Over the next few days I intend to look at some of what has been released.
Today, I am going to focus on the most famous picture of all, this photo which was taken on the last day of the Alaska State Legislative Session (Sunday, April 13th) , in Juneau, with Andrea Gusty, a reporter for KTVA Channel 11 - CBS affiliate in Anchorage). I am also going to discuss a statement made by Cherie Shirey, the Assignment Manager for the same TV station.
Here is the photo - Click for larger version:
This photo has been controversial from its first appearance. I cannot determine for certain where or when it first appeared. The closest I can get is a Flickr account on 8/31. However, consensus is that it appeared nowhere prior to her announcement as the VP nominee on August 30, 2008. (If anyone can refute that please please do so.)
It's also a bit mysterious how it was released, as Andrea Gusty has been quoted by factcheck.org as saying:
We spoke with Gusty, who sent us this copy of the photo, and she told us she was surprised the photo had made it onto the Internet. “I was under the impression that nobody had it except for me.Well, someone must have had it because it WAS released, and it sounds as if Gusty is stating clearly it was NOT RELEASED by her. I have tried very hard to pin down its first source. The Daily Kos diary that first shows it attributes it to Free Republic which in turn links to a Flickr page.
There is a second photo on this same Flickr account, shown here.
So who is erik99559? His Flickr accounts shows two photos both uploaded, helpfully, on 8/31/2008. I don't know that it really matters, (though I would think Andrea Gusty might be a bit curious to know who Erik is since somehow he managed to get access to what she has said was a private photo.) I don't really have a problem with the fact that this photo did not come to light until after the pregnancy rumors hit the internet. Lots of photos of Gov. Palin (for example, the Philadelphia Zoo photo that was discussed yesterday) don't seem to have been released until after the nomination. With the great surge in interest in Gov. Palin it is only logical and to be expected that new photos would crop up.
However, there are only four photos in existence which show Gov. Palin between 3/5 and 4/18 in which her midsection is not obscured by a scarf, and three of these four were not released until after her nomination. Those photos are these two, the still shot of Palin with Elan Frank taken on or about 4/8, and the photo released on this blog, taken on 3/25 and posted to a Flickr account shortly after that. All other photos in existence of her from this time frame show her from the side, or back, obscured by - usually - floppy scarves and black jackets or other coats. The only one of the photos that shows her straight on that was available prior to the announcement of her nomination is the one I released on this blog. The three released after her nomination show her clearly pregnant, the one released before is ambiguous at the very best.
Andrea Gusty has stated clearly and explicitly that this photo was taken that day, that it is not photoshopped or altered in any way, and that is how Gov. Palin looked.
We also have a statement, made to Lee Stratham at the Huffington Post on 9/1/2008 by Cherie Shirey, the Assignment Manager at KTVA. She states:
These internet rumors are very bizarre. We worked with Governer Palin many times in 2008. Our reporters worked her on location and in the studio and I worked with her myself. She was definitely pregnant. You could see it in her belly and her face. The whole idea that Sarah Palin wasn't pregnant with Trig is completely, absolutely absurd.
Now, this is really really good news. The station worked with Palin many times. She looked pregnant. This is a TV station. That means... video tape, right?
Hmmm. Not so fast. In fact, as far as I can tell not a single interview done by KTVA of Palin after January 2008 is available, including, incredibly the one associated with the most famous picture above.
So... given what we have been told by Ms. Gusty and Ms. Shirey, I have a few questions for them and their station.
It is beyond dispute that every single media outlet that reported on Palin's pregnancy announcement in Alaska said the same thing: that it was an utter surprise, a complete shock. This includes the Anchorage Daily News, ("shocked and awed just about everybody... even her staff was unaware she was pregnant") Newsminer and Juneau Empire ("a day-ending bombshell"). Channel 13 (Alaskasuperstion) called it "the biggest shocker of the year." Channel 11 KTVA itself said the announcement "caught a lot of people off guard."
