Archive for October 2011

Lively panel discussion on “the future of news” at Chicago Ideas Week

I’m just back from Chicago, where I was privileged today to participate in a panel sponsored by Time Magazine that was part of “Chicago Ideas Week” an innovative gathering of all sorts of interesting people–including former President Bill Clinton. It’s the brainchild of Groupon founder Brad Keywell, whom I had the pleasure of meeting today, and Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel.

While in Chicago, I also did a brief TV interview on the Fox News station.

And a longer radio interview broadcast both in Minneapolis and Chicago with the excellent host John Williams.

On Tuesday afternoon, from Chicago, I also did this radio interview with KIRO’s Ron and Don in Seattle.

On Thursday afternoon, I’ll be on Sirius radio with Michelangelo Signorile at 4:30 p.m. EDT.

Note to Bob Woodward: I don’t hide–not under your “umbrella,” nor anywhere else.

In blogger Erik Wemple’s Washington Post post today about THE ROGUE and me, his fourth or fifth or sixth over the past ten days–I’ve lost count–he quotes Bob Woodward in response to my op-ed piece in USA TODAY, in which, in explaining why I needed to use a few unnamed sources in THE ROGUE, I quote Woodward as defending the practice.

“”It’s the only method, if you’re going to get an unlaundered version of what occurred,” Woodward has said.

I also quote Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times, as saying, “The Times and other major news organizations have relied for centuries on anonymous sources.”

And I cite the fact that since Feb. 10, 2010, both the Times and the Post have quoted anonymous sources more than two thousand times each.

It seems that Wemple, newly hired as a blogger on media by the Washington Post, is eager to impress his bosses, of whom Woodward, given his legendary status there, would have to be considered as one.

So Wemple asks Woodward for comment on McGinniss, and Woodward, who has been unhappy with me ever since I gave his book about John Belushi a bad review in the New York Times Book Review in the mid 1980’s, (yes, authors do hold grudges for that long) is quick to oblige.

“He’s hiding under an umbrella that I didn’t put up,” Woodward obligingly says.

Bob, I understand that you want to help out your new hire.

But please do not ever again accuse me of “hiding.”

I didn’t hide from the death threats I got last summer for living next to Sarah Palin on Lake Lucille.

And when I guaranteed confidentiality to a few Alaskan sources for THE ROGUE–even though more than sixty spoke to me on the record–it wasn’t to protect them from not being invited to Georgetown dinner parties. It was because at least their livelihoods, if not their lives, were at stake.

I don’t know how long it’s been, Bob, since you did any reporting outside the Beltway. As I recall from the Belushi book, it didn’t go well when you tried.

In any case, I’m still out there: talking to people who couldn’t find Georgetown on a map.

I’ve been doing this since 1962: almost fifty years.

I’ve never tried to hide.

And if I ever did, it sure as hell wouldn’t be under your umbrella.

in USA TODAY: I explain why anonymous sources were necessary for THE ROGUE

In an op-ed piece for USA TODAY, online tonight and to run in their print edition on Monday, I explain why, in addition to sixty named sources, I have some unnamed sources telling the truth about Sarah Palin.

The hypocrisy displayed by mainstream media–which uses anonymous sources constantly–has been breathtaking.

The New York Times wouldn’t print this piece–even after two of their reviewers attacked me for using anonymous sources in THE ROGUE.

USA TODAY is not afraid to run it.

I’ve also been following MSM coverage–or lack thereof–of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

Never has corporate control of mainstream media been more evident.


It’s as if they’re saying to the police:  “Get these people off the streets!  Next thing you know they’ll be coming after us!”


If it happens, it’s not without good cause.


Mainstream media is worse than “lamestream.”

It is “no stream,” trying to dam the flow of information about legitimate social protest taking place right here on the streets we live on, while focusing on turmoil in the Middle East in an attempt to distract us.


Sarah Palin was a big part of the circus of distraction for which MSM has been beating the drums.

They hate to lose her.

And they may never forgive me for my part in bringing her down–though, in fact, she brought herself down by overreaching.

Or by reaching at all.


“Hubris” doesn’t begin to define Sarah, because that word describes “overweening” or “exaggerated” self-confidence on the part of an individual who at least had some basis for self-belief.

