Could somebody point me to an explanation of how the 4/13/08 photograph came to be verified as legitimate and not some home PhotoShopper monkeying around with SP's head, some pregnant woman's body, etc.?
Has Sarah Palin ever said it was a photograph of her?
Has the reporter with the microphone and/or the cameraman said it's legitimate?
1. The photo of Gusty allegedly interviewing Palin has never been verified as legitimate. It was released on August 31st, after the controversy of Palin's not being Trig's mom swept the Internet, to an anonymous Flickr account. Neither the photographer nor the account owner (Eric95599) has ever identified themselves, answered how or why it was released on 8/31, or answered legitimate queries as to why - since there was controversy in Alaska since April concerning Trig's birth - it was not released prior to 8/31.
2. Sarah Palin has never commented on that photo. However, the McCain campaign (in conversations with Andrew Sullivan at Atlantic.com) has acknowledged the photo as one of the few in which Palin appears pregnant. I think it's fair to say they certainly implied that it is Palin and that it is legit.
3. Andrea Gusty told factcheck.org that the picture was legitimate. (According to factcheck.org, she also provided them with a higher resolution version of the photo, though factcheck.org has never released it; the version on their website is actually LOWER resolution than the one on Flickr.) She also told one of my research assistants that the photo was taken on April 13th and that is how Palin looked on that day. However, Gusty also said (to factcheck.org) she had no idea how the photo was released to the Internet because she thought she was the only one who had it and she has not answered my multiple emails asking for clarification on the photo. We have so far failed to identify the cameraman conclusively.
It should perhaps be stated here - since I do not believe I have mentioned it before - that there have been persistent rumors that another version of this photo was seen on the internet early in September in which Palin did not look this pregnant, that the photo was at that point "inconclusive." I cannot find any legitimate source for this. No one that I consider credible has ever written to me and stated that they saw the photo, told me where or when, and certainly no other version of the photo appears to be in existence. I have worked with numerous people since I began researching this topic who jumped into the issue very early on and downloaded and archived absolutely everything they found. It is only due to very alert bloggers and researchers that we have, for example, full screen shots of Mercedes Johnston's Myspace pages. If another version of the photo existed, I believe someone would have grabbed it and no one did. Because of this, I do not believe that another version of this photo was circulating early in September.