On The Corner, Mark Hemingway underlines just how microscopic an ethical question can be from Sarah Palin's mayoralty and still be cited as breaking national news in an "investigation" by the AP.

She gladly accepted gifts from merchants: A free "awesome facial" she raved about in a thank-you note to a spa. The "absolutely gorgeous flowers" she received from a welding supply store. Even fresh salmon to take home.

The AP is suddenly alarmed that no one is "running Alaska" while Palin is out on the stump with John McCain, so much so that they've published a piece wondering if Alaska is about to sink into the icy grip of the Alaskan tundra, or something, because Palin isn't there. One wonders if the AP is all upset that no one is in Congress representing certain districts of Illinois or Delaware with Obama and Biden roaming the countryside instead of sitting in the Senate? One wonders if the AP has even noticed that Obama has spent less than 200 days in the Senate since he took his seat in that august body in 2005? Talk about rudderless! Talk about short-shrifting the representation of constituents!

The AP is all about the wringing of hands because Palin has been absent from the Alaska governor's office for the last three weeks. I guess the AP isn't aware that Alaska has a Lt. Governor? But, let's face it, the AP doesn't care about Alaska at all because this article is only a thinly disguised excuse to slam Palin for not running to the press to fawn over them and cater to their every need.

Most of this piece is centered on the way McCain and Palin are trying to control the Palin message, as opposed to any real worry that Alaska is running rudderless. In fact, this AP smear piece is a bait and switch, not really about what it seems to be about.

Associated Press writer Matt Volz has been a busy bee covering the Troopergate anti-scandal over the last two weeks. Not surprisingly, he continues to write story after story without citing to the obvious bias underlying the entire investigation.

New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt evaluated two tough political stories in the Sunday Week in Review, one anti-McCain, the other anti-Palin. While he found the McCain piece fair, he faulted the anti-Palin piece.

In both cases, Times reporters and editors rallied to the defense of the pieces, finding McCain guilty of "demonstrable falsehoods" and Palin of "sometimes petty, peremptory" political leadership in Alaska.

When a newspaper like The Times takes a tough, critical look at a candidate in this year's presidential election, it has to give readers enough solid evidence to make up their own minds about whether it is being accurate and fair. Consider two front-page articles last weekend: I think one delivered the goods and one fell short.

New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney's front-page story on Friday, "Obama Raises Level of Attack As Party Frets," tipped its hand on one part of Barack Obama campaign's strategy: Relying on turnout from its loyal supporters in the press.

By every indication, Mr. Obama's aides underestimated the impact that Mr. McCain's choice of Ms. Palin would have on the race. Mr. Obama and his campaign have seemed flummoxed in trying to figure out how to deal with her. His aides said they were looking to the news media to debunk the image of her as a blue-collar reformer, even as they argued that her power to help Mr. McCain was overstated.

I sent the e-mail that follows to Sam Stein of the Huffington Post on Saturday evening, and followed up by resending it on Sunday morning.

I originally promised to call him out in public this morning if he did not respond, but other business matters intervened. I noted this morning that my call-out would occur this afternoon.

Stein has still not responded, so here we are.


Here is the original e-mail sent Saturday:

Mr. Stein,

The following assertions about the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman (the VF) that you made in your August 31 report are untrue, and should be corrected:

Thursday's New York Times lead story by Elisabeth Bumiller and Michael Cooper covered Palin's rapturously received speech at the Republican Convention Wednesday night, "On Center Stage, Palin Electrifies Convention." After describing how she introduced herself to the "roaring crowd" in St. Paul, the Times threw in this dubious assertion:

But the nomination was a sideshow to the evening's main event, the speech by the little-known Ms. Palin, who was seeking to wrest back the narrative of her life and redefine herself to the American public after a rocky start that has put Mr. McCain's closest aides on edge. Ms. Palin's appearance electrified a convention that has been consumed by questions of whether she was up to the job, as she launched slashing attacks on Mr. Obama's claims of experience.

Actually, only the liberal media was consumed by that question -- Palin was a wildly popular pick even before her impressive convention speech.

So how did Anchorage Daily News reporter Lisa Demer end up speaking with a California doctor and getting her allegedly expert opinion concerning the circumstances surrounding Sarah Palin's pregnancy and birth?

Obviously, I don't know. But it's not like Dr. Laurie Gregg was a local phone call away.

Here is what Dr. Gregg had to say about Palin's decision to fly home from Texas (full circumstances are at the adn.com link and at tonight's previous BizzyBlog post):

Still, a Sacramento, Calif., obstetrician who is active in the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said when a pregnant woman's water breaks, she should go right to the hospital because of the risk of infection. That's true even if the amniotic fluid simply leaks out, said Dr. Laurie Gregg.

"To us, leaking and broken, we are talking the same thing. We are talking doctor-speak," Gregg said.

Is that "doctor-speak," or Democrat-speak?

Well, I don't know, but it could be the latter, because, "oddly enough," there is a Laurie Gregg who is a known Sacramento Democrat and a Golden State political appointee (bold after title is mine):

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin isn't just a pro-life politician. She recently proved she's pro-life by personal example. In an age when many parents receive the news that they're carrying a baby with Down syndrome and then "terminate" the pregnancy," Gov. Palin gave birth to a son with Down syndrome and announced her delight at God's blessing.