Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Character Assassination of Sarah Palin

I will admit that I don’t have warm and fuzzy feelings for Sarah Palin. In fact, I disagree with most of her stances on the actual issues. I will also state for the record that I don’t believe she isn’t an articulate speaker; however, I will note that I think some of the things she has said have not been really thought out, and some things she has said don’t seem to be based on actual facts. The life of anyone in the political spotlight is always made out to be a circus. While Sarah Palin has some very thoroughly documented skeletons in her closet, the latest book ‘The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin’ by Joe McGinniss seems to be a character assassination that resembles an issue of the National Enquirer.

I want to remind liberals of something that happened during the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections. In 2004 when John Kerry was the Democratic nominee for president, a conspiracy theorist named Jerome Corsi teamed up with a Vietnam veteran named John O’Neill and wrote a book titled ‘Unfit for Command’ about John Kerry’s military service. In the book, he made accusations based on hearsay from some people who never served with John Kerry in Vietnam. Veterans who actually served with Kerry who were not contacted by Corsi or O’Neill to tell their versions of the story came out swinging against the book. The book led to the P.A.C. known as “Swift Vets and POWs for Truth” that ran ads against Kerry stating that he wasn’t entitled to the Purple Heart honors, questioned his honesty about the war, and criticized his anti-war stance after his service was up. The book made a lot of serious accusations that even upset people in the right-wing; John McCain was upset and was one of the Vietnam veterans who defended John Kerry.

In 2008 during the presidential election, Jerome Corsi was back in the spotlight after releasing a book against Barack Obama titled ‘Obama Nation.’ The book was highly controversial, had questionable sources, made strong and baseless accusations, and left-wing figures immediately fact-checked everything that Jerome Corsi wrote and appeared on television with him questioning his sources. Jerome Corsi’s only defense was that he hadn’t been sued for slander. The book stated that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama bought their condo and lived out of wedlock, which was later proven as false when Obama’s wedding date was thrown at Corsi and the date of their condo purchase as a matter of public record was after their wedding. And of course all of the accusations of being affiliated with extremist Islamic groups and other conspiracy related garbage was stated in the book. John McCain was hesitant to criticize the book during the campaign and stated that one needs to keep a sense of humor.

This past Tuesday, Joe McGinniss released his book on Sarah Palin that is similar to the slanderous accusations that Jerome Corsi made against John Kerry and Barack Obama during their presidential campaigns. The book states that Sarah Palin had premarital sex, used illegal drugs, isn’t the mother one of her children, and that she had a fear of colored people. The book is an unauthorized look into her life and also has the similar style of “research” that Jerome Corsi uses to write his books on the left-wing. The book obviously has an “anti-Palin agenda” and is in poor taste.

The sad fact is that people will read these books to feel their partisan rage coming into fruition and believe that character assassination through the stories of others and shoddy research will mean the truth. John Kerry wasn’t popular with the right-wing based on his affiliation with anti-war groups after he came home from Vietnam; the right wing came up with some hearsay to throw at him that was pretty questionable and equated it with the truth. The right-wing continues to the same to Barack Obama given he’s someone they saw as a political threat the minute he made a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention where he stated his liberal values that fired up the base and made him an overnight sensation. Sarah Palin obviously infuriates the left-wing voters for reasons that are obvious, but does this really justify someone having the right to character assassination via the printed word?

While I’m a liberal, there is one thing I hate about a lot of political books: you can judge them by their cover. You’re finding what you want to hear to broaden your point of view. Good political books are hard to come by and I don’t like to read a lot of political books based upon the fact that you already know what you’re getting. There are some political writers who do great research that can be backed up that starts an honest political debate, but many of them are just blowing smoke. The sad thing is that there are publishers who will publish this garbage. There are also people that see this as sweet revenge. Either way, I don’t believe anyone should have to go through these types of accusations, no matter what their political beliefs are. If you have the facts on someone’s dirty laundry that you can prove instead of hearsay based on a few people telling you some fairy tales, then it’s justifiable.

Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, I’d say that these books are a horrible representation of your political values. I hope that both the right and left will agree and not support these kinds of books. But I guess I’m asking for too much in a world where spin based on “garbage writing” is all about setting up someone’s political victories. 

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