Tuesday, September 02, 2008

John Kass On The Smear Of Bristol Palin

The Chicago Tribune's John Kass puts out a great column today condemning the use of Gov. Sarah Palin's 17-year-old pregnant daughter to politically smear the McCain-Palin ticket. Kass opens:

Have American presidential politics become so hateful that a pregnant 17-year-old girl has to have the intimate details of her life exposed to the nation by character assassins? Ask the left-wing Internet haters, the anonymous propagandists who call themselves bloggers on the Daily Kos.

And ask Bristol Palin, who didn't deserve it, and was a victim of the rumor-mongers consumed with attacking her mother, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican running mate of Sen. John McCain, because the mother is a conservative and opposes abortion.

The Internet rumors claimed that Sarah's baby, Trig, born four months ago with Down syndrome, wasn't really hers but her daughter's. They plucked some photos from the Internet, photos out of sequence, to make it appear as though Gov. Palin hadn't been pregnant, proving once again that on the Internet, the casualties are credibility and civility. Reading it, you could almost hear the saliva dripping from their teeth as they typed anonymously.

Not all of them typed anonymously as Kass suggests. The Andrew Sullivans and Jen Wagners proudly put their names to their smears, but Kass hits the nail on the head in terms of his description of them. "I don't know if Komodo dragons can type, but their mouths are so full of bacteria that if they bite your leg you'll likely die," Kass writes. He reminds of us some advice he was given as a young reporter on the the children of politicians which he has always followed:

When I was just starting out as a reporter, a wise old newspaper man told me his rule: Don't ever write about their kids. Leave the kids alone, unless the child runs for office, or pulls down some fat government contract, or if the parent hauls them out as a shield before an indictment. Leave them alone, he said, because the kids don't deserve it, because they're civilians.

I took that to heart. And I know what it's like to be on the receiving end. Some of you may remember that, years ago, white political thugs under federal investigation for city affirmative-action contract fraud—who had connections to both the mob and City Hall—asked me about my children. The thugs came up to me in a restaurant and asked why they never saw my little boys playing outside my house. They let me know they were interested in my kids.

The thugs showed me their teeth, as if smiling, but their eyes weren't smiling. It was a message. It didn't work, and I wrote about it. And I'll never forget the thousands of e-mails and letters and calls that came to me from readers, many offering to stand in my driveway and watch out for my sons. My wife and I will never, ever forget your kindness.
Yes, the media double standard. It's easy to blame the hateful, "stop John McCain and the Republicans at any cost" folks for this ordeal, but we shouldn't forget where these rumors got their start. The Daily Kos. This has been Obama's go-to blog from the beginning. He even attended a little convention they held. When issues cropped up about his birth certificate, the Daily Kos obtained the first copy and posted it to deflect rumors. When document experts claimed the birth certificate was forged, a Daily Kos blogger came forward to accept responsibility. Unlike the Obama birth certificate story, however, the mainstream media refused to even check it out. With Palin's daughter, they were all over the story. The news media was set to run with stories about Palin's daughter's pregnancy whether she voluntarily acknowledged it or not.

Flashback to Vice President Al Gore. His teen-age son was booted out of the prestigious St. Albans prep school for possession of pot. Laying aside the issue of how a young man surrounded by secret service agents and living in the Vice President's residence at the Naval Observatory acquired the illegal substance, not a single mainstream media news outlet reported on it, although the news was common knowledge in D.C. circles. Years later, as his father was running for president, the younger Gore was busted for possession of pot as an adult. Unfortunately, with the mainstream media today, the rule to leave the kids alone only applies to Democrats. Republican kids are always fair game. We learned every time Jenna and Barbara Bush had a drink. And now we learn about which of Sarah Palin's daughters is pregnant.


Anonymous said...

Gary, if a major plank of your Party platform is Family Values and you lord it over others as if you're better, then watch for the stones. Especially if your plan is to force the rest of America to live by the code you so proudly proclaim (i.e. abstinence only).

