Monday, September 26, 2011

Sarah's going to sue? Have Sarah Palin and her attorney read Joe McGinniss' book? If so, do they really know how to read? -- UPDATED

ABC News is running a story, "Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher." They have obtained a copy of the letter sent from Sarah Palin's attorneys to Joe McGinniss' publisher, Crown Publishing. Here is the first paragraph of that letter:

(Click image to enlarge it)

Interestingly, the second sentence states, 'This book contains a series of lies and rumors presented as fact and combined with "anonymous" sources.' I've read Chapter 19 and Chapters 1 through 5. I don't recall anything that Sarah Palin might consider to be libelous being presented as fact. Nothing! The Rice/Palin story wasn't reported as fact; neither was "babygate," in Chapter 19. What is Sarah Palin complaining about?

If nothing untrue in the book is reported as fact, then by proceeding with the suit all Sarah Palin may prove is either 1) She hasn't read the book or 2) She doesn't comprehend what she reads. Writers use quotation marks for a reason and, like Joe McGinniss, they set-off long passages of quoted material and introduce it with something like "so-and-so said" or "so-and-so wrote."

Here is an example from the book, page 49:
THERE HAS BEEN much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. "It was essentially a shot-gun-type wedding," a friend of Todd's confirms.
If Sarah Palin is complaining about that, she may have a complaint with "a friend of Todd," not the book's author. The author hasn't presented that as fact. If the author had written
THERE HAS BEEN much speculation that Sarah was pregnant with Track when she and Todd married in 1988. It is true.
Sarah Palin might complain that the book's author had presented that as fact.

As for the issue of "anonymous" sources, here is the publisher's statement, taken from a Slate story about the claims Andrew Breitbart made when he published an e-mail written by Joe McGinniss:
Joe McGinniss’s book The Rogue is based on the author’s extensive on-the-ground reporting in Alaska, as well as in-depth interviews he conducted with approximately 200 people who have known Governor Palin at different stages of her life and career. After a thorough and careful examination of the book, including probing discussions with the author about his sources, we are confident that the reporting it contains is solid, reliable, and well-substantiated.
We'll have to see, but this may be nothing more than a publicity stunt, a poorly advised one. If anything, it may increase interest in Joe McGinniss' book.

The ABC News story is "Sarah Palin Threatens to Sue ‘Rogue’ Book Publisher," which has a link to the complete letter from Palin's attorney to Crown. It also has a link to the e-mail that Andrew Breitbart published and has been trying to peddle as proof that Joe McGinniss has no credibility. It actually supports quite the opposite conclusion. Read carefully. Does Breitbart read for comprehension?

Recently, Greta Van Susteren got into an on-air fight with Tucker Carlson over a story that his Daily Caller published about Mike Tyson's statement about the Rice/Palin story. Tucker Carlson had to school Greta Van Susteren on the use of quotation marks. Could he be of assistance to Sarah Palin and her attorneys? If you missed it, my post about the Van Susteren/Carlson fight is "Tucker Carlson has to teach Greta Van Susteren about quotation marks.

Update: I've added an example to illustrate what does not constitute "presentation as fact," and I've corrected my quote of the letter's second sentence. Palingates has an interesting post, "Sarah Palin wants to know who said what."

Update: CNN's Peter Hanby has written "TRENDING: Palin threatens lawsuit over book."

Update: The Anchorage Daily News has an AP story, "Publisher stands behind book after Palin lawsuit threat." The ball is in Sarah's court. Will she sue?


Joie Vouet said...

Gryphen has a post about this, Sarah Palin threatens to sue Random House for publishing 'The Rogue'.

In the comments, a couple of people are thinking that this is a two-fer: 1) an excuse for Palin not to run and 2) a reason to suck more money out of her fans. Perfect!

If she sues, how can she run -- even be President -- if she's embroiled in a lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Sarah is doing this because she's been reading the blogs. People who have read the book are saying that "Sarah isn't suing, so it must be all true." Now, we know it's all true, but Sarah has to put up a fight. Notice that she has made no statement about the book's contents. That is unusual for her..she's normally all over Facebook whining about how unfair everyone is to her. Now she's using her PAC money to hire a law firm in a pitiful attempt to make herself look innocent. I wish them luck.

Joie Vouet said...

Well! It would be interesting to know how Brietbart got the e-mail, but we shouldn't start guessing. It may be a trial issue and if there is an answer to the question it should be settled there.

I mention this because there _was_ a comment that invited speculation about how Breitbart got the e-mail.

Anonymous said...

It is the actual pursuit of a suit that is the critical consideration. If you threaten a suit, you might make headlines, and people immediately question the truth of the assertions in McGinniss’ book, without proving that they are in fact not true. By Palin having her attorney make this threat, it is not even Sarah or Todd Palin going on record to say that anything in McGinniss’ book is untrue. If a lawsuit was actually being contemplated, an astute attorney would never THREATEN suit. Instead he would gather as much evidence as possible, and then simply FILE suit. Especially in the case of a slander or libel suit, where proving the truth of the matter in question is the critical consideration, gathering evidence first would be critical.
In the case at hand consider the type of evidence that would be relevant if Sarah Palin should actually file a suit alleging that the information reported was untrue. The attorneys for Joe McGinniss would be entitled to take the following depositions (where the witness would be sworn to tell the truth, under penalty of perjury):
1. Glen Rice: He would be required to answer detailed questions about the sexual experience he had with Sarah Palin. While most of us would NOT want to know the details, certainly Sarah Palin would not want disclosure by Glen of how he rated this experience and just how accomplished Palin was in the sack.
2. All people in the Wasilla community that might have ever seen Sarah and/or Todd snorting cocaine.


Anonymous said...

People who threaten lawsuits are usually of low character. I personally do not associate with these characters. You never know if you will end up on their hit list. They are bullies and worship the dollar more than humanity, imo.