It is also beyond dispute that from the time of the announcement (late in the afternoon on March 5th) until Trig Palin was born early in the morning on April 18th, was a period of 44 days, slightly more than six weeks.
So... returning to Cherie Shirey's statement, "We worked with Gov. Palin many times in 2008... in the studio..."
Examining Sarah Palin's travel schedule at length, from the time of her announcement until Trig's birth reveals the following:
Circa March 4: Los Angeles to Anchorage
Circa March 7: Anchorage to Fairbanks
Circa March 9: Fairbanks to Anchorage
Circa March 11: Anchorage to Juneau
Circa March 14: Juneau to Anchorage
Circa March 27: Anchorage to Juneau
Circa April 15: from Juneau to Dallas
April 17: from Dallas to Anchorage
During this time, not counting days that she was traveling, Sarah Palin was physically in Anchorage / Wasilla approximately 17 days... out of the 44.
The first question I'd like to ask Cherie Shirey is how many times in these 17 days was Gov. Palin in your studio in Anchorage? What were the stories you were covering? Now certainly, a crew could have followed (and on at least one occasion did follow) Palin to various events: the famous Andrea Gusty shoot on April 13 was in Juneau, so the crew had to fly there. But you have stated specifically that you interviewed her many times in 2008 when she looked pregnant.
So... when? Where's the footage? What were the issues discussed? And, most pointedly, were you specifically claiming to Lee Stratham that there were those of you at KTVA who noticed or believed she was expecting prior to the official announcement on 3/5/2008? If so, why did you not state it immediately after the announcement when everyone else in Alaska was talking about shock and bombshells.
As I said, the search of the KTVA website tells a different tale. When you search on the (logical) search term "Sarah Palin," there is not a single archived story concerning Gov. Palin from early January 2008 (1/08 to be exact) until 7/18 that I can find. Not one. Including the footage - which I would think would be very interesting to a great many people - that was being filmed the day that Andrea Gusty has claimed she looked very noticeably and obviously pregnant. The footage which would verify either that Palin really did look like that OR that Andrea Gusty is lying through her teeth. Here's the screenshot of the search I did just in case some new footage magically appears.
The reason that this statement needs to be vetted so SO critically is that Cherie Shirey's statement is one of the very few pieces of evidence that the people who have claimed that Palin was certainly pregnant have depended on. It was quoted again just this week by Michelle Malkin as she eviscerates those of us who have continued to question this story. Michelle states: "Shirey was ignored."
Hell yes, she was ignored. And for good reason! She is just about the only person in Alaska who has ever clearly stated that Sarah Palin looked pregnant other than Palin herself, yet she has never provided any proof of what she said even though logically she should be able to do so EASILY: she works at a TV station and the context in which she saw Palin was to FILM her!
She's also the only person who has gone on record at least implying Palin looked pregnant PRIOR to the March 5th announcement, because, given the time limitations, that's the only way Shirey's statement that the station had worked with Palin "many times" could possibly be true. (Even state staffers who had been willing to support Gov. Palin did so with whacky statements like “All of a sudden she had this penchant for really beautiful scarves.” This description of Palin's accessorizing is not exactly what I would call a resounding confirmation of her pregnancy. But maybe I'm just too picky.)
Neither Shirey nor her station has been willing to provide footage or stills from any of those "many" interviews done in 2008 during which she states Palin was clearly pregnant. Like so many things that could provide some real solid definitive proof that Palin was pregnant last spring, they are said to exist, they should be easy to get, but somehow just never quite seem to make it into the light of day.
Of course, to ask that question makes me a "tin foil hat truther," and a lot of other things that I am not even going to repeat here.
But hey, I've got a good idea. Audrey is a nothing but a wing-nut loony, but Michelle Malkin is one of the good guys. She's on the "right side" of all this. Maybe if Michelle Malkin would ask KTVA nicely they would release the Gusty footage from April 13th and the "many" other interviews in which Palin appears pregnant. And then, finally, once and for all, all these pesky rumors could just go away.
Why don't you try, Michelle, and then let us all know how that works out for you? I for one will be watching your blog.