Reporters' book won't be fair to Palin

Two reporters who covered former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin during the campaign have landed a contract to write a book about her. Scott Conroy of CBS News and Shushannah Walshe from Fox have signed with publishing house PublicAffairs to produce the book, which has the working title of Sarah from Alaska.


Conroy told

While we’re obviously going to use our experiences on the trail to report a lot of new information on how the Palin campaign was run, the book is also going to be forward-looking. There’s a long list of unsuccessful VP nominees who’ve faded into obscurity, but what we think is so interesting about Palin is that even in defeat, she was able to win the hearts of the GOP base, and love her or hate her, she’ll be back on the national scene.”

Even with a Fox News reporter as co-author, however, don’t expect the book to be fair and balanced.’s Brent Baker reports that PublicAffairs, which was founded by liberal Peter Osnos, is affiliated with the leftist magazine “The Nation” and has a roster of authors overwhelmingly consisting of liberals:

Amongst the authors Osnos has worked with at PublicAffairs and previously at Random House: Wesley Clark, Vernon Jordan, Robert McNamara, Andy Rooney, George Soros, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Rosalyn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Sam Donaldson, Morley Safer, Molly Ivins and William Greider. Hard to find more than a few conservative names in the PublicAffairs list of authors.

A visit to the PublicAffairs website reveals such featured books as A Long Time Coming, an Obama-friendly account of the 2008 Election by Evan Thomas and other “Newsweek” staffers. There’s also a global warming scare volume titled Island in a Storm, a book about Bill Clinton titled Mastering the Presidency, The Plan, co-authored by Rahmn Emmanuel, Erica Payne’s The Practical Progressive, Michelle Obama in Her Own Words and My Guantanamo Diary, a collection of stories told by detainees to Mahvish Rukhsana Khan.


But the book PublicAffairs is most notorious for is Scott McLellan’s Bush-bashing What Happened. According to Baker, Osnos worked closely with the one-time White House spokesman who betrayed his former boss for considerably more than thirty pieces of silver:

On Wednesday’s CBS Evening News, Ari Fleischer related that “Scott told me that his editor did ‘tweak,’ in Scott’s word, a lot of the writing, especially in the last few months.” In an “Eat the Press” blog entry Wednesday, Rachel Sklar asked Osnos: “Did you work directly on the book with McClellan? (Who was his editor?)” Osnos replied: “The editor was Lisa Kaufman and yes, I worked very closely with them.”

A reporter and editor at the Washington Post during the 1970s and 1980s before going into book publishing, Osnos pens a weekly column for the left of center The Century Foundation. In a March column he denounced Rush Limbaugh as “bombastic, aggressive, and mean,” bemoaning how the late William F. Buckley Jr. left behind “a right-wing culture that tends to be as coarse and leaden as his demeanor could be buoyant,” charging Buckley provided “unfortunate cover to others who followed with a spirit that was distinctly and consistently malevolent.”

In contrast, he hailed the late left-wing columnist Molly Ivins and wished she had more impact: “In the contest for power in America, Molly Ivins had a good perch in her column, nearly perfect pitch, and, alas, too little influence.” Ruminating this week about the Kennedy family’s legacy in the wake of Senator Ted Kennedy’s cancer diagnosis, Osnos asserted that “we are a distinctly better country for the message” which “Ted conveyed about our priorities as a people.”


More from Baker on the publisher:

PublicAffairs is part of the Perseus Books Group, which also owns Nation Books, “a project of The Nation Institute” which publishes the magazine of the same name, and Vanguard Press, whose home page now features The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, a new book by Vincent Bugliosi that “presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq.”

If Osnos Works as “closely” with Conroy and Walsh on the upcoming Palin book as he did with McLellan, expect the book to put Alaska’s governor on trial for the murder of innocent moose and cuddly wolves.

– JP


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