In an interview with the Daily Caller, Sarah Palin’s brother said that his sister fears for the safety of her children because of the “creepy” reporter who has moved in next door to Palin’s Alaska home. “We’re creeped out by it, like everyone else is,” Palin’s older brother, Chuck Heath Jr., said. “It’s an unbelievable invasion of privacy.”
Reporter Joe McGinniss, who is writing a book about the former governor, has leased a house in Wasilla, Alaska for the next five months. After noticing that McGinniss was watching her while she mowed the grass, Palin took to Facebook this week to post a note of displeasure. “He moved up all the way from Massachusetts to live right next to us – while he writes a book about me…Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden, and the family’s swimming hole?” Palin wrote.
Critics have countered that anyone as famous as Sarah Palin has a reduced expectation of privacy. Her 48-year-old brother, a schoolteacher in Anchorage, doesn’t see it that way. “Sarah hasn’t gone after the publicity, the publicity has gone after her,” he said. “She’s getting out there and she’s doing all she can to help this country.”
As if anticipating the question, Heath said critics might ask why Palin is doing a reality show this summer if she doesn’t like attention. “That’s an attempt to show off this state,” he explained. “And promote people coming up, increasing tourism, brings more dollars into this state. It’s going to help this state out. It’s just amazing how everybody blows everything out of proportion and they boil it down to what he said, ‘this is just a publicity stunt’.”
Heath said the family has concluded that there’s nothing they can legally do to force McGinniss out of the house. “You can’t charge him with a stalking crime because there’s no intent to harm,” he said. “There’s some civil action, I guess, you could take if there’s harassment. But the time frame of getting us through the courts is more than five months, which is his timeframe right now.”
To shield the house from the new neighbor, Heath said Palin’s husband, Todd, and some buddies “worked through the night” to put up a 14-foot fence. “If you’ve ever been to Sarah’s house and seen — literally, she’s not exaggerating, when she says that that house is 12 feet away from the kitchen window she looks out of. And the deck looks right down into her kitchen, and into the bedrooms and the upstairs too. It’s crazy.”
Asked if his sister might decide to leave Alaska entirely – say, by running for president in 2012 – Heath is noncommittal. “Nobody knows her plans except for Sarah,” he said. “That’s the $64,000 question that everybody, everywhere we’ve gone has asked us. And like we say, in total honesty, we have no idea.”
If she did run, he says, the family “would definitely support her run. And would be excited for her to do that… I can say that if Sarah was in charge right now, I think this country would be going in a lot better direction that it is right now.”