Context is important, so let me open with this: On the very day I’m writing these words, Sharyl Attkisson, an Emmy-winning journalist, has dropped a well-sourced, in-depth report that claims that under Hillary Clinton, State Department officials hid “damaging documents” from the Accountability Review Board — the official committee charged with looking into the fatal September 11, 2012, attack on our consulate in Benghazi.
Thus far, not a single mainstream media source has picked up the story.
What Attkisson doesn’t appear to understand is that if you want the national media in DC and New York to create a frenzy around your reporting, that reporting shouldn’t come from an award-winning journalist with decades of experience and well-placed sources. Instead, it should come from a local online gossip columnist with no sources and no interest in tracking down the truth. Of course it also helps if the
reporter the gossip columnist and elite media share a certain passion in common: a seething contempt and hatred for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her family.
By now you’ve all heard about the infamous drunken brawl the Palin family was supposedly involved in last week. While Sarah Palin screamed “Do you know who I am!” (which she didn’t), the Governor’s 24 year-old son Track (a Veteran), 50 year-old husband Todd, and 23 year-old daughter Bristol, were all bloodied up in a beer-soaked melee they started (which they didn’t). Fun fact: according to the media, the left-handed Bristol rains down blows with her right.
You probably haven’t heard that the IRS is destroying evidence with impunity.
You probably haven’t heard that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Democrats are attempting to gut the First Amendment under the fig leaf of “campaign finance reform.”
And you probably haven’t heard that the story of the Palin family’s drunken brawl began with a local gossip columnist, Amanda Coyne, a Palin hater, who admitted when she first “broke” the story on September 9 that “the details were a little sketchy” and on September 11 that “I have little time to track down the details of the brawl. And even if I did, I’d probably pass.“
Despite this, on September 12, Coyne was awarded a byline in no less than the New York Times to retread her gossip: “Palins Said to Be Involved in Brawl at Party in Alaska.”
In the meantime, we now have 74,100 Google News hits based on a piece of gossip from a gossip columnist who has “little time to track down the details.” And it should come as no surprise that many of those Google links are to some of the biggest mainstream media outlets in the country (the very same ones not telling you about Attkisson’s Benghazi bombshell or the IRS shredding evidence): The Washington Post, ABC News, Good Morning America, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, and 74,095 others.
I guess you could argue that the media frenzy would be legitimate if the story had been confirmed. But all of this emanated from an anti-Palin gossip blogger who admitted she didn’t care about the truth and had no desire to discover the truth.
Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics actually tried something the New York Times, George Stephanopolous, and CNN didn’t — reporting. He spoke with someone close to the Palin family and was told that there was indeed a fight, most of the Palin family was there — including the Governor — but that the fight was started by a former boyfriend of Willow’s, Palin’s 20 year-old daughter. From the sound of this report, Track was defending his sister from an old boyfriend who was getting aggressive:
The initial tussle occurred, the source said, after the young man in question “tried to get in” to the Hummer limousine after he’d engaged in some unspecified “questionable behavior.”
Track Palin soon found himself struggling to fend off four men who had “piled on him,” according to the source.
Todd Palin then inserted himself into the brawl, which left the former “First Dude” of Alaska bleeding. …
According to the source, as her husband and son were trading blows with their adversaries, Palin was yelling (in reference to her son), “Don’t you know who he is? He’s a vet!”
This rendition of her words differs slightly but significantly from a previous report, which had Palin shouting, “Don’t you know who I am?”
Over the years, Sarah Palin has spoken frequently about her son’s U.S. Army service in the Iraq War, and Track currently serves as a counselor, working with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The local police are investigating the brawl. According to them, no one wants to press charges. But why would we expect the media to wait for facts before the frenzy? This is after all the very same media that blamed Palin for a murder spree in Tucson, was sure she was going to divorce Todd, and embraced aging conspiracy theorist Andrew Sullivan while he pretended to believe Trig Palin wasn’t Sarah Palin’s son.
The media even makes the stretch Hummer sound Hillbilly. It was Todd’s 50th birthday. The extended Palin family rented the Hummer for the special occasion to move the family from a party at the family home to the party in question (hosted by a longtime Palin friend also celebrating a family birthday). Renting stretch Hummers is cool in Los Angeles. Kanye rents stretch Hummers. In Alaska it apparently makes you a rube.
You want to know what Sarah Palin did the day of the party? She flew all the way to Houston, Texas, to attend and speak at a fundraiser for an organization called The Mighty Oaks — a non-profit group dedicated to helping veterans struggling with PTSD. Did you know that Track Palin serves as a PTSD counselor. You probably didn’t. But this is happening…
A source I trust told me that since news of the brawl broke, one of the local companies that rents stretch limos in the Anchorage area has been harassed by the media. Over a dozen phone calls. Television crews showing up unannounced. Offers of payment in exchange for interviews.
Over a private family matter based on an un-sourced, un-confirmed item in a local gossip blog, the media is relentless.
Over Benghazi and the IRS, crickets.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC