I don't really have much to add to the Palin part of the story. My bottom line, I guess, is that I'd like to give pols as much privacy as possible, and I really don't believe that fibbing about private lives is necessarily correlated with lies about public affairs, although I'll readily admit that's a belief without much evidence one way or another. (Although Sullivan makes a good case that Palin has forfeited her own claims to privacy in this case because she has made it so public). When all is said and done, my feeling is that if the case that Palin has a history of telling whoppers can't be made without reference to this story, then I'd give her a pass on this story; if it can be made without this story, then I'd give all other pols a break by letting it go, because I want to allow them to smooth over the rougher edges of their intimate lives. As it is, I think the case against her on these grounds comfortably reaches overkill without any reference to her children, so if I was a reporter I'd leave it at that.
That's the Palin side of it. I may have some thoughts later on the press side of things. I do appreciate Sullivan's comprehensive response. For now, I'll give him the last word:
I have never claimed I know the truth. I don't. I only know that none of us does. We all have to rely on the word of Sarah Palin - something about as reliable as a credit default swap. I want to know the truth. Because if I am loony, I deserve the pushback and criticism for suspecting a story that turned out to be true. And because if Palin has lied about this, it's the most staggering, appalling deception in the history of American politics. Not knowing which is true for real - and allowing this person to continue to dominate one half of the political divide - is something I think is intolerable. In the end, this story is not about Palin. It's about the collapse of the press and the corrupt cynicism of a political system that foisted this farce upon us without performing any minimal due diligence.