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Gov. Palin's press office: 'There they go again?'

The governor’s office issued a press release this afternoon with the title:

Governor Palin Says to Media, "There You Go Again"

You can read the full press release on the Alaska Politics blog, but this was the paragraph that jumped out at me:

Meanwhile, bloggers, the Atlantic magazine and even the Anchorage Daily News continue to give credence to the sensational allegation that the governor's child, Trig, is not hers.

The comment about the Daily News struck me as curious, at the least. Here’s why:

On Dec. 31, eight days ago, I received an email from Gov. Palin asking several questions about news coverage in the Daily News. I took her inquiry seriously and by the end of the day had prepared a long email addressing each of her questions in detail.

This was her final question:

And is your paper really still pursuing the sensational lie that I am not Trig's mother? Is it true you have a reporter still bothering my state office, my very busy doctor (who's already set the record straight for you), and the school district, in pursuit of your ridiculous conspiracy?”

This was my reply:

Yes, it's true.

You may have been too busy with the campaign to notice, but the Daily News has, from the beginning, dismissed the conspiracy theories about Trig's birth as nonsense. I don't believe we have ever published in the newspaper a story, a letter, a column or anything alleging a coverup surrounding your maternity.

In fact, my integrity and the integrity of the newspaper have been repeatedly attacked in national forums for our complicity in the "coverup." I have personally received more than 100 emails accusing me and the paper of conspiring to hide the truth (about Trig’s birth.)

(I should acknowledge, however, that many people who commented on have alleged a coverup. Many of those were deleted as soon as we saw them, but many were not.)

I want to be very clear on this: I have from the beginning and do now consider the conspiracy theories about Trig's birth to be nutty nonsense.

If that's true, why has Lisa Demer been asking questions about Trig's birth?

Because we have been amazed by the widespread and enduring quality of these rumors. I finally decided, after watching this go on unabated for months, to let a reporter try to do a story about the "conspiracy theory that would not die" and, possibly, report the facts of Trig's birth thoroughly enough to kill the nonsense once and for all.

Lisa Demer started reporting. She received very little cooperation in her efforts from the parties who, in my judgment, stood to benefit most from the story, namely you and your family. Even so, we reported the matter as thoroughly as we could. Several weeks ago, when we considered the information Lisa had gathered, we decided we didn't have enough of a story to accomplish what we had hoped. Lisa moved on to other topics and we haven't decided whether the idea is worth any further effort.

Even the birth of your grandson may not dissuade the Trig conspiracy theorists from their beliefs. It strikes me that if there is never a clear, contemporaneous public record of what transpired with Trig's birth, that may actually ensure that the conspiracy theory never dies. Time will tell.

According to the “return receipt” feature of my email, my reply was opened shortly after I sent it on New Year’s Eve. Other than that, I have received no response or acknowledgement of that email.

I think I was clear that we were not asking about Trig’s birth in an effort to validate the conspiracy. Instead we were focused on the persistence of the conspiracy allegations. In the end, we didn't think the story was worth the effort required to develop it.

So I don’t understand the behavior of the governor’s press office. Did the governor not share my email with the press staff? Did the press staff deliberately ignore what I said in order to have a longer list of press “outrages”? Or are they just sloppy with details? I don’t know.

The governor's press release ended with this:

As a public official, I expect criticism and I expect to be held accountable for how I govern . . . often the refusal of the media to correct obvious mistakes, unfortunately discredits too many in journalism today, making it difficult for many Americans to believe what they see in the media.

Will the governor's press office correct its misrepresentation of the Daily News?

Time will tell.

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