ABC's Sawyer did not challenge McCain spokesman's claim that "Democratic-leaning blogs" dictated timing of Palin pregnancy disclosure

››› ››› TOM ALLISON & DIANNA PARKER

Good Morning America's Diane Sawyer did not challenge an assertion by McCain campaign senior adviser Nicolle Wallace that the "fervor with which the Democratic-leaning blogs and a few in the mainstream media pursued" questions about Gov. Sarah Palin's pregnancy " forced the Palin family ... maybe ahead of a schedule that worked best for the family, to make this news yesterday about their daughter." But contrary to Wallace's claim, according to The New York Times, the McCain campaign released the information about Palin's daughter's pregnancy on Labor Day because that was when the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and because "the nation was busy with family and social activities."

During a discussion about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol's pregnancy on the September 2 edition of ABC's Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer failed to challenge an assertion by Nicolle Wallace, a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain, that "the fervor with which the Democratic-leaning blogs and a few in the mainstream media pursued this, I think forced the Palin family, in an effort to knock down what were really lewd and outrageously false rumors, forced them maybe -- maybe ahead of a schedule that worked best for the family, to make this news yesterday about their daughter." Sawyer did not note that contrary to Wallace's statement that "Democratic-leaning blogs" "forced" the family to disclose Bristol's pregnancy "maybe ahead of a schedule that worked best" for them, according to The New York Times, the McCain campaign released the information about the pregnancy, along with other unflattering information about the Palin family, on Labor Day because that was when the media were focused on Hurricane Gustav and also because "the nation was busy with family and social activities." The Times quoted Tucker Eskew, a senior adviser to Palin, saying of the release of information about Palin on Labor Day: "We are going to flush the toilet."

From the Times' September 2 article:

Mr. McCain's campaign, which has shown itself adept at handling the news media, tried to influence coverage of the disclosure by releasing it as Hurricane Gustav was slamming into the Gulf Coast. (The Palin news was not mentioned on the "CBS Evening News" until 15 minutes into the newscast). It was also by every appearance tucked into a series of problematic tidbits released about Ms. Palin's past, including news that her husband, Todd, was arrested for driving while impaired in 1986.

"We are going to flush the toilet," said Tucker Eskew, who is a senior adviser to Ms. Palin, describing the campaign's plans for Labor Day, when much of the nation was busy with family and social activities.

From the September 2 edition of ABC's Good Morning America:

SAWYER: As we know, everybody wants to protect the privacy of a family, but there are real campaign issues that have arisen. Let me ask you about the first one. Exactly when did Senator McCain learn about this pregnancy?

WALLACE: Well, you know, I think in the vetting process, there are all sorts of rather excruciating intrusions into the personal lives of any politician that subjects themselves to that, so, the normal vetting process was under way, and obviously, this was disclosed by Governor Palin and her family. The thing that forced our hand in it is very unfortunate, is that the fervor with which the Democratic-leaning blogs and a few in the mainstream media pursued this, I think forced the Palin family, in an effort to knock down what were really lewd and outrageously false rumors, forced them maybe -- maybe ahead of a schedule that worked best for the family, to make this news yesterday about their daughter.

SAWYER: But let me go back and try to ask you again: When did Senator McCain learn about it?

WALLACE: Sure.

SAWYER: Did he discuss it with her in that phone call that they had on the Sunday, or in the meeting that they had last week?

WALLACE: You know, we're going to let some things stay private, and I don't happen to know the minute, hour, and day that they talked about Governor Palin's daughter being pregnant. But, you know, there --

SAWYER: But -- but they did talk about it?

WALLACE: -- certainly wasn't -- it was certainly known, and it didn't give Senator McCain any pause.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
ABC
Person
Diane Sawyer, Sarah Palin
Show/Publication
Good Morning America
Stories/Interests
John McCain, 2008 Elections
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