I think “fraud” (i.e. “a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities”) comes much closer.

If you want to keep going, look up the definitions of “grifter,” “scammer” and “scam.”


You might also want to check out “delusional,” as in someone who suffers from delusions

(i.e. “a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact.”)

For example:  “God has told me he wants me to be President of the United States.”

Hey, in that case, as of last Wednesday, at least Sarah started on the road to recovery.

Let’s wish her well on her long, hard reentry into the real world.

And let’s do what we can to support “Occupy Wall Street” because it’s those people–not Sarah–that truly have our interests, not corporate interests, in their hearts.





God Wises Up

The Lynchburg News & Advance reports on Sarah’s Saturday night speech to Christian women:

“The appearance was among Palin’s first public appearances after announcing Wednesday her decision not to run for president. Palin referenced that decision just once in her speech, when she described disappointment with the contingent of supporters who voiced outrage over the decision.

“They got mad and they would send some pretty mean emails and messages, and I thought ‘Oh come on, you’re going to trust me to be the leader of the free world but you don’t trust me to make the decision that God led me to make at this time,” she said.”

So Sarah says it was The Big Doorman in the Sky who finally woke up to the horror of what He’d enabled for all these years, and said: “Enough. The joke is over, Sarah. Cash in your chips and go home.”

Thanks, God.

Better late than never.

Fallout from Sarah’s cop-out

Even I, who don’t have a very high opinion of Sarah Palin, thought she was motivated by just a wee bit of something beyond greed, even if it was primarily religious fanaticism.

Tonight, despite her Fidel Castro-like ninety-minute harangue to evangelical Christian women in Lynchburg, Virginia, I’m not so sure I didn’t give her too much credit.

Through her political action committee, SarahPAC, Sarah raised more than $1.6 million during the first six months of this year.

We’re not sure what she did with that money, except for paying her mom and dad more than three thousand dollars to go to the post office for her.

The Quitter quit before she even started this week, admitting that she didn’t have the mental or emotional strength to enter a race that’s bereft of appealing candidates.

So devoid is the GOP of electable candidates, in fact, that not only is Herman Cain surging in recent polls, but Ron Paul won a weekend straw poll in Washington.

As USA Today reports, Cain is capturing the allegiance of the non-racists among Sarah’s former Christian-extremist base.

Does any rational person think–no matter how bad the economy might be a year from now–that either Cain or Paul could get more than 25 percent of the vote against an incumbent Obama?

What current polls really indicate is that Sarah Palin, despite lucking into a set of circumstances she couldn’t have paid for, didn’t have the guts to make the run.

She’s always been an opportunist, and has seized moments in the past.

Why  didn’t she seize this one?

Is she truly scared that revelations about her in THE ROGUE are only the tip of a poisoned iceberg that not only would sink her forever politically, but might actually lead to criminal charges against her?

Honestly, I don’t think so.

I think she’s just lazy and disorganized, and too busy making money to care about anything else.

One could speculate about how Sarah might feel privately about having the electoral fight for the presidency of “her” country carried out next year between two black men, but one might more fruitfully wonder why Sarah–seeing how weak the GOP 2012 field really is–would have opted not to join it.

The former “Wasilla Warrior” has become the Wasilla Wuss.

Even that most base of former acolytes, John Ziegler, is embittered.

Sarah, baby, you’ve lost them all.

There’s nobody left–or right–to speak up for you.

What you did in Wasilla, and in Alaska, you’ve now done nationally:    you’ve alienated everyone who ever tried to help you.  They didn’t learn until too late that always you were only about yourself.

In interviews over the past few weeks–and more are coming, on both television and radio–
I’ve been asked whether I have an “agenda.”

I’ve quickly said yes: my agenda is to assure that never again will someone as unqualified, as religiously and politically extreme, as uneducated and unintelligent, and as vicious and venomous as yourself come within a few percentage points of achieving an office that would put its holder only a heartbeat away from the presidency.

At the Time Magazine panel in Chicago next week about “The Future of News,” I’ll be talking about the threat McCain’s selection of you posed to our democracy.