That being said, I think it's sad that her mother, knowing all this dirty laundry was there, subjected the girl to the scrutiny of the public eye, especially after months of seclusion from school and society. Does she have no shame? I guess she really wants to be VP.

Crizzle said...

Pretty good article, along with some rebuttal to all of these "Palin believes abstinence only" claims I have seen flying around:


Covenant60 said...

Many people, especially on the Left as those you describe, are just plain evil. They are no better than Nazis.

They need to be called out, hauled out, and exposed to the sunlight. Including The One.

Ultimately, this will backfire on them.

This really reminds me of 1988 during the Quayle rollout. Right before the convention, Quayle stumbled badly, Dukakis was riding WAY high in the polls.

The Quayle controversy spiked public interest in the convention. GHWB answered the bell and gave the speech of his life, and came out ahead.

Here, all this Palin "news" is serving to drive up rabid interest in her speech, and the shortened GOP Convention as well.

The thing is, she is no Dan Quayle (vbg). She is MUUUUCH more polished and tough on the stump. And Obama is ahead by single digits (5-8 points), not the 17 or so Dukakis was. And John McCain can deliver a great acceptance speech. One only need to look to four years ago when he gave a GREAT speech laying out the case (in retrospect) for moving to take out Saddam.

Palin's speech tomorrow night will be great, and will be viewed by a lot more people than would have had all this "news" not come out. She is very likeable and can relate to millions of average Americans.

And you can bet that John McCain will deliver when it counts.

And Obama's single digit lead will vanish along with the dying winds of Gustav.

Anonymous said...

That being said, I think it's sad that her mother, knowing all this dirty laundry was there, subjected the girl to the scrutiny of the public eye, especially after months of seclusion from school and society. Does she have no shame?

If the girl had an abortion, you liberals would be cheering here as a poster child for what American should represent. She is choosing to give life, the essence of humanity, the continuation of humans on this planet, and to liberals, that is "dirty laundry" and "shame." Only to liberals would an aborted fetus be something held in such high regard, while a living, breathing human being be considered "dirty laundry" and "shame." Chances are, somewhere in your ancient historical past, some relative had a baby out-of-wedlock and/or at a young age. Would you consider that "shame" and "dirty laundry?"

Bart Lies said...

The only dirty laundry will be diapers after the kid is born.

No one, not even Andy Jacobs Jr, held it against Julia Carson that SHE had child(ren) out of wedlock.

Nay, she was a hero for beating the odds.

What we have here is a double-standard being applied by the Dems.

Wilson46201 said...

Although Julia Porter was born out of wedlock, she was quite legally married to Sam Carson when she had her own two children...

artfuggins said...

No one holds it against the 17 year old....it happens in lots of our families...the shame is the double standard of her mother and the fact that her mother is allowing her to be used......where are her family values that she preaches about so often???? hypocrites!!!

Anonymous said...

I believe that the girl should be left alone-- out of the press. Sadly, her mother did not and has used her to explain away the rumors instead of simply releasing her own medical records. Watch that poor girl's face the next time you see that family trotted out for the world.

I can't believe any loving mother would put her own personal political ambitions ahead of her child's well being -- just as she did when she returned to work 3 days after giving birth to her Down's afflicted son.

This has nothing to do with abortion. It has to do with common human decency and compassion for your own family. Or do politicians only really consider that when they have to resign using "family issues" as a convenient cover?

This time around, it looks like the Republican "Our Family Values Should be the Law" Party is the hypocritical crowd, while the DEM "Make your Own Responsible Choices" Party ticket has two long standing wonderful marriages.

mackenzie197 said...


Apparently you don't know the meaning of "family values." Family values includes the notion that family members are human, make mistakes and you love them nonetheless. Only in your narrowminded liberal world does "family values" mean fire and brimstone and no forgiveness for those who exhibit human failings.

artfuggins said...

mckenzie197...apparently you cant read. I said no one blames the 17 year old that it happens in lots of our families ...I hardly call that fire and brimstone.....get the Kool Aid out of your eyes and read more carefully.