There's more fallout from Andrew Breitbart's devastating bomb run on Joe McGinness and his book of lies. In a follow up posting at Big Journalism, Breitbart presents six of the more scurrilous of McGinness' unsubstantiated allegations in detail, "and how McGinniss used most of them in The Rogue, even though he admitted in his email that he could not prove them."
a) Todd had sex with a hooker, or with anyone else outside his marriage.Update: McGinniss Confirms, Griffin Fumes, ‘Hooker’ Responds
McGinniss dropped the “hooker” accusation–probably because he was afraid, as his email suggests, that the sole source “may be mentally unstable” and that even the National Enquirer appeared to be ready “to back off this story.”
Yet McGinniss did publish allegations in The Rogue that Todd flirted with other women (p. 115) and had sex outside his marriage (p. 169), based solely on sources identified as “an attractive white woman” and “a friend of his,” respectively. Both sources are identified in the book as having spoken to McGinniss in 2010–before the January 2011 email in which he admitted he had no factual evidence beyond “tawdry gossip.”
b) Sarah had an affair with Brad Hanson, or anyone else.
McGinniss presents no named source for this accusation in The Rogue other than an article in the National Enquirer in October 2008. He refers to “a friend of Todd’s,” who tells McGinniss in 2010 that the affair–which both Palin and Hanson deny–was “known” (p. 64). He also cites third-party rumors, cited in turn (apparently in 2010) by former Wasilla mayor John Stein, who states that “we were hearing” about an affair during the mayoral campaign in which he was ousted by Sarah Palin (p. 64). Similarly, he cites third-party rumors from a woman named Colleen Cottle, whom he speaks to upon arriving in Wasilla in 2010. McGinniss does not quote Cottle directly, but says that she fills him in on local gossip, and attributes a remark about the affair to her (p. 6). All of these flimsy sources pre-date McGinniss’s email in January 2011 in which he admits that: “[N]o one has ever provided factual evidence” for the claims he lists.
c) Track was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term. Or that he vandalized Wasilla school buses.
McGinniss’s basis for accusations of drug use by Track Palin is the National Enquirer, which in turn had quoted an unnamed “source” in 2008. He adds that “reports of Track’s drug use persisted even into the summer of 2010” but does not specify what those reports are, or from whom (p. 114). His primary source for the accusation of vandalism in 2005 is local gossip: “word spread immediately in Wasilla,” McGinniss says, though he also claims that an unnamed radio station and an unnamed television station in Anchorage reported the accusation (p. 113). In the end, McGinniss hedges his bets: “Whether or not Track was involved in the school bus vandalism…” (p. 113).
McGinniss does not include the accusation that Track “enlisted in the army to avoid a jail term” in The Rogue. However, he does quote an unnamed “friend” of Track’s who said that Track enlisted to avoid getting into “trouble” such as “[t]he school bus thing, theft issues, multiple stuff” (p. 113). McGinniss does not clarify whether the “friend” is speaking from personal knowledge, or merely repeating third-hand rumors, perhaps provided by McGinniss himself as a prompt. For good measure, McGinniss claims–again, without any evidence–that Sarah Palin engineered Track’s enlistment and his deployment to Iraq for political gain, and quotes an unnamed state trooper who claims Track showed no signs of patriotism on the way to the enlistment office (p. 114).
All of the “evidence” cited by McGinniss to substantiate his claims about Track Palin appears to pre-date his January 2011 email in which he states that Random House lawyers have told him that he has no evidence, and that “nobody” has provided proof.
d) Willow was involved in the vandalism of the empty house in Meadow Lakes. Or that Sarah rushed back from Hawaii to put the lid on that.
McGinniss’s only source is the National Enquirer, which made these claims in 2010. He also claims “[m]any in Wasilla” believe the story (p. 111). He also cites gossip related by Colleen Cottle in 2010–again, without quoting her directly (p. 6). None of this “evidence” was obtained after McGinniss admitted, in his email, that he could not prove the claim.
e) Trig is not Sarah’s natural born child.
McGinniss provides no new evidence for this debunked claim, quoting “questions” being asked on “blogs” and the like (p. 316). McGinniss also cites “many Wasillans” who allegedly say that “even if she had not faked the entire story of her pregnancy and Trig’s birth, it was something she was eminently capable of doing” (p. 285). In other words, he supports a lie, which he tacitly admits he cannot prove, by attacking Palin’s character.
f) Bristol was promiscuous as a high schooler and drank and used drugs, or became pregnant again after Tripp’s birth.
McGinniss’s source is again local gossip in the summer of 2010: “Rumors immediately run rampant,” he says (p. 204). Once again, he also cites gossip allegedly related by (but not directly quoted from) Colleen Cottle in 2010. He mentions a July 2010 interview in The Daily Beast with Bristol’s alleged new boyfriend at the time, Ben Barber, which does not discuss promiscuity or drugs, and actually contradicts the claim that Bristol became pregnant again. None of these “tawdry” rumors, which McGinniss admits in his January 2011 email have no factual basis, is supported by subsequent evidence.