Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sarah Palin's "Blood Libel" Comment Highlights Her Ignorance, Narcissism

Sarah Palin has done it again - in a lengthy video posted on Facebook that on the surface appeared to speak out against violence and extreme rhetoric in our political process, Palin used inflammatory rhetoric to paint herself as the victim of the press, turning the tragedies in Arizona as yet another reason to talk about why she is the victim - not Gabrielle Giffords and the others who died by the gun of a would-be assassin.

David Corn wrote the following for Mother Jones:
Sarah Palin is getting slammed today for her Facebook video statement accusing unnamed journalists and pundits who tied the Tucson massacre to the extreme rhetoric of the right of engaging in "blood libel." Palin has a dog in this fight, for in the wake of the shooting, she was assailed for cavalierly using gun-related rhetoric ("Reload!") and for placing cross-hairs over the pictures of Democratic House members she targeted for defeat in November, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Yet for her to equate the criticism she's received with the genocidal persecution of an entire people demonstrates either ignorance or narcissism. Or both. "Blood libel" is a term that refers to Jews using the blood of children (mainly Christians) for religious practices, and this false accusation has been used to justify violent pogroms against Jews. Palin is not the victim of "blood libel." But leave it to Palin to deploy such incendiary language to stir up a controversy today—President Barack Obama and others are attending a memorial service in Tucson to honor the victims—in order to place herself at the center of the story.

Rather than lower the volume, Palin has turned up the heat with this "blood libel" charge. (You can judge for yourself if her use of this phrase has anything to do with the prominence of Jews in the media.) But here's the kicker: in the same statement, she claimed that all participants in the national public discourse ought to eschew name-calling and extreme rhetoric. "We are better than the mindless finger-pointing we endured in the wake of the tragedy," she proclaimed. And she added that Americans have a desire "to respectfully embrace our differences in a positive manner."
Palin cries fowl, claiming she is the victim of finger pointing when she herself is blaming others for the mischaracterization of her rhetoric - everyone knows a surveyor's mark when they see one, right?

Palin's remarks take on a whole new dimension when taking into consideration its religious background and the belief that the media (which Palin often criticizes) is controlled by the Jews and Giffords herself is Jewish.  It will be interesting to see Palin's response to the media's reaction to her most recent comments.

Corn sums up her little self-centric post perfectly:
Palin is in an odd spot to be urging respectful debate that handles political and policy differences in a "positive manner." She has shown little regard for facts in policy debates and demonstrated she's willing to accuse her foes of being anti-American. She is the queen of disrespectful rhetoric. Now she compares her critics to violent and genocidal anti-Semites. She could have assailed them in a somber and serious manner, but she chose not to. After all, that's not how Palin got to where she is: a political celebrity who at a time of mourning turns a national tragedy into a Facebook post that at its core is about her.
Palin seemed to pick up the term from a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed a couple days ago by Glenn Reynolds.  This does not come as a surprise being Palin stated that she reads The Wall Street Journal and the fact that it is controlled by Palin's employer's parent company, News Corp.

Reynolds wrote the following:
So as the usual talking heads begin their "have you no decency?" routine aimed at talk radio and Republican politicians, perhaps we should turn the question around. Where is the decency in blood libel?

To paraphrase Justice Cardozo ("proof of negligence in the air, so to speak, will not do"), there is no such thing as responsibility in the air. Those who try to connect Sarah Palin and other political figures with whom they disagree to the shootings in Arizona use attacks on "rhetoric" and a "climate of hate" to obscure their own dishonesty in trying to imply responsibility where none exists. But the dishonesty remains.

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?
While I understand the point Reynolds was making, I get the impression that Palin seized on the term without understanding the complete meaning only because Reynolds used it to exonerate Palin.  The fact of the matter is that Palin used inflammatory and dangerous rhetoric in her past comments and regardless of whether or not Loughner was influenced by her rhetoric, his actions highlight the danger such rhetoric presents.  I think a better example is that of Glenn Beck and the influence his show had on California gunman Byron Williams - why does Reynolds ignore the facts that Williams was inspired by Beck's on-air teachings and based his attacks on the conspiritorial information Beck espoused?

I think when taking into consideration the Williams-Beck connection, it is fair for such relations to be considered, after all, the right does it all the time - if an act of terror is perpetrated or prevented, conservatives immediately blame Muslim extremism.  Think of the unncessary criticisms on the Park51 community center the right-wing media dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque."


  1. Palin's most recent comments further prove that she is unelectable in a general election. For all the pro-Israel pandering she has done in the past, Palin effectively destroyed her image with the Jewish community as fast as Dr. Laura Schlesinger lost her radio job for using a particular derogatory term...

    What's next? Palin claiming the liberal media is Japping her up?

  2. Once again, Caribou Barbie sticks her foot in her mouth. What she and her ilk continually fail to realize is she already has her base, but as Miller, Angle, Buck and O'Donnell demonstrate, her base can not get her elected. She needs the middle and she is doing everything possible to keep it from voting for her. Obviously, some of the left overreacted. However, instead of acting above the fray, she claims she did not use cross-hairs, but a surveyor instrument and then comes out with this nonsense. I really, really, hope you are the Republican candidate for president because the Republican party will finally be able to refudiate its wingnuts.

  3. All I wanted was for Palin to admit she used cross hairs, admit that in light of recent events her rhetoric of "Reload!" and her map were in bad taste and could be misconstrued by the wrong person, and then offer her condolences.

    I doubt this guy was heavily influenced by Palin or the far-right, but I have my suspicions, but instead of focusing on the real victims, Palin decided to make this all about her. What is missing from her speech is Palin claiming someone attacked her daughters or poor little Trig with Downs Syndrome...

    It is this reason why I criticize Palin. I respected Keith Olbermann's response because he at least made an attempt to apologize for anything he may have said in the past. These right-wingers are like the Fonz - they refuse to admit when they are wrong...


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