What Newsweek Left Out of Its Sarah Palin Ghostwriter Profile

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In the current issue of Newsweek, there's a profile of Lynn Vincent, the career ghostwriter who worked with Sarah Palin on Going Rogue. Vincent is one of the most successful ghostwriters in the business; her other credits include Heaven Is for Real (which currently sits atop the New York Times bestseller list) and Same Kind of Different as Me (which has spent over 100 weeks on the list).

The Newsweek piece, by Samuel Jacobs, isn't the first profile of Vincent to appear--it's not even the first this month. But Jacobs's piece is probably one of the least adversarial. In 2009, when the news came out about Vincent's collaboration with Palin, there were a number of stories digging into her background.

As an April 2 profile in The San Diego Union-Tribune notedVincent's life has had its own outlandish elements: she grew up in Hawaii with an alcoholic mother. They were homeless for a while, living in a tent on the beach. Vincent eventually made it to college and then the Navy. In 1991, she had a religious awakening, and the following year she left the service to concentrate on writing. Her body of work includes many colorful subjects. She's co-written memoirs with Abby Sunderland, the teenager who tried to sail around the world last year; Todd Burpo, the father of a little boy who claims to have visited Heaven after his appendix burst; and Ron Hall and Denver Moore, a white art dealer and a black former sharecropper who forged an unlikely friendship. The Christian Science Monitor noted that Vincent's author archive at the conservative magazine World had "a strong focus on abortion, religion, and gay marriage," and that her politics "seem to align pretty well with Palin's."

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Vincent has had her fair share of controversy. In September 2009, Gawker marveled at the statements of some of Vincent's past co-authors, like Robert Stacy McCain (who has written about the "altogether natural revulsion" felt by "perfectly rational people" when they see depictions of interracial relationships), and Jerry Boykin, the lieutenant general who has repeatedly framed the War on Terror in religious terms. Media Matters published a lengthy indictment of Vincent's "record of false and inflammatory attacks on Democrats and liberals," in which they included Vincent's collaboration with McCain--the 2006 book Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party.

Not much of this makes into Jacobs's Newsweek story, which mostly serves as an introduction for readers who have never heard of Vincent. That's not to say Jacobs ought to have done a hatchet job; it's just maybe worth noting that he didn't.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.