Meanwhile,  you’ve already been reduced to complaining about ESPN’s firing of Hank Williams Jr., for his comparison of President Obama to Hitler.

*** As a personal aside, in 1956,  while growing up in the suburbs of New York City, I first heard Hank Williams, Sr.–the one and only real Hank Williams–on the radio, on a Newark, NJ station that devoted two hours on Sunday afternoons (their lowest-rated time period, no doubt) to country music.

***As he did with musical geniuses such as Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, Hank Williams changed my life. That fall, in ninth grade, I sold all my Elvis Presley and Fats Domino records to get money to buy a three-record vinyl set of Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits. For decades, I was an obsessive Hank Williams fan. I laugh when Todd Palin says I’m obsessed with Sarah. The only person I’ve ever obsessed about was Hank Williams, scouring and devouring every stray 45 rpm and 78 rpm I could find, and reading all I could about his life and death.

***About ten years ago, for my birthday, my wife, Nancy Doherty, gave me the extraordinary ten-CD “Complete Hank Williams” set.   I listened, and I listen, and I listen. And I know why such geniuses as Cash, Dylan and Springsteen are so quick to credit Hank Williams as they do. My life would have been a lesser one had not my spirit been infused with that of Hank Williams, just as I entered adolescence.

***I’m sorry that in the case of Hank, Jr., the apple has rolled so far from the tree. But I’m not surprised that Sarah Palin rushes to the defense of the apple, while not even knowing of the existence of the tree.

The best news of all is–and I say this with full recognition that sales of THE ROGUE will suffer–we won’t have Sarah to kick around any more.

This time, she quit before she was ahead.  She quit before she got started.

She can still pick up bucks for speaking to evangelical Christian women, as she did in Lynchburg, VA tonight, at a religious extremist college founded by Jerry Falwell.

But nobody outside the auditoriums will be listening.

Her bottom line tonight in Lynchburg: “This country was founded on Biblical principles.”

My bottom line to her?   It’s the same as she uttered about me last summer:

“Get a life.”



In defense of strong women…and as a show of disdain for cheap, lazy “reviewers” who publish opinions about books they haven’t read

I don’t usually respond to negative reviews of my books–of which, over 42 years, there have been many–but this one, by Susan Milligan, in U.S. News & World Report, is so noxious, ignorant,  wrong-headed and unfair that I’m making an exception.

Let’s set aside the fact that I’m married to an immensely strong woman who works for a living, that I have two daughters who are immensely strong women who work outside the home even as they raise their children, and that for years I have been friends with innumerable other strong women.

Let’s focus on Ms. Milligan’s complaints.

She writes that “some of the disclosures in…The Rogue might just galvanize women behind the former Alaska governor.”

Then she writes, “The attacks on Palin…touch a nerve in many of us, regardless of political philosophy.”

I’m not sure who Ms. Milligan means by “many of us,” or just what women she expects to “galvanize” behind Sarah, and she doesn’t specify.

So her first two paragraphs constitute no more than a cheap and lazy smear, invoking unnamed “others” as imaginary supporters of her own point of view.

But just what “attacks” on Palin “touch a nerve in many of us” and “might just galvanize women” in support of Sarah?

Ah, first is my account of Sarah’s sexual episode with Glen Rice, when he was a 20-year old college student and basketball star, and Sarah was a 23-year old part-time sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station, and full-time basketball groupie.

I’m at a loss to understand how anyone can consider this description of young lust in action–with both partners displaying  consideration, respect and affection for many months afterward–as an “attack” on Sarah Palin.

Rice, a consummate gentleman–who played at the time for the University of Michigan, whose basketball team visited Anchorage during the week of Thanksgiving, 1987, to participate in a weekend tournament–told me in a telephone interview last spring that Sarah approached him, “almost as soon as we got out there.”   Rice has only good things to say about Sarah, then and now.

Here’s why I write about this encounter in THE ROGUE, as would be obvious to anyone who actually read the book, and not just National Enquirer stories about it:    John Bitney, a friend of Sarah’s from junior high school days, who became her legislative director when she was elected  governor, told me that one of her first actions was to order the firing of almost two dozen people of color from low and mid-level state jobs because the presence of so many dark faces in state office buildings made her “uncomfortable.”

