Raw Journolist emails on ‘Palin’s Downs child’

Adam Serwer
Aug 30, 2008, 12:48am

no, definitely not.

Mark Kleiman
Aug 30, 2008, 1:03am

Absolutely don’t touch it. Even the Kossacks are voting to leave it alone. Even if it were true, it would be as much to her credit as anything, and bringing it out would be horribly cruel to the daughter and the infant. And given the statistics about Down Syndrome and age, how likely is it to be true anyway?
Yuck yuck yuck.

Hit her on bringing the cameras when she visited the wounded warriors. That’s fair game, and that will hurt with her base.


But leave the kid alone.

Adam Serwer
Aug 30, 2008, 1:26am


Adam Serwer
Aug 30, 2008, 1:28am

I also think that from that newsweek article it’s pretty clear nothing happened and that local reporter was an asshole.

Adele Stan
Aug 30, 2008, 2:49am

Leave the whole thing alone. For starters, my best friend barely looked pregnant at 7 months, and certainly wouldn’t have in a loose dress.

Second, we may not like the way her choice to carry a fetus to term despite the presence of Down Syndrome will be used by the right, but her choice does not make her a bad or dishonest person. It’s a noble choice that’s consistent with her world view. My point, if any, would be that is was her *choice* to make.

I really doubt that she was covering for her teenage daughter. She may have been trying to deal with her amnio results before announcing the pregnancy.

My difficulty with Palin is that there is as much to admire as there is to disparage about her. She really is trying to have and do it all while living within the framework of the right’s ideal of a woman. Nobody would do that unless she was a true believer. I can’t imagine what it’s like to operate in Palin’s world while carrying that burden.

Lots about her that’s fair game: climate change, intelligent design, ANWR drilling, dishonest representation of Obama’s energy plan.

Ryan Donmoyer
Aug 30, 2008, 7:52am

Fair enough, although I would remind you that Internet discourse often lends itself to expedient language that is in no way shape or form intended to offend. I should have written Palin’s “fifth” child in any case.

Back to the substance at hand, this is one hell of a whacky conspiracy theory and I too agree it’s probably best left alone. I do wonder, however, whether at least one authoritative piece ought to be done to try to put the issue to rest — not as a hit job on Palin so much as to counter something that has already rapidly and viciously spread on the Internet and will only go more viral. As long as it’s in the rumor stage it rivals the disinformation disseminated about Obama — and neither is useful for the
public discourse.

And I do think if this were true, it may creep some people out who thought the days of sending your knocked-up teenager away to live with the out-of-state-aunt ended with Roe v. Wade.

Kathleen Geier
Aug 30, 2008, 9:13am
Obviously, neither Obama nor any other Democrat should touch this story. At all.

But — and that’s a big but — if it’s true, *of course* it would be an issue. And should be! Forget the issue of whether or not she denied her daughter the choice of ending her pregnancy — that’s not the issue. The issue would be if Palin is lying to the McCain’s people, and voters, and basically the world, by trying to pass off a child as hers, if it really wasn’t. Your kids are as much a part of your basic life story as when and where you were born, who you married, and where you went to school. If she’s trying to pass off a child as her own, when that child is actually her granddaughter — that is a huge freaking deal.

Now, that said, this does sound like a pretty wacky conspiracy theory. If there’s no evidence to it other than the fact that Palin allegedly did not look pregnant, and her daughter was allegedly absent from school, that’s an extremely slim reed to hang a story on.

However, if a reporter investigated this story and came up with compelling evidence that it’s true — such as documents or eyewitness testimony from medical professionals and the like — the media should have no compunctions about running with it.

But it’s such a wild story I seriously doubt there’s much to it. On the other hand, I thought the idea that John Edwards would risk having an affair and a love child in the midst of a campaign for president was preposterous as well. So you never know . . .

Harold Pollack
Aug 30, 2008, 9:14am

This thing just makes no sense ethically, politically, substantively.
(I admit the rumor is intriguing.)

As Mark noted, and I boneheadedly overlooked, Down Syndrome is prevalent among infants born to 44-year-olds, not to teen moms. (In fact, the increasingly-delayed age distribution of births creates public health challenges. Biologically speaking, 18-year-old moms have better birth outcomes than 32-year-olds when everything else is right. After the baby is born–that’s another matter!)

Ryan Donmoyer
Aug 30, 2008, 9:20am

> Biologically speaking, 18-year-old moms have
> better birth outcomes than 32-year-olds when everything else is right.
> After the baby is born–that’s another matter!)

Look, I’m not trying to stir this pot, but this thing is gaining traction on the chat boards.

Biologically speaking, most children with Downs Syndrome are born to women under age 35 (just as most children PERIOD are born to women under 35). I have no way of knowing, but let’s not assume there’s a statistically significant difference here. Let’s not immediately conclude that of course it’s Sarah Palin’s because she’s 44 years old.

Biologically speaking, which is more unlikely anyway: 1) A 17-year-old having a child with Downs Syndrome or 2) A 43-year-old woman conceiving without the help of medical intervention?

For what it’s worth, here is a photo of her from the Anchorage Daily News from mid-March, when she would have been 7 or 7 1/2 months pregnant: