Recently I was reading an article regarding former ADN writer Craig Medred on the website Conservatives4Palin. It caught my eye because it described a flap regarding Medred and his attempts to disprove a certain portion of Sarah Palin’s book “Going Rogue” regarding the famous Alaskan character, “Soapy” Smith. Sarah’s family lived in Skagway for a time and no doubt she heard, and her father may have even taught, some of the history of this character. She mentions it briefly in her book as part of the history of the state. My husband and I had a chance to visit Skagway, Alaska in the summer of 2008 while on vacation, and I remember hearing the story of Soapy, his life, and his death. We even visited Frank Ried's gravesite which is a huge tourist attraction.
History has a way of rewriting itself, and often it is up to family members to set the record straight. Wild tales of shoot outs and caricatures of individuals of the time abound, but recently a book was written by Jeff Smith, descendant of Soapy, in an attempt to set the record straight.
Why does this matter you ask, and where am I going with this? Medred has chosen to dispute the story as written in Sarah’s book. As a former writer for the Anchorage Daily News and Palin detractor with a history of negative stories against Sarah, Medred’s personal history might give us some background into his agenda.
After attending several higher level institutions of learning, Medred landed in Fairbanks, Alaska and enrolled at the University of Fairbanks. According to an article in the Alaska Press, Medred was stated as saying, “UAF got so fed up with me, they said, ‘here, take a degree and leave.’ So I took a degree [in journalism] and left…” An auspicious beginning to his journalism career. He eventually landed at the ADN and set his sights on Sarah Palin. He has been a Sarah detractor ever since. Since the release of “Going Rogue” Craig Medred has been bent on disproving the published version of events in Sarah’s book. Craig, Craig, haven’t you got anything better to do? Well, maybe not.
In the summer of 2009, Medred left ADN for what was described as a “funemployment” furlough as mentioned in the Anchorage Press article. ADN is a McClatchy paper and bleeding profusely, it’s readership scraping the bottom of the barrel. Many at ADN have been placed on furloughs or “outwrite” laid off, including Medred. Now that Medred has some time on his hands, how better to whittle away the time than to slam Sarah Palin’s book? As if he could find nothing better to tear down, the story of Soapy became his target. One might think he would want to disprove more important passages from her book but I am just speculating that Medred thought this would be an easy way to tear down Sarah without anyone disputing his “fact-checking.”
Enter Jeff Smith, Soapy’s descendant and author of “Alias Soapy Smith, the Life and Death of a Scoundrel.” As Jeff notes on his website, Medred has been busy trying to disprove Sarah’s version of the event in her book. Jeff notes that Medred is wrong, not Sarah. From Jeff’s website article titled “Sarah Palin/Soapy Smith/Craig Medred: It just keeps getting worse”:
Mr. Medred's "clarification" is filled with errors but truth in history is not his goal. Disproving Sarah Palin's book is his goal.
As with any of those Sarah Palin “haters,” I believe Medred’s negativity regarding Sarah’s book stems out of jealousy. Here is a man who is on a “funemployment” furlough from ADN, having nothing better to do than to tear down her book, a book that has been on the best seller’s list for weeks, an accomplishment Medred has not achieved. While Sarah and Medred have a similar background in that they attended various higher level institutions eventually obtaining degrees in journalism, Sarah Palin has reached heights and accomplished more than Medred can ever hope to.
Sarah Palin’s version of events surrounding Soapy Smith and detailed in her book is accurate as confirmed by Jeff Smith, his descendant. Why we are even having this conversation is a conundrum in itself, another of those Sarah attacks that makes you scratch your head and say, “What?” Enough said.