Sarah Palin Book Publisher, Author Under Fire After Personal E-mails Leak
As a book critical of the former vp candidate struggles to find an audience, lawyers circle, Andrew Breitbart is accused of hacking, and Joe McGinnis complains of canceled TV interviews.
Conservative agitator Andrew Breitbart, who famously took down Rep. Anthony Weiner over a sexting scandal, has his sights set on Joe McGinnis, author of the just-released anti-Sarah Palin biography The Rogue, and his effort to discredit the tome is gaining traction.
McGinnis, in fact, has complained of canceled television interviews, a reaction to an e-mail that Breitbart posted to one of his Internet sites last week where McGinnis seemingly acknowledges he has no credible evidence for some explosive claims the book makes against Palin.
The e-mail was from McGinnis to Jesse Griffin, author of “an obscure, low-rent, and now-defunct anti-Palin blog,” as Breitbart puts it. Griffin was a source for McGinnis, though the panicked e-mail indicates that McGinnis had significant doubts as to the authenticity of accusations he was about to make in his book, which, at the time, was being fact-checked by Crown Publishing, the unit of Random House responsible for publishing The Rogue.
“Legal review of my manuscript is underway and here’s my problem: no one has ever offered documentation of any of the lurid stories about the Palins,” McGinnis begins in his e-mail to Griffin dated Jan. 27.
McGinnis specifically asks for proof of such claims as: Todd Palin had sex with a hooker; Sarah Palin had an affair; Track Palin was a druggie who enlisted in the army to avoid arrest; Trig Palin is not Sarah’s natural-born child; and Bristol Palin was pregnant while filming Dancing With the Stars but had the fetus aborted.
McGinnis says in his e-mail to Griffin: “You write frequently that you know things you can’t yet post, but that soon ‘all will be revealed.’ This has been going on since I first became aware of your blog, but as far as I know you haven’t substantiated a single claim or provided verification for a single rumor that you’ve posted about Sarah’s personal life, or the personal lives of any Palin family members.”
McGinnis has since said that his reporting continued beyond the date of that e-mail, and that he didn’t publish “allegations that could not be sufficiently verified.”
Nevertheless, allegations have circled that McGinniss’s book amounts to what some are calling a “literary hoax,” though Random House has issued a statement saying that it stands by the “solid, reliable and well-established” assertions in the book.
On Monday, though, attorneys representing Palin wrote a letter to Crown, calling the book “malicious” and notifying them that “it is unlawful to delete emails or destroy records upon being notified of the need of business records for litigation purposes.”
The Crown letter also states: “It is malicious for your company to publish a book wherein it, and the author, admit that they were fully aware the statements in the book were false, intended to be false, and were intended to harm.”
Meanwhile, Griffin, in a recent blog posting has accused Breitbart of hacking his e-mail, and McGinnis has complained to a left-leaning blog that Joe Scarborough of MSNBC and Keith Olbermann of Current TV, as well as others, have canceled scheduled appearances or have declined to book him because “they saw which way the wind was blowing."
So far the book, subtitled Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, is viewed as a commercial disappointment, having debuted in the 50s at both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.