The Washington Post yesterday asked the McCain campaign on the record whether Trig Palin is Sarah Palin's biological son. Howard Kurtz, one of the most prominent media journalists in the world, asked that question.
By answering the Kurtz question on the record, McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb is indeed saying that this is a legitimate factual question, as it is. Here is the answer, the first on-the-record confirmation of Sarah Palin being the biological mother of Trig, courtesy of the Washington Post:
"These rumors are false. It is her baby. The whole thing is absurd. All of this rests on the fact that she wore her pregnancy extremely well. A couple of months later, there are a ton of pictures showing she is obviously pregnant. It's ridiculous. There's just nothing to it. We're not going to release her gynecological records to prove it. It's just madness."
I am delighted to publish this statement from the McCain campaign. I have always been delighted to publish factual statements by any campaign. I have been waiting to publish such a clear confirmation for almost a month. The only trouble with this statement from the McCain campaign is that it is untrue in one respect.
In fact, Kurtz had to add an update to correct the quote he did not fact-check before publishing:
Update: In the interest of being precise, it is not true that there are "a ton" of pictures of a pregnant-looking Sarah Palin out there from earlier this year. I can recall seeing only two, and a Google search didn't turn up any others. So I went back to Michael Goldfarb and asked whether he had an estimate of the number of such photos. "I've seen a couple of pictures of her looking extremely pregnant," he said. "I don't remember how many I saw." Could he guide me to what the campaign had? "We never took this seriously enough to assemble it," Goldfarb said.
So the McCain campaign called two photographs a "ton" and Kurtz printed their untruth without even checking Google. That tells you a lot about the ethics of Michael Goldfarb and a lot about the journalism of Howard Kurtz. Kurtz is happy to publish statements from the McCain campaign without even checking their veracity in Google.
My goal is now and has always been simply getting at the truth about public officials, so far as I can. It is worth noting, however, how Goldfarb first answered this question - posed by Tim Cavanaugh of Reason magazine - a few weeks' back:
In an unguarded moment last night, McCain Report blogger Michael Goldfarb replied to my question of whether there's any truth to the rumor that Sarah Palin's Down Syndrome child is actually her daughter's with the following less-than-confidence-inspiring comment: "Well, I don't... think so."
My view is that every candidate for president and vice-president should put their entire tax records and medical records on the table. I've been haranguing Biden about this for weeks. It's not great to be a public person, but at the same time, it's not compulsory and you have a choice. When individuals decide to run for office, they agree, as Palin has herself said, that "your life is an open book." There are legitimate questions about her pregnancy and labor that she should be eager to dispel with facts and evidence. At least, they are legitimate enough to warrant an exchange about them in the Washington Post.
So: open the books. Let the sunlight in. Let us see what is in front of us. No exceptions. Both parties. All four candidates who could be president in the next four years. Why not?
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