A different kind of Birther

A group of people who doubt that Sarah Palin is the mother of her son Trig haven't given up their fight

Published June 22, 2009 2:35PM (EDT)

The most famous Birthers these days are the ones who believe -- wrongly -- that President Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii, and is as such not eligible to be president. But another group of people are still pushing another myth left over from the election: They believe Sarah Palin is not really the mother of her son Trig, and that he is in fact the son of her daughter Bristol.

These rumors started soon after John McCain named Palin as his running mate last summer, but largely died off when Bristol's pregnancy was revealed. Of course, as in all conspiracy theories, the evidence against the theory was also twisted and portrayed as proof -- in this case, adherents claimed, Bristol's pregnancy was just part of the cover-up.

Still, most people have by now forgotten all about that. But some people haven't; a press release sent to Salon over the weekend announced the formation of a new Web site, Team Truther, which is devoted to discussion of the theory. It's an offshoot of Palin's Deceptions, a blog that's apparently been unwilling to let the matter drop for almost a year now.

The theory itself isn't worth taking seriously. But the persistence of it is a good reminder that this kind of thinking isn't limited solely to the right, where the Obama Birthers tend to live. The name "Truther" that the new site proudly claims is itself a reference to another, even more implausible, conspiracy theory that began on the left but eventually spread to the right -- 9/11 Truthers believe that the Bush administration, not al-Qaida, was really responsible for bringing down the World Trade Center and attacking the Pentagon. (The 9/11 Truthers could at least have come up with something more plausible; if you believe that a massive government bureacracy could pull off the greatest deception since NASA faked the moon landing and kill thousands of Americans without anyone talking, I have about $160 billion in gold bars that were buried under the WTC to sell you.)

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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