Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Be prepared to see more of Levi Johnston than you ever wanted to see. The 19-year-old who fathered a baby born out of wedlock to Sarah Palin's teenage daughter Bristol is about to pose nude for Playgirl magazine. Also, with Palin's book, "Going Rogue," set for release this month, some publications may follow Vanity Fair's example in October by granting the high-school dropout a byline.
In that piece, Johnston claimed that Palin did not nurture her children -- or cook or clean -- while husband Todd tinkered in the garage or slept on a black recliner in the living room.
This sort of Vanity Fair piece need not include verification by other sources, but there must be a paragraph with a seedy nugget in it. So Johnston wrote that the former Alaska governor sometimes called her Down syndrome son, Trig, "the retarded baby."
Appearing on CBS's "The Early Show" last week, Johnston released his latest salvo: "If I really wanted to hurt her, I could, very easily, but I'm not going to do it. I'm not going that far."
Not yet anyway. Johnston garners more ink in British than American newspapers. But he frequently is fodder for leftwing blogs and among pundits who concoct phrases like "Wasilla hillbilly" -- and cannot let go. He is the scratch for the itch of partisans so anxious to feel superior to Palin that they will consume any negative story about her, no matter how tainted. MSNBC talking heads like to bring up Levi Johnston.
Methinks if Fox News aired similar stories about a Democrat's daughter, there would be news stories questioning the right-leaning network's news judgment. After all, the accusations of an underemployed 19-year-old -- who has a career-incentive to dish out dirt on Palin -- are not exactly credible.
Or as "The Early Show's" Maggie Rodriguez wondered during an "exclusive" interview last week, "You really sound like somebody who's dead set on hurting these people the way they hurt you."
Rodriguez also asked, "Why should people believe you versus her?" To which Johnston replied, "I don't know." And: "I mean I was like family in that house." (All the more reason for Johnston to have kept his mouth zipped.)
Granted, Palin doesn't help her case when her spokesperson releases statements trashing the father of her grandson. Such as: "Consider the source of the most recent attention-getting lies -- those who would sell their body for money reflect a desperate need for attention and are likely to say and do anything for even more attention." This is one of those situations in which "No Comment" would have worked better.
Of course, Palin is outraged because Johnston is behaving like a classic heel. But he's a 19-year-old heel, who clearly is in over his head. No doubt Johnston will come to regret the Faustian choice he has made. TV producers and magazine biggies may woo Johnston in their zeal to discredit Palin. But he can give them what they want only by making things up or betraying confidences -- that is by making himself look like a world-class creep. In no time, they'll be trashing Johnston as a hick turncoat/opportunist.
During her interview, Rodriguez asked Johnston if he felt "used and discarded" by Palin. He did -- and he failed to note the irony.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter, the Rasmussen Report on radio and other media outlets.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $3.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on Election 2012, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.