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Thursday, October 8, 2009

American Thinker: Time Blows Lid on "Secret" Sarah Palin Ghostwriter

By Rick Pearcey • October 8, 2009, 08:33 AM

American Thinker raises the issue:

Time magazine has blown the lid on a secret ghost writer for one of the most well known political figures of our day and that person is . . . Sarah Palin.

That's right!

Not President Obama but Sarah Palin whose book titled Going Rogue: An American Life is set for release soon. 

American Thinker faults Time for its politically slanted coverage, and writer Eric Tully makes several good points.

But let's move beyond the tactics of political coverage.

Ethical fairness would seem to require that whether one is talking about Barack Obama or Sarah Palin, the question is basically the same: Shouldn't readers, as a matter of simple honesty and truth in advertising, be able to tell who wrote a book by its cover? Of course they should.

Depending upon how much a writer "contributes," the cover of a book such as Going Rogue can state, for example:

* By Sarah Palin, or
* By Sarah Palin, as told to Lynn Vincent
* By Sarah Palin and Lynn Vincent
* By Sarah Palin With Lynn Vincent

And then the front matter of the book can give more details about how the book was written.

People's work should be respected, and it is biblically proper for their names to be attached to it, to receive proper and truthful credit and to alert others in the church and the culture to the presence of up-and-coming authors.

Individuality and creativity may be despised by the "machine" or by eastern religions, but there is nothing we have from our true Creator that hates or seeks to squash the individual per se. Sin, not the self, is the real challenge. The challenge is ethical, not ontological.

Along these lines, you may want to read, "Human Identity, Biblical Worldview, Creativity, and the Meaning of Work," by Udo Middelmann. Middelmann is president of the Francis A. Schaeffer Foundation in Switzerland. (More on Schaeffer here.)

Politics is downstream from culture, as former Capitol Hill staffer Bill Wichterman once said (and whom Nancy quotes in Total Truth: Liberating Christianity From Its Cultural Captivity).

A corrupt culture, including a corrupt publishing culture, may need to be uplifted and reformed -- to match the God-given dignity of the person, including nonfamous authors -- if we are to expect better results out of our political culture, whether that political culture is your local government or an all-too-un-Constitutionally rogue system entrenched and well-defended in Washington, D.C.

Capitol Hill is full of fake people doing pretend work, asking Americans to slavishly accept unread legislation imposed by a regime that prefers a dead Constitution (called "living") to the real written Constitution whose words continue to stoke the flames of freedom. 

Millions of Americans respect Sarah Palin, and I am one of them. But it is crucial to maintain a humane, ethical, and factual critical distance. This is part of living free and being responsible in one's choices and affirmations.  

Palin would serve herself and her cause well by insisting on truthfulness and transparency in publishing, including questions of authorship. The same calling holds true for any self-respecting collaborating author, under God and liberated by the Creator's high regard for the individual and the "work of our hands" (Ps. 90:17). 

Let's hope Sarah Palin does not allow Going Rogue to be domesticated and co-opted by a secular ghostwriting ethos that says -- after you get behind the PR niceties -- it is OK to deceive one's readership for a good cause. In this regard, it seems legitimate to wonder why, given reports of a co-author, no co-author is currently noted on the cover of Going Rogue, as pictured on Palin's Facebook page and at Amazon.

Sometimes we hear about contracts and confidentiality agreements that keep a co-author or ghostwriter quiet. But two wrongs don't make a right.

Not even with a signed contract. 

What? Because two or more people and a publisher agree to keep quiet, nuance, or otherwise deceive the reading public, it's OK? You think a holy God blesses that?  

Perhaps not. The ends do not justify the means, nor do the means justify the ends.

More and more in our corrupt secular culture, ethics transcends legality.