Worst. Half. Term. Governor. Evar. Part IV—The Unraveling [UPDATED X4]
In a triumph of maverickiness over common sense, Sarah Palin and her ship o’loons have yet again managed to turn what would have been a minor local spat into a national news story.
We’ve documented this farce from inception (the video of Palin and her goons surrounding a protester) to blatant obfuscation (Conservatives4Palin’s laughable first attempt to make all this go away) to desperation (Palin and her fans’ easily disproved denial that anything untoward happened). And now we come to the next stage: retaliation.
Shannyn Moore has been in the sights of Conservatives4Palin for quite some time as an effective counter to the Alaska mythology the Palin schtick relies on. And now the sights have zeroed in on the new enemy: the audacious Kathleen Gustafson.
If Palin had decided to ignore the banner that Kathleen Gustafson displayed in Homer a couple of days ago, few would have seen it in person, maybe a pic or two might have raised a few laughs on some blogs, but it would have been a non-story. But now? Well, check out Memeorandum.
And among those links you’ll find evidence of a truly quarter-assed smear campaign against Kathleen Gustafson that I hope will come back to bite her detractors firmly on their fundaments.
I don’t know how much Kathleen Gustafson wants her story pursued—she was unavailable for media comment yesterday—as I’m sure she’s as surprised as anyone at how this story escalated from a simple demonstration on private property. So I hope she’ll forgive me for pointing out the RW blogosphere’s all too predictable reaction, partly in a hope to head it off—not before it’s caused the perpetrators some embarrassment, but hopefully before the hatred they’ve been trying to whip up has unfortunate consequences. (I dealt with some of this in comments last night, so if you’ve already read some of it, please bear with me. I’m also going to skip some comments I’ve found elsewhere that reveal some of her background and whereabouts this summer, as you never know who might read this.)
It all started with a revolting wee blog called Macsmind, run by one MacRanger, who reputedly has some sort of radio show.
A little Google research is a dangerous thing, and Mr. Ranger proved that in spades. What began with a grand “Aha!”, and the sequence of updates over several hours, tells the tale better than I can:
Been digging around on Mrs Gustafson.
Seems she’s a personality of sorts on KBBI AM 890 Homer Alaska. Far cry from just being a “school teacher” don’t you think?
Wanna bet she set this up as a publicity stunt. It would appear after getting aptly handled by Sarah she should have stayed at home.
UPDATE: Here’s a story about her singing abilities with a drag-queen band. Whoohoo!
UPDATE II: So far no confirmation of Gustafson’s claim to be a school teacher. However she is President, Board of Directors, Kachemak Bay. Family Planning Clinic (KBFPC) in Homer, AK. Figures.
UPDATE II: According to the Alaska Teacher Certification website there is a Kathleen Gustafson registered, but unknown if this is her.
UPDATE III: It’s not unless she lives in Juno.
UPDATE IV: More to come, but this wasn’t at all what it was purported to be. Much of it surrounds Shannyn Moore, whom Palin threaten to sue a while back and who along with a group of bloggers is a member in good standing of the Palin Derangement Syndrome Club.
Want to guess who else is a member of the club?
UPDATE VI: According to the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District website there is no Kathleen Gustafson registered as a teacher in the district which includes Homer.
UPDATE VII: Actually there is. A Kathleen Gustafson does appear on this PDF from the district. According to the document she’s not a teacher but a “Theater Tech” at Homer High School. I wonder how the school district would feel about her misstating or more appropriately impersonating a teacher.
We’ll find out.
The backtrack in Update VII should have been a red flag that Mr. Ranger was barking up a lampost, not a tree at all, but it’s hard to back down with grace when you’ve committed yourself in print:
UPDATE VII: A couple of points to clarify. It appears that Kathleen Gustafson is more than what the media – or she – tried to portray. Secondly a “Theater Tech” can very well be a teacher although many times – such in the case of one reader email – it’s not.
“Hi, I’m a Theater Tech at our local High School. I produce and direct shows, however I’m not a teacher either considered by the school or myself”.
Additionally I could care less whether she performs in a drag queen band or for a play. What is significant is that she is president of the Board of Directors, Kachemak Bay. Family Planning Clinic (KBFPC) in Homer, AK, aka, abortion rights organization.
We all know that progressives have targeted Sarah for not aborting her Down Syndrome Affected child Trig.
The more I dig the more I find connections between Gustafson and Shannyn Moore, the progressive blogger and chief harasser of Sarah Palin and it’s looking more and more like this was a “bait” setup for which Sarah bit, but then she would have had no choice. Had she not approached them over the banner they most likely would have approached her.
Either way it backfired and Sarah won the day by most accounts.
O ... K. That’s the best he now has.
