Ten Things I Learned from The Rogue

Those who have been paying attention to the Sarah Palin story will likely know about Joe McGinniss, the author who moved in next door. They will remember the media circus, the back-and-forth, the Facebook battles. They will remember the accusations of stalking and the counter-accusations of harassment. What they might not know, however, is that McGinniss — who likes to portray himself as a knight of truth — has an established history of what William F. Buckley Jr. called “elaborate deception.” The book that came out of the saga, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, seems to fit squarely in line with that record of dissimulation.

The ubiquity of claims backed up only by “a friend says” will render it obvious to most readers that the material is almost entirely the product of hearsay and idle gossip. But for those less attuned to the nuances of fact and fiction, McGinniss has written a useful introduction of sorts: In an e-mail to anti-Palin blogger Jesse Griffin, the author points out that from nobody has he “seen a credible, identified source backing any of the salacious stories about the Palin family.” This is an understandable source of frustration, as “nothing [he] can cite other than [his] own reporting rises above the level of tawdry gossip . . . the proof is always just around the corner, but that’s a corner nobody has been able to turn.

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