The Race to Read Sarah Palin's Email: A Live Blog

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This afternoon 24,199 printed pages of Sarah Palin's emails during her time as governor of Alaska are being released. The product of a Freedom of Information Act request, the documents will be released to media organizations at 9 a.m. Juneau time. They will then rush to get them scanned and uploaded to the web. They've asked everyone for help going through them, and we'll be keeping track of what the media and the wider world find. See something interesting? Send it to me.
6:38 p.m. That's it for us tonight. What did we learn? There were no immediately obvious bombshells in the Palin files, as fleshing out the story lines like Troopergate, the gas pipeline, or her nomination to the Republican ticket will probably take a bit more time than insta-analysis allows. But there were lessons, nonetheless. For anyone catching up on what was found so far, here's some highlights of the live blog:
  • Palin has not always hated the press.
  • But she has always been annoyed by wealthy elite outsiders.
  • It takes a lot of work to install a tanning bed in the governor's mansion.
  • Palin once thought Barack Obama gave a "pretty cool" speech.
  • The Palins met what appears to be an Elvis impersonator.
  • Palin is a true working mom--she notes she did official state business the day she gave birth to her son.
  • The press has very mixed feelings about the latest Palin frenzy.
5:23 p.m. People (moms?) say the couples going through the most bitter divorces are the ones that loved each other most intensely when times were good. All that emotion has to come from somewhere! Palin, proud hater of the lamestream media, once encouraged staffers to talk to the press, The New York Times' Michael D. Shear reports. On January 28, 2007, she disputed a report from the Anchorage Daily News that she'd put a "ban" on staffers talking to reporters. "I have NEVER banned any of our team members from voicing opinions on anything," she wrote. "In fact, I've stated that the more information and communication efforts put forth on behalf of your departments and divisions, the better. I've asked that you all share your opinions, speak freely to press, public, legislators, one another, etc."
5:21 p.m. Adam Weinstein, of Mother Jones, might be the first casualty of the Great Palin Document Dump of 2011. He tweets, "Sarah Palin gave me a papercut. #PalinEmail #sacrifices." Yet he soldiers on.
4:58 p.m. A working mom indeed: Palin emailed a government official to make sure the day her son Trig was born counted as a work day, The Washington Post's Sandhya Somashekhar reports. "How is it reflected in my TAS the couple of days I was 'off duty' when I had Trig?" Palin emailed. April 18, the day he was born, I signed a bill into law and conducted a few State actions (and that should be recorded for the record)."
4:48 p.m.Philip Bump sends along the reversed (as in, normal looking) version of the photo we posted earlier featuring the Palins with an Elvis-type person. Update: Bump responds: "Not sure I'd describe it as 'normal looking.'"
4:14 p.m. The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner reports that the emails reveal Palin was annoyed when her home computer was searched as investigators dug up evidence in her "Troopergate" scandal. Palin didn't know the search was coming, and emailed her staff, "I understand that someone recently went to my Gov's House bedroom and to one of the House offices to get emails from computers--who, when, etc conducted this search of my bedroom's computer and the other house computer?" She said she needed a heads up "so that I don’t falsely assume my kids have moved my possessions around, and for other obvious reasons." Weiner reports that when informed that the Alaska department of law had requested her hard drive be copied, Palin responded, "It's unacceptable that whomever is in charge of this 'investigation' did not inform me or grant my approval before proceeding. I'm dumbfounded by the way this is developing."
4:01 p.m. Many emails in the Palin trove come from her constituents. This rather adorable one, sent along by reader Clare C., is from August 11, 2008 and written by a very young fan. She writes:
Your awesome Palin when I grow up I want to be the first girl president for the USA. It was a great honor to meet you at Fred Meyers, My old hamster died of well I think it died of eating too much paint off the bars on its cage so I got a new hamster named Captain Cheese she is a very fat hamster it has blond, brown and black fur and black eyes. ... Thank you for the taking a picture with me. It is an honor to have you as our Governor.
3:44 p.m. The New York Times' Michael D. Shear notes that on August 4, 2008, Palin praised a speech given by President Obama as "great" and noted he "stole" some Alaskan ideas. "He did say 'yay' to our gasline. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate," Palin wrote.

3:40 p.m. Gawker's John Cook points to this July 26, 2008 email, in which it looks like Palin ghostwrote a letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News.
3:35 p.m. Rep. Don Young wanted to speak with Palin September 16, 2008. She preferred not to, writing, "Pls find out what it's about. I don't want to get chewed out by him again, I'm not up for that."
3:13 p.m. Oh no, an anti-Palin-email-frenzy backlash is gaining momentum on Twitter. Among the hand-wringers:
  • Greg Sargent tweets, "Sincere question. Sarah Palin is not a candidate, not an elected official, not a party official. Why do we care about her emails again?"
  • FireDogLake's Emptywheel sighs, "How did we get a press corps that thinks a half-term quitter's emails aremore important than the root causes of the dying economy?"
  • Chris Lehmann notes, "One does sit back at moments like this and wonder why the press hasn't gone all-in this way on Goldman Sachs emails"
  • Dave Weigel observes, "LA Times rather quicker to release Palin e-mails than they were to release video of Obama and Rashid Khalidi, eh?"
Killjoys, all of them!
3:03 p.m. Maybe Palin--attacked in 2008 for being pro-helicopter wolf hunting--loves animals after all! On January 2, 2007, she told an aide that she would not support opening up a wildlife sanctuary for bear hunting. The reason, though, is classic Palin: Wimpy elites are after those bears! Palin--referring to people from the Lower 48 as from "Outside"--writes:

I am a hunter. I grew up hunting - some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel our freezer... I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife...

