Coverage of Palin emails draws shrugs and accusations

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On Friday, the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her term as governor. The Times published those emails in a database, Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska Archive.

The Times has come under criticism for publishing the emails, as have other major news organizations that received the government documents under a public records request made in 2008 after Palin was named John McCain’s vice presidential running mate.

Some readers, like Marcia Goodman of Long Beach, just weren’t interested in the documents. ‘Why does anyone care what a former governor and never-will-be presidential candidate said several years ago?’ Goodman wrote to The Times.

Edward Golden of Northridge called the exercise much ado about nothing. ‘Fifty-three inches of space on a non-story about Palin’s mundane emails,’ Golden wrote. ‘And your point is?’


And William deLorimier of San Gabriel saw a double standard by The Times. ‘I really question your journalistic standards when you show so much glee in the release of Sarah Palin’s emails while she was governor of Alaska,’ deLorimier emailed. ‘I wish you people would show more journalistic tenacity in retrieving the current president’s transcripts from Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School.’

Other critics revived a controversy from the 2008 presidential race, in which The Times was criticized for its refusal to release a videotape of a 2003 party for Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi attended by Barack Obama. The Times reported on the contents of tape in an April 2008 article about Obama’s ties to Israel and Palestine. A week before the 2008 presidential election, McCain’s campaign accused the paper of ‘intentionally suppressing’ the videotape, which The Times said was given to the paper on the condition it not be made public. Greg Johnson of Milton, Wash., emailed, ‘The fact that the LA Times won’t release the Obama-Khalidi tape but you ask citizens to help go through the 24,000 Sarah Palin emails looking for gotchas is beyond contemptible.’

‘The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it,’ Editor Russ Stanton said at the time. ‘The Times keeps its promises to sources.’

-- Deirdre Edgar

A roundup of some other comments, from Twitter: