Vanity Fair to Sarah Palin: Oops, Mea Culpa!

For many, Sarah Palin is hypocrisy personified, and the October issue of Vanity Fair took that a step further when reporter Michael Joseph Gross called her out on many of her lies and, most egregiously, on pretending to be a good mom.

Gross accuses Palin of "make[ing] a public display of maternal affection."

The only problem is? He mistook Samuel, the young son of St. Louis conservative activist Gina Loudon, who also has Down syndrome, for Trig -- Palin's actual son.

I am a journalist and I know how easy mistakes are to make.

Little mistakes -- name spellings, dates, times -- are easily made (and remedied), but mistaking a whole person for another one? Not so much.


It's an eight-page article so full of disdain for Palin, it was hard to read it any other way. Gross takes her to task for her marriage, her mothering skills, for stealing things, and for hypocrisy in her beliefs.

I'm no fan of Sarah Palin, but if you're going to take someone to task for making a mockery of caring parenting, you better be sure the child she's cradling is actually hers.

Worse yet, Gross might as well have said that all Down syndrome children look alike, which greatly weakens his "Palin is the bad human being" argument and strengthens her responses to the piece. On Friday, she tweeted a response in which she called the article "yellow journalism."

After all, he was clearly predisposed to a certain judgment. If he weren't, how could you explain the mistake?

According to Loudon:

"Samuel looks very much like Trig -- so I always have to explain this to the press," Loudon said. Loudon said she attempted to explain to the Vanity Fair writer that the baby in the carriage was not Trig, but it evidently did not stick. "I told him that. And he ignored it," Loudon said. "It's not even like he didn't fact check -- he just ignored facts."

It's a big mistake. A really big one. And it calls into question the validity of everything else Gross says in the piece, which is a real shame because it's likely that the truth is in there. Now it's hard to know what to believe.

In reading the piece, it's curious how an entire profile can be written without an interview with the subject, but now it seems clear: by making up relevant facts and believing what the writer wants to believe. Great.

There is just no excuse for a mistake of this caliber in such a visible publication.

What do you think?


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