List of books Palin wanted banned is fake

It's gone viral, but the list of books Sarah Palin supposedly wanted banned when she was mayor of Wasilla is made up.

Published September 8, 2008 7:52PM (EDT)

We've had a lot of people e-mailing us today about what is supposedly a list of books that Sarah Palin tried to have banned when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. So let's get this on the record: The list is fake.

Now, it is true that Palin brought up the possibility of banning books from Wasilla's library on three occasions, and got a negative reaction from the city librarian.

But Palin never seems to have mentioned specific books. And the list itself contains some items that should set off red flags. For instance, it includes several books in the Harry Potter series that were published after Palin made her inquiries in 1996. Debunking specialist Snopes notes, "Versions of this list have been circulating since at least as far back as 1999, and [it] is actually a catch-all collection of titles said to be 'books banned at one time or another in the United States.'"

It is interesting to see one way in which the e-mail campaign against Barack Obama can be turned against the right. But this is actually one case in which truth may be more disturbing than fiction. It doesn't look like Palin had any specific books in mind; instead, it seems as if Palin just liked the idea of banning books generally.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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