Vanity Fair reporter speaks out about Palin story

KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) - The controversy over a Vanity Fair article about Sarah Palin continued Wednesday with the reporter disputing a conservative activist’s claim that she tried to prevent him from mistaking her child for Palin’s.

Reporter Michael Joseph Gross acknowledged last week that he mistook a child with Down syndrome, named Samuel Loudon, for Palin’s youngest son, Trig.

But on Wednesday, in a Vanity Fair blog post, he disputed claims that Samuel’s mother, conservative activist Gina Loudon, stopped him during a May rally in Kansas City suburb of Independence and tried to clear up the confusion. She insists he ignored her.

Gross‘ article, which appears in the magazine’s October issue, describes Palin’s youngest son, Trig, being pushed in a stroller by his older sister, Piper, before the rally.

“When the girl, Piper Palin, turns around, she sees her parents thronged by admirers, and the crowd rolling toward her and the baby, her brother Trig, born with Down syndrome in 2008,” according to the article. “Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, bend down and give a moment to the children; a woman, perhaps a nanny, whisks the boy away; and Todd hands Sarah her speech and walks her to the stage.”

Gross said in his blog that he wasn’t allowed backstage but saw what happened there from his seat in the audience.

But Loudon said Wednesday in a telephone interview that she stood by earlier remarks that she spoke to Gross during the rally and insisted it would have been impossible for him to witness what happened from the audience.

“As I stood backstage with the Palins I remember a reporter asking me if I were ‘Trig’s Nanny’ with a hint of something I didn’t trust in his eyes,” she wrote in a blog on the website bigjournalism.com. “I coldly retorted, ‘no, I am Samuel’s mother.’ He looked confused, and had more questions to follow.”

Gross said in his blog post that one possibility is that Loudon spoke to another reporter that day.

“The other possibility,” he wrote, “is that Loudon has simply made everything up.”

An e-mail sent to a magazine spokeswoman Wednesday to see whether Gross had further comment was not immediately returned.

Palin has called the article “yellow journalism.” It relies heavily on unnamed sources and describes everything from stingy tips given to hotel staff to heated fights between Palin and her husband.

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Online:

Vanity Fair: http://www.vanityfair.com

Big Journalism: bigjournalism.com

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