A long time ago, Joe McGinniss wrote good books, including “The Selling of the President” and “Fatal Vision.” A long time ago, Robert DeNiro made great films such as “The Godfather Part II,” Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.” DeNiro got lazy though, and started taking big paychecks for mediocre films. One of his more recent paychecks, “Little Fockers,” was trash for cash. McGinniss has become lazy, fat and old, and he’s cashing in with his own bookish “Little Fockers,” titled “The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin.”
I haven’t read “Rogue,” but then I haven’t seen “Little Fockers” either. Read the reviews. It’s painful to watch an actor or author you’ve once admired willingly step into quicksand. The New York Times’ Janet Maslin has read “Rogue,” and did an admirable job (read) noting McGinniss’ sloppy, virtually-without-sources biography that depicts Palin as a racist, friendless, uncaring, adulterous, drug-using, children-abusing sociopath. He makes Kitty Kelly look like Theodore White.
A well-researched biography of Palin would be a fascinating read. Palin is a mixture of talent and flaws, with an impulsive trait that makes it possible she could enter the GOP presidential race as late as Thanksgiving. She has helped galvanize a movement of political activism not seen since the 1890s. Like many Palin fans, I read just about everything she writes yet I am also frustrated that she uses easy Fox News or reality TV platforms rather than going out and confronting her political opponents via debate engagements or a TV show like the old “Firing Line.” No doubt many sufferers of Palin Derangement Syndrome are chortling, but she would meet any liberal heavyweight on even terms.
One irony is that McGinniss’ book, along with another crayon Palin tome from Levi Johnson and a widely panned anti-Palin film, “Sarah Palin, You Betcha,” has earned the former GOP VP nominee some positive press of late (read). That’s not a surprise. Despite a perception of anti-Palin bias, most media knocks against her come from the opinion press, such as columnists, bloggers, conspiracy addicts such as Andrew Sullivan, smirking chatterers such as Bill Maher or David Letterman, liberal comedy shows and celebrities.
McGinniss’ book reeks of hypocrisy, misogyny and racism in its charges against Palin. It’s unsubstantiated smears will be cited by Palin-haters long after the author has cashed his advance. In this case, however, most of the media will defend her.