Joe McGinniss's The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin doesn't even come out until tomorrow and it's already been discredited as a sleazy, incoherent, and poorly reported book that may do the impossible: Make even liberals feel a bit of sympathy for Sarah Palin (or at least drive them to read Levi Johnston's memoir instead). Now McGinniss has come forward to defend himself, or just keep his name in the press for a few more days.
In an interview with Newsweek, Lloyd Grove asks McGinniss what he thinks about the accusation that The Rogue make the Palin family's claims that the "lamestream" media is out to get them seem slightly less delusional. He responds, "I don't know anyone who's not a card-carrying member of the Tea Party who would believe something as foolish as that." As for New York Times' accusation that the book is, "dated, petty and easily available to anyone with Internet access," McGinniss blames the Palins for warning those around them that they weren't allowed to talk to the reporter who rang their door bell and tried to start up a conversation with their son. Not that McGinniss let that stop him! He says,
"I would say that 90 percent of what I learned is not in the book because I couldn't check it out ... I wrote only the things I was able to satisfy myself about as to their authenticity, as to their accuracy, as to their truthfulness."
For instance, McGinniss learned a lot from talking to Palin's high school rival, but none of their conversation made it into the book because he wasn't sure about how to make a bibliography entry for a burn book.
McGinniss argues that his journalistic methods shouldn't be questioned because he was once a credible reporter. He says he could discern which anonymous Wasilla residents were trustworthy,
"on the basis of 40-plus years in journalism. By this point in my career, if I can't tell what's true and what somebody's making up for nefarious reasons, I've been in the wrong business all this time."
We should also have faith in McGinniss' reporting because he isn't capable of producing a less-shoddy book at the moment. He says:
"I wrote the best book about her I was able to write ... Now if that causes people to feel sorry for her, I would suggest they might be missing the point. Maybe I should have made it a little stronger."
Maybe next time McGinniss will make it clearer that Palin totally had sex with a black dude by throwing in a few more sexual encounters with NBA players (and giving Todd a gay lover, just for good measure).
The experience of having The Rogue universally panned seems to have turned McGinniss off to political writing for now, but he's already planning out a new project: A biography of Bruce Springsteen that he hopes the Boss will participate in. McGinniss jokes that he won't be moving next door this time because, "I don't think I could afford the rent." Though, it doesn't cost anything to sleep in a car parked outside Springsteen's mansion and rustle through his trash cans every day.