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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Palin: Media Shouldn't "Manufacture a Blood Libel" That Only Incites Hate, Violence

Sarah Palin, finally, responded to the shooting of Rep. Giffords and others in Tuscon, Arizona (transctipt here):

She focused on not throwing blame around to score political points, when discussing the tragedy in Tuscon, and called it "irresponsible". She quoted Reagan saying that "society" wasn't guilty, when a mad man does something like this. The mad man is.

She, also, pointed out that Giffords and the other victims were exercising the same first amendment rights that Giffords recited, when the House read the Constitution aloud last week, and people shouldn't use this to stifle others from exercising the same free speech rights that they were enjoying that fateful morning.

This was a very good speech that made Palin look "above the fray" and, dare I say, presidential. She was calm the whole time, and she didn't go after anyone in particular. There was no lashing out at the media or Democrats that might have looked like she was getting back at them for their attacks on her and her character.

Ed Morrissey had a very good synopsis of how he felt about the speech and how she presented it:

Earlier this week, I told a reporter that a public response would be tricky for Palin. She needed to defend herself but without being seen as descending to the level of the debate as it stood at that moment. Plenty of others were defending conservatives already, but Palin needed to engage the debate on her own terms at some point in a manner that allowed her to rise above the accusatory morass that the media encouraged almost from the hour in which the shootings took place.

This video message affirms the wisdom of that approach. Palin does an excellent job in making her point without lashing out in anger over the attacks, and underscores the importance of personal responsibility rather than group guilt in a free society, the priority of free speech as an underpinning of democracy, and the determination of Palin and the rest of the conservatives to defend those principles. It’s precisely what Palin needed to say, and precisely the manner and forum in which she needed to say it.

Now, some have gone after her use of the term "blood libel":

Some are criticizing Palin’s use of “blood libel,” saying that it refers to a specific anti-semitic charge from centuries ago that Jews supposedly used the blood of Christian children in preparing ritual food. But as Glenn Reynolds points out to Politico’s Ben Smith, Israel uses “blood libel” today to rebut charges of deliberately killing Palestinians, and Tony Blankley used it in a column to describe John Murtha’s accusations against Marines about murders in Haditha. It’s a functional political term.

I think that it is a odd choice of words and could have chosen something better, but it is a minor gripe. She didn't use the term to mean what it might have meant regarding the Jews. I doubt that it had even been aware of that possible connotation.

If any one is focusing on those two words and totally ignoring the rest of the almost 8 minute speech, they are missing the forest for the trees. They should look at the speech as a whole, too, which was very thoughtful and insightful.

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