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Fox News Throws A Pity Party For Sarah Palin, The Martyr Of The Arizona Massacre

Reported by Ellen - January 18, 2011 -

On Martin Luther King Day (1/17/11), of all days, Fox News threw a pity party for Sarah Palin with Sean Hannity as the emcee. Rather than “man up,” take responsibility for or even just apologize to anyone offended by her at-best tasteless, insensitive “blood libel” comment or the inflammatory rhetoric about the now gravely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Palin and Hannity doubled down on her victimhood – Palin even invoked Dr. King – and barely got around to mentioning any of the killed or wounded in the Arizona massacre. Palin and Hannity may have thought that by continually pointing fingers at the left they were helping to revitalize the Palin brand. But I’ll bet they did more harm than good.

Part 1: Palin Invokes Martin Luther King In Her “Struggle” To Speak Out As Hannity Suggests A New Front In The Fox News Civil War

Sitting in front of her Wasilla fireplace - with the misplaced flag from her "blood libel" video now nowhere to be seen - Palin told Hannity early on in the three-part interview that took up half his show, that the atrocity of the Arizona shootings “is the main thing that we need to remember here… We mourn with those who mourn and we grieve with those who grieve.”

Except that she spent the vastly greater amount of time complaining about her own troubles.

Hannity didn’t waste any time mourning. He was so eager to portray Palin as a victim that he continually pushed her toward self-justification and resentment. For example, after asking for her initial thoughts about the shooting, he asked, “When did you first realize you were being connected to this tragedy?”

Still, any politician or media figure worth their salt knows how to steer a conversation so as to get their own talking points out. Palin either was too nervous or too ill-prepared to do that. Or else she and Hannity shared a similar mindset.

“This isn’t about me,” she insisted. But instead of taking the high road, as I thought she might, even if only briefly, she made it “about” her conservative pals. She continued, “My defense wasn’t self-defense, it was defending those who were falsely accused.”

As Salon's Joan Walsh noted in an excellent rundown of the interview, a more skilled interviewer might have led Palin to admit she could have chosen some better symbolism than the now-famous map and crosshairs over Giffords’ district or even her “blood libel” comments.

But when the map came up, Palin quickly pointed a finger at Democrats for using a similar map - which Fox News producers helpfully posted on the screen. Then, after sniping that she wasn’t sure Democrats had taken down their maps with targets when she had taken down hers (though it’s still on her Facebook page), she added, “Knowing that it had absolutely nothing to do with an apolitical or perhaps even left-leaning (she smiled vindictively) criminal.” She offered no evidence for that assertion and Hannity asked for none.

“Those on the left hate my message,” Palin continued, “and they’ll do all that they can to stop me because they don’t like the message but again we know that it’s not just me, it’s all who seem to embrace the time-tested truths that helped build our country. …They’ll do what they can to destroy the message and the messenger.

“Yeah,” Hannity quickly agreed. Then he took a jab at his colleague, Brit Hume, who had called Palin “radioactive” the day before. “Some have suggested, well, that’s the end of Sarah Palin’s political career. Sarah Palin’s become – radioactive is a term somebody used, for example. Does this impact you or your political future in any way, Governor? Or change you?”

Palin responded by invoking Dr. King. “On this day, celebrating the legacy and the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., we would be well to remember one of his famous quotes… ‘A lie cannot live.’”

I believe what King actually said was, “No lie can live forever.” But even putting that error aside, Palin proceeded to make what amounted to a mockery of King’s legacy by continuing to whine all about herself and her self-importance.

“I believe that in not every situation it’s just going to be providence that sheds light on what the truth is. We have to do our part, also. So, in a situation like we have just faced… of being falsely accused of being accessory to murder, I and others need to make sure that we, too, are shedding light on truth so that a lie cannot continue to live. Because if a lie does live, then of course your career is over. Your reputation is thrashed and you will be ineffective in what it is that you are trying to do. So, I will continue to speak out. They’re not going to shut me up. They’re not going to shut you up or Rush or Mark Levin or Tea Party patriots or those who, as I say, respectfully and patriotically petition their government for change. They can’t make us sit down and shut up. And if they ever were to succeed in doing that, our republic will be destroyed.”

Part 2: With A Straight Face, Hannity Says “I Really Don’t Hear You Complaining A Lot About (Left-Wing Attacks On Her)

In fact, Palin complained right in her next sentence: “The hypocrisy there is so glaring and the double standards, I mean reminds me that those on the left if it weren’t for their double standards, they’d have no standards. So it’s almost really a waste of time to even address their hypocrisy.”

Part 3 Palin Defends Using The Term “Blood Libel” By Attacking Those Who Were Offended

If Palin had really wanted to look presidential, she would have acknowledged that using the term “blood libel” in her video statement about the massacre may not have been a good choice of words. Instead, she looked pouty, stubborn and petty as she insisted she had done nothing wrong.

“Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused of having blood on your hands. In this case, that’s exactly what was going on.

Well, not quite. The term drips with anti-Semitic echoes not unlike the way lynching does with racial prejudice. The fact that Palin invoked it in the first place showed, at best, a tone deafness. The fact that she doubled down on her belligerence about using it spoke volumes about her character.

The criticism of even the timing of this statement is being used as another diversion. Because I believe there are many on the left, many critics, who don’t want, for instance, Congress to buckle down, get back to work. There’s this trifecta thing going on in our country right now that’s gonna bring America to her knees if Congress doesn’t start addressing the issues at hand (debt, energy and national security)… it’s just much easier, I believe, for critics of a commonsense conservative agenda to distract from the issues at hand…

I think the critics again were using anything that they could gather out of that statement… I appreciated those who understood what it is that I meant, that a group of people being falsely accused of having blood on their hands. That is what blood libel means… That term has been used eons, Sean. So again it was part of that double standard thing and goes back to if it weren’t for those double standards, what standards would they have, I suppose.

As the interview drew to a close, Palin said defiantly, “I’m not gonna sit down. I’m not gonna shut up... For now, I want to join others who are saying, ‘No, peaceful dissent and discussion about ideas, that is what makes America exceptional and we won’t allow that to be stifled by a tragic event that happened in Arizona, one that we should all gather around if you will, to condemn violence, but not allow it to stifle debate in America.’”

Believe me, somewhere in Texas, Karl Rove is licking his chops after watching this interview.