But this theory about Kathleen had already gained legs among the RW blogs, repeatedly calling Kathleen a liar (and worse) for her claim that she was a teacher, let alone her uppitiness in challenging the Queen. A sample would include Rightwing News (“About the Left’s New Palin-Confronting ‘Teacher,’ Turns Out She Lied”), and Gateway Pundit (“THAT WAS NO TEACHER… Unhinged Leftist Who Confronted Palin Is a Singer in a Drag Queen Band (Photo)”), and this was dutifully taken up by a number of blogs on the right, including, in passing, Conservatives4Palin (“I Wish Governor Palin Did Roll Her Eyes/Late-Night Open Thread”).
Rebuttal of a story you’re highly invested in is a bit of a nightmare for any blogger, not least when it comes in comments on your own post. And lo! What do we find in the comments on some of these accusatory rantings?
From Gateway Pundit:
Ahem – “Theater Tech” is the name of the class. It teaches highschoolers how to create sets, lighting plans, build props, etc. Her collegue Amy Christenson isn’t a “Music” and Mark Robinson isn’t a “Choir” all by himself. The word that follows their names is most likely the name of the class they teach.
And she’s not a singer in a Drag Queen band, she’s obviously performing in the stage play “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” If she was in the Sound of Music, would you claim she was an Austrian au pair?
But, let’s suppose she really was both just a theater tech and a singer in a drag queen rock band – so what?
Palin showed little class in talking with someone who disagreed with her. She mocked her openly, rolled her eyes when she heard her profession and when the camera was off, her people tore down the sign that Sarah was supposedly working to protect.
Ok, just a couple things to point out, you might want to consider making these points as questions rather than stating them as facts in order to protect yourself. Theater Tech at a school is simply the new name from Drama teacher.
The Master’s degree that drama teachers get include a lot of technical training. (this is different from the Bachelors). There are two Theater Tech’s listed on the Homer high school directory, (Gustafson being one) but no “Drama Teacher”
So, she probably is the Drama teacher. Gustafson is listed as having a teaching certificate since 1995 in Alaska- so even if she is not teaching this year, she can still be considered a teacher since she just renewed her certification.
Also, Hedwig and the Angry Itch [sic] is a hugely popular musical, later made into an award winning movie- so it makes sense that the high school drama teacher would direct a community play. It’s not really a “drag band”. You have to be careful these days, I understand the point you are trying to make, but you need to do it without looking like you are lying or it could backfire.
This blog should take Sarah’s advice…..check your facts. Firstly, Todd does indeed have a set net site in Bristol Bay but from what the locals say…they don’t even pick fish anymore. Secondly, Sarah nor Todd are long-liners…you can’t “see Halibut biting at bait” since Halibut are bottom fish. I don’t know any commercial fishers with manicures or rubber boots like the ones Sarah was sporting.
Mrs. Gustafson is indeed a teacher that also happens to be a theater director, a news correspondent, and board member to various non-profits in Homer, Alaska.
Check yer facts before blogging myopic crap.
And at a blog called Palin Promotions (“Promoting Sites That Promote Sarah Palin”):
Kathleen Gustafson is a teacher here in Homer, she teaches theater tech and has been working with local kids in many areas for many years. She directed and eventually played in a few performances of Hedwig and the Angry Inch which was movingly headlined by Atz Kilcher (brother of Jewel) and held over by popular demand because it was so well done. She is a talented educator and a very important part of this town, constantly donating her time to many nonprofits. One thing for sure is she’s no liar!
Whatever brand of bot it is that acts as admin there responded:
... if what you write turns out to be true, this article will be pulled and an apology will be issued. In the meantime, until we can confirm that Ms. Gustafson is a “certified” teacher, the blog will remain.
I believe someone we all know chipped in then, but the admin left the onus on others to disprove the allegation, and just linked back to the Macsmind story for supporting “evidence.” There are more responses like this from Alaskans trying to set the record straight (Ms. Gustafson is a well-known figure in Homer and beyond), so I won’t labor the point further.
It’s all a far cry from yesterday, when I reported that I couldn’t find much coverage of the video on the Palin-friendly blogs!
This is a silly story with some not-so-silly undercurrents. It showed up Palin as the mean girl she so transparently is, and as ever, the attempted cover-up is potentially more damaging than the original incident. I’ve laughed my socks off over the last 24 hours, but I’m also pretty angry.
Are the Palins so accustomed to acting like thugs on their home turf that they’re blind to how their conduct looks to others? And are there any depths the right-wing blogs won’t stoop to in order to smear—or worse—the source of a story rather than deal with the facts?
Having libeled Kathleen Gustafson so amateurishly, I think she’s owed some apologies and published retractions from these people. I won’t be holding my breath.
