... With the same imprecise aim he cites conspiracy theories that Ms. Palin may not be the mother of her youngest son, Trig, and questions the circumstances under which he was born. Mr. McGinniss puts forth a provocative case for doubting Ms. Palin’s account of Trig’s birth, which involved a round trip between Alaska and Texas while she was supposedly in labor. But then he comes to an indefensibly reckless conclusion: “It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character possible that many Wasillans who’d known Sarah from high school onward told me 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.” ... (emphasis added)Maslin's "indefensibly reckless conclusion" may be that "it was something she [Palin] was eminently capable of doing," and, so, some think, can be considered to be evidence that Palin faked a pregnancy. But that appears to be the conclusion of "many Wasillans." Does McGinniss agree? He wrote, "It is perhaps the most blistering assessment of her character ... ." The conclusion that Palin faked a pregnancy because she's capable of doing so can be called indefensible and reckless, because almost everyone is capable of doing much worse than faking a pregnancy. For example, everyone (able-bodied) has the capacity to kill. An argument that someone murdered someone else because he or she was capable of it is nonsense, not to mention indefensible and reckless. What about something less than faking a pregnancy? Lying? Wouldn't it be foolish to accuse someone of lying because he or she is capable of lying? It wouldn't just be foolish, but indefensible and reckless. But has McGinniss been "indefensible and reckless" here? Read carefully.
At this point, without reading the book, we don't know whether McGinniss believes that babygate writings are conspiracy theories. But in a Washington Post review of the book, Nick Gillespie writes:
... He leaves no ambiguity, though, about the import of what he calls “the unanswered question” of Trig, Palin’s son with Down syndrome, who was born in 2008. Untroubled by a lack of actual evidence, a small but unbowed band of Palin critics has long wondered aloud whether she is the boy’s biological mother. Like all conspiracists, they insist that they are only asking questions that could be readily answered by nothing more out of the ordinary than a full data dump of Palin’s obstetrical records. McGinniss approvingly quotes blogger Andrew Sullivan, who has insisted that “if Palin has lied about [giving birth to Trig], it’s the most staggering, appalling deception in the history of American politics.”Apparently, Gillespie is quoting McGinniss' book. If so, Joe McGinniss believes that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig: There are quote marks around the sentence containing, "I did not, and I don't." Read carefully. We still don't know whether McGinnis calls babygate a conspiracy theory; Gillespie essentially has. Considering that he believes that Palin gave birth to Trig, does it matter whether McGinniss calls babygate a conspiracy theory?
What exactly McGinniss thinks is “unanswered” about Trig’s birth is unclear, since he [McGinniss] avers that, unlike Sullivan and other gynecological obsessives, he absolutely believes Palin is Trig’s mother: “It seemed outlandish, even indecent, to suppose that Trig might not be Sarah’s child. I did not, and I don’t.” And then he proceeds to devote more than a dozen pages to rehashing every conceivable theory — and some inconceivable ones — that she faked the birth. ... (emphasis added)
What Gillespie has missed, apparently, is that McGinniss is simply describing the "conspiracy theories." Apparently, McGinnis is leaving it up to the reader to decide whether babygate writings are true, false or irrelevant. Apparently, McGinniss is simply describing what's out there. Apparently, Gillespie is complaining that McGinniss included things in the book that he (McGinniss) doesn't believe. Someone else might complain if McGinniss omitted something he doesn't believe.
Of course, we'll have to read the book to form our own opinions and know what McGinnis believes, where what he believes matters, being careful to distinguish McGinniss' statements from those of others. We should do the same while reading a review: distinguish between what McGinniss writes and what the reviewer writes. Read carefully. Watch for the quote marks and the use of the subjunctive mood.