On the one hand, I’m glad that there are a few journalists who are trying to cover Thomas Muthee’s appearance in Wasilla, Alaska this weekend. Among those are Max Blumenthal and Shannyn Moore. Moore appeared on Keith Olbermann’s TV show to talk about the Thomas Muthee, Sarah Palin witch hunt story this Friday.
It seems that Shannyn Moore, because she had been on TV talking about Thomas Muthee’s persecution of women he accuses of witchcraft, was identified by members of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, and was prevented from seeing Muthee speak. That’s an odd thing for Sarah Palin’s church to do, given all the public announcements about Muthee’s sermons being open to the public: “Everyone is invited to attend these meetings!” said the Wasilla Assembly of God advertisement.
Reporter Max Blumenthal apparently made it in to yesterday evening’s sermon by Thomas Muthee at the Wasilla Assembly of God church. Unfortunately, Blumenthal has decided not to share what he saw there.
Why? another public blog posting, where people from the Wasilla Assembly of God can easily find it, Blumenthal wrote, “I am going to see Muthee tomorrow but am worried that all the publicity he has garnered will create an ugly media circus.”
That statement confused me. How can a reporter, going to cover a story, complain about “an ugly media circus” created by people covering a story? I went back and read Blumenthal’s short article again, and the meaning became clear. In Blumenthal’s mind, when he reports on a story, it’s good journalism. When other people report on the same story, it’s “an ugly media circus”.
In the same artlcle, Blumenthal whines, “Unfortunately, the Times of London ripped off the work of Bruce Wilson to ‘break’ the story about Muthee’s ties to Sarah Palin. Then, the story migrated to Keith Olbermann.” Ripped off?
The Times of London story that Blumenthal refers to didn’t rip off anybody, certainly not the work of Bruce Wilson (from Talk2Action). Wilson’s article focused mostly on general statements about the Pentacostal nature of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, which Sarah Palin joined at the age of twelve. Thomas Muthee’s witch hunts were barely mentioned in the Wilson article.
The Times of London article, on the other hand, focused solely on the witch hunts of Thomas Muthee, and developed details far beyond anything that Bruce Wilson had discussed. Bruce Wilson wrote two or three sentences. The Times of London wrote an entire article. In doing so, the Times of London noted a piece of Irregular Times reporting on the story: The list of sermons deleted from the Wasilla Assembly of God web site – sermons that were available to the public right up until the day that Sarah Palin was announced as the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Those missing sermons included many made by Thomas Muthee.
We’re not whining here at Irregular Times that the Times of London “ripped off” our work. No, we’re glad to see other people working on developing the story. In fact, we wish that American newspapers would report on the story, whether they cite our work or not. We care about the story, not about getting credit for our part in it.
Max Blumenthal, on the other hand, seems miffed that other people are writing about a story that he wanted to write about. He regards it as unfortunate that the Times of London has written about it. He’s irritated that Keith Olbermann has talked about it. Blumenthal seems to think that the Thomas Muthee story is his turf, though, from what I can see, Blumenthal has yet to publicly contribute any new information to move the story forward. Instead, Blumenthal has information, and is selfishly keeping that information to himself for no good reason.
I’m noting this inaction on the part of Max Blumenthal, not just because it frustrates me that there’s a journalist on the scene of Thomas Muthee’s sermons who is refusing to report on them, but because Blumenthal’s selfish silence illustrates one reason that the story of Sarah Palin’s connection to the witch hunter Thomas Muthee has been written about by newspapers in Switzerland, the UK, and Romania (Un pastor kenyan, despre care Palin a afirmat ca a ajutat-o prin rugaciuni sa devina guvernator de Alaska, a fost demascat de presa ca fiind “vanator de vrajitoare” la el in Africa. Intr-un discurs rostit la o reuniune crestina la Wasilla, in luna iunie, Palin l-a omagiat pe pastorul Thomas Muthee.), while no major newspaper here in the United States of America has even acknowledged that the story exists.
The information necessary for a full-length article is already easily available online, by American reporters seem to be worried more about claiming possession of the story, by grabbing their own piece of original information before their competitors can. Unwilling to share credit for a story that has been gradually forming due to the work of many people, they’re choosing to remain silent.
It’s not unfortunate that Keith Olbermann and the Times of London have reported on the Thomas Muthee – Sarah Palin connection. It’s unfortunate that not more people have.
A good reporter doesn’t need to have a story suppressed before he or she can write about it. Good reporters have been able to find breaks in stories where public scrutiny was high. If Max Blumenthal can’t report on Thomas Muthee today because the Times of London has written about Muthee already, then the problem lies with Blumenthal, not with the Times of London.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball: What matters is the story, not who reports it. The story is that Sarah Palin claims to have been made Governor of Alaska through the supernatural powers of Thomas Muthee, a preacher who, before having repeated interactions with Palin while she was mayor of Wasilla, gained power and fame through the violent persecution of women, accusing them of witchcraft and running them out of town, contributing to a wave of violence in Kenya conducted in the name of exterminating witches.