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Going Rogue With the Facts?
WASHINGTON - November 16 - To: Interested Parties
From: Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters for America
Re: Going rogue with the facts?
Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
Tomorrow, former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's memoir Going Rogue: An American Life will hit bookshelves across the country, and conservative media figures, including commentators from Fox News, are already lining up to help Palin promote it.
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh called it "one of the most substantive policy books I've read" -- a claim at odds with statements by Fox News' Carl Cameron, who said that the book "largely steers clear of politics and policy." Greta Van Susteren devoted the opening segment of her prime-time program to Going Rogue without mentioning that her husband advised Palin during the presidential campaign. Palin is also reportedly set to make the rounds on Fox News, appearing on Van Susteren's show as well as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity. In her book, Palin returns the favor, thanking several Fox News personalities by name as "bold and patriotic, fair and balanced media folks" who "mak[e] the idiots' heads spin."
While the book is generating excitement and buzz within the conservative echo chamber, it is riddled with factual inaccuracies. The book is also co-authored by an extreme conservative figure who has a troubling history of launching vicious attacks against the gay community and a checkered literary past marred by shoddy scholarship, falsehoods, and over-the-top invective aimed at Democrats. Media Matters for America has been examining a copy of the book obtained in advance of its release as part of its new "Right-Wing Book Watch" project with the Progressive Book Club and found that it contains a number of falsehoods:
Palin's co-author, World magazine features editor Lynn Vincent, has a record of stridently attacking the gay community, likening gay people to communists, and suggesting that homosexuality is a mental disorder. Examples include:
- Gay activists seeking to make "deviance" appear "normal." [World, April 25, 2009]
- American Psychiatric Association should still call homosexuality a disorder. [World, June 15, 2002]
- Gay people are like communists, seek "sexual gratification without responsibility," wear dog collars. [World, April 10, 1999]
- Abortion as "Black Genocide" [World, January 17, 2009]
Media Matters also examined Vincent's previous book Donkey Cons: Sex, Crime, and Corruption in the Democratic Party which she co-authored with Robert Stacy McCain, and found that the book is marked by shoddy scholarship, falsehoods, and over-the-top invective aimed at Democrats. Examples include:
- No Republican "culture of corruption." In Chapter 1, Vincent and McCain dismiss out of hand the idea of a Republican "culture of corruption" and openly mocks the idea that Democrats would be able to retake control of Congress in 2006 by campaigning against Republican corruption.
- FDR a "puppet" of Stalin. On Page 100, Vincent and McCain wrote:
If anything was red and scary, it was the scab of treachery that [Whittaker] Chambers peeled back to reveal a Democratic administration teeming with a Communist infection, and despite repeated warnings, doing nothing. One member of the HUAC [House Un-American Activities Committee], a Republican congressman from California named Richard Nixon, believed Chambers. His dogged pursuit of the truth ultimately revealed the extent to which Joseph Stalin was pulling Roosevelt's strings like those of a hapless puppet.
- Iraq's really real WMD programs. Vincent and McCain repeatedly assert that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had a "WMD program" that he was hiding from weapons inspectors prior to the 2003 invasion by American-led forces. On Page 105, they rebuffed the allegation that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
- Democrats "perilously close" to committing "treason." Vincent and McCain wrote on Page 107:
Democrats want to have it both ways: they want to whine that they were gullible dupes apparently incapable of their own competent intelligence analysis and they want to be put in charge of the country and the national defense. For the basest of reasons -- to win a majority power in 2006 -- congressional Democrats at this writing are misleading the American people, lying to them in time of war, sowing doubt among American forces, twisting daggers in the hearts of parents who have lost children, and shilling for the enemy. Constitutionally, that may not be treason. But it appears perilously close.
- Clinton intentionally started Lewinsky scandal. On Page 199, Vincent and McCain wrote that there is "merit" to the allegation that the Clinton White House used the Monica Lewinsky scandal to intentionally distract from the so-called "Chinagate" campaign finance investigation.
As Palin travels the conservative talk show circuit this week, Media Matters will continue to debunk the former governor's false assertions. For more information on Palin's memoir, please see: