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Posts Tagged ‘Michael Joseph Gross’

Susannah Fleetwood On Why the Left is Fleeing Vanity Fair Hit Piece

Posted by Adrienne Ross on September 8, 2010

By Adrienne Ross –

News Real Blog’s Susannah Fleetwood drops the dime on why she thinks even the Left is avoiding the Vanity Fair hit piece on Governor Palin.

She writes:

So, why the mad dash away from this column by the leftist elites? It’s bashing Sarah Palin, so one would think that they would love it. Well, without much ado and mincing any words, I can tell you the four major reasons why so-called liberals can’t seem to distance themselves from this column fast enough.

The points include such things as Mr. Gross’ poor writing, use of anonymous sources, blatant sexism, and verifiable inaccuracies. Add to this his strange obsession with Governor Palin’s underwear, and there’s no small wonder even Palin Derangement Syndrome sufferers don’t want anything to do with this.

Fleetwood ends the article with this:

So, in conclusion, Michael Gross not only not only [sic] made a flaming ass out of himself, but he also totally humiliated the so-called liberal mainstream media. He managed to bring every caricature of an elitist, egotistical, out of touch, so-called liberal journalist to life. And the worst part was that he was incredibly sloppy with many of the facts–which in turn, discredits his entire piece. Credible leftist/progressive journalists and columnists can’t flee from his disaster of a column fast enough–and I don’t blame them.

However, sad to say, this isn’t the first time that Vanity Fair has written an outrageous, totally unsourced hit piece on a politician. During the 2008 campaign Todd Purdum wrote a totally unsourced hit piece in Vanity Fair about Bill Clinton, implying that he was openly dating while campaigning for Hillary in South Carolina. (Whatever you may think of Bill Clinton, I live in SC. If Bill Clinton was going out publicly clubbing and picking up women, someone, somewhere would have seen him. SC is a small state.) Furthermore, Purdum then wrote a totally unsourced hit piece on Sarah Palin a year later. Surprise, surprise. (Has anyone ever noticed that Vanity Fair has never written an unsourced hit piece on Barack Obama?)

But now, Vanity Fair’s chickens have come home to roost. They have gotten away with writing unsourced hit pieces for so long, that they got over-confident. This time, they gave Michael Gross carte blanche to pretty much write what ever he damn well pleased–muddled facts, sexism, stalkers, underwear and all. To tell the truth, I’m not at all surprised that some columnist, somewhere, would write something like this; however, I am surprised that any editor would actually go through with publishing it. Basically, Vanity Fair unintentionally gave Michael Gross just enough rope to hang himself, and Vanity Fair’s credibility in the process. Michael Gross’ column should serve as a cautionary tale for progressive journalists everywhere. Don’t let your love of all things Obama and your hatred of Sarah Palin get the best of you–or you will wind up proving Sarah Palin correct about the “lamestream media”.

Read the full article here.

(h/t Ian)

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Two More Real Sources Debunk Vanity Fair’s Ghost Sources

Posted by Adrienne Ross on September 7, 2010

By Adrienne Ross –

It’s time for Vanity Fair and Michael Gross to just come out and say that his article on Governor Palin is a complete hit piece designed to taint her reputation via anonymous sources. As I state here, it would be best if Gross made a full retraction like yesterday because his assertions are unraveling little by little.

Katrina Trinko reports in the National Review Online today:

While Vanity Fair writer Michael Joseph Gross has admitted he erred in saying that little Trig Palin was at one event (although VF has yet to correct — or note — the error in the online piece), he still hasn’t retracted any of the other inaccuracies in his Sarah Palin piece. And there are plenty.

Earlier today I spoke to long-time Palin friend (they’ve known each other since elementary school) Kristan Cole, who completely denies Gross’s characterization of her and Palin’s relationship in this passage:

People who know Kristan Cole and Kris Perry, her closest local friends and advisers of longest standing, say that the relationships have deteriorated. Her former aides Meg Stapleton and Ivy Frye are said to have parted with Palin on bad terms.