BUT - he's asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don't... I don't know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area. Many Alaskan and Outside visitors view these animals on the McNeil river, within the sanctuary, and, as my parents have reported back after their viewing trip, it's a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see such beauty on that river.

Alaska is a huge state. There are many, many areas that should be supported for access to wildlife resources... who's pushing for the hunt at McNeil?

(I don't know who's pushing the issue unless it's a few guides who take Outside hunters who pay thousands and thousands of dollars to hunt near the area because it may be an easy hunt.)

[Emphasis added.]
2:48 p.m. New York's Dan Amira notes this unusual find, a photo of what appears to be Palin, husband Todd, and an Elvis lookalike.
2:45 p.m. Mother Jones' Adam Weinstein tweets this photo of his magazine's "Juneau bureau":
2:40 p.m. On January 28, 2008, Erika Pagerstrom, executive residence manager for the governor's mansion, emailed Palin two detailed plans to have a tanning bed installed. Palin paid for the tanning bed with her own money, nevertheless, it was an unusual accessory for a governor's mansion.
2:14 p.m. Janice Mason, Palin's scheduler while she was governor, emailed Palin on August 29, 2008: "Governor -
Congratulations to you and your family! We love you. I just received a call from VP Dick Cheney. He called directly from his home and asked that you give him a call. Here is his direct number." The number is redacted. No prank calls, folks!
1:58 p.m. Todd Palin goes pro.
1:55 p.m. As she's figuring out McCain campaign logistics, on September 1, 2008, Palin aide Meghan Stapleton, using a Hotmail account, reminds Palin, "don't forget: let's use your personal email for all this."

1:45 p.m. The first box of emails have been scanned into the Palin email project site of MSNBC, Mother Jones, and ProPublica. Because your humble aggregator is, like so many reporters, a bit self-obsessed, she was hoping to immediately find a Palin email about the press. Thus, with Palin's relationship with the media in mind, the first search term entered was "stupid." It yielded two results. Unfortunately the best one had already been released. Referring to the then-speaker of the Alaska House's criticism of her push for ethics reform, Palin wrote, "I think that's the most stupid comment I've heard all year."

A search for "dumb" was similarly disappointing, as it pulled up an email from a fan wishing Palin a happy birthday. The emailer suggests Palin name her child after him: "If it is a boy, feel free to consider Timo. You did tell me once what a great name it was ... and you weren't running for anything at the time. Insert Big Dumb Grin here."

1:32 p.m. Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard tweets "So the 24,000 pages of #palinemail are printed double-sided. I guess I should be glad they saved some trees."
1:26 p.m. Mother Jones' David Corn reports the email trove contains a "189-page roster of listing material withheld." Among the missing is a message "to Sarah Palin re meeting with VP Cheney staffer about gas pipeline and Endangered Species Act 3/8/07."
1:24 p.m. The Daily Beast's Shushannah Walshe plucks this gem out of her email set. It's a lovely poem sent to Palin and others:
1:17 p.m. Ed Pilkington pulls out a few emails at random:
  • "Click has recommended the appointment of redacted to fill a vacancy on the safet council."
  • "what the hell has happened to the leadership positions of our great states?"
  • "its killing to realize how misinformed leggies, reporters and others are on this issue." Pilkington says this is a reference to Troopergate.
. The Guardian's Ed Pilkington caressing his treasure in the car ride home, just like a boy with his new Christmas puppy.
1:07 p.m. Emails handed out on time!
12:56 p.m. Elevator traffic jam to get the boxes out of the building:
12:52 p.m. Mother Jones' Adam Weinstein tweets this photo, announcing, "We have our boxes."
12:45 p.m. The Guardian's "Human Scanning Sensation" Simon Jeffrey has left his hotel and is now "near the boxes"! Colleague Ian Katz promises  he'll spend Friday "holed up in his room at t Frontier Suites, Juneau drinking Red Bull and scanning Palin mails all nght." The excitement feels like Christmas mixed with Trick or Treat mixed with studying for midterms.
12:42 p.m. The Washington Post's Rachel Weiner posts this photo of the boxes:
12:37 p.m. Everybody calm down, please! National Review's Jason Richwine writes, "Before the full media circus begins, here’s a proposed rule to guide the discussion: anyone who wants to criticize the content of the Palin e-mails must first make all of his or her own e-mails available for others to read. Sound fair?" He says reporters should remember that these messages were written for the understanding of a few staffers, not the whole country.
12:24 p.m. The anticipation is building! Michael Falcone of ABC News tweeted the photo above: "Here they are: the #Palin emails waiting to be opened."

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