Meanwhile, [Joe] McGinniss' son shared with Politico's Ben Smith an email
in which he wrote that "no one is stalking anyone."
Joe McGinniss, Jr. wrote to a Palin supporter that "a woman was renting her
house and sought out the author because the Palins had crossed her (owed her
money for renovations she had done at their request and never paid her for). So
she knew McGinniss was writing the book and found him and offered him the
McGinniss, Jr. added that his father is "not stalking or peeping or peering or
meddling. He's simply fulfilling his obligations to his publisher and his
readers and himself -- to get as close to the subject of his book as possible."
As Smith notes, Palin claims that her family unsuccessfully tried to rent the
first out of concern about "something like this happening."
Palin has repeatedly maligned McGinniss, calling him an "odd character" on Glenn
Beck's radio show and complaining on Facebook of the "bizarre anti-Palin
administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural
Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow
journalism they'd ever encountered."
McGinniss is the largely-respected
if sometimes controversial author of "The
Selling of the President" and other books; the primary piece that so upset Palin
is here. According to Washington Post blogger David Weigel, "no one has ever
challenged the facts" in McGinniss' pieces on Palin.
The working title of
McGinniss' new book is reportedly "Sarah Palin's Year of Living Dangerously."
In a piece discussing McGinniss' move to the house, Slate's Jack Shafer wrote
that he "admire[s] his determination to get the story and have no problems,
ethically or morally, with him getting as close to his subject as possible--even
if his technique seems a little stalkerish."
Compared with the journalistic investigation that I assume McGinniss has
commenced of his subject, sharing a property line with her is trivial.
I'll bet that McGinniss or a research assistant is combing the complete Palin
paper trail of court filings, property records, tax assessments, and official
documentation of her governorship and mayoralty, including e-mails. High on the
stack will be the Palins' 1040 and other financial documents she disclosed as a
vice-presidential candidate. He'll run Palin's name through every database he
can find. And if there is a legal way to obtain Palin's telephone records,
school records, and even her medical records, McGinniss will get them.
It's called legwork, it's called immersion journalism, and it doesn't look
pretty. But it should come as a surprise to only naive newspaper readers that
every day journalists treat the subjects of investigations the way McGinniss is