Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

Summary: Could you withstand the scrutiny?

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TOPICS: Collaboration
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Original image of Governor Palin courtesy CBS News.

What if all your friends could comb through all your email messages, ever, to see what you really thought about them? What if your family members could see every email message you ever sent? What if your employers (past, present, and future) could see a complete archive of your professional dealings via email?

Could you withstand the scrutiny?

I'm not sure I could. I am highly profane in my email traffic (I'm an engineer by training; profanity is a necessary tool). I'm cranky. I tend to tell my correspondents about how little sleep I've gotten and how long it's been since I've had lunch.

Of course, my email archive also has a lot of personally identifying information as well. It has birth dates, dates of events, addresses and contact information of people who might not want their information made public, and even, probably, password reset codes for various services.

I would not want to share my email with the world. You probably wouldn't want to, either.

Our politicians, though, often do. Or, more precisely, they often are required to, after putting up as much of a fuss as possible.

This is certainly the case with Sarah Palin. The State of Alaska finally acceded to disclosure requests and released a massive dump of 24,000 email messages to various media entities, covering her nearly three years as Alaska's chief executive.

See also:

If you want to know what Sarah Palin thinks and how she works, you can find out. It comes as little surprise that there are very few surprises in her archives. Palin, while aggressive in her self-promotion, has shown very little artifice in her public presentation.

We've learned that Todd was, indeed, called the "First Dude," we've learned that she really did call herself "momma," we've learned Todd had a lot of involvement in her administration, we've learned she's pretty protective of her kids, and we've learned she spent state money in dubious ways for the benefit of her family.

We also know that she used a variety of personal Yahoo accounts (we knew this a few years ago, when a hacker broke into one such account), and we know she's pretty prolific in her email traffic.

In other words, we've learned nothing new.

I've often talked about the difference in tone and style between email and traditional forms of written communication. Email tends to be more casual, so when we read an email archive from someone's administration, we tend to get a much better feel for that person's personality than we might from reading a printed correspondence archive from a political leader in times past.

And so it has been with the Palin data dump. Whether you like her or not is up to you, but the one big surprise coming out of an examination of 24,000 email messages is that there really is no surprise, no shocking inside story.

What you see with Palin is generally what you get.

See also: Probable Republican Presidential candidate puts up email smoke screen

Could you survive public disclosure of your email messages? What secrets do you have that you don't want shared? TalkBack below (be nice!)

Topic: Collaboration

About

David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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61 comments
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  • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

    So why the misleading title?
    algotechie
    • Yup

      @algotechie I was thinking the exact same thing.
      statuskwo5
      • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

        @statuskwo5 Same here. Clicks?
        sackbut
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie I think we all know the depressing answer to that question: "This is ZDNet".
      jeremychappell
      • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

        @jeremychappell ... Lke a newsgroup, you have to learn who are the best players and who are the worst and act accordingly.
        tom@...
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie Seriously. When was the last time this guy had an article with substance? If he doesn't do his apple user bashing thing (basement, mom, blah blah blah) he don't get hits. So he uses misleading titles.
      Btw, where is the "news" part of zdnet?
      sportmac
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irony
      RealNonZealot
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie

      Bait. And it worked. Google "Pavlov" sometime.
      The One True Fnerd
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie I think he was just using a bit of sarcrony (sarcasm and irony).
      neverhome
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie shame on you David. I'm shocked that you would pander with such a misleading article title. I'll have to keep that in mind in the future, when I see your byline (mental note: will write anything to get readers and self-promote)
      omb00900@...
    • The shock, to the media and to democrats everywhere, is that, there was

      NO DIRT and NOTHING worthwhile to report. They had everybody holding their breaths for the shocking revelations, and, nothing but disappointment is what they got.

      So, the shock is just from the blogger's point of view, because, he didn't get what he wanted or expected.
      adornoe
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie The by-line just entertains all the Libtards who are looking for a salacious story. Sorry Weiner fans, it just "ain't there."
      pox_on_liberals
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @algotechie Ditto what IS up with the title??? <br><br>Incidentally the one thing I learned from email is we have proof she's a liar now on multiple levels.
      blueskip
  • Emails from Chicago would provide much more interest;-) Nt

    Nt
    Richard Flude
    • Palin - no news...Obama, now that would be transparency!

      @Richard Flude - Agreed, so very much on the mark! Where are all the missing emails from the Anointed One's tenure as senator and ACORN promoter?
      gszimmerman
      • Why don't you request them then?

        @gszimmerman Make an FOIA request... It's that simple. Also his work with ACORN, as they aren't a government agency isn't subject to FOIA requests, but his senatorial email may be.
        snoop0x7b
  • shocking shocker

    wow. shocking. i'm... shocked.

    /zzzzz
    wendellgee2
  • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

    I am also shocked, shocked to think that it's shocking to find nothing shocking coming from anyone in government these days. My brain is starting to hurt. How shocking.
    Skibum
  • Incorrect. Republican politicians undergo routine

    media anal exams. Democrat politicians do not. Case in point: Have you seen this kind of effort put forth to discover Obama's school records? Have you seen this kind of scrutiny over why his Aunt, whom he idolized in his autobiographies was living in a tenament slum while the Obamas were making six figure incomes? Why his step brother lives in destitute poverty on 18 dollars a year?

    Nope. But Sarah Palin talks about Paul Revere warning the British during his midnight ride (true), and you get experts on NPR, late night comedy shows, front page new stories, etc.
    fr_gough
    • RE: Emails tell shocking inside story of Sarah Palin's time as Alaska governor

      @fr_gough $18 a year?

      Edit: in Zimbabwe. There are millions of people at that poverty level. I guess BO could throw him a $50 bill though. The guy seems to have some pride though, not looking for handouts...unlike many Americans.
      JB2317