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Sarah Palin and the Incredible Birth Story

Sarah Palin and the Incredible Birth Story

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Published by Brad Scharlott
This research documents how Palin faked the birth of Trig.
This research documents how Palin faked the birth of Trig.

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Published by: Brad Scharlott on Sep 05, 2012
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Updated: September 5, 2012
Sarah Palin and the Incredible Birth Story
By Brad Scharlott, PhDNorthern Kentucky UniversityWhile living in Washington, DC, in February 2010, the now-deceased British intellectualChristopher Hitchens wrote in
The Spectator 
: “An astonishing number of well-informed peopletell me that Sarah Palin is not in fact the mother of baby Trig, but that she is ‘covering up’ foranother family member whose child he really is.” Then two months later, Bill Maher tweeted hisnearly one million followers: “Tina Fey, 5 months pregnant at 40 not showing and no one knew –boy, when she does a Sarah Palin impression, she really commits!”In the first case, it took an Englishman writing in a British newspaper to reveal what manyknowledgeable Americans say on the sly but never publicly: that Sarah Palin faked the birth of Trig, her purported fifth biological child. In the second, we see one of those Americans, theiconoclastic humorist Bill Maher, openly making a joke that references the birth hoax rumor, inparticular the idea that well into her pregnancy Palin did not “show.” (At seven months, as weshall see, not even her staff knew.) And Maher had to assume that a great many of his followerswere in the know about the hoax rumor, or else the joke would make no sense.If so many Americans with whom Hitchens rubbed shoulders – presumably America’sintellectual elite – think Palin faked Trig’s birth, then why has the hoax rumor been virtuallytaboo in the nation’s media the last four years? It’s true that Andrew Sullivan, a lone voice amongnationally prominent bloggers, repeatedly questioned Palin’s birth story (and was flayed for it);but even a popular blog like Sullivan’s The Dish reaches only a tiny portion of the public.The mainstream media blackout has likely been due to various factors, but perhaps the No.1 reason is that the hoax rumor seems so crazy on its face – it’s stunning to think Palin, the sittinggovernor of Alaska at the time, would do such a thing. Journalists perhaps have felt they couldnot question her birth story without ironclad proof of a hoax. Which poses an interestingepistemological question: How do you prove something did
happen? Unless someone insidesuch a hoax spills the beans, meeting a standard of proof like “beyond a reasonable doubt” can beexceedingly difficult.But not impossible. With enough circumstantial evidence, maybe even he most devioushoax can be exposed.
The Hoax Rumor Hits the FanOn August 29, 2008, the day John McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate,someone named ArcXIX wrote at the Daily Kos blog site: “Well, Sarah, I'm calling you a liar.And not even a good one. Trig Paxson Van Palin is not your son. He is your grandson.”
Theauthor quoted an
 Anchorage Daily News
article by Welsey Loy from March 6:
 JUNEAU -- Gov. Sarah Palin shocked and awed just about everybody around theCapitol on Wednesday when she announced she's expecting her fifth child.…Palin said she's already about seven months along, with the baby due to arrivein mid-May.That the pregnancy is so advanced astonished all who heard the news
. The governor … simply doesn't look pregnant.
[Italics added]Even close members of her staff said they only learned this week their bosswas expecting.
Nearly six months later, on August 31, a
 Daily News
columnist wrote:
OK - the Palin baby speculation is inescapable at this point. The left-leaning Daily Kos posted an item Friday … a version of a rumor – long simmering in Alaska –  that Palin's daughter Bristol was pregnant and the governor somehow covered itup by pretending to have the baby (Trig) herself.
The columnist quoted a Democratic strategist as saying, "Guys, it’s a loser. Can we not do this?"– the point being even if the rumor was true, Democrats might hurt themselves by pursuing it.In late August, journalists must have heard the rumors and wondered where the truth lay.If any of them had readthe ArcXIX post at theDaily Kos site a fewdays earlier, they wouldhave seen this APphoto, which originallyappeared on the
 Anchorage Daily News
“Questions Raised: Does Sarah Palin Really Have a 5th Child? [Photos + Video] UPDATED,” posted by ArcXIX at Daily Kos on August 31, 2008. This update of August 31
includes the post of August 29. [Thepost is no longer online.] In the update the author backed away from the accusation, apparently agreeingthat Democrats were likely to hurt themselves by pursuing it. Barack Obama himself, in reaction to therumors, asked that reporters leave alone questions relating to the candidates’ families.
on March 14, 2008. On the left is the picture as it appeared on the newspaper’s web site and alsoin the ArcXIX post. On the right is the same photo lightened.
The original makes Palin look remarkably trim for a woman in her seventh month. The lightened one, in which details areclearer, shows an unbelievably flat stomach for 44-year-old mother of four who supposedly willgive birth in 35 days to a 6 pound, 2 ounce baby.But then, on August 31, a different photo appeared that showed Palin looking quitepregnant. Someone who has never been positively identified, but most likely was Dan Carpenter,an Anchorage TV cameraman, posted this photo at Flickr:The photo shows Palin with a large,round belly being interviewed by AndreaGusty of KTVA on April 13, five days beforethe alleged birth. The McCain campaignadvisors undoubtedly showed this photo toreporters as proof that Palin had beenpregnant. (More on this photo presently.)Then the McCain team aimed to put thehoax rumor to rest on Sept. 1 with a stunningannouncement: Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter Bristol was (they claimed) five months pregnant,and she was engaged to marry the father, Levi Johnston.
Reporters were left to do the math: if Bristol was five months along in early September, then she apparently could not be the mother of Trig, who reportedly was born on April 18. Thus, the logic ran, Sarah must be the mother.Throwing Bristol under the bus like that to quell the rumors seemed odd and needless sincesupplying Trig’s birth certificate could have settled the matter. Moreover, the logic that Bristolcould not be Trig’s mother depended on the unsupported assertion that Trig was born in April.Still, the revelation of Bristol’s pregnancy plus the Gusty-interview photo must have done thetrick. Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America would later write that in 2008, “99 percent of people in ‘the media’ did the right thing and ignored the Trig nonsense.”
But was the rumor of ahoax truly nonsense? Hardly.
Since this is a nail-in-the-coffin photo – if it’s legitimate, then Palin must have lied about the pregnancy –let me note that I personally copied it from the Anchorage Daily News web site and then lightened it. Thephoto’s authenticity is beyond question.
Samuel Goldsmith and Clemente Lisi, “Palin Admits her 17-year-old Daughter Is Pregnant,” New YorkPost (Sept. 1, 2008).
Boehlert, “Palin's now scolding journalists who didn't write about Trig in 2008?” http://alturl.com/c8d3n(July 27, 2010), Media Matters for America; also, about two weeks after McCain named Palin as his runningmate, Boehlert wrote, “We haven't seen the name of one reporter who pressured the McCain campaign

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