The conspiracy theory that claims Sarah Palin is not actually Trig's mother, but his grandmother, is back in the headlines once again. Believe it or not, but a handful of people are still trying to prove that Trig's real mom is Palin's daughter Bristol, claiming the public was fooled in an elaborate hoax.
The reason Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy with Trig, so the theory goes, was to shield Bristol from embarrassment, as well as gain political points from conservative pro-life voters who would praise her for bringing to life Trig, a Down's Syndrome baby, and raising him as a normal child.
That's a lousy motive to pin this nutty theory on if you ask me. Politicians do incredibly stupid things to gain political points and they lie all the time. But whether Palin was grandma or mom, whatever political points could possibly be gained would be the same either way. So the theory starts on an illogical premise.
"If true, why isn’t this something to applaud?" asks Lew Rockwell. He answers his own question with the title of his post, this story is "Approved Birtherism."
From the beginning, Trig Birtherism was almost the exclusive domain of The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan (now with The Daily Beast), who is now trying to back away from the controversy a bit, claiming all he has ever done "is ask for evidence that Sarah Palin is the biological mother, evidence that must be easily available and definitive."
Whatever. I don't care. Meanwhile, Business Insider's Henry Blodget reported yesterday that a new Trig Detective has jumped into the game.
Professor Bradford Scharlott of Northern Kentucky University has investigated Trig Palin's birth, and he's concluded that it was a staged hoax and calls the mainstream media pathetic for not pursuing the story. He even wrote a 29-page report titled "Palin, the Press, and the Fake Pregnancy Rumor: Did a Spiral of Silence Shut Down the Story?"
An interesting footnote has emerged to a theory that raged around the Internet during Sarah Palin's candidacy for Vice President:
The theory is that Sarah Palin is actually the grandmother of her purported son Trig, not the mother, and that she staged a gigantic hoax during the campaign to cover up this fact.
Professor Bradford Scharlott of Northern Kentucky University has looked into this story in detail and written a long academic article about it. He concludes two things:
- First, that the "conspiracy theory" is likely true--Sarah Palin staged a huge hoax, and, second
- The American media is pathetic for not pursuing the story more aggressively
Scharlott's article walks through all the evidence supporting the theory, including the photos of Palin in what is said to have been a late-stage pregnancy, the leisurely 20-hour trip home that Palin took after she supposedly went into labor in Texas, the refusal of the hospital where Trig was supposedly born to even confirm that he was born there (let alone who was the mother), strange statements from Palin's doctor and the McCain campaign, and so on.
Professor Scharlott has done some of the work himself. He has also attempted to explain why the media was so wimpy and gullible during the campaign.
One of Professor Scharlott's theories, interestingly, is that conservatives have been extraordinarily effective at shaming anyone who has even brought up the matter, let alone investigated it. He notes how different this is than the Democrats ability to quell the other conspiracy theory that has obsessed the nation in recent years--the theory that President Obama was born in Kenya.
Salon's Justin Elliott responds to Sullivan's comment quoted above.
Sullivan then argues (as have many commenters) that my dismissal of Scharlott's paper is yet more evidence of the "spiral of silence" that "shut down the story."
I won't spend much time in the rabbit hole of Trig Birtherism, but it is worth reading this Dave Weigel post noting the lack of affirmative evidence that Palin's pregnancy was a hoax. Atrios also makes a solid point on the whole matter here.
Trig Birtherism. What's next?
Well, you'll probably wish you didn't ask ... Teenage stalker 'threatened to rape Sarah Palin's daughter'
R.S. McCain, who's debunked the Trig birtherism conspiracy countless times, does so again.
So if Palin’s pregnancy was a “hoax,” if she faked a pregnancy to disguise the fact that Trig was in fact Bristol’s child, this would seem to require that mere days after giving birth to Trig — scarcely permitting time to heal from that experience — Bristol became pregnant again so as to give birth to full-term baby Tripp exactly 255 days after giving birth to Trig.
Normal gestation period is 40 weeks (280 days). There have been instances where, impatient with the normal post-partum healing period (six weeks is usually recommended), ardent couples have conceived again within a month or two of giving birth.
Such are the circumstances of the phenomenon commonly called “Irish twins,” two babies born to the same couple less than a year apart. But it is ludicrous to suggest that this could explain Trig and Tripp as both being Bristol’s babies: At a bare minimum, allowing just two weeks after an April 18 childbirth before she again ovulated, this would put the second conception date no earlier than May 2. A second baby born Dec. 29 would make the gestation period for Tripp just 241 days — more than a month premature.
How many 34-week babies weigh 7-and-half pounds?
As if this were not in itself ironclad disproof of the Trig-Truther theory, there is still the matter of Trig being born with Down Syndrome and, as I first pointed out on Sept. 1, 2008, this is a condition closely correlated with advanced maternal age ...