Today, Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic posted the above photograph, taken on March 26, 2008, of then-Governor Sarah Palin, just three weeks before she supposedly gave birth to a six-pound infant. I would like to add my voice to the growing chorus of people demanding that the reporters who work for our various national media commit some actual journalism with regard to Palin's countless lies and fabrications, most saliently, the unbelievable story from which she subsequently derived her power as a pro-life politician and likely candidate for the Republican nomination for president next year: the story of Trig Palin.
Because, like Andrew Sullivan, that's exactly what I think it was: a story. A tall tale. And it is unbelievable because the facts simply do not support it.
I have never claimed I know the truth. I don't. I only know that none of us does. We all have to rely on the word of Sarah Palin - something about as reliable as a credit default swap. I want to know the truth. Because if I am loony, I deserve the pushback and criticism for suspecting a story that turned out to be true. And because if Palin has lied about this, it's the most staggering, appalling deception in the history of American politics. Not knowing which is true for real - and allowing this person to continue to dominate one half of the political divide - is something I think is intolerable. In the end, this story is not about Palin. It's about the collapse of the press and the corrupt cynicism of a political system that foisted this farce upon us without performing any minimal due diligence.
When Senator John McCain chose Mrs. Palin as his VP running mate, within minutes, everyone with a television had heard the heartwarming tale of this forty-something mother so stalwart in her pro-life beliefs, she carried to term a Down Syndrome baby despite being barely a year into her governorship. (And so discreet was she, we were told, no-one in her office knew until the final weeks of the pregnancy, either. There was no giveaway signs: no bouts of morning sickness; no backaches or food cravings; no maternity outfits; no apparent weight gain or baby bump, despite this being baby number five for the then-43-year-old. And her staff, according to the Alaska media, were completely surprised, nay, dumbfounded when she told them.)
The selection of Palin as McCain's VP candidate, and the unique and, at the time, admittedly compelling narrative associated therewith, knocked then-candidate Obama's historic nomination of the previous night completely off the t.v. screen. Shortly thereafter, we heard the details of said fifth child's birth, told by Palin herself, in her own voice, even.
As readers know, I am a mother of three. Upon hearing those details, I recall shaking my head in amazement, knowing right then that what Palin was saying was an enormous fabrication. A lie.
Yet no media would go near it--no reporter would entertain the possibility that the Governor of Alaska--the VP nominee who, if elected, would be a 73-year-old cancer-survivor's heartbeat away from the presidency of the United States--would tell the world such an enormous, shocking, and appallingly self-serving lie. No-one, with the exception of fellow Brit, Andrew Sullivan.
Why was this so? The particulars of the story of the pregnancy which resulted in the child that Palin herself has made central to her pro-life politics--that Palin herself has used as both political prop and sales tool--do not add up. Where were, where are the investigative reporters, and why do they continue to give this dishonest and dangerous woman a pass even as they report on the tiniest details of the foibles and personal failures of other, far less significant politicians? Why, when the evidence all points to a political hoax of staggering dimensions?
As any woman who’s had any number of babies will tell you, when you’re 43 and in labor—having broken your water, no less!—there is no way in hell you could or would skip going to a hospital (or at least a doctors’ office) and instead, stand at a podium, deliver a speech (complete with jokes!), not have anyone notice, then fly across the continent on two separate flights (with no flight attendants noticing that you’re that far along, either, much less in labor), then drive through the state—still in labor, mind you, and about to give birth to a premature, special-needs infant who will undoubtedly need emergency care upon birth—bypass not one but two large hospitals with specially-equipped Neonatal Intensive Care Units, go to a small regional hospital in a small town, and have a general practitioner (not a high-risk OB/gyn, as would be required) deliver your premature, special-needs baby with jaundice and a heart defect. There is no way.
Still not convinced? Consider this: being in labor is painful. Not hangover-headache painful, such that one could still stagger onto a plane and make it home. Seriously painful.
At first, in the early stages, you simply cringe a little and double over. For intervals, you are not able to speak, much less give a speech. People would definitely notice something was wrong.
Then, the pain gets unbearable—drawn-and-quartered unbearable. You beg for drugs; you might even ask to be killed (with my third child, I had no anaesthesia, and I requested exactly that. Other mothers who’ve delivered sans drugs, please weigh in.) You scream like a banshee. People would definitely notice that something was wrong.
Instinct takes over, and as the labor progresses to delivery, and your screams reach the wild-assed, paint-peeling, scare-your-partner-out-the-door point, you assume whatever physical position you need to and begin pushing the baby out. It is unspeakably, shockingly messy and primal, to use delicate terms. (Mothers reading this are all nodding, aren’t you?)
Now imagine the sitting governor of Alaska, a woman who places high value on her appearance, risking such a thing taking place on an airline—twice in one day—in full view of passengers.
So. Here we are. For nearly two years, the media has been inexplicably squeamish and hands-off about reporting the truth of this lying woman’s fifth child—which would not be anyone’s business if (a) she were a private citizen and/or (b) she had not made said child’s existence the center—indeed, the be-all and end-all—of her pro-life cred, thus “energizing the base”, as they say.
Bravo to Mr. Sullivan, I say. And bravo to all and sundry who, like him, like me, are capable of looking at the evidence already in front of us--who well understand why it matters so much and will thus continue to call for someone in the press to please say something. Do something.