Conn. Paper: Tired of Attacking Palin, Attacks ‘Angry’ Town of Wasilla Instead


By: Warner Todd Huston

This one has got to take the cake for stupidity and lack of journalistic integrity. The Old Media has been gyrating in ever widening circles to find new and unheard of ways to destroy Governor Sarah Palin and now from the Hartford Courant (Connecticut) we find the most ridiculous one yet. With this Robert Thorson column we have now gone from slandering Gov. Palin herself, to attacking every last member of her family — including her Down Syndrome child, Trig — to this latest stop on the smear Palin express: attacking Palin’s hometown Wasilla, Alaska. Thorson seriously tries to make us believe that Wasilla is an “angry” town! Why? Because of its “geography.” And because of something that happened in 1976.

Yes, Wasilla is filled with “disappointed” and “angry” people and this is what “scares” Thorson about Governor Sarah Palin. And Thorson knows that everyone in Wasilla is foaming at the mouth mad because of his intimate knowledge of Wasilla and it’s people, right? He knows this because of his extensive research into Wasilla’s newspapers, or TV reports, or interviews with citizens all of whom are telling him about their mental perturbation, right? Uh, no. He “knows” this because of an Encyclopedia entry and little else.

Thorson gives us the sad tale of a Capitol move gone wrong and posits that this has made Wasilla a town of crazies, losers, and trouble makers, a dangerous place that he obviously thinks might give us a dangerous vice president. Thorson tells us that in 1974 Wasilla was chosen to be Alaska’s new capital city because the original capitol, Juneau, is not easily accessible. But the big move ended up not happening because by 1976 the voters of Alaska decided not to foot the one billion dollar price tag to pay for it all.

Because of this failed 1974 initiative, Robert Thorson seems to imply that Governor Sarah Palin is mentally unfit to be vice president and all her fellow citizens in Wasilla are damaged goods.

Of course, we have reason to doubt Thorson’s opinion right off the bat — and I say opinion because there is little by way of fact to support his supposition in this story. We understand his seething hatred of Governor Palin with his very first sentence. (My bold)

The media attention on Alaska’s governor has been torrential. Not wanting to give her any more attention, I’ll focus on the geography that shaped her character.

Next, while describing the history of the attempted Capitol move, Thorson takes a swipe at the size of Alaska’s voting population. He says of those who voted for the Capitol move that the number was a “whopping total of 46,659 souls.” Need I remind you that this guy lives in the giant, heavily populated state of… Connecticut!? There are 3.5 million citizens in all of Connecticut. For a little perspective, in the City of Los Angeles there are 3.8 million people. Thorson has no place to talk about tiny populations.

Then, because the Capitol move died still born, Thorson somehow divines that should it have succeeded Palin would not have gotten where she is today. And he makes absolutely no attempt to prove his case or explain his claim, either.

Thorson scoffs at the 1976 decision not to move the Capitol because the costs would have been such a “small fraction” of what Alaska had in the bank.

But for a small fraction of the money Alaska has in the bank, the history of Wasilla would have turned out very differently, and the present governor would probably not have been the governor or the republican vice presidential candidate.

Why it is that Palin “would probably not” have been Governor and the VP pick, we are left to wonder because he makes no attempt to explain it. He just says it as if it is fact.

So, since the Capitol didn’t get moved to Wasilla, Thorson thinks everyone in Wasilla is angry still to this day.

Expectations were crushed, leaving a sense of disappointment, even anger. High school sports would substitute for political excitement. Pentecostal and Bible-banging congregations would offer succor, becoming a dominant influence in an isolated town in an isolated state with libertarian leanings and an isolated state capital.

One can almost feel Thorson about to say that he thinks the people of Wasilla are bitter and cling to their religion and guns.

But, how does Thorson know any of this? Did he conduct interviews? Has he given us multiple examples from newspaper stories from Wasilla that tells us of this anger and disappointment? Is there proof of this claim? Who knows? We sure don’t. At least, not from the complete lack of evidence that Thorson presents. All we really end up with is Thorson’s say so.

So what is the upshot as far as Thorson is concerned?

This is the kind of geography that scares me, in spite of Wasilla’s stunning natural beauty and vibrant, outgoing personality.

This “geography” is enough to “scare” him? If this isn’t the most incoherent, uninformed, substance free attack on Sarah Palin, I have yet to see it.

Finally, what are Thorson’s qualifications for all this wild speculation and partisan talking points? What makes him replace the hard work of actual investigation and old fashioned newspaper leg work with simple, unsupported supposition? Is he a clinical psychologist? Is he an historian? Has he been to Wasilla, met its citizens?

No, none of that.

He is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

How’s THAT for qualifications?

And he has the gall to question Palin’s? Worse, he questions her mental balance!

Some may wonder if Robert Thorson might want to engage the readers in a discussion about his complete lack of any journalistic integrity? If so, he can be reached at profthorson@yahoo.com. Let him know I said, “Hey.”

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