much of a stretch to say that Sarah Palin would NOT have been will to risk HER life having a baby in flight.

Anonymous said...

It's important to be careful with rhetoric, lest it sound ridiculous. I don't think general media was complicit in a "cover-up." I think they just let it go. Didn't do investigative reporting. Opted out of the story, lest it offend readers.
My impression is that this has become the journalistic standard anyway. News depends on someone else's story, somewhere. If it's on the AP, it gets printed again. And again. And again. Stuff is pulled off the AP and regurgitated over and over and over as original material, when it's already been printed 10 times. I see very little that's original story reporting these days.
When NOBODY writes a piece, NOTHING gets printed.
ADN's Lisa Demer was assigned the story but found nothing to write about. I guess. Because the Palins didn't "cooperate," according to editor Pat Dougherty. You'd think she'd just write what she did know.

Anonymous said...

"The hospital has never issued a formal birth notice." - And why not? Aren't they required to by law? Even if they didn't, aren't births a matter of public record? What doctor delivered? What other medical practitioners assisted? None of these people available for an interview?

Regarding the birth record, what does the county seat have on file? Has anyone checked? Who is listed as father? If Todd is listed as father, a simple DNA test would confirm or disprove. If the birth record lists people as mother and father who aren't, there could be criminal liability.

And what of SP in Texas? Didn't anyone see her there at the event? Did they think she looked eight months pregnant? (and what was the birth weight?) And what about the flights back to Alaska? Has any journalist bothered to investigate if any of the airline workers/fight attendants think she looked eight months pregnant?

Me thinks there is much investigation yet to come.

AKjah said...

Crap i don't have enough teeth for popcorn.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mother of two, I lost my first child to morbid prematurity - 24 weeks I started leaking fluid and none of the emergency procedures we tried could save the baby. I am a working mother and have nothing against working moms. I'm not a 9-5 kinda mommy and appreciate competent child care and all kinds of resources one can use to create safe environments for young children.

That said, Sarah had no business taking an out of State speaking engagement that late into her high-risk, special needs pregnancy. That was a highly suspect decision and one of endangerment also too. Her ego trumped the well-being of her fetus. Todd emailed staff that she "kicked ass" in her speech (doubt it) but said nothing about her strange sensations low in her belly? What an odd, strange couple that are prone to fantastical heroics that question their fitness as married partners, adults, parents, runners, racers, mountain climbers, fishers, hunters and whatnot.

Anonymous said...

C'mon, everybody. Stop. Stop. It's quite clear what the explanation for Trig's birth is. And why it will never be resolved to the satisfaction of Andrew Sullivan and the author of this post.

She knew she was having a Down's baby and the problem needed to go away. In a world where lifestyle and practical considerations ran into conflicted principles as well as political calculations, Palin hid her pregnancy, even from her family, while clearly making the choice to carry the child and not have an abortion. A painful choice, certainly, but really not that hard to understand. She had made a hard turn to the right in her politics, had some deeply held principles from her church.

Is it so hard to believe that she would be able to hide it so well? This is a person with an amazing capacity for illusion as well as self-delusion. She has convinced a large part of the public that she is many things she is absolutely not--hands-on supermom, huntress, qualified VP candidate, etc, so why be so surprised that those close to her would be in the dark?

The events preceding Trig's birth can be similarly chalked up to a combination of stupidity and calculation, along with that probably sub-conscious desire that Trig somehow simply disappear. I have little doubt that this ambitious and still in many ways dim person would not have a problem scheduling a big speech at the RGA at 8 months pregnant, BECAUSE TRIG WOULD SOMEHOW NOT BE AROUND THEN. And when the child started to arrive down in Texas, well then the need for anonymity (for a tragically, (hopefully?!) still-born child required the discretion that would come from your home-town hospital. Hence the crazy trip home.

I regularly see Palin's continued presence on the political scene as the sad convergence of our celebrity-obsessed popular culture and the erosion of public life and political order. But this episode, which must be put ot bed, elicits some measure of sympathy for these people. Many of us would not be so lamebrained as Palin in her decisions, but I can relate to the evident conflict between creating life and wanting life to be well-lived.

