CNN Gives Platform to Anti-Palin Author McGinniss, Who Blames Palins for Death Threats

On Monday's Piers Morgan Tonight, author Joe McGinniss blamed Sarah Palin and her family for inciting the death threats made against him. After he moved in next door to the Palins, something he called a "non-issue from the start," he claimed that Sarah Palin "incited that hatred" of death threats made against him for writing a critical book of her.

"The Palins march right up to the border of inciting violence, and stop there and then stand back and say, we had nothing to do with it, if anything happens to anybody," McGinniss told Piers Morgan. CNN granted the author almost 20 minutes of air-time in two separate interviews Monday and Tuesday.

Although the interviewers were tough toward McGinniss, CNN at least took the time to vet his book full of nasty gossip and rumors about the former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate. They gave no air-time to Gary Aldrich's claims about President Clinton in 1996, reviewing his book as full of "second-hand, unsubstantiated sexual rumors about and bitter attacks against President and Mrs. Clinton."

McGinniss also downplayed his moving in next door to Palin while he was writing a book about her, saying that he promised to respect their privacy. "So it was a non-issue from the start," he claimed.

[Video below. Click here for audio.]

"I was never obsessed with Sarah Palin. I went out to write a new book about Alaska. She happened to be governor. John McCain happened to pick her as a vice presidential candidate. That made her synonymous with Alaska."

McGinniss' defense of his credibility became almost comical late in the interview when he told Morgan that he wrote of Palin having an affair, not of her being a "sex cheat" as Morgan claimed he wrote. The exchange went as follows:

PIERS MORGAN: In the book, you describe Sarah Palin occasionally as "a clown, a nitwit, a rabid wolf, a lap dancer, a bad mother, a drug abuser, a sex cheat, a bulimic and a religious nut case."

JOE MCGINNISS, "The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin": I don't think I used the word bulimic.

MORGAN: Right. Right. Other than that, the rest of it's all –

MCGINNISS: No, and I didn't use the word sex cheat. Don't attribute to me words that I didn't write.

MORGAN: But you accused her of cheating in a sexual way.

MCGINNISS: I mentioned that "the National Enquirer" had printed a story about an alleged affair that she had.

MORGAN: Do you think she had the affair?

MCGINNISS: I have no idea except what I read in the the National Enquirer and -

MORGAN: But as a prestigious journalist – let me ask you, as a prestigious journalist, do you just willy-nilly repeat National Enquirer scoops even if you can't substantiate them?

MCGINNISS: No, but I substantiated this.

MORGAN: So it is true?

MCGINNISS: I substantiated it by talking to many, many people.

MORGAN: So it is true?

MCGINNISS: Yes, it is true.

MORGAN: So she was a sex cheat.

MCGINNISS: She had an affair.

MORGAN: Is that the same as being a sex cheat?

MCGINNISS: That's your terminology.

MORGAN: Is it or not?

MCGINNISS: She made a mistake.

MORGAN: Okay. She cheated sexually.

MCGINNISS: If you want to say that.

MORGAN: I don't want to say that. Did you say that in the book?

MCGINNISS: No, I didn't.

MORGAN: You just said you did.

MCGINNISS: I said she had an affair. No, I didn't. This is like Monty Python.

MORGAN: You substantiated the affair, but that doesn't make her a sex cheat.

MCGINNISS: Well, that's not language that I used.

- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center