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Palinwatch: Scientology, van Susteren Harming 2012 Hopes

A series of connections between Sarah Palin, Fox News reporter Greta van Susteren, and van Susteren's Democrat husband and former Hillary Clinton presidential campaign aide John Coale has found itself in the spotlight this week, and the complex triangle may have serious implications for Palin's 2012 Presidential hopes. On Monday a Politico article pointed to a "state of confusion" between Palin's advisors in Alaska and the team at her PAC in Washington, DC, and claimed that GOP insiders are unhappy with Coales- a "major Democratic donor"- becoming involved with Palin's campaign. The story also has implications for van Susteren, whose fawning coverage of Palin both before and after the 2008 election now seems decidedly influenced by her husband's connection to the VP candidate.

Van Susteren, writing on her Fox News blog, hit back (weird fact- her piece appears to have been published the day before Politico's (unless someone at Politico has changed the date)), calling Politico's argument "fanciful and silly":
As for my husband, everyone in the media sure has gotten themselves going with all sorts of wild imagination. We are laughing at it at home because with each story it gets wilder and wilder. You would think from the stories that my husband ran her VP campaign.  Yes, he advised her - after the election -  how to set up a PAC (big deal - it is common - routine - for politicians to set up a PAC - virtually every politician has one set up and there is nothing wrong with them.. and incidentally, the PAC was created to pay travel bills she had accumulated and would accumulate in the future and to contribute to other candidatesand the Pac was not to be her chief political advisers which is what the article accuses.)  And yes, he thought it wrong the way she was attacked in the media.  As a matter of fact, so did I think she was treated unfairly by the media (I don’t like gratuitous attacks…issues, yes….but not gratuitous attacks) and I am not the only one who thought that in the media. [Formatting van Susteren's]

All would be well and good but for this from Geoffrey Dunn in the Huffington Post:
But what Van Susteren does acknowledge in her "brief" on the subject is equally troubling:

1. She acknowledges that her husband, John Coale, has been advising Palin, that they are in weekly contact, and that he played a central role in the formation of her national political action committee, SarahPAC--all while she has been covering Palin for Fox News.

2. She acknowledges that her husband met Palin through Van Susteren's media contacts with the governor. In short, he used his wife's journalistic access to Palin to gain his own political access.

There are some serious journalistic conflicts of interest taking place here, and Van Susteren is either being duplicitous or disingenuous to characterize them as "silly."

Point 2 here is strained- I'm struggling to find any evidence of this in van Susteren's post. But point 1 remains very valid indeed- while van Susteren was in Alaska kowtowing to the Palins her husband was in Washington helping set up SarahPAC. Yet van Susteren sees no conflict of interest here. Dunn adds a series of bizarre footnotes, including connections with a Scientology-linked Ponzi scheme, and Coale's attempts to set up a PAC based upon Scientology's teachings. He also alleges that the couple are as pally with the Clintons as they are with the Palins. Something ain't right.

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