Many commentators have been continuing to pursue this story because they sincerely believe it demonstrates a high capacity for deceit and hypocrisy, a lack of judgement, and just overall nuttiness. But honestly, isn't that case pretty clear right now? Leave poor Trig alone.

Elizabeth said...

One thing that I've not seen mentioned. Lets assume that the story is made up (I'd guess most of us believe that anyway). What kind of mind would make up that kind of story? The actions described in the story are reckless, histrionic, self-serving to the exclusion of everyone else, and life-threatening to the baby. If I were to make up a story about a false pregnancy and sudden delivery, I would never even imagine such a scenario. The fact that Sarah felt this was a plausible explanation, tells a lot about her thought processes. This should be pointed out to those who think she has leadership qualities.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the example is much simpler - maybe it was her baby and the intent WAS to kill it instead of aborting it. It's possible that Sarah Palin knew the risks and tried to take advantage of them. Her actions may have been intended to create a stillborn baby so she wouldn't have to abort one.

Vincent Gonzanzanno said...

Dunn's post is pretty gripping, it reads like a cheesy 70s horror flick: don't go down that hall, Caribou Barbie! It'll be your undoing!

Many good comments as well, though IMHO too many fall into the trap of questioning Palin's parenting sanity. Not that you shouldn't, but such questioning simply invites pushback from the defiant Palinistas: 'who are you to question how the beautiful Sarah lives her life'?

For me, the most damning angle relates to the 'quest for power' in the subtitle of Dunn's book. Even narcissistic dimwits like Team Palin must have realized that the delivery of a dying, handicapped newborn on the filthy floor of the kitchen of a 747 would be equally fatal to her then-golden VP chances.

As a minor aside, the only explanation for the story - Todd's idiocy about the fish picker from Texas - doesn't stand up to scrutiny. Imagine the meeting with Team McCain in DC, Feb '08. This might be Steve Schmidt talking:

"Sarah, lots of positives in your candidacy. You're an identity politics goldmine for the right. You're hot, which is a nice distraction for the doddering old McCain. Even better, you're unthreateningly more clueless than the doddering old McCain!"

"But you've got some drawbacks. The cluelessness, definitely. Also you seem so...Alaskan...what's with your husband and that weird separatist party? Have you two ever even been out of Alaska together?"

"What you need to do is increase your national profile, show us that you're less Alasko-centric. Start to focus on, and discuss, national and international issues. Acquire gravitas."

"And if the opportunity ever arises where you happen to be in reliably red territory, though far from home, you ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY SHOULD HAVE A FISH PICKER FROM THAT STATE (as opposed to the parochial, Alaskan version)."

Anonymous said...

All of you so critical of Palin re forgetting one important point. The high intervention way of North American birth is not practiced by all North American women and a bit of leaking fluid all by itself would not be enough to alarm a traditional midwife. In fact, aside from monitoring fetal movements and checking there is no fever, not rushing o the hospital for immediate induction, fetal monitoring and everything else is a legitimate choice. Screwing a probe into your babies head and a a medical induction carries its own risks and not everyone is convinced this is the right way to go. Alaska has a lot more traditional midwives than most states and looking at the outcome, SHE WAS RIGHT. baby is fine.

Come on you guys sound like a bunch of birthers trying to prove Obama was born in Kenya. Isn't there enough to criticize about the woman without getting into stupid details that really aren't of any importance next to her position on things like financial management ect?

Anonymous said...

@10:44 - Palin was 44 years old. It was her 7th pregnancy; she'd had two miscarriages. She "knew" she was carrying a DS baby, according to GOING ROGUE. She had had hospital births for her previous four children--no midwives. (She did screw a probe in for amniocentesis, by the way, according to GOING ROGUE.) Your comments are mere deflection and do not address the facts here. Relevancy: She's a liar, a fraud, and according to Bailey's new book, a scofflaw.

Marc S said...

The truth of Trig's birth no longer matters. Palin has so thoroughly discredited herself, in so many ways, that I can't imagine any further revelations about Trig would change anyone's opinion of this woman.