Apparently, “people who know” was code for “strangers who speculate.” “[It’s] absolutely not true. I don’t know where they get this stuff from, honestly,” said Cole about whether her relationship with Palin had deteriorated. On the contrary, she affectionately described the care the Palins had shown her throughout the summer, after she had broken her hip while running a 12K race. “She [Palin] was really concerned. Both her and Todd kept in contact with me, to check on me and see how everything was going. No matter where they were.”

Trinko goes on to refer to my Conservatives4Palin article where I shared what Palin friend, and former employee, Ivy Frye, told me:

I didn’t leave on “bad terms.” I’ve known the Palins for many years and I respect them personally and professionally. Our relationship is not “deteriorated.” In fact, I just waved campaign signs with Todd and Sarah last week, and went 4-wheeling with Willow and Piper. Gross’ 8 page hit piece is a complete work of fiction from beginning to end. And the media elite wonder why we call them “lame stream.”

But that’s not all. Joining Kristan Cole and Ivy Frye is Meghan Stapleton who was a long time Palin aide and spokesperson until February when she resigned to spend more time with her little girl. Here’s what Trinko writes:

Meghan Stapleton (noted in the quote above as being on “bad terms” with Palin) e-mails me that the assertion is completely false. Her statement:

After years of working for Governor Sarah Palin and living with her for weeks at a time, I don’t recognize the person described in this latest VF hit piece. This is just nonsense and despicable. The Palins and I also remain close – not a difficult fact to check.

There’s more in the article that exposes Gross’ gross bag of lies and poor “journalism.” Read the full piece here. For other articles that totally refute the Vanity Fair article with real stories by real people, go here, here, here, and here.

Can we believe anything this guy has said? Not a chance. I’ll tell you this, too: with the state of “journalism” these days, each of us must seek the truth for ourselves because we simply cannot trust the lamestream media.

(h/t Whitney)

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Another Vanity Fair Lie Bites the Dust

Posted by Adrienne Ross on September 4, 2010

By Adrienne Ross –

The Vanity Fair hit piece is just crumbling to pieces, isn’t it? It was debunked here, blown out of the water here, and it ain’t over yet.

You may recall that the author, Michael Joseph Gross, wrote that Governor Palin was a terrible tipper and treated bellhops horribly. He wrote:

Palin does not always treat those ordinary people well, however—it depends on who is watching. Of the many famous people who have stayed at the Hyatt in Wichita (Cher, Reba McEntire, Neil Young), Sarah Palin ranks as the all-time worst tipper: $5 for seven bags. But the bellhops had it good in Kansas, compared with the bellman at another midwestern hotel who waited up until past midnight for Palin and her entourage to check in—and then got no tip at all for 10 bags. He was stiffed again at checkout time. The same went for the maids who cleaned Palin’s rooms in both places—no tip whatsoever.

This information, of course, came from…you guessed it, anonymous sources.

But read what Jackie Sic had to say in her article, “We All have a Bellhop Story“:

On the morning of May 14th, I attended the “Celebration of Life” Breakfast which was hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List ( Sarah Palin was the keynote speaker and the event was held in Washington, D.C. at the Ronald Reagan Building with over 600 people in attendance. It was at this event I had the privilege of meeting Sarah Palin for the first time. I found her to be warm, genuine, sincere, and I felt she was truly interested in my family and me. While this part of my story serves to let you know when and why I was in Washington, D.C., the rest of my story is a small and unexpected moment that over the last few days has taken on new meaning.

I’m sure that by now you’ve either heard about or read the most recent Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin. (I refuse to link to Vanity Fair, so if you have not seen it, just use your favorite internet search engine.) In fact, this article has been a dominating news story in the blogosphere due to its outrageous and unsubstantiated accusations. One part of the article allegedly details Governor Palin’s treatment of bellhops in a Wichita, Kansas hotel, citing that she was a poor tipper and had a bad temper. Now, let me tie these two seemingly unrelated stories together.

After the “Celebration of Life Breakfast,” my family and I returned to our hotel, the Renaissance Washington, in order to change into casual clothes for some sightseeing. I decided to don a pair of jeans and my “Team Sarah” ( t-shirt. We went back down to the lobby to find a tourist map and I somehow became separated from my husband and my son. I decided to stay put in the large lobby, figuring we would eventually spot each other and commence with the sightseeing.

