I need to say a few words concerning Sarah Palin’s video release today – a perfect example of what not to say after a tragedy. But, Sarah Palin has about as much sensitivity as a Mack truck.
In her video today she says:
..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.
“Blood libel.” Using such a word to blame the media for “manufacturing a blood libel” is at best counterproductive, at its worst, ignorant.
Or is it?
Michael Shear, a political writer for the New York Times, points out:
The term blood libel is generally used to mean the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for passover. That false claim was circulated for centuries to incite anti-Semitism and justify violent pogroms against Jews. Ms. Palin’s use of the phrase in her video, which helped make it rapidly go viral, is itself attracting criticism, not least because Ms. Giffords, who remains in critical condition in a Tucson hospital, is Jewish.
However, I would like to point out that others have used this phrase in discussion of the aftermath of the tragedy in Tuscon. Whether Sarah Palin’s speech writers used this term knowingly, is anyone’s guess. Regardless, to say it reeks of poor taste is an understatement.
In a recent New York Times editorial, Paul Krugman pointed out this important fact when discussing the growing concern over the rhetoric of some right-wing extremists:
The Department of Homeland Security reached the same conclusion: in April of 2009 an internal report warned that right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.
Although the Tuscon shooter was obviously a troubled young man, he was not blind to what was going on in the world of politics. It’s been reported the FBI found other written threats against Gabrielle Giffords authored by the shooter.
The facts are these: A violent extremist culture has been brewing in this country for a long time. Yes, it’s all just words, words, words, but the hate that surrounds us on TV and the radio, does have consequences when something is stirred in the psyche of madmen.