Even though Nikki Haley’s forthcoming memoir is the big news story of the day, I realized that one important point about the governor’s interview in The New York Times Magazine was left out: She’s lying. And it’s a lie she’s been telling for some time.

See, Haley continues to claim that Will Folks only came forward with his claim that he had an inappropriate relationship with her because a poll showed that she had jumped from fourth to first in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial race. Here’s what she told the Times:

During the campaign, two men claimed that you had affairs with them. You said that it “reeks of everything that’s wrong with the establishment.” Explain.

The first public poll showing that we had a double-digit lead had appeared, and there was no way my opponents were going to let that sit. Sure enough, within a week this rumor came out. What they don’t understand is all they did was motivate me more.

Here’s a more accurate chronology of events, from a 2010 City Paper story:

The problem: Haley’s camp knew that a story about the affair allegations was in the works four days before the very poll was conducted in which Haley vaulted from last place in the gubernatorial race to first, according to text messages released by Folks on FITSNews. The publisher of that story, the Columbia alt-weekly the Free Times, is hardly a tool of the good ole boy network.

Free Times reporter Corey Hutchins had been looking into the affair rumors for approximately a year when he spoke to Will Folks on May 13. On that same day, Folks was communicating regularly with Tim Pearson, Haley’s campaign manager. Pearson and Folks talked about the buzz concerning an impending story, and, during one text, Folks let Pearson know that the Free Times was behind the investigation. The next day, May 14, Sarah Palin held a rally publicly endorsing Haley. Three days later on May 17, the poll putting Haley in the lead for the first time was conducted.

Over the next six days, between May 17 and May 22, Pearson and Folks discussed the impending article in text messages, alternatively speculating that no such article would come out and worrying that one would.

It’s a shame that The New York Times let Haley slide on this. And it’s an even greater shame they gave her such a softball interview. It’s also a shame that The Atlantic also wrote a glowing profile of Haley months back, one that essentially ignored her problems.

There’s a reason for this: The folks at The New York Times and The Atlantic, as well as other national media outlets, want the Haley story to fit into a time-honored narrative, that is, the one about a woman or minority who manages to emerge victorious despite the attacks of the good ole boys and an army of bigots.

And it’s this allegiance to this narrative that blinds them to real reason why Haley was being attacked: Her critics believed that she was a bad candidate, one who was not only corrupt and hypocritical but who most likely had some sort of affair with one, if not, two men.

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