In a recorded interview, portions of which are reproduced in THE ROGUE, Bitney told me,
“A lot who were dark-skinned lost jobs to make way for white guys. Her chief of staff, Mike Tibbles, came in one day and said, ‘They’re all fired. That’s what she wants.’ I was like, ‘All of them?’ He said yes, all the dark-skinned people had to go.”

Others told me that Sarah’s dislike of black people stemmed from her reaction to a consensual sexual encounter she’d had with a “black athlete” many years earlier.

Someone close to her at the time told me, “She freaked out afterwards. Hysterical, crying, totally flipped out…’I fucked a black man!’ She was just horrified. She couldn’t believe that she’d done it.”

Given that information: how a sexual encounter almost twenty years earlier might have caused the new Governor Palin to fire black people from state jobs, I felt I needed to learn more.

For many months, I worked on learning the identity of the “black athlete” involved, because I felt I needed confirmation of the story that Sarah had “freaked out” afterwards.

Eventually, I learned that the man involved was not simply a “black athlete” but one of the most famous basketball stars of recent years.

When I spoke to Glen Rice last spring, he laughed out loud at the story I’d been told of Sarah having been traumatized by her encounter with him. “I remember it as if it was yesterday,” he said. “She was a sweetheart.”

I said, “So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?”

Glen laughed again. “No, no, no, nothing like that. Even after I left Alaska, we talked a lot on the phone. I think right up until the time she got married.”

Thus, according to the “black athlete,” there was no hysterical reaction, and no twenty-year trauma, and whatever the reason for Sarah firing state employees of color, it had nothing to do with her romantic weekend with Glen Rice in 1987.

In getting to the truth behind the stories I’d heard, I engaged in the practice of journalism. In THE ROGUE, I reported the results of my efforts.

The story of Sarah’s young adult weekend with Glen Rice, while she was single, is actually rather sweet. Especially given Glen’s saying, which I publish in THE ROGUE, “She was a gorgeous woman. Super nice. I was blown away by her. Afterwards, she was a big crush that I had. I talked about her for a long time. Only good things…I think the utmost of her and I felt that way from the start.”

Yet Susan Milligan calls my account of the encounter, “deeply insulting to both parties.”

This makes me suspect that Ms. Milligan hasn’t actually read THE ROGUE, but perhaps only the National Enquirer stories about it, which jam together about three of 320 pages and make it seem as if the whole book is salacious gossip.

It’s anything but.

My suspicion that Ms. Milligan hasn’t read the book she’s been so quick to excoriate is deepened by her writing, “Then there’s another complaint with sexist undertones, the story…that Palin spent a fortune of the RNC’s money on clothes.”

Yes, there were such complaints. And there were stories based on the complaints, first reported on the online site Politico in 2008 and later referenced in Game Change, the 2010 bestseller by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.

But I don’t write about Sarah spending “a fortune” of other people’s money on clothes for herself.

I investigated that issue, but came away feeling that I did not have enough documentation to warrant an extended discussion of it in THE ROGUE.

So here Ms. Milligan is attacking me for writing things I never wrote!

One word for that is ‘lazy.’ Another is ‘shoddy.’ I’m sure there are more.

Lastly, Ms. Milligan raises “the ultimate insult thrown at working women: that she was a bad mother.”

Again, when she delves into specifics, Ms. Milligan reveals that she hasn’t even read the book, but at most only a negative review or two of it.

She writes: “She once served [her children] burned macaroni and cheese.”

But that’s not what I write in THE ROGUE.

I write–quoting a close family friend, with whom I recorded hours of interviews–that when Todd was working on the North Slope for weeks at a time:

“Those kids had to fend for themselves. I’d walk into that kitchen and Bristol and Willow would be sitting there with a burnt pot of Kraft mac and cheese on the stove and they’d be trying to open one of those Ramen noodle packs, and Sarah would be up in her bedroom with the door closed, saying she didn’t want to be disturbed.”

How Ms. Milligan can construe that as an “ultimate insult thrown at working women” is a puzzle I’m simply unable to solve.

She says, “Attacking [Palin] as a woman is just cheap.”

