This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," November 13, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Sarah Palin took a beating from the mainstream media. From the second she arrived on the national scene, vicious lies were spread about her. And of course, the Anointed One's fans in the press, they never bothered to correct any of it. And a new book chronicles exactly how the Democrats, with the help of the Obama-mania media, were able to spread all of that misinformation about the former governor of Alaska. It's called "The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star." And the author of that book, Matthew Continetti, now joins us.
Good to see you.
MATTHEW CONTINETTI, AUTHOR, "THE PERSECUTION OF SARAH PALIN": Glad to be here.
HANNITY: She is going to be on next week. In her first cable interview. By the way we're really excited to have her. I actually spent a lot of time around her. It is remarkable to me how unfairly she has been treated. And you decided to write a book about it.
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CONTINETTI: I did. You know, when Sarah Palin appeared on the national scene, Sean, no one knew anything about her. All they knew was that she was a pro-life, Republican woman. And so the media, they just started filling in the blanks, getting on the phone with people in Alaska, her enemies, primarily, and jotting down every nasty thing they could about — about Sarah Palin, none of which was true.
HANNITY: You go into very specific things. For example, her alleged support of Pat Buchanan wasn't true.
CONTINETTI: Not true at all. You know, this appeared, actually, on the front pages of MSNBC. Also the idea that she was a member of the Secessionist Party in Alaska. It was on the front page of the "New York Times." Not true either.
HANNITY: Did they ever correct it?
CONTINETTI: They did correct it, buried. Buried in the paper.
HANNITY: That's on page A-97.
CONTINETTI: Not page one correction, no.
HANNITY: And even on her experience, you point out, she has more experience than Barack Obama.
CONTINETTI: It's funny. Yes, she's been in elective politics prior to her appearance on the national stage longer than Barack Obama. She got no credit for it. In fact, the refrain we heard over and over again, you do not want this lady a heartbeat away from the presidency. Well, our president had less experience than she did.
HANNITY: You know, we talk a lot about the double standard. I don't think any president — Chris Matthews has tingles up and down his leg every time the Anointed One spoke. I mean, I never saw a president get more fawning coverage. And in many ways I was attacked at the time, because I was scrutinizing the president. Why was there so little criticism of him?
CONTINETTI: I think the mainstream media and the Democratic Party, the liberal base of the Democratic Party, thought 2008 as their year. They had, in their view, suffered through eight years of George W. Bush. Bush was unpopular. The wars were going on. The economy was sliding downhill.
And then Sarah Palin comes along. And it remains true that the only time during that entire campaign that John McCain was ahead in the polls was between his announcement of Sarah Palin as his running mate and then, of course, the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, which no one could stop.
HANNITY: The worst part of this, though, became the attacks on her family. And you chronicle a lot of this, media attacks on her family. She had a wreck of a home life. On Trig, her son, not being her baby.
CONTINETTI: The rumors started in the left-wing blogosphere and then being propagated on the Atlantic Monthly, Bill Maher saying on his show, "I don't believe that that's her baby."
This is an amazing double standard. You know, Barack Obama said, "My family is off-limits." And the media took their marching orders. But when Sarah Palin came around, every member of her family, from her oldest son to her young son, the daughters in between, they were all targets, including her 14-year-old daughter Willow, who was a target for David Letterman after Sarah Palin and John McCain lost the election.
HANNITY: One of the things that you discuss is that the campaign knew, for example, that her daughter was pregnant. This was all known.
CONTINETTI: The vetters came to her said, "Listen, if there's anything you don't want to put on the written questionnaire, bring it up in the phone interview."
And the first thing, they tell me, that she brought up in that phone interview was, "Listen, my daughter is pregnant." They knew from the get- go.
Now, the campaign itself, they were blindsided. But the veterans of John McCain and his top advisers, they knew from the get-go that the daughter was pregnant.
HANNITY: Yes, and then the media went after.
Why do you think it continues to this day? In other words, look at how this whole David Letterman thing happened. Imagine me saying this about any liberal woman. What if I said it about Hillary Clinton? What if I said about Michelle Obama?
CONTINETTI: You'd be in a lot of trouble.
HANNITY: How much? Would I have a career?
CONTINETTI: Well, there'd be boycotts against you, that's for sure. People would try to drive you off the air.
The reason why this continues to this day is very simple. The left is afraid of Sarah Palin. One Facebook post changed the whole health care debate.
HANNITY: Well, why — now, I was out on the road. And the reaction to her, and I've been on a lot of campaigns and conventions, I've seen a lot of politicians speak.
The reaction to her was stronger than anybody else that I've ever seen out there on the campaign trail. Is that the reason, is that they fear her? Do they think that she is a threat? Do they think that she could be elected president? I mean, what do you think is it?
CONTINETTI: Look at it, the situation when she appeared on the national stage. The GOP was demoralized. They had a presidential nominee, John McCain, who conservatives really weren't that enthusiastic about.
Here Sarah Palin comes along. No one knows anything about her, except she's young, she's pretty, she's fresh, and she's conservative. And she, I think, is responsible for narrowing that gap when push came to shove. At the end of the day, she was responsible because she brought out conservatives to the polls.
You talk about the tea party people. They will say, "I voted for John McCain." Some of them will tell you because Sarah Palin was on the ticket.
HANNITY: As you research this book and you study governor Palin and her background, what do you think she is thinking about her future? Do you think she is considering the presidency? I am pretty sure that when I do interview her, I'm not expecting her to say, "I am announcing right here on the 'Hannity' set I'm going to run" — what do you think her plans would be?
CONTINETTI: If I had to be a betting man, I do think she will run for president. One thing she understands is that a politician needs to see his or her moment. She saw what happened to Barack Obama. People were saying in 2006, don't run. You are not ready, Barack. He decided, no, this is my moment. Now he is at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue.
HANNITY: Do you think people that underestimate her do so to their own peril?
CONTINETTI: You talk to Alaskans as I did. Even her critics in Alaska say, two things. One, people think she is not smart. She is very smart. Two, she was always underestimated. And then it comes to bite Democrats.
HANNITY: Fascinating. Thanks for being with us. Good luck with the book.
CONTINETTI: Thanks for having me.
HANNITY: Just a reminder to the audience, Governor Palin will be here for her very first cable exclusive interview coming up next week, next Wednesday. It is about her brand new book.
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