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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Muting the Mommy Melodrama

The Internet is abuzz with the rumor that Palin’s youngest child, Trig, is not actually her son but her grandson, born to her teenage daughter Bristol and adopted by Palin to cover up the scandal. Aside from a DNA test, it’s unlikely we’ll convince the hard-core conspiracy theorists and skeptics that this rumor is totally false (it could be argued that not even a DNA test would suffice for some). But this photo, which has been making its way around the Web, shows a very pregnant Palin alongside CBS’ KTVA 11 reporter Andrea Gusty:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with CBS KTVA 11 reporter Andrea Gusty

(click for larger view)


We spoke with Gusty, who sent us this copy of the photo, and she told us she was surprised the photo had made it onto the Internet. “I was under the impression that nobody had it except for me.” When we asked her if the photo circulating online had been altered in any way, she said there was “no photoshopping,” and that the photo was taken during a live interview with Palin in mid-April 2008, at the end of the state Legislature’s regular session. “About a week after that picture was taken, [Palin] actually gave birth to Trig,” Gusty told FactCheck.org. “I actually did an interview with her about two or three days after she had given birth. And that’s when she and Todd introduced the baby to the world.” The Palins formally announced the birth of their fifth child on April 18.

Aside from the photo, the rumor is also contradicted by Palin’s recent announcement of Bristol’s (confirmable) pregnancy. If Bristol is in fact five months pregnant – and again, we’re not obstetricians either – then she couldn’t be 5-month-old Trig’s mother.

–Emi Kolawole and Jess Henig

Update: We have added the original photo, which was sent to us by Andrea Gusty. For a larger view please click on the photograph.