Sarah Palin’s Nightmare? Kathy Griffin, Levi Johnston Work the Red Carpet

levi_8-10The biggest story coming out of last night’s Teen Choice Awards did not involve Miley Cyrus or a Jonas Brother. Instead, D-lister Kathy Griffin, never one to shy away from controversy, commanded the spotlight with her red carpet “date” – Levi Johnston.

So how did Sarah Palin’s daughter’s baby daddy end up in LA with this dreaded “celebrity starlet”?

“She’s beautiful and funny,” Johnston told Access Hollywood. “She’s the star of the night.”

And Griffin: “Miley, try to top this!” (HuffPost has a slideshow.)

Griffin isn’t just anydelicate, tiny, very talented, celebrity starlet.” No, she’s someone who joked during an Emmy acceptance speech, “Suck it, Jesus. This award is my god now.”

Palin hasn’t weighed in yet on Facebook (her new favorite mode of communication), but if Levi ended up in front of an Obama “death panel” right about now, she may change her mind about the whole thing.

(image by Matt Sayles/AP)

Also, like many celebrity relationships, we can trace the lineage back to some past comments. Sounds like it was love at first MySpace visit:

Goodbye Angry Mob, Hello “Death Panels”

sarah-palin-AlaskaIt seems as though, every week, the Republicans find new ways to alienate normal people. First, there were the Birthers in Congress, amplified by much-publicized coverage of the conspiracy theory from Lou Dobbs. Then, there was the so-called “Angry Mob,” a noisy confluence of birth certificates, tea bags, and healthcare town hall meetings.

Then, just as conservatives were getting some traction by leveraging Democratic criticism into a “stifling of dissent” argument, Sarah Palin comes along to complete the hat trick.

On Friday, the former Alaska Governor posted some grade-A crazy talk on her Facebook page:

The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s “death panel” so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their “level of productivity in society,” whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.

Well, the echoes of the accompanying cuckoo-clock noises had barely died down when Newt Gingrich rushed in to agree with Palin that Death Panels were, indeed, cause for concern:

While the White House’s Deal or No Deal with PhRMA may be the big political story so far, expect many a cable news panel to discuss the Death Panel, and many a Republican guest to hop on the Death Panel bandwagon. If you need an excuse to get drunk this week, play the Death Panel drinking game, then hope the Death Panel has mercy on you.

This sets a high bar for next week, and I’m not sure they can top this. Maybe Palin will announce her Presidential bid, then pull out of the race the next day.

Who’s behind the reporting on Sarah Palin’s divorce?

A website called The Alaska Report published a story today claiming that Todd and Sarah Palin have plans to divorce. The story quickly gained traction within the Twitterverse and Blogosphere and was even addressed by a few mainstream journalists (if dismissively). The story gained enough momentum that the Palin camp put out statements officially denying it.

But why were so many people so quick to believe and report the story, or at least give it the time of day to comment on it? I wanted to track down the person who actually reported on the story, but found it nearly impossible to do so.

The article itself has no official byline, and if you go to the main page of Alaska Report it’s almost impossible to find any background information on the site, including who runs it (some of the articles do have bylines). I tried to find a contact address for someone there and came to the site map . But when you click on the “contact us” link it simply brings you back to the front page.

I dug into the privacy policy section of the page and found simply a PO Box address without much more information. But lower down on the page and on another part of the site I found reference to a Dennis Zaki, who appears to be an Alaska-based photographer. Based on this, it seems that he has a direct administrative role in the site itself.

I sent Zaki the following email, but have yet to receive any kind of response:

Hey Dennis,

My name is Simon Owens and I write for Bloggasm, a site that covers online media and journalism. I saw that Alaska Report published a piece today saying that Palin is getting divorced from her husband. Yours was the only contact info I could find via the site, and I was hoping to write a piece about the site’s reporting. Would you be a good person to speak to for my piece? If so, would there be a good time and phone number I could reach you for an interview?

take care,

So why did a site that has very little attribution or background information gain so much traction? It’s hard to say exactly how these memes take off, but it could be the fact that Alaska Report almost looks like a real news site and is even indexed in Google News. Luckily, the very nature of the web that allowed this rumor to spread quickly also made it incredibly easy for the Palin camp to deny it.

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An interview with the blogger who’s Palin’s worst nightmare

This was forwarded to me by my friend Stephen Ward.

Sarah Palin’s Least-Favorite Blogger

One day after Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announced she would leave office by the end of July, Palin’s attorney blasted what he said were “false and defamatory” claims on the Web about why Palin is resigning. Palin’s legal counsel warned that if Internet posters didn’t stop reporting rumors as fact, they would face legal action. Only one individual was named: Alaska blogger and radio talk show host Shannyn Moore. Forbes spoke with Moore earlier in the month.

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