…is Edgar Allan Poe’s famous story of the theft of a potentially damaging letter, and the clever way in which the amateur sleuth C. Auguste Dupin recovers the letter. Perhaps we “pathetic bloggers” are modern-day incarnations of Dupin, using our wits (and the Internet!) to try to solve the mystery of Trig Palin’s birth. In this spirit, let’s turn our attention back to another letter – this one is not “purloined” but is suspicious and certainly deserves more attention than it has received in this real-life “detective story.”
The Purloined Letter, like the CBJ letter, is a wonderful play between revelation and concealment. CBJ's letter would appear to be something simple but close examination reveals that the structure and contents are actually highly suggestive (one could say convoluted) and open to many interpretations.
To review: after delaying for weeks, at 10:30 p.m. on November 3, 2008, barely hours before Election Day, the McCain-Palin Campaign released a letter regarding Sarah Palin’s medical history. The odd timing of the release of this letter ensured that it would not receive any scrutiny prior to the election, and given their election defeat the next day, it has received little scrutiny since. In fact, ask most anyone who could be considered "pro-Palin," and they will tell you, indignantly, that of course Gov. Palin released her medical "records." In fact, she never did anything of the sort.
Questions surrounding the letter were raised several months ago on the blog, but I did not have the opportunity at the time to investigate or address them in any detail, so frankly, this issue went on the back burner. Then, in early January, there was an extraordinary email exchange between Governor Palin and the editor of the Anchorage Daily News, Pat Dougherty. These emails made clear that ADN had assigned reporter Lisa Demer to report on the conspiracy story itself, to document how, what Dougherty calls "nutty nonsense" has nevertheless persisted for so many months. In conjunction with this, Demer was to try to “report the facts of Trig's birth thoroughly enough to kill the nonsense once and for all.” The amazing thing is that the emails reveal that, despite contacting Dr. Baldwin-Johnson (and others), Demer still – as recently as two months ago - did not receive the information ADN needed to “put this nonsense to rest.”
How is one to interpret this? Reading between the lines, I believe that ADN contacted Dr. Baldwin-Johnson to corroborate the birth story on several occasions – but she has not, ever, in clear, simple, unequivocal terms, been willing to do so. This is - in fact - astonishing.
Cathy Baldwin Johnson has never given a simple statement that Trig Palin was born at Mat-Su Hospital on April 18th, that Sarah Palin is his biological mother, and that she - Dr. Baldwin-Johnson - was physically present at the delivery. She would not do this at the following junctures:
1. Back in April, when Trig Palin was allegedly born. She gave ambiguous statements to the press about the circumstances of the birth (several of which contradicted explicitly statements Gov. Palin made) and then she clammed up.
2. On August 31st (when announcing it would have scotched the necessity of announcing – the next day – seventeen year old Bristol's pregnancy);
3. In the letter released before the election
4. To the ADN in December when they asked AGAIN.
The questions that this leaves are astounding. Dougherty states unequivocally that he has no personal doubts that Sarah Palin is Trig Palin's mother, yet never is willing to confront – head on – the rank inconsistency that the Governor's own physician will not corroborate her birth story.
As a result, I decided that it was time to delve further into the questions raised by the letter, and Dr. Baldwin-Johnson’s involvement in this case. I asked one of my research assistants to summarize the problems with the letter; that summary is here. We are releasing it in pdf form as it is quite long - five pages - and contains numerous legal citations.
To summarize this pdf: This letter is the only documentation that has ever been provided by anyone about the circumstances of Trig Palin's birth. Yet it was not released by the doctor; it was not actually signed by the doctor; it has never been authenticated by the doctor; it contains information which the doctor could not know first-hand; it contains erroneous information; and most notably, it does not ever say that Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig Palin. The letter's unprofessional appearance, modified electronic signature and lack of clear factual statements give rise to numerous questions about its legitimacy, and some have suggested that these may be a deliberate ploy to allow Dr. Baldwin-Johnson “deniability” – that is, grounds to claim that she is not legally responsible for the letter.
The problems with the November 3rd letter raise new questions about Dr. Baldwin-Johnson’s involvement, not only with the letter, but with the entire mystery of Trig’s birth. It is time to explore the medical, ethical and legal issues regarding this case.
To be continued…
Around the Lens – Drones, Steve McCurry and Bullet Proof Vests - https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/44561/Around%20the%20Lens%20-%20Episode%2027%20.mp3 This week’s panelists are former photojournalist, current host of th...
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