Palin laments loss of privacy on first episode of reality TV show

By John Byrne
Friday, November 5, 2010 8:30 EDT
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It begins with a sweep-around view of a lake at the end of Palin’s Wasilla, Alaska home.

“Where I like to do a lot of my writing and researching especially on beautiful day is outside,” she remarks, “where I get to take in the beauty of the lake.”

But it quickly devolves into an effort to demonize a temporary new neighbor, Joe McGinniss, who accepted an offer to rent a house next door to the Palin’s as part of an effort to write a book about the onetime Alaska Governor. (The book is due out in 2011.)

“Our being here has certainly changed this summer because of this new neighbor,” Palin says. Speaking to her husband Todd, who arrives on the scene, she says, “You need to drill a little tiny hole here, a peephole, and let me know where he is.”

Ironically, Palin makes the comment at the opening of a reality show, where she’s volunteered to give up her personal privacy in exchange for cash.

Wikipedia explains McGinnis’ attempt to capture the Palins’ life for his book:

In late May he was offered a rental on Lake Lucille in Wasilla and moved next door to Palin’s compound there. On her Facebook page Palin warned him to stay away from her children and stated: “Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden, and the family’s swimming hole?”. Palin’s angry Facebook entry, widely repeated by the media, caused a brief international media frenzy.

On a June 1, 2010 appearance on NBC’s Today Show, McGinniss pointed out that there was no view of anyone’s bedroom from his house, that the “swimming hole” was a large lake, and that he was not “stalking” Palin but rather doing research for his book about her. He told host Matt Lauer that Palin should have simply come over with a plate of cookies and had a civil discussion with him. Instead “she has pushed a button and unleashed the hounds of hell, and now they’re out there slavering and barking and growling,” McGinniss said. “That’s the same kind of tactic — and I’m not calling her a Nazi — but that’s the same kind of tactic that that the Nazi troopers used in Germany in the ’30s, and I don’t think there’s any place for it in America.”

Palin’s husband, Todd, also grumbles about McGinniss. He says their summer fun has been “taken away from us because of a new neighbor next door who is writing a hit piece on my wife. I mean life is about being productive but these people want to seek and destroy.”

Todd would later build a 14-foot fence around the Palin’s property in an effort to secure the family’s privacy.

“I thought that was a good example, what we just did,” Palin says. “Others can look at it and say oh this is what we need to do to secure our nation’s border.”

Sam Stein, who highlighted the clip on The Huffington Post, remarks, “Putting aside the debate over McGinniss’ ethics — as well as the more particular disputes over whether his rental of the house next door was physically intrusive — there is a certain irony to Palin’s lament. She’s complaining about her loss of privacy, after all, while being filmed for a reality TV series.

“It’s illustrative of Palin’s larger relationship with the press. The outlets to which she grants access provide the most favorable coverage, whether it be her analyst gig on Fox News or her Alaska-themed show on TLC. Those that probe a bit deeper are brandished as unreasonable.”

Palin later adds, “Some reporters said I was overreacting and I wanted to ask them: ‘How would you feel if some dude you knew was out to get you moved 15 feet away from your kids? How would you feel if some dude you knew who was out to getcha moved in 50 feet away from your kids? How would you feel?’”

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