At this point, Palin's critics do more harm to their own credibility and character by continuing to chase after this issue. And I say this as an otherwise-avid fan of Andrew Sullivan.

Anonymous said...

Marc, don't try to scare people off the story. It's too late. Andrew Sullivan's career is certainly not suffering from pursuing the "Palin wonderbirth" story. He got a huge raise at THE DAILY BEAST.

Marc S said...

I am not trying to scare people off the story. Would it be that I had that sort of power. I am simply saying that no matter how sordid the truth about Trig, it is a private issue, not a political one.

I don't care who the real mother is, and finding out that the mother is someone other than Palin would not change my view of Palin's politics one bit. And it would be damn near impossible for me to think any less of her as a person.

This Trig thing is just a lurid side-show in the super-freak circus that is Sarah Palin. But the important story is not Palin, it is that strange and angry 20% of the country that believes in her.

Vincent Gonzanzanno said...

I am simply saying that no matter how sordid the truth about Trig, it is a private issue, not a political one.

Generally speaking, how one comes to be a parent of a child is only their business, as long as no laws were violated.

However, the first part of the problem with the "leave her alone" argument is: the story, as told, is way further out there than any other we've heard from a public figure. Its easy to dismiss how bizarre it is by relying on the "to each their own" argument, but let's face it, there's probably not another example of a mother who flies several thousand miles to drop in on a hospital and deliver a handicapped child. Not another. Not ever. We all know this is true.

Add in the importance of the Incredible Journey to Palin's political narrative, and its worth asking, how distorted a lie will you allow a public figure to use to construct their image before you call bullshit? Would you permit a politician to directly assert divinity to appeal to their base, without calling them out?

(I can just imagine: Andrew Sullivan cries foul at the Palin-as-Divine-Prophet BS, while all the rest of the pseudo-intellectuals in the commentariat tut-tut and say, well, we don't know if Palin is the Second Coming, and maybe she is, but jeez why can't that mean old meanie Andrew Sullivan just leave her alone to be the Chosen One if she wants to?)

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:44, no midwife in her right mind would tell a woman in Sarah Palin's supposed circumstances it would be all right to board that plane for Alaska.

Anonymous said...

Amen. No way would a midwife tell someone to fly 10 hours in any type of pre-term labor. Multiparous or not. Compromised fetus or not.

No way.

Anonymous said...

And this is not shaming a woman for her birth choices (water birth or home birth or whatever), this is questioning the choices that could have easily ended in a severely harmed or dead newborn and/or mother.

In terms of her decisions, it doesn't matter one bit that the baby ended up being ok. That's like saying it's fine that you left your 2 year old alone at home all night long because when you got home in the morning, he was ok.

Of course, I call complete bullshit on her entire story. She was not pregnant and she certainly did not go into labor and later deliver Trig out of her body. But, she's bragging about her wild ride and if we take her on her word, she made a horrible, horrible decision.

Northeast Elizabeth said...

lol, what an idiot Dunn is.

Obama has never released his contemporaneous, typewritten, 1961 certificate of live birth. All we have is the 2008, incomplete computer-generated certification. It's signed by officials who claim they saw the original certificate, even though Hawaii governor Abercrombie said he couldn't find it. There's no identification of the delivering doctor, the hospital or witnesses to the birth.

With Palin, we have her and her doctor as the ultimate witnesses to the birth. A birth certificate would be a LESSER form of proof. An, of course, there are countless newspaper articles recording both the pregnancy and the birth. With Obama, we just have a couple of clippings that merely announce the birth without saying where he was born.

Anonymous said...

The thing that's surprising to me is that these facts are only now garnering attention. I semi-famously ran this entire narrative, along with my total disbelief, the very day Palin announced her daughter's pregnancy.

It IS germaine. If, as I believe, Trig Palin is Bristol's biological child, then Palin is guilty of the following:

1. Lying about the pregnancy, presumably to cover for her daughter and avoid the bad press that would ensue from having an unwed, teenaged, pregnant child. I can even understand that, particularly given that she'd end up raising the child anyway.

