Thursday, September 15, 2011

New York Times: Joe McGinniss Book Is Nasty, Unsubstantiated, Not Lucid

UPDATE: Joel Pollak shreds McGinniss and his book. Sample:
"[McGinniss's] malevolent accusations evoke George Orwell’s observation on antisemitism: 'Obviously the charges made about Jews are not true. They cannot be true, partly because they cancel out, partly because no one people could have such a monopoly of wickedness.'

"Take McGinniss’s most infamous claim, leaked days before The Rogue appeared in stores–the accusation that Palin had sex with basketball player Glen Rice in 1987. The charge appears in the book exactly one page after McGinniss claims Palin declined to enroll at the Hilo campus of the University of Hawaii because 'the many people of color there made her nervous,' and that she later abandoned the Honolulu campus because '[t]here were people of color…even on Waikiki Beach.' McGinniss attempts to explain the abrupt transition by speculating that she might have become 'a basketball groupie who’d begun to find black men attractive.' And then, on the very next page after that, he quotes an unnamed 'friend' who claimed that Palin 'totally flipped out' about her alleged encounter with Rice: 'I fucked a black man! She was just horrified. She couldn’t believe that she’d done it,' the alleged 'friend' claims (original emphasis).

"Other contradictions recur throughout the book. McGinniss can’t decide, for example, whether Palin was a 'housewife who happened to be governor' (quoting Gary Wheeler, a state employee whose job she cut), or that Palin neglected her maternal duties such that 'the children literally would have a hard time finding enough to eat' (quoting an unnamed 'friend'). The only common theme is McGinniss’s palpable hatred for Palin."

New York Times' reviewer Janet Maslin skewers Joe McGinniss and his new book on Sarah Palin.
"Mr. McGinniss explains that he was shocked, just shocked, at the angry response his presence in Wasilla provoked. But “The Rogue” makes the Palins’ widely publicized anger understandable, even to readers who might have defended his right to set up shop in their neighborhood and soak up the local color. Although most of 'The Rogue' is dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access, Mr. McGinniss used his time in Alaska to chase caustic, unsubstantiated gossip about the Palins, often from unnamed sources like “one resident” and 'a friend.'"

And these stories need not be consistent. . . .
. . .

"Mr. McGinniss’s most quotable, inflammatory lines call Ms. Palin a clown, a nitwit, a rabid wolf and a lap dancer — and those aren’t the parts that assail her as a wife and parent.

"He even finds a species of Alaska yenta willing to remark on the condition of the Palins’ toilet, and he too (many of these gossips are men) has a place in 'The Rogue.' A journalist as seasoned as Mr. McGinniss surely knows what these details will do to his credibility regarding the book’s more serious claims."
. . .
[The Rogue] cites the investigation that became known as Troopergate, the questions about her involvement with the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act (Mr. McGinniss covered this in a 2009 Portfolio article) and her possible commitment to such extreme theological ideas as dominionism, although here too 'The Rogue' is too busy being nasty to be lucid. Mr. McGinniss suggests both that Ms. Palin is committed to stealth religious control of government, and that she is not sufficiently devout.
. . .
"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 has only one backhanded compliment for McGinniss, but the target is not the focus of the book, Sarah Palin, but her daughter Bristol:
"There is one area, and only one, in which 'The Rogue' is dead-on. Mr. McGinniss knows how publicity works. He appreciates, not to say emulates, the way members of the Palin family cash in on celebrity and contradict themselves without penalty. He also denounces the press’s willingness to let this happen. How was it possible, he asks, for Ms. Palin’s daughter Bristol to assail Levi Johnston, the father of her son, as being 'obsessed with the limelight,' then turn up herself on 'Dancing With the Stars'"?
[emphasis added]
The New York Times gives McGinniss a well-deserved Bronx cheer.

H/T Byron York


Ten Mile Island said...

I expect a report on how sales for this publication turn out. I'm sure the author is expecting to find himself atop the charts.

T. D. said...

Hopefully his sales will turn out as dismal as his reputation.

James Nicholas said...

This Joe McGinnis guy... sheesh. It's amazing how many on the left think this passes for good journalism, but a moments consideration and you have to believe his brain is absolutely pickled. The facial appearance seems familiar. A little too much time soused, I dare say.

I did have occasion to write on this clown, both when he was moving in and when he was moving out. I linked moving out because, seriously, it was time.

The incredibly thin skin this guy displays is all the more remarkable in light of the crass and offensive manner he goes about his business of making a living.

So long Joe. Let us hear no more of you.

T. D. said...


You nailed him early. Good post!