udub wrote on 01/13/2009 10:40:16 PM:
Here is the thing. At this point, the main group of people who would be targeted by the Palin's submitting further proof are the conspiracy theorists, the majority of whom are the ones flooding your newspaper's e-mails and comment sections. However, if you read in detail, as I have, the messages written on the conspiracy web sites, the level of acceptable proof for these people is well beyond birth certificates and doctor statements. The level of distrust in any officical documents, and the certainty of their beliefs, has resulted in many of them stating that NOTHING can be submitted as proof that will persuade them now. NOTHING!!!!!!
So frankly, if a story was done that had additional cooperation from the Palin's invloving a birth certificate, medical records, doctor/eyewitness statements and such, your target audience would be mostly unmoved by the results. Everything would just be claimed to be tampered with or coerced. They are in the classic conspiracy bubble.
You make an excellent point. We knew that if we did a story on this subject, and all it did was recap the existing public record, the conspiracy believers would still believe, and the conspiracy doubters would still doubt.
We may have been naive to think we could gather information definitive enough to get beyond that point, but we couldn't know for sure until we actually did the reporting.
It was with your point in mind that we asked to talk in greater detail to the governor and her doctor. You may well be correct that no level of proof would have ever satisfied the conspiracy proponents, but we thought making the attempt was journalistically appropriate.