Evidence against Palin overwhelming, says prof

Sarah Palin and her son Trig

Professor Scharlott has opened a can of Alaskan worms by questioning Sarah Palin’s pregnancy

News LAST UPDATED AT 17:45 ON Fri 15 Apr 2011

The journalism professor who is questioning whether Sarah Palin is really the mother of her three-year-old son, Trig, has told The First Post that the "circumstantial evidence" that she faked her pregnancy is "overwhelming".

Brad Scharlott of North Kentucky University has lit a fire-storm in the US media - more than two years after the rumours first surfaced – by publishing an academic paper examining the conspiracy theory that Palin's pregnancy was a hoax designed to protect the real mother, presumed to be a member of her God-fearing family – most likely her unmarried daughter, Bristol.

Scharlott's paper concludes that it is "unlikely" that Palin is the mother of Trig, born with Down's Syndrome.

Asked last night for his personal view, he told The First Post: "The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming that something fishy happened.

"It has not been definitively proved that it is all a hoax. But it would easy to disprove, and I invite Palin to provide the proof. Until she does, we can only draw the inference."

The official story is that Palin, then Governor of Alaska, gave birth to Trig on April 18, 2008, four months before becoming John McCain's presidential election running-mate. She had been giving a speech in Texas when her waters broke  - so the story went at the time - but rather than give birth there she undertook a 10-hour journey back to her local hospital in Alaska.

As The First Post recounted yesterday, Scharlott, 57, a reporter for Midwestern daily newspapers before turning professor, found reasons to question the story on every step of the way.

"The truth that something is up has been hiding in plain sight," he said. "Nothing could be clearer. Just look at the inconsistencies, look at the photographs showing a trim Sarah at seven months pregnant."

He added that Washington "insiders" have believed all along that Palin's motherhood was a hoax to safeguard the family image she projects to her followers.

How could she get away with it? Scharlott's paper is focused on the failure of American journalism to pursue the story, being sucked into a "spiral of silence". But, eventually  "the balloon bursts".

"No one could believe that a sitting governor had the capacity to pull a hoax like this," he said, "to put a whale-belly under her sweater to fake a photo. The story shuts down because the mainstream doesn't want to believe it. I have pricked the balloon and I'm amazed at how fast the truth is now spiraling upwards."

Scharlott, who says he is a left-of-centre democrat with a small 'd', is not convinced that Trig is Bristol's baby either. "He could come from elsewhere in the family," he said. "Todd (her husband) has been in tabloid headlines alleging affairs and a 'love child'."

For the moment, Scharlott says, he "feels safe". He is reveling in a furious debate on the blogosphere between Palin devotees and the "foot soldiers" of the left.

So far, only Palin's campaign spokesman Bill McAlistair, a former Alaskan television journalist, has threatened violence.

"If we ever meet, I'll slap you," McAllister wrote in an email to Scharlott and forwarded to five of his colleagues. "In a different era, I'd challenge you to a duel."   · 

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