Many in the media have been trying to discredit this story. However the writer, Charley James is standing by the story. Here’s what he had to say
Anonymous sources are the bane of a reporter’s existence, and have been at least since Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used them extensively to unmask Watergate and topple Richard Nixon.
Frankly, writing as someone who has been covering news since the late 1960s for everything from local newspapers to major market TV and radio stations to a major business newsweekly, journalists don’t like citing anonymous sources any more than much of the public likes reading pieces that quote people without attribution. Alas, more often than not, the reality is that in a highly-explosive story such as my piece about Sarah Palin published here on Friday, granting anonymity may be the only way to get a source to agree to be interviewed.
So I am not surprised that a number of readers who wrote comments about the article raised questions about my sources. It has happened before, especially when I tackled a subject that raises a lot of dust, and it will happen again. Although I won’t reveal any sources – I honor promises of anonymity – let me explain how the story unfolded and sources came to my attention as I did the reporting.
When Palin’s name began leaking out the morning of Aug. 30, I sent an e-mail to an old friend from childhood who has been teaching in Alaska since he finished far too much graduate school, basically asking, “Who is Sarah Palin when it’s not raining and what was she before?”
He wrote back with not just a lengthy, invective-filled diatribe against her and the horse she rode in on but also a link to a 63-page vetting report on Palin he said was done up some time ago by Alaska Democrats. After reading it – information in the dossier goes all the way back to 2002 – I wrote again asking if he knew people I could contact for a possible article. A short list of names was provided, including Lucille the Waitress, the much-discussed and oft-doubted woman who seems to have drawn the largest number of questions from commentators on the article.
And how does he know her? Well, like many people living on minimum wage and tips, Lucille holds a second job which, in this case, includes cleaning my friend’s family home every other week.
Lucille was the first person I interviewed. In her late 50s or early 60s, she was nervous even though I provided her with my friend’s name and suggested she call him first to verify who I am. She decided to proceed with the interview, which lasted about 10 minutes. Assuming she knew nothing about having to put an interview “off the record” or on a “not for attribution” basis before the interview starts. I asked Lucille if I could use her name in my article. She let me use her first name but not her last because she said she was afraid she might be fired.
I called my friend after the interview and, relating what’d said, asked if she was trustworthy. I was assured that, “It’d be easier for Lucille to hunt bears bare handed than to tell a lie.
As I’ve been doing for 40 years, when I’d finish interviewing one source I’d ask them if they knew anyone else I might call. Thus, one source frequently begat a second which, often, begat a third. Thus, a picture of Sarah Palin began to emerge and the result was Alaskans Speak.
Do I wish more people would have spoken to me on the record and for attribution? Absolutely. Do I regret writing a piece that relied upon so many anonymous sources? Not one bit.
The LA Progressive is saying that after Obama defeated Hillary in the democratic primaries, Sarah Palin said ‘So Sambo beat the bitch’ to some colleagues of her’s sitting at a table at a restaurant in Alaska while discussing the democratic primaries. The allegation comes from a waitress who was serving them.
Here are some quotes from the article
According to Lucille, the waitress serving her table at the time and who asked that her last name not be used, Gov. Palin was eating lunch with five or six people when the subject of the Democrat’s primary battle came up. The governor, seemingly not caring that people at nearby tables would likely hear her, uttered the slur and then laughed loudly as her meal mates joined in appreciatively.’
‘The GOP is kind of like organized crime up here,” an insurance agent in Anchorage who knows the Palin family, explained. ‘It’s corrupt and arrogant. They’re all rich because they do private sweetheart deals with the oil companies, and they can destroy anyone. And they will, if they have to.’
‘Once Palin became mayor,” he continued, ‘She became part of that inner circle.’
‘Palin is a conniving, manipulative, a**hole,’ someone who thinks these are positive traits in a governor told me, summing up Palin’s tenure in Alaska state and local politics.
‘She’s a bigot, a racist, and a liar,’ is the more blunt assessment of Arnold Gerstheimer who lived in Alaska until two years ago and is now a businessman in Idaho.
‘Juneau is a small town; everybody knows everyone else,’ he adds. ‘These stories about what she calls blacks and Eskimos, well, anyone not white and good looking actually, were around long before she became a glint in John McCain’s rheumy eyes. Why do I know they’re true? Because everyone who isn’t aboriginal or Indian in Alaska talks that way.’
‘Sambo beat the bitch’ may be everyday language up in the bush. Whether it – and the outlook, politics and worldview Palin reflects when she says such things in public – should be part of a presidential campaign is another thing altogether. The comment says as much about McCain as it does about Palin, and it says a lot of things about Americans who overlook such statements (as well as her record) and vote anyway for McCain.