Palin emails should present a clear, unvarnished picture

May 28, 2011 

There is more than a little cosmic weirdness afoot. After yet another in a long string of delays, Alaska promises to release next month at least some of the 26,500 emails sent by Sarah Palin during her demi- governorship. Those emails have been sought by news media and private citizens for more than two years.

In a strange juxtaposition, conservative filmmaker Stephen K. Bannon plans to release a "two-hour-long, sweeping epic" next month about Palin's rise to power in Alaska, reports RealClearPolitics' Scott Conroy, who viewed a rough cut of the film. He is the author of "Sarah from Alaska."

Conroy says the film "attempts to explain and justify the biggest stain on Palin's record: the fact that she abruptly quit her governorship two years ago."

The story, Conroy says, is that Palin approached Bannon for a series of image-rehab documentaries. Instead, Bannon produced a $1 million, full-length film featuring the lovely Sarah P. in - Surprise! - a favorable light. He financed it himself, working surreptitiously in Alaska, gathering information and footage right under the noses of Alaska's news media.

The artistic tour de force, titled "The Undefeated," is slated for release in Iowa, the new film capital of the world and a state that plays no small role in presidential politics. It aims to burnish Palin's story and bolster her plummeting poll numbers and skyrocketing negatives. She has problems not only among independents, Democrats and Republicans, but also with people who have pulses, polls show. Bannon plans to show the film in the early primary states -- New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada, RealClearPolitics reported.

Until now, Palin has roosted on the sidelines, working at Fox News Channel, cheerleading, eschewing even putting together a campaign organization in Iowa or anywhere else.

Enter Bannon. Forget the painfully obvious Goebbels shots and ask yourself this: Which of the two scheduled releases -- the emails or the propaganda film -- do you think is most likely to provide the truer picture of the lovely Sarah P.? Which will do her the most damage if she decides to stop playing coy and announce for the presidency she can see from her new house in Arizona?

The emails are going to be -- if released in readable form after passing through lawyers' hands and being scrubbed by the governor's office -- delicious. There likely will be little good news in them for her. Having read only snippets of emails in Palin staffer Frank Bailey's book, "Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin," or "Hey, I Got Emails Nobody Else Can Get and I Can Make Some Dough," the venom, bullying, intimidation, absolute paranoia and craziness of the Palin administration spins off the pages.

One can only imagine what nastiness the state's boxcar-loads of emails will show. Her penchant for payback, retribution and vilification aimed at the news media, government officials, talk shows, even regular folks and business people will cause a stir. Nobody will be immune. That is, of course, if any of the emails make sense after the redacting process.

Compare all that to Conroy's depiction of the film: "Bannon dramatizes the theme of Palin's persecution at the hands of her enemies in the media and both political parties, a notion the former governor has long embraced. Images of lions killing a zebra and a dead medieval soldier with an arrow sticking in his back dramatize the ethics complaints filed by obscure Alaskan citizens, which Palin has cited as the primary reason for her sudden resignation in July of 2009."

Persecution? Lions killing a zebra? A medieval soldier with an arrow in his back? Really? That is the lovely Sarah P. we know. A paranoid, bitter, unrepentant nut job with followers who really should know better.

The movie, it should be noted, shies away from Troopergate or anything else messy in her abbreviated term. It is to be released in two versions: one, a PG-13 film and the other, unrated, containing obscenities and invective from Palin critics.

The movie likely will cause a huge stir as the media pick it apart. It may affect her political future. It likely will change few minds. Thinking people will see it for what it is.

But the emails -- the emails may prove devastating. No filters. No trick camera shots. No editing. Just Sarah -- the real Sarah.

Not a pretty picture.


Paul Jenkins is editor of AnchorageDailyPlanet.com.

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