You can tell how damaging the half-term former governor’s encounter with a teacher yesterday was by the ferocity of the reaction. So we get a blog post screaming at the top of Memeorandum:
THAT WAS NO TEACHER
The post is from Gateway pundit, not exactly a blog to rely on for facts. He also gives a little hint of what life would be like in a Palin presidency. A simple sign protesting Oalin’s delinquency and incompetence in her months of governing Alaska - “Worst Governor Ever” - is regarded by the blog as “rude and aggressive”. Being rude to public figures? We can’t have that, can we? Note: no Hitler mustache, no references to the Holocaust, no equation with Stalin, just “Worst Governor Ever”. But then it gets funnier. While Jim Hoft at Gateway was stating as fact that the Alaskan, Kathleen Gustafson, was a liar, the blog he was relying on relayed the following updates:
And Hugh Hewitt elbows his way to the front of the queue of those all too eager to make arses of themselves over all this:
Except the “school teacher” was much more than a school teacher, as Gateway Pundit and MacRanger make clear.
... Only to be supplanted by James Joyner at Outside the Beltway (“Sarah Palin Teacher Drag Queen Brouhaha”).
UPDATE 2: At time of writing (mid-morning), Memeorandum’s removed all the links to the RW sites calling Gustafson a “liar” and a “drag queen,” in case you’re wondering what happened. Oh my.
UPDATE 3: Shitty little toad MacRanger doesn’t know when he’s beat:
UPDATE: Working on information that in fact left-wing PDS queen Shannyn Moore actually orchestrated the event possibly coordinating it with Gustafson.
Meanwhile I’ve contacted the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District to get their thoughts and inquire about Gustafson’s actual status as well as ask about FOIA to any records pertaining to her.
I live in hope they tell him to fuck off.
... And add Newsbusters to the parade of stupidity (big surprise):
Is it that hard for anyone in the mainstream media to apply a little skepticism and work a few keystrokes on Google?
UPDATE 4: Well, well. Some creature called Patrick S. Adams from something called the Palin Twibe (good grief) has a blog post up (“Anatomy of a Palin Smear Campaign Gone Wild”) claiming proudly that he orchestrated the smearing of Kathleen Gustafson. Do take a look, but here’s a few extracts:
This blogger explained the dynamics behind how smear campaigns work in this blog post. Let me pick up where I left off on that post with a clear look at what happened in Homer this week when Sarah Palin went to shoot a portion of her documentary about Alaska for TLC. Melissa Clouthier gives a summary of events here. Now the left is fighting back claiming that the Palin protestor is really a teacher in rebuttal to an article that claims she’s not. Allow me to explain why this is happening.
I posted a reprint of the article that broke the story that the Palin protestor was not a teacher. It’s a technique I learned from the Alaska bloggers as a matter of fact. The Immoral Minority blog or Palingates blog would post what appeared to be damaging information on Sarah Palin and Blue Oasis, Mudflats and Just a Girl From Homer would piggy back off of it. I just did what any good Mudflatter would have done with an article from their side if it was as helpful as Gateway Pundit’s was for us.
That’s when we finally figured it out.
What happened as a result of Sarah Palin’s trip to Homer is that the right took on one of Alaska’s most heinous of bloggers and beat her at her own game.
The left will have a hard time debunking the Gateway Pundit story as they try to come whimpering back with proof that the Palin protestor is a real teacher. Just go to page 28 and try to determine if you can tell if someone who is labelled Theater Tech sandwiched between Nurse and Counselor is a teacher.
But let’s assume it turns out that the woman is a teacher. Then all we have to do is go to another page in the liberal playbook: either retract or correct the story after it’s gone viral. The liberal media understands how that works. They would sometimes knowingly put out a false story about Sarah Palin and then come back and correct it later. They’d run the story, maybe on the front page even, then issue a retraction buried somewhere. By that time the damage has already been done.
The rest is self-congratulatory, self-aggrandizing, and self-delusional blah, including:
The video was a small story. I could have told them just from looking at the video that it was a waste of time to try to spin it into something bad for Palin. They’ve been out of ammo for awhile.
This one is weak, really weak. The question is not whether or not the protestor is a teacher, if she worked with a drag queen band or if Sarah Palin rolled her eyes (it’s really pathetic now that they’re circulating slow motion clips of that part of the video - they don’t give up, do they?). The question is did the left see how well the right played those grey areas to obtain virality on the counter smear of the so called “teacher”? Come on liberal smear experts, give us some points for that - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
Erm, no. Whatever stupid game you’re playing—with someone’s life, by the way, just as with Shirley Sherrod, and we know how well that worked out for Breitbart—you’re actually pretty shit at it. And here’s a tip: Don’t brag about your tactics on an open blog!
And here’s the ending:
The smear campaign has become the theater of the absurd. And we on the right are just sitting here eating popcorn laughing our asses off now. Truly unhinged, it’s like watching a spacewalk where the astronauts are becoming untethered from the ship. They are punch drunk, yet they still don’t realize our growing ability to smack them down. There will come a time when we can only beat them so much before it becomes too cruel.
There will be no more free shots at Sarah Palin. There will be no more lies, slander and artificially flavored red meat for the left wing base that will go unchecked. If the left doesn’t like that, all I can tell them is don’t hate the players; hate the game - their game.
Dear Mr. Adams—Go look up “megalomania,” then get back to me.
(Last update h/t Palingates)