The first is written by Julia O'Malley, an Alaskan journalist who works for the Anchorage Daily News.
I read Scharlott's piece. It contains lots of innuendo and some widely-circulated Photoshopped pictures. What is missing from his investigation: facts.
One of my favorite passages is about a picture where Palin appears pregnant. Scharlott presents the original image, and then one with changes to the light balance. She still looks pregnant in the second picture. But he writes "Palin appears to be wearing some sort of pad strapped around her midsection; her lower belly, where a fetus would normally reside, seems flat" This is total fantasy.
But who needs facts? When you don't have the goods to support your ideas, just start bashing the media for not digging them up. (Sarah Palin does this all the time.) Scharlott goes on about how the media didn't do a good job debunking the rumor. It was, he concludes, "a spiral of silence."
But, of course, there was no silence spiral. The journalists, including me, who covered Palin at the time believed she was pregnant because she was pregnant. Even before the announcement, she seemed to be putting on weight. She wore baggy jackets and scarves. Before the announcement, she acted nervous when photographers tried to take her picture. Later on, her face filled out. Her fingers swelled. She had a noticeable belly. And it wasn't made out of foam.
"A trim woman simply can’t hide a fetus in her seventh month of pregnancy, and Palin in no way looks four and a half weeks away from giving birth to a 6 pound baby," Sharlott writes. Actually, women carry babies all kinds of different ways. Some women gain less than 20 pounds. Has this man never seen "I didn't know I was pregnant" on TLC?
Palin also ran all the time at the gym in Juneau. People I know saw her on the treadmill sweating in workout clothes. She had a belly. I repeat: she had a real pregnant belly. Are you going to tell me she was wearing a prosthetic abdomen on the treadmill?
After the birth, we interviewed her doctor who talked about it. Why would the doctor lie for her? That's right. She wouldn't.
We've learned, for instance, that an Associated Press reporter in Alaska who was covering Palin during her pregnancy in early 2008 (before she became a national figure) thoroughly investigated rumors that the pregnancy was a hoax. The reporter directly questioned Palin about the matter in a private meeting in her Juneau office before she gave birth. Gov. Palin responded by voluntarily lifting her outer layer of clothing, offering a clear look at her round belly. The reporter quickly concluded that there was no truth to the rumors and never wrote about them.
This April 13, 2008 picture of a clearly pregnant Palin is from an interview with KTVA reporter Andrea Gusty (click for full size):
The Salon article is long, but well worth taking the time to read thoroughly.