Here’s what I love/hate about Sarah Palin: Within the space of a few words, she can completely destroy her own point, and yet sound as if she isn’t. Today’s use of the term “blood libel” to talk about how the mean ol’ media is victimizing her after the Tuscon shooting is reprehensible not only because of its historical context (see here for background), or that she likely doesn’t know what it means, or because it was something that apparently burbled up from a wide swathe of right-wing blogs. But what’s getting missed in the “blood libel” name is what she said around it:
“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio….”
And two paragraphs later:
“Especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn.”
So, to sum up: Criminals act alone, without persuasion or influence from outside elements. But journalists and pundits somehow have the power to incite the hatred and violence that she just said resides solely within the criminal. Sorry, you can’t have it both ways—and yet I’m sure millions of her followers nodded their heads and went back to watching Fox News.
My favorite comment about this so far comes from Josh Marshall at Talking Points Media:
Today has been set aside to honor the victims of the Tucson massacre. And Sarah Palin has apparently decided she’s one of them.
Palin just can’t function without being portrayed as the victim.