This isn't like an earring you lost in your carpet that you might not see for a couple of weeks or months, and then, voila, there it is. It's not like the remote that is surely down in your sofa. Or all those damn socks under your drier.
This is a baby. A baby that is the alleged result of a pregnancy that was the primary "proof" that Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, nominee for Vice-President of the United States, was the biological mother of Trig Palin, and had not faked a pregnancy last April. Since it is indisputable that there WERE rumors that Bristol was pregnant last spring, Tripp's birth is a compelling piece of evidence that Trig is Sarah's because it proves with near certainty that Bristol cannot be. So Gov. Palin should be eager to show him, to put this "ridiculous lie" to rest once and for all.
But no. What we have instead is a situation that, to quote a friend, "goes beyond strange into the incomprehensible." I could not have said it better.
So far, no one outside of the immediate family has claimed to have seen this child. No pictures have been released. No hospital has been identified as the place of the birth.
Let's review: On December 29th, late in the afternoon Eastern Time, people.com posted an announcement that Bristol Palin had given birth. The source was Bristol's great-aunt (so the alleged baby's great great aunt,) Colleen Jones, who, we learned later had heard of the birth in an email from her brother-in-law Chuck "Sarah's Water Broke" Heath. Great-great-aunt Colleen, readers should be reminded, does not live in Alaska; she lives in Washington state. For your viewing pleasure, here are two interviews with Ms Jones, here and here (from during the campaign - nothing to do with the baby.)
It later was revealed that People had learned of the birth by cold-calling Ms. Jones. Over the next 24 hours, the actual day of the birth as well as the baby's birth weight fluctuated a bit, but the consensus finally was that the baby was born Saturday, December 27th, weighing seven pounds, seven ounces.
As far as I can determine, no news outlet EVER confirmed independently that the birth had occurred. Every media source that I can find that ran the story, including the Anchorage Daily News, did so by quoting the People.com announcement.
Initially, Gov. Palin's office would not comment on the blessed event (though they certainly did not issue any denial stating that the story was not true.) I discussed this in a previous post. Then, however, five days after the alleged birth, and two days after the news "broke" in People, Gov. Palin's office did confirm that the birth had occurred.
Since then, what do we have? Lots of lovely pictures of the happy young mom with her precious newborn? What about impromptu shots with Grandma Sarah and Grandpa Todd? No and no. We don't even have Great-Granddad Chuck Heath holding the bundle of joy. (At least we got that with Trig!)
What we do have is ONE interview, again in the ever-helpful People, from "other" grandmother, Sherry Johnston. She is the only person who has actually stated that she has seen the baby, here in the online article, and again in the print version of the magazine, in the issue dated January 19th, 2008.
But... hold it. A few things just plain don't add up with Granny Johnston's interview. First, although the issue was dated January 19th, it was actually available ten full days earlier, on the ninth. Allowing for printing and distribution schedules, it's hard to place this interview any later than the fifth. OK, so that's nine days after Tripp's alleged birth. Given the fact that most moms stay in the hospital 36-48 hours after the birth, it's reasonable to suggest that Bristol and her newborn would have come home from the hospital on Monday the 29th. So... at the time Sherry Johnston spoke to People, Tripp could not have been home from the hospital more than a week. Keep that in mind when you read the quote:
In their first weeks as parents, Levi and Bristol shared parenting duties. By day, says Sherry, they tended to Tripp and sorted through gifts from well-wishers; by night they traded off diaper detail and the task of soothing a crying baby.Weeks? A typo? Maybe.
But then, ouch! Another oddity rears its inconvenient head. On January 5th, the Anchorage Daily News reported that Levi had quit his North Slope oil job, and that he was flying home. Wait. Wasn't he already "home?' Wasn't he living with the Palins in their (according to People Magazine) four bedroom home that had just gotten "busier?" Wasn't he sharing diaper duty? From Wasilla to Alaska's North Slope is 700 miles. Travelocity lists only three flights a day from Barrow to Anchorage, at prices ranging from $700 to $1050 round trip. Not exactly an easy or cheap jaunt.
In fact, that Anchorage Daily News' article about Levi makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that he had "only recently returned" to the North Slope or "had only been back on the job a day since the birth of his child," or something similar... Read the article again, keeping in mind that People magazine claimed only four days later that Levi had been parenting Tripp for "weeks," and see if you find the omission as odd as I do. Was he ever actually in Wasilla? On the very day that Sherry Johnston is telling People Levi is cheerfully changing diapers at the Palin home, he's actually on the North Slope quitting his job. Hmmmmm........ It's my opinion that, in fact, the Anchorage Daily News article and the People Magazine article contradict each other directly. And if Ms. Johnston lied about Levi being home, did she lie about seeing the baby? It's a valid question. (She might have good reasons for doing as she's asked. Just sayin'...)
And there's another reason to question what the truth is here: A single comment left by Mercede Johnston, aunt of the alleged newborn, on a MySpace page belonging to a former Wasilla resident, Mellissa Wilfong. Mercede has posted to Ms. Wilfong's page on January 4th, telling Ms. Wilfong that she planned on visiting Florida later this winter (and, interestingly, did not mention her new nephew at all.) But then, on January 7th, we get another comment. As Ms. Wilfong's page is now set to private, it can not be viewed directly, but here is a screen shot.
Courtesy of Gawker, here is a translation:
Levi is in a bit of a haze right now... Umm, I'm not allowed to see my nephew and my mom isn't either. We aren't Palins so therefore we are white trash and Bristol doesn't want her baby around us. So mom and I are really upset over it. I just hope Levi pulls his head out of his butt and lets us see our nephew and her grandbaby.
What to make of this comment? First, is it real? We know it came from Mercede Johnston's real MySpace account. Second, is it TRUE? It's impossible to say. Most of the Wasilla teen's MySpace pages went private after Sarah Palin's nomination in September; it's possible that Mellissa Wilfong, an older person and outside of the Wasilla group never got the memo, and hers remained public; Mercede may have not realized this. Certainly, the comment has received a good deal of publicity and no one has issued a statement that it is a forgery or a fraud: it's just been ignored.
So what does it mean? Are we to assume that Mercede and Sherry have NEVER seen the baby, which would mean that Sherry lied to People Magazine OR does it mean just that they can't see the baby in an ongoing way? No one... typically... is talking.
What's the answer? I honestly don't know. What I do know is that this family has again provided a situation that simply does not make sense.
Tripp Johnston is the best proof that Sarah Palin has that she is Trig Palin's mother. Yes, other women could have been Trig's mother, but Bristol for many reasons was the most plausible alternative. The rumors and questions about Trig Palin's birth have not gone away. Recently, Gov. Palin and the Anchorage Daily News carried on a rather public email war in which the editor of the ADN stated that while he believes Sarah to be Trig's mom, he also stated explicitly that:
It strikes me that if there is never a clear, contemporaneous public record of what transpired with Trig's birth that may actually ensure that the conspiracy theory never dies.A good place to start - a very good place - would be with a clear, contemporaneous public record of Tripp Johnston's birth. But it doesn't look like we are going to get that either.