Threatened by litigation from Palin camp, AK bloggers close ranks, scoff at intimidation effort by cutting-and-running Governor...
By Brad Friedman on 7/6/2009, 2:24am PT  

Alaska blogger and radio host Shannyn Moore isn't taking the attempted strong-arming by soon-to-be-former Governor Sarah Palin lightly. Moore shot back quickly on her radio show and in the mainstream media on Saturday, in response to Palin's Fourth of July Declaration of Litigation.

Palin's legal threat, issued for her by her private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, earlier in the day, was itself in response to Moore, and other Alaska constituents, who publicly detailed long-whispered local rumors of a federal investigation and/or impending indictments against the former Republican Veep nominee.

The BRAD BLOG broke details of those allegations, citing Moore as one of our sources, on Friday, following Palin's manic press conference in which she announced plans to cut and run from her elected position of public service, a year and a half early --- seemingly to become a community organizer.

Alaska bloggers quickly circled their wagons in defense of Moore, who spoke out herself over the weekend, describing Palin as a "coward and a bully" whose defamation lawsuit she would welcome, at a press conference in front of the Governor's Anchorage office...

'Line of Attorneys' Eager to Depose Palin

"There is a scandal rumor here that there is a criminal investigation into some activities and that's been rumored for about, I don't know, probably six weeks or two months," Moore explained to the Anchorage Daily News prior to the Sunday presser, in response to being named, along with a number of mainstream media outlets, by Palin's private attorney, Thomas Van Flein, in a remarkable statement on behalf of the Governor.

"To the extent several websites," Van Flein wrote, "most notably liberal Alaska blogger Shannyn Moore, are now claiming as 'fact' that Governor Palin resigned because she is 'under federal investigation' for embezzlement or other criminal wrongdoing, we will be exploring legal options this week to address such defamation."

Van Flein failed to cite where Moore, or any of the other sites referenced, had reported the wide-spread rumors as "fact," even though he put it in quotation marks, along with other allegations, similarly quoted but notably unattributed. Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton has not yet replied to an email query from The BRAD BLOG seeking the sources of the unattributed direct quotations in the Van Flein/Palin statement. We'll update this article, of course, when/if we do.


The Palin attorney explained to the Anchorage Daily News that it was Moore's phone interview with David Schuster on MSNBC, following her comments quoted at The BRAD BLOG, and in her own Huffington Post blog item, which was the reason she was singled out for Palin's legal threats. (See video at right.)

"I hope (a lawsuit) does come," Moore told the local CBS affiliate in Anchorage on Saturday. "Because there is a line of attorneys out my email door that are asking to please be the one to depose Sarah Palin."

No Muzzle for Moore

Several leading Alaskan bloggers spoke out in support of Moore following Palin's targeted attack. The close-knit band of scrappy and Progressive state bloggers --- about whom Eric Boehlert dedicated a chapter, titled "Saradise Lost," in his recently released book Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press --- came to the defense of Moore on each of their blogs. (Some of the more noteworthy and/or amusing passages are re-posted below.)

But Moore had no problem standing up for herself today. She called a press conference late Sunday afternoon in front of Sarah Palin's Anchorage office, and unlike at the Governor's bizarre presser on Friday, Moore promised to take questions from the media.

In her written statement, posted at her website (and reposted in full below), Moore defiantly declares she "will not be muzzled" and describes Palin as a "coward and a bully."

"The governor's massive overreaction -on the Fourth of July no less- should make any reasonable person wonder what's wrong with her," writes Moore. "The Lady protests way too much. Eventually we'll all find out why she really walked off the job."

"What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What's wrong with her?" Moore asks in her statement. "The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from the likes of people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings. And queens, too. Am I jacked-up? You betcha."

"Sarah Palin, if you have a problem with me, then sue me," she stridently concludes. "Shannyn Moore will not be muzzled!"

* * *

Moore's brief written statement, as posted on her blog, follows below, responses from other Alaska bloggers follow below that...

I’m holding a press conference today at 2pm ADT/6pm EDT in front of Governor Palin’s Anchorage office. My prepared statement is below. I will be taking questions.

On the Fourth of July, when Americans everywhere were celebrating our most sacred national holiday with parades and barbeques, Governor Sarah Palin was busy having me, Shannyn Moore, declared an Enemy of the State.

In a rambling quasi-legal letter, the most powerful person in this state accused me of defaming her for pointing out the fact that there have been rumors, -rumors- of corruption, rumors that have been around for years.

When Sarah Palin gave her three-weeks notice to the people of Alaska, aborting her term as Governor, a lot of people wondered why she quit. Mid-level managers turn-in their notice, not elected public officials. It didn't make sense. It still doesn't. People have been trying to guess why she really quit, and everyone in Alaska has been playing the guessing game. They're rumors. There are a lot of rumors. And with all the corruption we've had here in Alaska, of course we wonder what's really behind her resignation.

Governors don't just quit. But Governor Palin did.

