Andrew Breitbart published two articles this morning that absolutely destroy any credibility (there wasn’t much left) that Joe McGinniss may have had. Breitbart provides an email sent by Joe McGinniss to Jesse Griffin in which he admits all of the accusations in his book are fraudulent. It also appears that the only “sources” McGinniss used in this Random House venture were the crazed far-left, Trig Truther blogs in Alaska. Breitbart writes:
After a week of universally scathing pans from the reflexively anti-Palin establishment media, McGinniss now faces the fight of his literary life: the accusation that he seems to have knowingly submitted a book to his publisher, Crown/Random House, that was filled with unproved “tawdry gossip” and rumors that lacked “factual evidence.”
In the email below, sent in January of 2011, McGinniss reveals that his manuscript, then under legal review at Crown/Random House, could not prove its most headline-grabbing allegations. And yet, many of these “salacious stories” that lacked “proof” (in McGinniss’s own words) ended up in the book, and on televisions everywhere during the author’s current media tour … without proper sourcing, and without any apparent new evidence to support them.
McGinniss’s panicked state is evidenced by the identity of the recipient to whom he sent his email of distress. Jesse Griffin was the author of an obscure, low-rent, and now-defunct anti-Palin blog that obsessed over Trig Palin’s maternity–claiming, without any evidence, that Sarah Palin was not Trig’s mother.
Was Random House aware that its prized author was making a desperate overtime bid to save face? And if so, why did it allow him to come forth with most of those tawdry accusations without proof or proper sourcing?
This would not be the first time McGinniss has found himself in trouble over accusations of unethical journalism. In 1987, McGinniss agreed to pay $325,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the convicted murderer who was the subject of McGinniss’s book Fatal Vision. He has also admitted to having surreptitiously distributed a competitor’s manuscript about Palin that was handed to him by his own publisher. The leak allegedly damaged the commercial viability of that book.
In 2003, Random House released a larger-than-life, massive bestseller by James Frey entitled A Million Little Pieces. Later, it was revealed that the book was a fantastical literary hoax that made its way past some of the highest-paid and most respected editors and lawyers in the literary world. Doubleday/Random House felt compelled to offer full refunds to those who had bought the book.
Has history repeated itself?
Read the email McGinniss sent to Griffin here.
In the second article published by Breitbart this morning, he writes that lawyers had told McGinniss that no proof existed to back the assertions in his book. He wrote:
In an email dated January 27, 2011, Joe McGinniss, author of The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, says that Random House lawyers have told him he has provided nothing more than “tawdry gossip” to substantiate “any of the salacious stories about the Palin family.”
He adds that “No one has ever provided factual evidence” (original emphasis) of the following accusations:
a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.
b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.
c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.
d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.
e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.
f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.
Yet almost all of these accusations appear in McGinniss’s book, without any substantial proof beyond gossip, and without any apparent new information to address the lack of “factual evidence” in January 2011.
As stated above, this is not the first time that Random House has misled book buyers into thinking a piece of fiction was reality based. They paid a heavy fine for it in the past. Now that there is evidence available to the public that shows there isn’t an ounce of proof to back up the claims made by McGinniss in his book, they should move to do the right thing and pull it from shelves.
Update: Don Surber weighs in with some observations:
Hating Sarah Palin is a cottage industry built around those intolerant intellectuals who never bothered to find out just who she is and instead bitterly cling to their stereotype of her as a Church Lady who shoots Bambi from helicopters. Those who hate her are shelling out $13.99 to buy charlatan Joe McGinniss’s book, “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin,” which apparently is more fiction than fact.
That’s because Joe McGinniss spent a summer in Alaska on his publisher, Random House’s dime and could not come up with anything new.
His words, not mine…
Mind you, this missive to the blogger was sent on January 27, 2011, after Joe McGinniss had spent the better part of a year trying to dig up something — anything — on her.
Things that Joe McGinniss left off his list: G) Sarah Palin had an affair with Osama bin Laden, H) Willow had an affair with Alex Rodriguez on the David Letterman Show or anyone else, I) the Palin dog is rabid and vandalized buses in Meadow Lakes while having an affair with World B. Free or anyone else…
Even liberals believe Joe McGinniss and Random House went too far.
If she runs, I will vote for Sarah Palin satisfied that there are no skeletons in her closet. She is who she says she is. So many people have vetted her that I have full confidence that there is no scandal anywhere.
Now then, maybe Random House can hire someone to dig up the dirt, finally, on a fellow named Barack Obama. He is, after all, only the president of the United States.
Update: Joel Pollak from Big Journalism adds this “Tale of Two Press Releases” from Random House:
First Random House promised Joe McGinniss would respect Sarah Palin’s privacy.
Then Random House boasted about how McGinniss had exposed Sarah Palin’s personal and family life.
Mr. McGinniss is the author of Going to Extremes, a classic book about Alaska, and his work-in-progress returns him to the 49th state to examine Sarah Palin’s significance as both a political and cultural phenomenon and as an embodiment of the contradictory forces that shaped Alaska as it moved into its second half-century of statehood. Well regarded for his in-depth, up-close reporting, Mr. McGinniss will be highly respectful of his subject’s privacy as he investigates her public activities. (emphasis added)
Based on McGinniss’s on-the-ground reporting that began in late 2008 (which yielded an April 2009 Conde Nast Portfolio cover story) and continued with his return to Alaska in 2010, this book is a startling and penetrating examination of the illusion and reality of Palin–and a probing look at the Alaska and the America that have produced her, and the country she feels she is destined to lead. The Rogue delves deeply into Alaska’s political and business affairs and Palin’s political, personal, and family life to chronicle how and to what extent Palin and her beliefs, attitudes, and outlook will influence and even change life in America and the perception of America abroad. (emphasis added)
Given today’s revelations, Random House might want to reconsider its testimonials about McGinniss’s “well regarded” reporting.