The Crime Of Committing Journalism

Howie Kurtz's piece in the Washington Post today reprints two emails I sent McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb privately last week. Kurtz got the emails because Goldfarb sent them to him, after sending them to other reporters to goad them into doing a story on me. Kurtz published my confidential emails to Goldfarb, having been contacted by Goldfarb to write the story.

I should reiterate two critical things: I have never claimed that Trig Palin is not Sarah Palin's biological son. In fact, I have gone to enormous lengths never to say that, going silent for two days to figure it out and decided to leave it alone. Why? Because I had no proof of anything, only questions. Since then, I have raised legitimate policy questions about what is undisputed in the public record, but I have not made any statements of fact I do not know to be true. That's my job. But I also expected the McCain campaign to do their job and at some point to provide evidence or a public statement setting the record straight, which they could persumably very easily do. So I waited three weeks, watched two interviews, scanned Nexis and Google for any confirmation of actual evidence, and then privately asked Goldfarb and two other people I know and like in the McCain campaign to confirm the evidentiary truth on the record. I did not raise this issue in public. I asked a question in private. But it has now been made public by Goldfarb and Kurtz, and since they are now in the public domain, here are the two emails I sent Goldfarb and he got Kurtz to reprint:

"I'm very sorry to say, it's come to this: can you confirm on the record that Trig Palin is Sarah Palin's biological son? . . . Since this is a crazy idea, it should be easy for you or someone to let me know, the most popular one-man political blog site in the world, what the truth is."

""I asked a simple question akin to asking whether you can confirm that the sky is blue. Here's the question in case it got lost: can you confirm on the record that Trig Palin is Sarah Palin's biological son? Can I please get a response of some sort, even if it is that you will not respond?"

I got no response, so I let it drop. Like everyone else, I have been trying to get some answers to some factual questions from the McCain campaign but they refuse to provide them. But for the McCain campaign to go to these lengths, violating core confidentiality of private good-faith questions, is something that has never happened to me before in journalism. I am also amazed that a fellow journalist would publish such emails in full. But since this is now all in the open, you deserve to know what your blogger has been trying to do in private for three weeks: just get a factual answer to a factual question on the record.

They won't. They cannot take the time to confirm on the record that Trig is Sarah's biological son, but they will try to smear the person asking. What does that tell you?

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Just In