Hey, those Palin e-mails were totally fair game

The Post was not going through the former governor’s diaper bag, her trash or her private life. These were the official e-mail records from Palin’s time in office. They were sought in 2008, originally by voters in her state, and later by Mother Jones magazine, The Post and other news organizations.

These records were requested when this obscure governor was suddenly put into the national spotlight by Republican Sen. John McCain, who wanted her to be his vice presidential running mate. Few people knew much about her back then, but Alaska has a decent open-records law, and reporters and residents took advantage of it…

Nor was this a biased, one-sided effort to dig up dirt on Republicans and not Democrats. The Post does not request the e-mails of members of Congress — not Nancy Pelosi, not Harry Reid, not Anthony Weiner, not Michele Bachmann, not even those of former senator Barack Obama — because Congress is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act…

The Post used crowd-sourcing in late February and early March during the threat of a government shutdown. When the Obama administration clamped down on all information about preparations for a shutdown, a series of Post call-outs elicited “hundreds” of responses from federal workers, according to reporter Lisa Rein. She and other reporters used those readers as sources, many of the workers bravely going on the record to complain about the lack of information and planning.