I would agree.

But that’s not what I’ve done. That’s not an impulse I’ve ever had.

I do have many faults, displayed all too often to too many people over too many years.

But there are certain things of which I can never be credibly accused. They include (but are not limited to):

–Abusive behavior toward men, women or children
–Financial dishonesty
–Disloyalty to friends
–Callous indifference to the suffering of others
–Voting Republican

So, please, Ms. Milligan, get real.

I’ve attacked Sarah for being a religious extremist who wants to end separation of church and state in America, for being a nut who thinks Jesus will return to earth during her lifetime, for being a right-wing political extremist, for being the most unqualified candidate for national office in American political history, for being mean-spirited, deceitful and vindictive, for being a hypocrite, for lacking impulse control, for trying to turn ignorance into a virtue, and for a few other things besides.

But for being a woman?


And no one who seriously reads THE ROGUE can come away from it feeling that I’ve done so.

Instead of taking the lazy way out, posting a false and unsupportable allegation online, you could have posed the question of my alleged misogyny to my named sources, such as Lyda Green, or Laura Chase, or Catherine Mormile, or Katie Hurley, or Beverly Cutler, or Catherine Taylor, or Caroline Johnson, or Marnie Brennan, or Kathleen Gustafson, or Terry Monegan, or Brenda McCavit, or Mary Kvalheim, or Sherry Johnston, or Mercede Johnston, or Waverli Rainey, or dozens of other Alaskan women I could name.

But you preferred to parrot cheap canards.  (Tip of my hat to you:  parroting a canard is no mean feat.)

More seriously, do I say you’ve harmed the reputation of all female journalists by writing a crummy, slipshod piece?

No, because that would be absurd.

But no more absurd than you alleging that THE ROGUE is an attack on all working mothers, female politicians, and strong women.

Reviewers, whether male or female, who read THE ROGUE and express opinions about it, whether positive or negative, stand on firm ground, whether or not I agree with them.

I write the book: once you’ve read it, you can say whatever you want to about it.

Fair play.

But a cheap and lazy polemic by someone–man or woman–who obviously did not read it before attacking it is less an insult to me than an insult to the readers of the website or periodical that publishes or posts it.

Please, Ms. Milligan: do your homework before turning in your book report.

And please understand: if the facts contradict your pre-suppositions and assumptions, you cannot in good conscience ignore them.

I’m all for American women galvanizing behind candidates for national office, including–and especially–the presidency.

But Sarah Palin?

She was and remains an insult to strong, intelligent working women everywhere–many of whom are also lovingly and attentively raising children and enjoying profoundly satisfying relationships with their partners/spouses.

Just yesterday, I got an email from a friend, upon her return from the Fortune 400 Most Powerful Women Summit.

She wrote that all the women there are “doing serious work in the world.”

She also wrote that “The contrast with [Palin] is shocking. She couldn’t have engaged one woman there on an intellectual level.”

And she wrote: “I am insulted to my core to think that someone might think that unbridled narcissism and lack of curiosity, depth, knowledge and experience can be trumped by ‘self-promotion.'”

Dear Susan Milligan: in reflexively defending Sarah against (gasp!) a man, you are backing a loser. And you’re doing so in such a knee-jerk, doctrinaire, sloppy and inaccurate way that your attempt to harm my reputation can only hurt your own.

Please feel free to get in touch once you’ve actually read THE ROGUE. Perhaps we’d have more to talk about then. I know you’ve done good work in the past. I hope you can in the future.

Before a final farewell to Sarah, a comment about mainstream media hypocrisy, dishonesty and pretentiousness


…while the real stories unfold outside their cloistered havens



There’s a guy named Howie Kurtz who spent a long time at the Washington Post sucking up to people in power.

That eventually got him on TV.

Howie subsequently left the Washington Post and went to the online site, Daily Beast.

But he kept his CNN Sunday morning gig.

On Sunday, Sept. 18, Howie hosted a panel of people who had not read THE ROGUE, but who felt entitled to comment on it anyway.

Most egregious was Steven Roberts, (husband of MSM/NPR doyenne Cokie Roberts,) who used to work for the New York Times, but who now finds himself teaching “journalism and media ethics” at George Washington University.  For which fate I pity him.

