The author of the blistering Vanity Fair profile on Sarah Palin says he wanted to write a positive piece, but was shocked by what he learned as he researched his story.
"The worst stuff isn't even in there," Michael Joseph Gross said on "Morning Joe" Thursday. "I couldn't believe these stories either when I first heard them, and I started this story with a prejudice in her favor. I have a lot in common with this woman. I'm a small-town person, I'm a Christian, I think that a lot of her criticisms of the media actually have something to them. And I think she got a bum ride, but everybody close to her tells the same story."
In the profile, Gross paints Palin as an abusive, retaliatory figure with an extreme ability to lie.
"This is a person for whom there is no topic too small to lie about," he said. "She lies about everything."
Asked about Palin's political future, Gross said it depends on what the media lets her get away with.
"If we decide to let her keep lying and getting away with it, she's gonna still be around," he said. "But if we start returning to the standard that a politician has to talk with people, and a politician has to tell the truth, then she's outta here, because she can't stand up to that."
Gross added that he takes exception to criticisms that he wrote a "hit piece" against Palin.
"I started this with every good intention toward her," he said. "I was just shocked and appalled at every step at what I found. And I wrote this story sort of against my will. It wasn't what I wanted to write, it wasn't what I wanted to find. It was what was forced on me by the facts."