WaPo Gossips Snip Sarah Palin's Critique of Her New Liberal Author Neighbor

The Washington Post's Reliable Source gossip column noticed Sarah Palin reported a new neighbor in Wasilla on her Facebook page: liberal author Joe McGinniss. The once-highly esteemed author of The Selling of the President 1968 took a major tumble in 1993 with his Ted Kennedy book The Last Brother, which was blasted for plagiarism and patches of invented dialogue, tactics used against Ted Kennedy, not some loathsome Red State conservative. The Post relayed:

She blasted his work as biased but mostly poured on the sweet sarcasm: "We're sure to have a doozey to look forward to ... Wonder what kind of material he'll gather while overlooking Piper's bedroom, my little garden, and the family's swimming hole? ... Come borrow a cup of sugar if ever you need some sweetener." We couldn't reach McGinniss; his publishing house, Broadway Books, told AP he "will be highly respectful of his subject's privacy as he investigates her public activities."

The Post's edit was interesting, and misleading. Right before the "Doozey" sentence were these words:

Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of “journalism” (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered), we’re sure to have a doozey...

Couldn't they put a bracket around the capital-W to suggest they entered mid-sentence? Perhaps they didn't have time to check on Palin's claim about the Department of Natural Resources. I didn't find that in some rudimentary searching. But they also could have noted (even in limited space) that McGinniss has written Palin-bashing articles.

The Post blog 44 confirmed that McGinniss was renting the house next door, with a headline that called him "legendary." Garance Franke-Ruta failed to note the fracas over his Ted Kennedy book and the dent it put in his legend among liberals, but she did fully quote the "yellow journalism" sentence, and noted McGinniss wrote a "none-too-flattering" profile of Palin in Portfolio magazine.

McGinniss said she was a hypocrite on plans to build a natural-gas pipeline in Alaska, and that "long before she became the new darling of the newly disenfranchised far right—Sarah Palin had been a bare-knuckle backwoods populist who’d built a career out of puffing up dragons she could then slay."
Sharp-eyed Jim Geraghty at National Review Online poked some holes in the McGinniss article and its omni-directional attacks last year.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis