PUH-LEASE! TOO MANY JOURNOS ARE CONTINUING TO MAKE A MOCKERY OF THEIR OWN FIRST AMENDMENT

From the beginning, on my most generous days, I have thought Sarah Palin inartful, polarizing and much better suited for a daytime talk show than the national political scene.

Yesterday I felt a responsiblity to come to her defense after journalists across the country ridiculously placed the blood of the Tuscon shooting victims on her hands. ( URL: http://wp.me/p1cZfB-gv How Are We to Know What Will Push Someone Over the Edge? «  shelley ross daily Xpress https://shelleyzross.wordpress.com/2011/0….)

I much prefered writing satire about her  (Sarah Palin’s ‘Alaska’: 7 Secret Political Messages in Her New Reality Show at http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/pop-vox/2010/11/15/sarah-palin-s-alaska-7-secret-political-messages-in-her-new-reality-show.html ) and (Palin vs. Trump: The Reality Show Mark Burnett Should Create at http://www.newsweek.com/blogs/pop-vox/2010/11/22/sarah-palin-versus-donald-trump-which-mark-burnett-reality-star-could-win-the-white-house.html.)

But here I am again, defending a politician in whom I find little to even like (especially after watching her shoot that beautiful Alaskan reindeer for sport — ‘no, no, not Rudolph’ I yelled into my pillow.)  I feel that I must, after  the new round of ridiculous attacks on her for posting a 7:43 videotaped response to the Arizona tradegy  on Facebook today, most regarding her utterance of the term, blood libel.

Three and a half minutes into her Facebook video, which begins with her condolences to the victims and their families plus a nod to her own soul searching,  Sarah Palin uses the term “blood libel” in this context:

“If you don’t like a person’s vision for the country, you’re free to debate that vision. If you don’t like their ideas, you’re free to propose better ideas. But, 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. That is reprehensible.”

This reaction from  ABC News’ “The Note” by Michael Falcone and Amy Walter followed:

“BOTTOM LINE: Sarah Palin, once again, has found a way to become part of the story. And she may well face further criticism for the timing and scope of her remarks. She is already taking heat for her use of the term “blood libel” (see today’s Tweets). In her video she notes, “President Obama and I may not agree on everything, but I know he would join me in affirming the health of our democratic process.”

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell called Palin, “ignorant for using the term (blood libel).”

CBS News posted this online:

“Palin surfaced again on Wednesday with an eight-minute video on her Facebook page, in which she said, “There is a bittersweet irony that the strength of the American spirit shines brightest in times of tragedy,” and used the anti-Semitic term “blood libel ” in an accusation aimed at journalists and pundits.”

Blood libel is the false accusation, perhaps originating in the 12th century, that Jews murder children to use their blood for religious rituals and holidays. Palin appears to be appropriating the term to indicate that she is a victim, as a result of some groups and individuals claiming that her political rhetoric contributed to the actions of the deranged, lone gunman.”

“Anti-semitic”?  “A dog-whistle” as Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis wonders aloud?  “A right-wing code word”? Come on!   Please stop wasting all the space that could be better used for gun law debate than for smearing Sarah Palin.

After many Jewish leaders were called upon today for a quick condemnation of Palin, I embraced the statement released by  noted Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who has written many books defending and explaining Jews and their culture. (“The Case for Israel,” “The Case Against Israel’s Enemies: Exposing Jimmy Carter and Others Who Stand in the Way of Peace,” “The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved,” and “Chutzpah”) Today he wrote:

“The term ‘blood libel’ has taken on a broad metaphorical meaning in public discourse. Although its historical origins were in theologically based false accusations against the Jews and the Jewish People,its current usage is far broader. I myself have used it to describe false accusations against the State of Israel by the Goldstone Report. There is nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations that her words or images may have caused a mentally disturbed individual to kill and maim. The fact that two of the victims are Jewish is utterly irrelevant to the propriety of using this widely used term.”

Well said, Alan.  For the past few years, l have used the term “blood blogging,” to describe what I believe Sarah Palin is talking about.  It is one of the primary reasons I launched the blog, daily Xpress. And my term probably would have been a better choice for her.  But as I said at the start, her speech is often inartful.

It’s time to stop all the dialog used to smear Sarah Palin and start the real opportunity  to make Tuscon a true teachable moment, for gun laws, mental health diagnosis, political rhetoric on both sides.  And yes, words matter.  Blood blogging has real consequences, too, something you’ll  hear alot more about in this space for sure.  But not today.  I wouldn’t want to be accused of making any part of this tragedy anything about me.

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