Before reuniting with my family, two bellhops approached me, pointed at my shirt, and asked me about it. I explained to them that I was a supporter of Sarah Palin and was in town to hear her speak. I also told them that I was very involved in a website called “Team Sarah.” They both became very excited and extended their hands. At that point, I realized they wanted to shake my hand because I was associated with Sarah Palin in a small way. These bellhops enthusiastically started telling me in broken English about their recent encounter with Sarah Palin, as she had been a guest at the same hotel. These two hard-working gentlemen adored her. I then asked a very simple question, “Was she nice to you?” Their response was, “Oh yes, very nice.” About that time, I was reunited with my family. I let these gentlemen know that I was delighted to have met them and thanked them for sharing their story with me.

All this time I’ve thought that my “big story” from that trip was getting to meet with Sarah Palin; however a three minute encounter with two bellhops in a hotel lobby has become meaningful as well.

Michael Joseph Gross, author of the Vanity Fair article, expects people to believe that he approached this assignment with an open mind and journalistic integrity. He expects us to accept his vicious characterization of Sarah Palin as truth—simply because he says so. He even expects that the vast majority of people will now believe the worst about her. The only problem is that he obviously didn’t expect that many of us have had our own experiences with her, and we will not exchange those experiences—or those of others we’ve personally talked to, like these bellhops—for the claims of anonymous sources.

People are coming forward because they are sick of the libel, the slander, and the politics of personal destruction directed at decent people like Governor Palin. Enough is enough.

Yep, another lie bites the dust.

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Vanity Fair Author Blown Out of the Water

Posted by Adrienne Ross on September 4, 2010

By Adrienne Ross –

I called out Michael Joseph Gross for his hit piece on Governor Palin in my article, “Vanity Fair’s ‘Gross’ Hit Piece on Gov. Palin.” Included in that post was a quote from a friend of the Palins debunking his lies and multiple links to Liberals who blasted Gross’ article.

The Vanity Fair piece continues to lose credibility, not that it ever had any to begin with. The article begins with a description of Governor Palin and her husband Todd backstage at the “Winning America Back” conference, which I attended in May in Missouri. He writes about Piper getting “the signal to do her job” and that “a woman, perhaps a nanny, whisks [Trig] away.” It appears Gross opens with this scene to paint a picture of a woman who uses her children as props. Unfortunately, he got his information wrong. No, he lied. No surprise there.

Dr. Gina Loudon tells the true story:

Unfortunately for Mr. Gross, it happens that I shared the stage with Sarah Palin at that event. I announced my BUYcott of Arizona that day, and I remember it well.

As I stood backstage with the Palins I remember a reporter asking me if I were “Trig’s Nanny” with a hint of something I didn’t trust in his eyes. I coldly retorted, “no, I am Samuel’s mother.” He looked confused, and had more questions to follow. In his VF story, he said that no one is willing to speak about Sarah “on the record” unless they are paid by her, or afraid. I was one of the people you interviewed Mr. Gross. I am not paid, or afraid. But since you opted not to print what I told you, here is the rest of the story:Since the first time the Governor saw my son Samuel (who also has Down syndrome), she bolts across the room to greet him every time she sees him. She nuzzles him like a mother who loves children with Down syndrome does. I remember commenting to my husband that she always “does the mama smell” of Samuel, that only moms understand.

All of the Palin children circle around Samuel the moment they can get close, but Piper, in particular, cannot seem to get enough of him. She literally plays with him (Gross does say she played with “the children” in his story) from the moment she sees him, until the moment she is pressed to let go of him. It is so sweet, and it speaks to the parenting in her life. She has obviously been taught a real, tangible love for “special children” by her parents, and it shines when she lights up at the sight of a baby with Down syndrome. This is not an ordinary reaction in children. Most children step away, look curious, or frightened, or confused. Not the Palin children, and especially not little Piper.

