The XX Factor

Salon Debunks the Myth That Sarah Palin Isn’t Trig’s Mom

If there is any justice in the world of online journalism, Justin Elliott’s Salon piece today debunking the conspiracy theor y that Sarah Palin is not Trig’s mother will receive as much attention as the disgraceful Wonkette post marking Trig’s third birthday.

Last week, “Trig trutherism” or, for folks who like imperfect parallels, “Trig birtherism” found its way back into the news with an academic paper by Bradford Scharlott that suggested-without naming who Trig’s mother might actually be-that Palin ” probably staged a gigantic hoax .”

I wrote that to believe that Sarah Palin isn’t Trig’s mother, you had to believe that either Bristol was the mother-which would have meant that the Palins lied about his birthday AND that Bristol got pregnant only weeks after having Trig-or that there was a surrogate whom the Palins paid off and who has not been outed even now.

But Elliott actually does the reporting. Go read his piece -it deserves the traffic. But a quick summary: Steve Quinn, an AP reporter at the time, questioned Palin about the pregnancy, and Palin showed off her belly. Further, Salon spoke to “numerous independent eyewitnesses who spent considerable time with Palin in early 2008 and who observed that she was pregnant.” He links to an Anchorage Daily News column that features photos of Palin pregnant and not pregnant.  A woman might be able to put on a fake belly and wear bulky clothes, but if you’re not actually pregnant, it’s hard to fake the chipmunk cheeks and double chin that come with pregnancy.

I don’t have any particular affection for Sarah Palin. My initial enthusiasm for her, when she burst onto the national scene as John McCain’s running mate, waned quickly, though probably not quickly enough. Her sporadic outbursts of common sense are confounding, because you see what might have been.

However you feel about her, though, it’s ridiculous to indulge in this conspiracy theory. And it runs the risk of making her sympathetic-and more appealing-to a wider audience. Which might be amusing for Democrats who would like to see someone unqualified run against Barack Obama next year.  But for the rest of us, it’s just annoying.

Photograph of Sarah and Trig Palin by Joshua Lott/Getty Images.