Roberts felt entitled to say, “I would give Joe McGinniss a failing grade for ethics in my class from that book…I think the McGinniss book is a heap of trash from everything I’ve read about it.”

Question:  Steve, what grade would you give yourself for commenting on–indeed trashing–a book you hadn’t read?  Do you let your students at GWU turn in critiques of works they haven’t read?  Do you grade their papers without reading them?





Michelle Cottle of Newsweek had the good grace and common sense not to denounce a book she hadn’t read yet. Nor to denounce its author.  Thank you, Michelle.  You behaved as a professional journalist should.

The third panelist, Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor at National Review–a magazine that has been gushing over Sarah Palin ever since its editor, Rich Lowry, became infatuated upon meeting her in Juneau in 2007–said, “I think McGinniss is coasting on his reputation.”

Question:  Ramesh, what’s your basis for saying that when you haven’t even read The Rogue?

But I should be grateful to Ponnuru.

At least he acknowledged that I have a reputation.

Our friend Howie jumped all over him for giving me even that much credit for the twelve books I’ve published over 42 years.

Howie:  “But that reputation in itself is controversial. He’s been accused of plagiarism, he was sued by the subject of one of his stories for deception. It was an out of court settlement.”

Question:  Howie, do you want to discuss any of your accusations face to face, man to man?  I was accused of plagiarism in the media, never in court, by an admitted plagiarist, Doris Kearns Goodwin.  It was a baseless accusation, which Doris–a wonderful biographer and excellent historian–never pursued.  As for deception:  you are talking about the convicted murderer Jeffrey MacDonald, a man who bludgeoned and stabbed to death his pregnant wife and two young daughters.  I never paid a nickel to MacDonald, who remains in prison today.  I had no say over a decision made by my former publisher’s insurance company.  So, Howie, those are two dishonest comments.

But now for an honest comment by Howie.

In fact, let’s call it a confession.

In The Daily Beast yesterday, Howie wrote, in regard to why Sarah Palin was permitted to soar so high for so long:

“We in the news business were her enablers, broadcasting her tweets, following her Facebooking, chasing after her aimless bus tours…What explains such behavior? Palin is box office. She drives traffic and ratings.”

Thank you, Howie.

You call yourself a whore more plainly than I would have dared to do.

All I want now is your apology for calling THE ROGUE “unattributed crap,” without having read it.

As for Steve Roberts, I can only hope he doesn’t have tenure at George Washington.  Any “media ethics” professor who could profess about an author’s lack of ethics prior to the publication of the author’s book, and without having read the author’s book, but based only on “everything I’ve read about it,” ought not to be professing about ethics.  Or journalism.  Or much of anything else.

And you wonder why the public doesn’t trust the media?

Humble Howie says it all, referencing Sarah:  “We…were her enablers…Palin is box office.  She drives traffic and ratings.”

MSM, losing traffic and ratings and print circulation, didn’t want to kill the goose who made herself their golden egg.   So they screwed over the rest of us, pretending to take Sarah seriously, foisting her upon us, failing to expose her for the fraud she always was and that they knew her to be.

Mainstream Media allowed the 2008 campaign to become a “reality” TV show.

Here’s the equation:  “reality”=unreality.

MSM never apologized, and never explained.  And they were prepared to do it again, even more shamefully, next year.  It’s the country’s good fortune that Sarah herself couldn’t carry the hoax forward.  The Howie Kurtz’s of our world were waiting with bated breath and tongues hanging out.  “BOX OFFICE…TRAFFIC…RATINGS…”

They trashed Andrew Sullivan for even raising questions about Sarah’s utterly implausible story of giving birth to Trig.

And they came after me, hammer and tongs, for telling the full truth about her in The Rogue.

I killed their golden goose.

I don’t suppose I should have expected Howie, or Cokie’s husband, Steve, to have killed a fatted calf–or even a skinny  moose–with which  to fete me.

*     *    *

I began my writing career working with and being schooled by true journalists.  I learned from and knew personally Jimmy Breslin and Murray Kempton and Pete Hamill, and Peter Arnett and a dozen other women and men who cared more about digging out the truth and telling it straight than about looking at themselves in the mirror in a makeup room at a television station, while talking to their agents on their cell phones.

