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Anonymice Trash Palin

From the Scrapbook.

Nov 23, 2009, Vol. 15, No. 10
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Officials of John McCain's losing presidential campaign are trashing Sarah Palin again. And no wonder. The media let them say anything they wish about Palin while remaining anonymous, and thus not accountable. In effect, they get a free shot at her. The Washington Post, for example, identified them as "multiple former McCain officials," a group that includes at least "one former senior official." No names are attached.

This is an old--and entirely unprofessional--trick of the media. Palin is loathed by the elites of the national press corps. But rather than attack Palin on their own, reporters find folks willing to tear into her so long as they aren't named. If they were to be identified, they'd hold their tongue. Heaven forbid! In the case of Palin, the media wouldn't want that to happen.

The Post quoted from an Associated Press account of Palin's new book, Going Rogue. Then it got unnamed ex-staffers from the McCain campaign to dispute her specific claims. Palin writes that aides were delighted with her performance when interviewed by Katie Couric and urged her to tape more segments with Couric. But "one former senior McCain campaign official" disputes that. Who is this person? Is it someone who was there? Is the "official" more credible than Palin? We have no way of knowing.

One "former senior official" spoke to the Post, supposedly more in sorrow than anger. "John McCain offered her the opportunity of a lifetime, and during the campaign it seems that, for all of her mistakes, she is searching for people to blame," the official says. "We don't need to go through this again."

We sure don't. The last time un-identified aides and officials were attacking Palin in the media was in the waning days of the losing campaign and afterwards. Blame themselves for McCain's poor showing? No way. It was all Palin's fault. The wave of criticism by aides who'd worked for McCain and Palin was a political low point for them and the media.

But now, a year later, you'd think these "officials" would step forward boldly and speak in their own name. Why do they hide? Simple reason: their zingers failed and Palin has become a formidable political figure with a nationwide following, a sought-after speaker, a bestselling author, and a potential candidate for president in 2012. In contrast, her critics--insiders know who they are--are toxic. All they've got is their anonymity.

Who Promoted Major Hasan?

One of the troubling aspects of the Fort Hood massacre is the fact that military colleagues of Major Nidal Malik Hasan at Fort Hood and at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington seem to have been deeply and persistently worried about his behavior. Some of his fellow Army physicians thought he was psychotic, others were convinced that he was dangerous--and all were reluctant to raise their concerns with superiors about an officer in the Medical Corps who openly admired al Qaeda, trafficked in terrorist websites, and -talked about his violent Islamist beliefs with patients and fellow doctors.

It seems fairly evident, at this -juncture, that Hasan's Army colleagues were paralyzed by political correctness: In a branch of the armed services where the uniformed chief worries publicly about "diversity" in the wake of the shooting of 43 innocents at Fort Hood, it is not difficult to understand why Hasan's fellow officers chose not to complain about his outrageous conduct. Which, of course, leads to one obvious question--Who promoted Major Nidal Malik Hasan, and why? --and one serious warning: The Army's fecklessness in the face of a jihadist officer is not only shocking in itself, but an ideal breeding ground for some contemporary equivalent of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

THE SCRAPBOOK recalls that, nearly 60 years ago, a left-wing dentist named Irving Peress was drafted into the Army and, under the provisions of the draft law at the time, automatically promoted to major. Peress was not a Communist, but when it was revealed that he had declined to answer questions about his political beliefs on a loyalty form--he was a member of the leftist American Labor party--his superiors were ordered to discharge him within three months.