After an event in Nashville, the Governor went to the trouble of making a special call to me to thank me and tell me how much Piper enjoyed “loving on” my Samuel. During the event where the Governor and I spoke in Independence, the Palins stood backstage for a long while as others took the stage. Sarah pulled me aside to ask me how blessed I felt to be the mother of someone chosen and special, like Samuel. She held both of my hands and confided her fears and love for her little Trig, and the miracle of all he has taught her. She glowed as she explained how he greets each morning with a smile, and we talked about the gentle touch of a child with Down syndrome that feels almost like the wing of an angel. I would love to tell you more about the depth of her love, concern, and compassion for her child, but she deserves my confidence. She spoke from a tender, mother’s heart, one that Mr. Gross wouldn’t know if it slapped him with a silicon spatula in a moose stew pot!

After I explained which children were Todd and Sarah’s, and which were mine and my husband’s, Mr. Gross moved into a sinister line of questioning. I let him know that I was surprised that he believed the baloney written about her during her 2008 race with John McCain. I told of my work on Governor Palin’s “advance team” and that I was there when the whole St. Louis “story” about her alleged expensive taste became more important to some writers than her stellar performance in the debate. I told him the Governor I know was always polite, always a lady, even behind the scenes in her darkest moments. I remember one night after a day of campaign season attacks when she came back to the hotel afterward. She held Trig in one arm, and cuddled Piper with the other. She was patient with her other children when they were asking about exploring the hotel. She kissed her husband who, though tired, glowed with pride in his bride (he spent hours earlier in the day hanging out and smal -talking with the advance team while her plane was running behind schedule), and she was careful to stop and say hello to all her staff and advance team despite the fact that she must have been exhausted after battling the press all day. I remember that night because I could not understand where she was getting all her energy, joy, and warmth after such a wicked day.

I told Mr. Gross that the Palin family is so real, it is unreal. What you saw in front of the cameras is precisely what you saw behind the scenes. I have known a lot of politicians. The interesting thing about the Palins is how grounded they are, despite their astonishing success. Mr. Gross says he talked to her hairdressers, makeup artists, waiters, and clerks at the Independence, Mo., event, and he tells of scandal, self absorption, and power slinging.But he never mentions talking to me, or to others I heard echoing the sentiments I offered to him. One of the most endearing components of the Palin family is their ability to point out, and laugh at their flaws. The Palins were gracious enough to let Mr. Gross follow them for months backstage, behind the scenes, and in their private moments around their staff and friends and family, and this is how he thanks them?


I do agree with you on one thing, Mr. Gross. You said that “Her talk of leading with ‘a servant’s heart’ is a dog-whistle for the born-again. Her dig at health-care reform as an expression of Democratic ambitions to “build a Utopia in the United States is practically a trumpet call (because the Kingdom of God is not of this earth), and perfection can be achieved only in the life to come.

But it is Palin’s persistent encouragement of the prayer warriors that most clearly reveals her worldview: she is good, her opponents are evil, and the war is on.” Agreed. She is good, her opponents are evil, and the war is on!

One more thing among your errors: “the boy” in the excerpted quote above, was not Trig Palin. That was my Samuel, also a beautiful boy with Down syndrome. No “nanny whisk(ed) the boy away.” I am his mother. I took my son, Samuel from Sarah before she went on stage. I told Mr. Gross that fact, but he didn’t let that divert him from his pathetic narrative.

That is not journalism. That is just gross.

All I can say is “Wow.” She blew him clear out of the water. Anonymous sources versus this real account by a real person with a real name. I say it all the time, and so say I again: “A person with an experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument”–or a bag of lies. Please read all of Dr. Loudon’s post here at Big Journalism.

So what was Mr. Gross to do after Dr. Loudon’s article?

Via the Associated Press:

A writer for Vanity Fair has acknowledged a case of mistaken identity in an unflattering article about Sarah Palin in the magazine’s October issue.

In the article, Michael Joseph Gross describes Palin’s youngest son, Trig, being pushed in a stroller before the start of a May rally in the Kansas City suburb of Independence. But the boy in the stroller was not Trig — but another child with Down syndrome.

The mother of the child, conservative activist Gina Loudon, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she thought Gross might have been confused during the rally and that she tried to explain she was the boy’s mother, not Palin. She says he “just ignored facts.”

Gross says in a written statement Friday sent to The Associated Press that he regrets the error.

The Vanity Fair article was a bunch of bull from beginning to end. It would serve the author well to admit it and get it over with, rather than having to issue retractions little by little.

(h/t C4P)

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