NYT Questions Palin's 'Parenting'; Bumiller Flubs Palin's AIP 'Membership'

Editor's Note: A longer version of this article originally appeared on our affiliated site Times Watch.

Bristol Palin's pregnancy made the top of the fold of Tuesday's New York Times in a story by Elisabeth Bumiller, who helpfully summarized all the scandalettes (and at least one fake one) burbling around the Palin pick in "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process."

A series of disclosures about Gov. Sarah Palin, Senator John McCain's choice as running mate, called into question on Monday how thoroughly Mr. McCain had examined her background before putting her on the Republican presidential ticket.

On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state's public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.

Bumiller's claim that Palin "was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence party" is evidently dead wrong. The McCain camp went after Bumiller by name, accusing her of having "made up her own story," and for good measure produced Palin's voter registration showing she's been a registered Republican since 1982.

Greg Pollowitz at National Review Online called Bumiller's front-page piece, implying Palin was insufficiently vetted by the McCain campaign, "garbage journalism," noting that many of the Alaska sources Bumiller quoted are some of Palin's political enemies, including Lyda Green, the State Senate president, and Randy Ruedrich, the state Republican Party chairman, who Palin filed a complaint against for misusing public resources.

Reporter Kate Zernike appeared on a related "Back Story" podcast at nytimes.com and was asked by an unidentified male co-host about Palin's daughter's pregnancy:

Host: "But Kate, is this an act of support? I mean, is everyone going to interpret it that way? If you knew your daughter was pregnant, 17 years old, and someone came to you and said, Hey, you want to be Vice President --"

Zernike: "Yeah, that's exactly the question."

Host: "-- would you maybe think, hey, I don't want to do this, I got some issues in my family?"

Zernike: "Yeah. No, I think that's exactly the question. Then it becomes more of a question of parenting and of judgment on her part."


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