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Politics, Pop Culture and Ponderings

Joe McGinniss Engages Sarah Palin Via Twitter as Manuscript Controversy Plays Out

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Sarah Palin’s cybermessenger, Rebecca Mansour, likes to tweet. In doing so lately, she’s contributed to a new storyline involving her boss and two writers intent upon telling tales about her.

On Feb. 11, she tweeted Joe McGinniss, the author who for a time lived next door to Palin’s Alaska home to work on a book about the 2008 vice presidential candidate. The tweet said: “@joemcginniss have you taken to cyber stalking now that you’re no longer living next door to @SarahPalinUSA? #creepy”

Earlier that same day, McGinniss had responded to one of Mansour’s tweets that said “Praying for the Christians of the Middle East.” McGinniss asked her: “Only the Christians?”

McGinniss only follows three people on Twitter — Palin, Mansour and Gerard Piqué, a Barcelona soccer player. He only recently resumed tweeting in February after nearly a five-month hiatus.

Soon after doing so, McGinniss leaked a rival manuscript on Palin, written by Frank Bailey, a former longtime aide to the possible presidential candidate, to the Anchorage Daily News.

Bailey had been Palin’s chief of staff when she was governor — a job she gave up in 2009 with a year and a half still to serve. Bailey tried to sell a book proposal that year but failed. More recently, he teamed up with two ghostwriters on the new project with the working title “Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years.”

According to news outlets with access to the manuscript, Bailey cites many e-mails from his then boss, including one in which Palin said, “I hate this damn job.”

Bailey was also a key player in the Troopergate scandal that came to national attention after Palin became Sen. John McCain’s GOP running mate in 2008. It involved an investigation into why Palin dismissed her public safety commissioner after he refused to fire state trooper Mike Wooten – with whom Palin’s sister was involved in a child custody battle when the couple divorced in 2006. In the manuscript, Bailey writes that Todd Palin recruited him to go after Wooten, saying, “It’s time to get s–t, done, and it’s us, Frank. You and me.”

Other allegations include Palin illegally coordinating with the Republican Governor’s Association to film a campaign spot during her 2006 run for governor.

Bailey collaborated on the book with Ken Morris and Jeanne Devon (the latter is a founding editor of The Mudflats Blog, which is often critical of Palin).

The Carol Mann Agency in New York is shopping the manuscript to publishers. According to Publisher’s Marketplace, the agency represents Queen Latifah, conservative pundit Thomas Sowell and television sports reporter Hannah Storm.

One of the ghostwriters told the Associated Press that the manuscript is preliminary and had not been authorized for dissemination. It’s unclear why McGinniss leaked the manuscript — the Daily News says it received copies from him as well as other sources — or how he obtained it. The ghostwriters have accused him of copyright infringement by distributing it without authorization. As a result, they allege, potential interest in their work has been diminished. They claim McGinniss is a jealous author intent on sabotaging his competition.

McGinniss is a best-selling author whose works include “The Selling of the President 1968,” which landed on The New York Times bestseller list when McGinniss — now in his late-sixties — was just 26.

In November 2009, McGinniss’ representative, the David Black Literary Agency, sold his Palin manuscript to Broadway Books. According to the Publishers’ Marketplace database, the book is described as “an investigative narrative of Sarah Palin’s significance as both political and cultural phenomenon and as an embodiment of the contradictory forces that shaped Alaska as it moved into its second half-century as a state.”

In May 2010, he moved next door to the Palins’ house in Wasilla and began research for the work. (On her Facebook page, Palin warned him to stay away from her children.) Last September, he moved out, and tweeted: “Palin’s next neighbors: sadly, I leave Lake Lucille but am told a Muslim group will move in next week to establish a community center.”

On Feb. 12, McGinniss tweeted to @SarahPalinUSA: “Book has never been delayed. Always planned for fall. On schedule for publication Sept. 20.”

He followed that tweet with: “Cover release now set for week of Feb. 21. My website and Facebook fan page for THE ROGUE also coming soon.”

For all parties, any publicity is good publicity. It can only help with pre-orders on Amazon for McGinniss’ book. As for Bailey, a book deal is likely in his inbox.

But in this publishing mystery, questions remain: How did McGinniss get access to the Bailey manuscript? Had Bailey confessed Palin secrets to McGinniss? Isn’t the book market strong enough for two Palin tomes? Who benefits the most from creating trouble among all these parties?

To some extent, the answers will likely play out on Twitter.


Written by suziparker1313

March 10, 2011 at 4:00 am

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