Vanity Fair Reporter Admits Error In Sarah Palin Hit Piece

For almost two years, Sarah Palin has been complaining about media members making things up about her.

On Friday, one finally admitted it.

As NewsBusters reported Wednesday, Vanity Fair's October issue has a hit piece on its cover about the former Alaska governor that Palin-hating press members have been predictably fawning and gushing over.

Now, the Associated Press is reporting that the author, Michael Joseph Gross, has admitted making a mistake in his piece:

Reporter Michael Joseph Gross describes Palin's youngest son, Trig, being pushed in a stroller by his older sister, Piper, before a rally in May in the Kansas City suburb of Independence.

"When the girl, Piper Palin, turns around, she sees her parents thronged by admirers, and the crowd rolling toward her and the baby, her brother Trig, born with Down syndrome in 2008," according to the article. "Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, bend down and give a moment to the children; a woman, perhaps a nanny, whisks the boy away; and Todd hands Sarah her speech and walks her to the stage."

Later in his piece, Gross described Piper joining Sarah on stage to "allow Palin to make a public display of maternal affection." 

Unfortunately, as Politico's Ben Smith reported Thursday, that was a different Down syndrome baby:

Trig wasn't at the event, according to its organizer, Karladine Graves, a 61-year-old Kansas City physician, who, in 2009, founded one of the wave of new local conservative groups, this one called Preserving American Liberty. The "woman, perhaps a nanny," was the boy's mother, St. Louis talk radio host Gina Loudon, according to Graves.

But it gets worse according to the AP:

The mother of that child, conservative activist Gina Loudon, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she told Gross during the rally that the child in the stroller was her son, not Palin's. She said she tried to make it clear because the two children look a lot alike.

"I told him that. And he ignored it," Loudon said. "It's not even like he didn't fact check - he just ignored facts."

Now, Gross has admitted it:

Gross said in a written statement sent to The Associated Press that he was mistaken.

"Trig was with his mother the next day in Wichita (Kan.), but the child in Independence was someone else, and I regret the error," he said.

He regrets the error?

No he doesn't. He regrets getting caught, for as Smith wrote Thursday, this has been a modus operandi for dishonest media members like Gross for two years:

[T]he Vanity Fair piece on Sarah Palin is so emblematic of much that's wrong about the way she's covered that it's worth returning to, and I've learned that the its long wind-up is based on fundamental confusion about which of Palin's children was at an event in Kansas City.

Palin almost never talks to neutral media outlets, leaving her - as critics accurately note - subject to none of the questions, challenges  and reality checks that the political press puts regularly to almost every other national political figure. She takes a lot of heat for this, deservedly.

But with the hunger for information about her, and the traffic she drives, the press sometimes compensates by printing such thinly sourced, badly reported nonsense about her that it's hard to imagine it making it into a serious magazine like Vanity Fair if it concerned any other figure. Of course, this might not happen if she spoke to reporters, but that's no excuse.

Yeah it is, Ben, for what's the point of talking to the press if they're going to just make stuff up?

Of course, this is the kind of yellow journalism by "impotent, limp, gutless reporters" Palin ridiculed while chatting with Sean Hannity Wednesday, and is why it's difficult to believe any of the nonsense about her in the media.

Vanity Fair should be so proud of itself. 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.