Misleading 'FBI denial' also cited, as if friend's disbelief wasn't enough to dismiss any and all such speculation...
By Brad Friedman on 7/7/2009, 5:03pm PT  

The once-great ABC News' Nightline decided on Monday night's show that they would take a look at the possible reasons for Sarah Palin's decision to cut and run from her first term as Alaska Governor. They promised to take a look at the leading theories, so as to help "separate fact from fiction."

How did they do it? First, they asked two of Palin's friends who both generally agreed she decided to abort the job largely because she was tired of it. Then, they presented five possible theories that have been floated.

"Those explanations from people who know Palin haven't been enough for Internet bloggers and conspiracy theorists," Nightline's Vicky Mabrey reads over screenshots of The BRAD BLOG, The Daily Beast, and others sites that reported on the possibility of a criminal investigation. "They've had a field day over the holiday weekend, speculating on a host of other theories why Palin would leave office"...

"We thought we'd take a closer look and separate fact from fiction," Mabrey informs us as, one by one, five possible theories are raised, each flashed on a gameshow-like graphic flashing "trues" and "falses" and "maybes," etc.

Nightline's "Theory #1": "She is under criminal investigation."

And then, they "separate fact from fiction" by flashing a big "NOPE!" on the screen over that theory.

How do they arrive at this "NOPE!"? First, Larry Persily, Palin's former Associate Director for Oil, Gas, and Renewable Energy; Commerce; and Transportation, clears it all up for us by explaining: "I do not believe there are any criminal investigations underway at the state or federal level against Sarah Palin or any member of her family."

And, as if that's not definitive enough to end any and all such "conspiracy theories" from "Internet bloggers" about the possibilities of any such investigation, Nightline then also informs us of the denial from an FBI spokesperson in Alaska (as originally reported by the LA Times) who "came out with a statement on Sunday saying we are not investigating her."

That's it. That is apparently the entirety of the ABC investigation, "separating fact from fiction" on that particular theory --- sufficient enough to apply a big "NOPE!" to the possibility of a criminal investigation against the Palins.

Now, as we've made clear throughout our reportage on this matter, we don't know whether there is or isn't a criminal investigation, federal or otherwise, though we do know that has been the talk of loads of folks in Alaska for the last several weeks. They may be right, they may be wrong.

But what we also know is that this blog never referred to an "FBI investigation." Neither, to my knowledge, has Alaska blogger/radio host Shannyn Moore --- who was one of our sources for our first blog item speculating on a coming "iceberg scandal" --- nor any of the other bloggers and journalists in Alaska that we know of.

Yet, curiously, the denial of an investigation "by the FBI" --- which, to our knowledge, has not specifically been alleged by anyone --- was enough to convince Nightline, at least (along with scads of other corporate media outlets that repeated the FBI denial over the weekend as if it served to fully debunk the entire matter), that there was no "federal investigation" ongoing against the Palins.

It's been akin to the MSM outlets that reported "Mystery Solved!" when the then-missing SC Gov. Mark Sanford was said by his aides to be "hiking the Appalachian Trail." No further questions were necessary for the media at that point.

We didn't think, when the FBI denial was first published, that we needed to point all of that out. But even presuming their denial of an investigation by their agency is accurate, surely Nightline, and so many of the others who've repeated it as if it puts the question to bed, are aware there are other federal investigative bodies, no?

And, if the FBI denial wasn't enough, of course, to clear up any concerns, Palin's own former employee was there to note that he does "not believe there are any criminal investigations underway."

So there you have it. "NOPE!" to that theory. Case closed. Stellar work once again by the ABC News investigative unit!

Again, we don't know whether there is a federal investigation or not at this time. But, if that's all the evidence that exists against such an investigation, then apparently ABC News' Nightline doesn't know either. They just felt it appropriate to report it as if they did --- no ifs, ands, buts, maybes, or "we were unable to find evidence fors" about it. Just "NOPE!"

Well then, it must be so. And now, to devote the real ABC News investigative resources to stuff that actually matters, like the death of Michael Jackson. Heckuva job, Nightline!

The Nightline video report is here, unfortunately they don't seem to allow for embedding here.

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