Wasilla Mayor Verne Rupright said McGinniss met with him and told him he was researching his book and moving to town. He even told the mayor where he’d be living.

“So at least I knew,” he said. “I thought that was a courtesy he paid, and probably the right thing to do.”

Rupright said there hadn’t been “any real rumpus” around town and that he’s hoping for a quiet next few months.

If Palin wants to put up a fence, he said, that’s her right.

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Joe McGinniss should not be living next door to Sarah Palin. Of course the storied author has every right to rent a house overlooking her back yard in the service of reporting a biography of the former Alaska governor. But there’s a difference between what’s legal and what’s proper, or wise.

My first objection is that politicians, even combative ones whom many people loathe, deserve a degree of privacy. (Yes, there are exceptions, for instance when their private behavior seems to have a direct bearing on their public duties). Much the way free speech rules protect everyone from preachers to haters, it doesn’t matter what you think of Sarah Palin. If you believe in Hillary Clinton’s right to privacy, then you also have to support it for the pit bull with lipstick.

And what does McGinniss hope to learn anyway? As Kate Pickert noted, Palin has already erected a tall fence blocking his view, and even if she hadn’t I suspect McGinniss wasn’t about to be privy to any wild parties. This feels like a publicity stunt—a brilliant one, to be sure, but not a mark of serious journalism.

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McGinniss claims the Palins owe the neighbor for “renovations” she performed for them. Really? Along with a few buddies, Todd built the Palins’ home. The Palins are currently adding a 6,000 square foot addition with Todd heavily involved in the construction. In addition, Todd has managed to put up a rather large fence in just a couple days. Todd Palin doesn’t strike me as someone who would need help with “renovations” from an absentee neighbor. He seems to be managing just fine without said neighbor’s renovating expertise, wouldn’t you say?

Moreover, are we really expected to believe that the Palins stiffed their neighbor for a bill and we’re only finding out about it now? We’re to believe that the neighbor was so angry over this that she sought out Joe McGinniss to get payback instead of running straight to the media (or at least the leftist bloggers in Alaska)? She could have been a folk hero to Keith Olbermann’s seven viewers.

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To protect against the “Wasilla Stalker”

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