2. Once committed to the lie, she USED Bristol and her subsequent pregnancy to further her own political agenda. Which absolutely negates whatever kindness inspired her original decision to claim the child as her own. She ANNOUNCES that Bristol is pregnant the DAY AFTER she's tapped as McCain's running mate.

My theory is Trig's condition was only discovered after his birth. It would be highly unusual to test the fetus of a 16-year-old girl for DS.

Palin was, and is, dangerous to this country. Her cynicism, her situational ethics, her manipulation and her ability to throw even her own children under the bus in support of her ambition is nothing short of horrifying.

norcalsue said...

I don't believe Trig is Bristol's son because I don't believe Bristol's nitwit ex boyfriend, Levi, could keep that a secret all this time. Not for all the tea in china.

Here's what I do think though...

Sarah Palin clearly did everything possible, other than having an abortion, to not have Trig. All the reckless behavior, the travel, etc, make it rather obvious that this was not a pregnancy she was protecting from harm. Quite the contrary. She appears to have been running towards harm with break-neck speed. I mean who the hell boards a plane for a long, long flight while they are leaking amniotic fluid? And then drives an hour past the closest hospital upon landing. Someone hoping to deliver a stillborn, that's who.

Anonymous said...

@5:26, Northeast Elizabeth - I don't usually participate in slinging ad hominems, but who's the dunce here? Hint: it's not Dunn, hon. My own birth certificate doesn't have what you claim!
Read it and weep, hon.


Marc S said...

Vincent, I am not saying "leave her alone." I am saying that Palin is no longer relevant. As a politician, she has lost her credibility. As a cultural icon, she is fading fast. The moment Palin declares she is not running for president, she will become a spent force.

So, Trig does not matter because Palin no longer matters. There is no need for us to bring her down, she has already done it to herself. Sure, she may linger in the margins for a while. But she has burned too many bridges, alienated too many potential allies. I predict info-mercials within two years.

Our focus should not be on Palin at this point, but on the 20% of America that believed in her. They will soon be rooting about for a new savior. Any guesses who that might be? I am predicting Glenn Beck, who scares me more than Palin, as his capacity for malice, and his hunger for chaos is so much greater than hers.

Spambalaya said...

Northeast Elizabeth said...

"lol, what an idiot Dunn is."

You relay should be careful when you try to label others that the label isn't more applicable to your own beliefs.

"With Obama, we just have a couple of clippings that merely announce the birth without saying where he was born."

Since the Honolulu Advertiser's listing came from the Hawaii Health Bureau, it certain that this was a Hawaiian birth being announced, not an overseas one. (Why would the Hawaiian Health Bureau provide information on foreign births?) And the Star Ledger's announcement even listed the parents' home address, 6085 Kalanianaole Highway.

Whereas your claim that "there are countless newspaper articles recording both the pregnancy and the birth" of Trig are meaningless, since those articles relied on Sarah's own press releases, not medical records. Not one reporter has seen Trig's birth certificate. Even the Mat-Su hospital where Trig was supposedly born did not include his birth among those released to the local papers that week. And lately Sarah even changed her claim and said that Trig was born in Anchorage now.

Seriously, if you believe anything you wrote and aren't simply trolling with deliberate disinformation, then Mr. Dunn is not the idiot here.

Spambalaya said...

I "really" should be more careful relying on spellcheck next time. LOL

Anonymous said...

If you criticize Palin for her actions during her pregnancy, you must do the same for all mothers....and if they choose to abort, what then libs?

Norcalsue said...

@anonymous 12:32... this article isn't about anyone's pregnancy but Sarah Palin's so stick to the topic at hand. She is already a mother to 4 other kids, yet she risked the life of her unborn boy and her other children's mom with her reckless actions. I think reckless is the key word here.

ahamon said...

There is the possibility that Palin's baby Trig was in a transverse lie. The baby is worse off than breech. He/she cannot be turned, and ALL labor involving a transverse or sideways positioned baby must end in C Section. It is likely she had the Dr meet her there to deliver because such a baby is NOT coming out on its own. Also this position makes pregnancy incredibly easy to conceal. The stomach does not protrude as it would in a normally positioned pregnancy. Goig to a Dr who knew the situation may have been best for her son. We really don't know one way or the other.