I have been fond of saying over the years that "discovery is a bitch," that is that the pre-trial phase of a lawsuit in which each party can obtain evidence from the other, can be more important -- and damaging -- than the trial itself. Which is precisely why, to my knowledge, Sarah Palin has never made good on her threats to sue adversaries real and imagined.
Palin has most recently threatened to sue Joe McGinniss for defamation because of The Rogue: Searching For the Real Sarah Palin. The unflattering biography of the former vice presidential candidate, half-term governor and possible presidential candidate is long on rumor and not so long on confirmed incidents, but the likelihood of her following through on a lawsuit is zero to none.
This is because:
* Certain incidents, including her one-night stand and relationship with future NBA superstar Glen Rice is confirmed cold, as are other affairs for which McGinniss has multiple, if anonymous sources.
* Chief among the rumors is that Palin is not the birth mother of Trig Palin. Under discovery, McGinniss's lawyers would be able to subpoena Palin's obstetrician, nurses at the hospital where Trig was allegedly born, and require DNA tests of Sarah, husband Todd and Trig.
* Palin is nothing if about making money, and the bad publicity that would accrue the Tea Party darling could impact on her FoxNews and celebrity appearances. As it is, her star is in eclipse. A recent documentary film about her bombed and while she still has a small and fervent base, she is trailing badly in presidential preference polls.
"The final work that was published contains most of the stories that Mr. McGinniss complains were nothing more than 'tawdry gossip' that amounted to the wishful fantasies of disturbed individuals," Palin lawyer John Tiemessen wrote to Crown, the publisher of the book. "Since both your company, and the author, clearly knew the statements were false, admitted they had no basis in fact or reality, but decided to publish in order to harm Governor Palin’s family, you and Mr. McGinniss have defamed the Palins."
While we're on the subject, several critics have panned The Rogue.
I have read only excerpts and skimmed through the rest of the book, but the criticism does not stand up to scrutiny and is a part of a larger pattern: The news media's unwillingness to give Palin the kind of scrutiny that, for example, John Edwards got over the affair and lovechild and Barack Obama got over claims that he was not an American citizen.
The news media is scared of Palin. Thank goodness McGinniss is not.