06 September 2008

Did Sarah Palin Ban Books?

The skeletons keep marching out of the closet. This one, perhaps, will be among the more mundane, but Michelle Malkin, conservative mouthpiece and obnoxious, partisan trash talker, was awfully quick to jump to the defense.

Palin Derangement Syndrome strikes again. This time it’s hysterical librarians and their readers on the Internet disseminating a bogus list of books Gov. Sarah Palin supposedly banned in 1996. Looks like some of these library people failed reading comprehension. Take a look at the list below and you’ll find books Gov. Palin supposedly tried to ban…that hadn’t even been published yet. Example: The Harry Potter books, the first of which wasn’t published until 1998.

FWIW, the first Harry Potter book was published in England in 1997, but not in the States until 1998.

Malkin debunks the claim as an easy crib of a generic list of books censored at one time or another. Interestingly enough, though, she also links to this ADN piece confirming that Palin did inquire in 1996 about censoring books. Malkin, by the by, argues that this is a non-starter because no books were actually banned. But after refusing to entertain discussion on censoring any titles, the librarian was asked to tender her resignation. She refused and was bolstered by an outpouring of public support.

Malkin's ruse is to distract us with the generic list of books, which I agree comes up shy as "evidence." But that only takes our eye off the books themselves, and not the claim that Palin put pressure on the local librarian, Mary Emmons, to ban the books.

From the Rocky Mountain News:
At the time, Emmons told the local paper, The Frontiersman, that Palin asked her on three separate occasions about removing objectionable books. Emmons refused to censor any books.

Three separate occasions? The Rocky couldn't come up with any titles, but this sounds like the evidence that Malkin wants us to believe doesn't exist that Palin at the least exerted considerable pressure to ban books in Wasilla.

The librarian, Mary Emmons (now Mary Baker), is currently on vacation and not taking question, according to the Rocky (print version).