McGinnis Never Actually Asked Glenn Rice If He’d Had Sex With Sarah Palin

Author Joe McGinnis, whose hit-piece on Sarah Palin called The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin has been causing a stir of late, talked with Newsweek about his book and claims that it is (as the New York Times put it, “caustic, unsubstantiated gossip.”

McGinnis was asked about the most salacious claim in the book, that a young Sarah Palin had sex with basketball star Glen Rice, and it’s revealed that McGinnis apparently never asked Rice directly if he and Palin had a romantic relationship. Rather, he just extrapolated that conclusion from Rice’s ambiguous answer to an indirect question.

McGinniss says he decided which sources were credible “on the basis of 40-plus years in journalism. By this point in my career, if I can’t tell what’s true and what somebody’s making up for nefarious reasons, I’ve been in the wrong business all this time.”

The Rogue’s biggest news nugget is McGinniss’s claim that when she was a young sports reporter for a local television station in 1987, Sarah had a one-night stand with basketball star Glen Rice, who is black.

McGinniss speculates that they did the deed in a college dorm room in Anchorage or possibly a hotel. But when he actually interviewed the former Miami Heat star, he didn’t directly ask him if they had sex. Instead, McGinniss asked: “So you never had the feeling she felt bad about having sex with a black guy?” Rice’s reply: “No, no, no, nothing like that.”

Despite the ambiguity of that response, McGinniss insists, “I think it’s pretty clear … That’s certainly the impression I came away with.” Rice didn’t respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.

Nothing like manufacturing your own conclusions. I’m not even sure why Palin’s alleged relationship with Rice would be shocking, if true. What are we supposed to be upset about? That a then-single Sarah Palin had sex with a then-single Glen Rice? Is it the inter-racial nature of the alleged relationship that’s supposed to shock us? And, to be sure, Palin’s position now is that sex should wait for marriage. But who among us hasn’t failed to live up to our own ideals now and then?

Again, I think McGinnis is lying, but even if it’s true…who cares?

McGinnis also defends his methods, asserting that he’s a credible journalist who would only print things that are true:

McGinniss defends his methods—which include devoting many pages to speculation that baby Trig, who suffers from Down syndrome, isn’t really Sarah’s—by noting that most of his sources wouldn’t go on the record because they were worried the Palins would exact revenge. “I would say that 90 percent of what I learned is not in the book because I couldn’t check it out,” he says. “I wrote only the things I was able to satisfy myself about as to their authenticity, as to their accuracy, as to their truthfulness.”

McGinnis attempted to make me one of the sources for his book (you can read my email exchange with him here), and if he treated his other sources like he treated me it’s no surprise that 90% of them wouldn’t go on the record with him.

Rob Port

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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