PFLAG claims Palin singled out a pro-gay book to remove

Today, PFLAG on their blog has this headline: “PFLAGer’s Book Targeted by Palin”. However, the ABC News report said to support this contention does not do so. Some people did not like the book “Pastor, I am gay” but the town librarian did not recall being asked to remove any book. The ABC News account reports the controversy in Wasilla and Palin’s question in a way that could link them in the minds of viewers but the librarian at the time said Palin did not ask about the book. Anne Kilkenny, of email fame appears on the ABC News report.

Bottom line is that we seem to have a conflict of memory between Mary Ellen Emmon (now Baker) and the reporter Paul Stuart in a story reportedly found in a local paper in 1996. I am having trouble locating it but Mr. Stuart says one thing and Mary Ellen Emmon says another, as reported by Bent Alaska. The city of Wasilla has posted a statement regarding the matter.
The PFLAG claim is a little thin and according to a Library Journal analysis out yesterday, there is no evidence she targeted any specific books, saying

PolitiFact concludes that, because Stuart’s account is secondhand, and his recollection seems hazy, and there is no corroboration from Baker or any public records, there is “no basis to find that part of the story true.” Still, the new information presented likely will be fodder for questions posed to Palin in upcoming press interviews.

8 thoughts on “PFLAG claims Palin singled out a pro-gay book to remove”

  1. Karen,
    Probably because such an explanation also strains credulity. If Palin were checking to make sure the librarian wouldn’t cave to censorship, I’m pretty sure she would have offered some sort of reassurances to the librarian after the fact. I’m also pretty sure she would have asked about the “balanced presentation of views” currently present on her topic of interest, and unless I’m mistaken I don’t there’s any evidence she did so. I’m also pretty sure the McCain campaign would have trotted out your explanation pretty quickly, since “Palin is a defender of first amendment rights, even if she has to butt heads with her childhood church” is a pretty good campaign soundbite to reassure moderate voters, to say the least.

  2. Timothy, on what basis do you theorize Governor Palin’s motives?
    While I totally agree with my national and local church’s stance on the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, I am also a proponent of first amendment rights. Had I been in Palin’s position, and knowing that there had been some sort of local flap between a pro-gay religious author and local bookstores, I would want to know whether or not the librarian could be influenced by pressure. I would also want to know if there was a balanced representation of views on the shelves.
    Isn’t it even a remote possibility that Palin might have been thinking along similar lines? Why do you default to the stereotype that the media is painting of her?

  3. Timothy,
    The reason I asked the question is that I keep seeing people say that she was “asking rhetorically” – repeating the misuse of the language apparently unthinkingly, and (to me) accepting the implication that if it’s just “rhetorical” that makes it OK or at least better. Warren appears to have done something along these lines just above, whether he intended to or not. As you say, the notion that someone would ask theoretical questions about book censorship strains credulity. Therefore, why accept or repeat her words? I don’t think banning books is the embodiment of evil, but I’d say most people really dislike the idea of banning books, and hopefully at least as many people would dislike the idea that someone was being dishonest about their willingness to ban books. Therefore, why buy into the spin in any way, form, or fashion?
    I suppose you might say my questions were rhetorical. 🙂

  4. Legolas,
    The term “rhetorically” was used incorrectly. What Palin undoubtedly meant was “theoretically”.
    While it is a misuse of language, I don’t think it was intended to deceive nor did anyone (other than yourself) misunderstand what she meant.
    Whether you believe her is, of course, another issue. Frankly, I find the notion of asking theoretical questions about book censorship to be straining credulity.
    Most likely Palin wished to remove some books because her church thought they were bad and wanted to know if it would be an issue. She was told several times that this wasn’t going to be done just because she asked so she dropped it.
    Some folks will find that to be the very embodiment of evil (mostly those who are predisposed to find anything about Republicans to be evil) and others won’t. I’m disappointed that she’s now trying to spin it as all just theory (or rhetoric). I’d rather that she was upfront about it.

  5. What exactly does it mean to ask about the possibility of banning books “rhetorically?” Can you explain that one for me?

  6. Warren said in post 126208 :
    In any case, all other witnesses say she did not ask for specific titles and yet we have lists flying around on the web.
    While the lists flying around the web are nonsense, and likely more the result of people trying to seem like they know more than they do, or just people wanting to attack Palin, you are incorrect when you say all other witnesses say she did not ask for specific titles. Palin, herself, has said nothing about this matter. More importantly, from all the past accounts I read, Mary Emmons never said no books were ever mentioned. No books were mentioned at the council meeting, but according to Emmon’s accounts there were 2 other times Palin brought up banning books. And I found nothing where Emmons said Palin never mentioned specific titles in those other discussions.
    Another thing I find disturbing in those accounts that no one seems to mention is that Palin required a loyalty test of the town employees. A test which potentially gave her the power to dismiss them on a whim (i.e. she just accepts the resignation they previously gave her). I understand that politicians expect loyalty from political employees, and more than a few politicians would expect employees to fail on their swords for their bosses. However, what Palin did goes beyond that.

  7. Thanks for this Timothy. There are too many ways this could be a reconstruction. Palin was asking rhetorically. Perhaps, she asked rhetorically about certain books but did not ask for them to be removed. In any case, all other witnesses say she did not ask for specific titles and yet we have lists flying around on the web.

  8. Warren,
    The original source of this is here

    But the Frontiersman reporter who wrote that article in 1996 now says Emmons told him Palin did mention three books that she wanted removed from the shelves.
    Paul Stuart is semiretired, though he still occasionally contributes articles to a weekly paper, the Mountain Ear, in Conway, N.H., where he lives.
    Stuart told PolitiFact that in a conversation with Emmons after his article ran, she listed three titles. He said he could recall only two, and initially said they were I Told My Parents I’m Gay and I Asked My Sister. We looked for these titles; they don’t appear to exist.
    “Mary Ellen told me that Palin asked her directly to remove these books from the shelves,” Stuart said. “She refused.”
    Asked later if the first book could have been Pastor, I am Gay, a controversial book written by a pastor who lives just outside Wasilla, Stuart said that was it.

    and they concluded

    Yes, a reporter provides a secondhand account 12 years later in which he says the librarian named books Palin wanted removed. But Stuart’s recollection seems hazy (he didn’t get the right title at first). The librarian isn’t talking. There are no public records or meeting minutes to substantiate the claim. And no one else corroborates that Palin ever listed any titles. So we find no basis to find that part of the story true.

    Of course there are those who will run with this and claim that it is fact rather than hazy recollection of a 12 year old conversation.

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