I seem destined to end my career being judged by phony suck-ups like Howie Kurtz and Cokie’s husband, Steve.

So be it.

I play it as it lays, guys.

I’m happy to be outside the Beltway.

If you’d ever had any integrity, I’d pity you for having bartered it for what you see as stature.

As it is, Howie & Friends, I’ll let Bob Dylan have the last words:

I’m just gonna let you pass
Yes, and I’ll go last
Then time will tell who fell
And who’s been left behind
When you go your way and I go mine







THE ROGUE debuts as #10 on NYTimes BestSeller list! #7 on e-book list. And it’s an “Editor’s Choice!”

THE ROGUE will be number 10 on The New York Times Best-Seller list this Sunday.

Even better, it’s number 7 on the e-book list.

Best of all, New York Times Book Review editors have selected it as an “Editor’s Choice,” a distinction reserved for “Recent Books of Particular Interest.”

No other book about Sarah Palin has received this accolade.

My thanks to so many readers of this blog, who I know have purchased the book, and who are telling their friends about it.

And my thanks to all those at Crown Publishing who have done so much to make THE ROGUE a success.

Just yesterday, Andrew Sullivan praised THE ROGUE as “devastating and exhaustively reported.”

And NEWSWEEK today highlights this paragraph from my Daily Beast article, entitled, “Arrivederci, Sarah!”

“In our 235 years as a nation, [Sarah Palin] might have been—other than the Civil War—the gravest threat our republic has ever faced. Not only was she the most unqualified candidate in our history, she might have been the most mentally fragile, and she was certainly the only one ever who flirted openly with the notion of ending the separation of church and state.”

It was almost three years ago that I flew to Anchorage to be there for election day.  Almost all my working hours since then have been spent researching, writing, and now promoting THE ROGUE.

Ever since its publication on Sept. 20, I’ve been reading that THE ROGUE might have been the decisive factor in Sarah Palin’s decision not to run for president.

Personally, I don’t give myself that much credit.

I think it was her lack of mental and emotional cohesion, her unwillingness to tackle a hard task, and her fear of future disclosures that made her pass up her one God-given opportunity to try to become the most powerful person on earth.

Let’s remember:  in the early 1990’s, Sarah Palin applied for a job as dispatcher with the Palmer, Alaska, police department.

She didn’t get that job.

And then she thought she could be president?

After Sarah’s announcement yesterday that she didn’t have the guts to fight for what she says she believes in, Andrew Sullivan called her “a nasty, callow, delusional, vicious know-​nothing, brewed in resentment… whose accomplishments could fit on a postage stamp.”

On a three-cent stamp, I would add.

But our long national nightmare is over now.

And as I told Dave Weigel of Slate, last night:

“Whew.  The country didn’t need to dodge a second bullet.  She’ll always be relevant as an example of how close an utterly unqualified individual came to being only a heartbeat away from the presidency. I’ll gladly sacrifice a few sales to have the country rid of Sarah Palin forevermore.”


Arrivederci, Sarah! see my Daily Beast piece about her announcement

It’s here.

Behind the scenes glimpse of how this piece was posted by 2:14 a.m. EDT–a Daily Beast editor contacted my agent at 6:25 p.m., moments after news of Sarah’s announcement broke. He wanted to know if I could write a quick reaction. I could and did, and sent it to Daily Beast at 10:24 p.m. Even with their understandable preoccupation with the death of Steven Jobs, they had it up in less than four hours.

It was a refreshing change from delivering a book manuscript on January 15 for September 20 publication.

Reminded me of my days writing on deadline as a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer when news was breaking.

If THE ROGUE played even the slightest role…I’d feel a surge of patriotic pride.

Yes, I called it here last night, but that’s not what’s important.

What’s important is that WE ARE RID OF HER.

There is no reason to pay attention to Sarah Palin ever again.

If her decision costs me money from lost book sales, I’ll consider it a worthy donation to a noble cause.

As was said when Richard Nixon resigned, “Our long national nightmare is over.”


Time for a glass of champagne and a cigar.