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Is Sarah Palin libel-proof?

Posted By Joseph Farah On 09/27/2011 @ 12:09 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

I think Sarah Palin should sue the daylights out of Joe McGinniss and his publisher for their reckless disregard for the truth they showed in his new book –which, for the purpose of this column, shall remain nameless.

No, I have not read the book, nor do I intend to read it. I don’t make a habit of reading fictional smut.

But it has received massive publicity thanks to a media literally insane with Palin-ophobia and with inexplicable pathological hatred for the former Alaska governor.

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I hate to repeat the unsubstantiated and probably wholly unsupportable accusations McGinniss and company make about her and her family, but for the purpose of this column, it is entirely necessary. Just note the evidence for these claims is entirely lacking:

  • that Todd Palin had sex with a hooker;

  • that Sarah Palin had a pre-marital fling with basketball player Brad Hanson;
  • that Track Palin was a drug user who enlisted in the Army to avoid jail time;
  • that Track vandalized Wasilla, Alaska, school buses;
  • that Willow Palin was involved in vandalism of an empty house;
  • that Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child;
  • that Bristol Palin was promiscuous as a high schooler, drank and used drugs and became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.

I have to tell you that I have been the victim of vicious lies and smears thanks to my own profile at WND. Some people believe what they read. They assume that if the lies are not countered with a lawsuit (or a duel) that the accusations have at least some truth to them. It’s very hurtful and frustrating for anyone who cares about his reputation.

In this case, McGinniss’ attack seems determined to do two things: Pad his own bank account and prevent Sarah Palin from seeking and winning the presidency.

Some believe a person like Sarah Palin is virtually libel-proof because her status as a public figure is so high.

But these attacks are so mean-spirited, politically motivated, profit-motivated and made with such malicious intent and reckless disregard for the truth that I think she should sue and should win. It would not only punish the guilty, it would send a loud-and-clear message to other media vultures that freedom of speech has its limits in a truly free and just society.

I think the smoking gun for such a defamation lawsuit has now been made public. It is an email McGinniss wrote last January, eight months before the book was published, to someone he apparently relied upon heavily as a source – a low-rent former anti-Palin blogger. In the email, McGinniss desperately seeks confirmation and substantiation for some of the sensational gossip in his book. What’s most striking about the document is its admission that a legal review at Random House found much of the contents of the book at that time to be nothing more than “tawdry gossip.”

McGinniss also admits that all of the accusations above are without substantiation. McGinniss’ email to his source makes very clear his malicious intent: He wanted evidence to support the slurs “because Sarah’s hypocrisy about her family is one of the things that galls me most.” Also apparent from the email is that McGinniss had included in his manuscript many contentions he could not prove or provide evidence to support.

How credible is a reporter-author who knowingly, admittedly submits content to his editor that he himself describes as “tawdry gossip”?

I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see Sarah Palin use her considerable resources to punish McGinniss and his publisher.

In fact, I’d volunteer to serve as one of her expert witnesses in that defamation trial.


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