The governor's massive overreaction -on the Fourth of July no less- should make any reasonable person wonder what's wrong with her. The Lady protests way too much. Eventually we'll all find out why she really walked off the job.

Sarah Palin is a coward and a bully. What kind of politician attacks an ordinary American on the Fourth of July for speaking her mind? What's wrong with her? The First Amendment was designed to protect people like me from the likes of people like her. Our American Revolution got rid of kings. And queens, too. Am I jacked-up? You betcha.

Sarah Palin, if you have a problem with me, then sue me. Shannyn Moore will not be muzzled!

Circling the Wagons

Phil Munger, who blogs both at Progressive Alaska, and as "EdwardTeller" at the Oxdown Gazette, collected a number of the most noteworthy responses to Palin's attack on Moore, from several Alaska bloggers.

In his piece, Munger notes the possible provenance for one of Palin/Van Flein's assertions that federal investigations were asserted as "fact," even though Moore had never done so.

In an Oxdown Gazette posting on Saturday, hinting at the allegations of a corruption scandal concerning the contracting and building of both the Wasilla Sports Complex, and Palin's Lake Lucille home, as a possible reason for Palin's sudden resignation, he included this late update [emphasis in original]

Update: This just in my inbox, from a source connected sometimes to CNN:

"Here's a quote I got from law enforcement here in Alaska yesterday afternoon regarding Palin "a criminal indictment is pending authorization."

He notes at Progressive Alaska that the allegation from the anonymously sourced email, was hardly posted as "fact" [emphasis in original]:

That update may have been the first of a cascading set of events that Shannyn is now taking the heat for, totally without justification. If the heat should go on anyone for this, I suppose it should be me.

But I didn't post it as "fact," but that I had received the information as part of an email. And in the article to which it was an appended update, it fit into the context of trying to speculate on the ramifications of very quickly breaking news that made little or no sense. It still makes little or no sense.

Munger then goes on to detail reactions from fellow AK bloggers on Palin's attack on Moore, as liberally reposted below...

AK Muckraker at Huffington Post:

Despite the fact that she specifically refers twice to the report as a "rumor," Van Flein says she portrayed the story as fact. The only fact is that there are rumors. I know because I've been hearing them since last October. They even have a name - "Housegate." If you Google "Palin Housegate," you get 8,600 references, beginning back with an article that appeared in the Village Voice. Googling "Palin sports complex scandal" gets you 230,000. How many mentions are required to constitute a rumor? It's probably less than 230,000. I'm not exactly sure how the legal dynamic duo of Palin-Van Flein is planning to un-rumorize almost a quarter of a million online references to a rumor that started 8 months ago, but it will be interesting to watch.

Linda Kellen Beigel at Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis:

I watched Shannyn's piece on MSNBC...both she and David Schuster were VERY CAREFUL to say that what she was discussing were rumors circulating in Alaska for weeks. Up here, you can't ignore rumors. (You know, like the rumors circulating for weeks about Bristol's pregnancy...those sure turned out to be false, didn't they?)

Regarding the speculation (something we are doing a good bit of on this blog as well), Palin CANNOT expect to leave the State of Alaska...hell, the entire country...hanging and not expect rampant rumors to persist. Then again, she's Sarah Palin...I guess she expects to have EVERYTHING the way that SHE wants it!

Gryph at The Immoral Minority:

And just to help clarify this story. ALL Shannyn did was say that there was a rumor of a criminal investigation against Sarah Palin. If you have read this blog or Dennis Zaki's blog, or the comments at Mudflats, or any number of other blogs you have probably known about that for about two months. It is not news to those of us who follow the Palin story carefully.

And in ALL of that time Sarah Palin and her cronies never said a thing about the validity of the charges. But now that the media is searching for a reason to explain Sarah's bizarre behavior they suddenly feel all defensive and victimized.

But remember NOBODY said this was an FBI investigation. The rumor I heard was that it was an IRS investigation. Now that MAY turn out to be a false lead as well, but it is definitely a well known rumor. However if you read or listen to ALL of Shannyn's responses you will hear that she carefully avoided labeling who was investigating Palin, or what kind of and investigation it might be. However even if she had stated what I just stated above, she STILL would have been protected by the First Amendment.

Look let's cut to the chase. The only reason that Palin targeted Shannyn is because she received air time on Hardball with David Shuster on Friday and that pissed Palin off.

Progressive Alaska:

This SLAPP threat is hilarious enough to make some of us think we might donate to HER legal fund, so you can continue to project Palin onto the national stage, as she deals with having to go through your lame designs for her future.

and

Look Mr. van Flein, as much as we comment about how strange, funny, vindictive, unprepared, ignorant, selfish and foolish Gov. Palin often appears, when it comes to reporting what we hear or read about her, what we write is in the hope of ultimately arriving at truth, not fiction. We sure are not out to hurt her or be malicious. We have quashed many untrue rumors, some of them quite rapidly.

We all have mixed feelings about Ms. Palin. But to characterize Shannyn Moore or the other Alaska bloggers as unscrupulous will not hold water.