You might think "all of Sarah Palin's skeletons had been whisked out of the closet" after three years of "glaring media attention," says Dan Amira at New York. Well, you'd be wrong, at least judging by the leaks from journalist Joe McGinniss' long-awaited (and decidedly unauthorized) biography, The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin. McGinniss famously drew Palin's ire by moving into the house next door to her while working on the book, and the finished product (set for a Sept. 20 release) is full of "the most salacious things you could possibly imagine," Amira says. Here, five of the book's most eye-opening allegations:
1. As a sports reporter, Palin reportedly slept with a future NBA star
The Rogue's splashiest anecdote maintains that, in 1987, while Palin was a sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station, she had a one-night stand with future NBA All-Star Glen Rice, then a junior at the University of Michigan. According to the National Enquirer, Rice confirmed the account to McGinniss, although The New York Times notes that McGinniss is relying on a "flagrantly leading question" he posed to Rice over the phone. Still, this is "the one serious, grimace-producing revelation" in the book, says Flip Bondy in the New York Daily News. Sleeping with your sources violates one of journalism's most basic tenets, and for Palin to do so is a slap in the face to "legitimate women reporters" everywhere. The alleged "pre-marriage dalliance" took place about nine months before Palin eloped with husband Todd.
2. She also reportedly had an affair with her husband's business partner
McGinniss repeats the claim — first raised by the National Enquirer in 2008 — that Palin had a six-month affair with Todd's business partner Brad Hanson in the mid-1990s. Todd dissolved their snowmobile dealership in 1996, allegedly after uncovering the affair. On Wednesday, the First Dude criticized McGinniss' "disgusting lies, innuendo, and smears."
3. Palin allegedly has a history with illegal drugs
One of McGinniss' unidentified sources says that, in the Enquirer's summation, Palin was "seen snorting cocaine off an overturned 55-gallon oil drum while snowmobiling with pals" sometime before becoming governor. She also allegedly smoked marijuana with a professor while attending Mat-Su College in Alaska. The drug tales are a "devastating blow" to Palin's political hopes, says Paul Bentley at Britain's Daily Mail. But is it even physically possible to snort coke off a frozen oil drum without getting your nose stuck, asks Maureen O'Connor at Gawker. "Maybe they were rubbing their noses in literal snow, and someone misunderstood?"
4. And was apparently an inattentive mother
McGinniss' book make it clear that he "certainly doesn’t think much of Palin as a mother," says The Daily Beast. The Enquirer leaks a claim that Palin would essentially abandon her kids when Todd wasn't home, leaving them to make and eat burned pots of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Palin may or may not be a "bad mom," says Gawker's O'Connor, but "not because her kids ate macaroni sometimes." In fact, "all kids should eat macaroni, and they should cook it for themselves, too."
5. Palin was reportedly uncomfortable "in the presence of dark-skinned people"
McGinniss reportedly offered advance copies of The Rogue to only three people — Andrew Sullivan, Roseanne Cash, and Doonesbury creator Gary Trudeau. Trudeau has put snippets of the book in his comic strip, including the claim that Palin "isn't comfortable in the presence of dark-skinned people." That was enough to get the Chicago Tribune to pull the strip. I can see why, says Alexandra Petri at The Washington Post. How can Palin both be uncomfortable around black people and yet, as another source said, have indulged "a fetish for black guys for a while"? It's time for the media to stop beating the long-dead Palin horse. At this point, "you're just embarrassing yourself."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- 10 things you need to know today: November 28, 2014
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
Subscribe to the Week