The Spectacle Blog

CNN Bozo Accidentally Outs His Source; Palins Threaten LegalActionOn Divorce Smear

By on 8.2.09 | 8:53PM

An attorney for Sarah Palin has delivered a letter threatening legal action against an anti-Palin blogger who was the source of a divorce rumor that the attorney for the former Alaska governor called "categorically false."

Publication of the letter at a Web site that repeated the rumor has uncovered circumstantial evidence that the anti-Palin blogger "Gryphen" is a kindergarten teacher at an Anchorage elementary school.

Saturday, the rumor that Todd and Sarah Palin were divorcing created an online uproar. CNN stringer/anti-Palin blogger Dennis Zaki published a thinly-sourced "news" item asserting that "multiple sources" had confirmed the rumor first published by "Gryphen" at his Immoral Majority blog.

Zaki obtained a copy of a letter from Palin attorney Thomas Van Flein, ordering "Gryphen" to retract the allegations -- calling them "complete fabrications, false and defamatory" -- or face legal action. The Van Flein letter, published by Zaki with the name of the recipient blacked out, ended with this sentence:

"If you do not have an attorney, please let me know if you want to be served with the summons and complaint at the kindergarten where you assist or at your residence." (Emphasis added.)

By publishing the letter, Zaki inadvertantly provided valuable information to an anonymous tipster who compiled online research indicating the identity of "Gryphen," whose Immoral Minority blog received more than 170,000 visits in July. Blogger Dan Riehl received the same information.

The tipster also forwarded examples of the Immoral Minority blog's attacks on Palin, where "Gryphen" used vulgar obscene language in reference to Mrs. Palin, including the so-called "Trig Truther" suggestion that the governor was not actually the mother of her fifth child:

"Wherever Trig came from he has proved to be a very valuable asset to Sarah Palin indeed. But just where did Trig Palin come from? As of today, as of this minute, and after over a month of searching I cannot tell you. I simply do not know for certain. I do know however where he did not come from. He did not issue forth from Sarah Palin. He may have been conceived inside her house (The jury is still out on that one), but he was not conceived in her uterus. On that one fact I have absolutely no doubt."
-- June 6, 2009

I am currently awaiting confirmation from Alaska sources of the tipster's circumstantial identification of "Gryphen," who has been inadvertantly put in career jeopardy by his friend Zaki's publication of the Van Flein letter.

Media in Alaska will not be able to ignore the news that the state's most notorious anti-Palin blogger is a kindergarten teacher at public school. Having spent part of my early career as a newspaper reporter covering the education beat, I can predict that "Gryphen" will soon at the center of a maelstrom of controversy.

UPDATE 9:21 p.m.: Dan Riehl, who has even better sources in Alaska than I do, reports that we are now "gold" on the tipster's identification of "Gryphen" as Jesse Griffin, a part-time teaching assistant at Trailside Elementary School in Anchorage. At his Immoral Minority blog, Griffin now confirms the basics (without using his real name), saying he has "every confidence that I will be vindicated."

Huffington Post reports on the controversy, and the blogosphere is beginning to fan the flames. Good luck with that vindication, Mr. Griffin. Im sure the taxpayers of Anchorage won't mind you calling Mrs. Palin all those ugly names --  "trailer trash Barbie" being a relatively mild example.

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