Let’s say that you are a prominent public figure. Let’s also say that for the past five days media figures and national politicians have been accusing you of complicity in a horrifying mass murder. Let’s also say that the accusations have absolutely no basis whatever, but none of those media figures (most of whom purport to be objective, truth-telling journalists) and national politicians will even hint that is the case.

What would you do? Would you hunker down and hope it all blows over, though you know darned-well it’ll all be there waiting for you the second you pop your head back out of your hole; or would you use your own bully pulpit to push back against the charges, accuse your accusers of political hackery, and try to get some elbow room so you can live like a normal human being?

If you chose the latter, then Politico thinks you are a horrible person who should probably be catapulted into the sun.

At sunrise in the east on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest—or capacity—in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the west, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.

Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a “blood libel.” (See: Shooting presents 2012 test)

Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. “I want America to be as good as Christina imaged it,” he said.

It’s difficult to imagine a starker contrast.

Many Republicans believe that it’s mostly the media that is obsessed with Palin, and that there’s little chance she could win the party’s nomination. (See: Republicans disappointed at Palin)

But if she does manage to, Wednesday illustrated why so many in the GOP fear that it would be disastrous.

The former Alaska governor has a knack for supplying rhetoric that will delight her supporters, send her critics howling and invariably create a frenzy of coverage. But her response suggests she is capable of hitting just that one note.

If you sense a “damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t” vibe here, you’re not alone. You’re also not alone if you think Jonathan Martin was unfairly comparing apples to oranges. Clearly, Sarah Palin was on the defensive, not because she’s a shrill harridan, but because she’s been under nigh-constant attack since Saturday afternoon. President Obama’s progressive minions — the ones to whom he administered the lightest of scoldings last night — have been at her hammer and tong. You can understand why she’d seek to play some defense, unless you’re Jonathan Martin or a member of the Palin-hating, stick-up-their-ass crowd inside the Republican party. The President, on the other hand, has remained mostly above it all, not a difficult trick when he has MS-NBC and CNN doing the knife work for him. It’s easy for him to descend upon Arizona bearing stone tablets into which are carved words of peace and consolation. The comparison is unfair.

Let me also note that Martin is wrong about what Palin had to say. She never suggested that “the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated”. She did defend vigorous debate, which will occasionally get heated, but that’s not nearly the same thing. The difference between the two is the difference between an MMA bout and a back-alley street fight. One of them is bounded by rules and constraints where the objective is victory not death and the other isn’t. You don’t have to be a genius, or a professional journalist, to see the difference. I hesitate to say that Martin purposefully mischaracterized her statement, though. It’s entirely possible that he never actually read the full text of her statement helpfully republished on Martin’s own web site before he wrote that sentence. After all, shoddy reporting and political attacks have been most of what we’ve seen from the MSM since Jared Loughner gunned down 18 people in Tucson and I wouldn’t be surprised if Martin didn’t bother to read her statement before he passed judgement on it.

If Martin’s intention is to damage Palin as a darling of the Tea Parties and a potential 2012 candidate, he needs to do a better job. Pathetic hackery like his piece today make folks like me, who are lukewarm about a potential Palin run, far more inclined to support her.

UPDATE: Ben Howe has a very good related article at Red State on Sheriff Dupnik and the media’s narrative.

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14 Responses to “The Politico’s Anti-Palin Hackery Could Backfire”

  1. brainlemon says:

    I just do not get why she had to use the term "blood libel." It has a very specific historical meaning and it was not necessary. She could have communicated the exact same thing and not used a term like that. To me it's much like the term "holocaust" - a term that, by the dictionary, has a broad meaning, but in normal usage it is not generally chosen because of what it brings to mind. For example, I'm sure many of the people defending Palin's usage of "blood libel" were outraged when PETA compared eating meat to the Holocaust. Just a poor political move, IMHO.

    • Jimmie says:

      It is an appropriately descriptive term that, over the centuries, has been used in similar situations to the one Palin is in right now. Those who went back, grabbed the original meaning, and ignored the hundreds (if not thousands) of times it's been used since then want you to think just what you're thinking right now.

      • elixelx says:

        She was not ONLY referring to the fact that the evil hypocrites of the LSM were accusing her, wrongly, of spilling the blood of innocents; that's the excuse! And what's to be done about the spiller of blood? Why her blood is to be spilled in return.
        THAT'S the wickedness of the bloodlibel; it's an false accusation giving an ostensible reason for the pogrom that follows.
        That's the other face of the blood-libel; The LSM want Sarah Palin's blood!

    • Phineas Fahrquar says:

      Actually, I think her use of it was apt, appropriate, and fair. And so does Jewish liberal Alan Dershowitz: http://is.gd/E8u5xH

  2. Phineas Fahrquar says:

    The last few days have removed any remaining doubts I had that real journalism is dead, at least as far as the MSM and their satellite operations such as Politico are concerned.

  3. Loadmaster says:

    My underlining question is: Was her job or the POTUS to do the healing (if it was needed)? Today, unless Nov 2012 changes that, Sarah is just a high profile citizen and Obama is still the POTUS. Martin appears to think that Sarah had that role of healing the nation and she missed her opportunity. If anything Obama missed it on Sunday and not on Wed. By calling the Pima Co. Sheriff and congratulating him, it only added fuel to the burning fire. That was not a healing motion. A nation that needs healing falls under the job description of the POTUS not a citizen of that nation.

  4. hrh40 says:

    Jonathan Martin is a Journolister.

    He's still running the unofficial campaign of Barack Obama.

    I've had a few email exchanges with him about his lack of reportorial skills. Guess he's decided to double down on his Obama shilling.

    I'm off to email Martin your article…

  5. Liz says:

    I watched Sarah Palin's video. I meant to just take a short look - but it was really good. Obama, by contrast was incoherent in his direction and the tenor or tone of the whole thing was really wacky. Made me feel very uncomfortable. My gut feeling is Palin has a better mind and shares my values.

    I have no idea who Jonny Martin is. But if he's a Journolister, that's all I need to know.

  6. Lee says:

    The MSM is really dead when it comes to delivering the news. They have become nothing but the propaganda arm of the Liberals. Of course, this is really old news…

  7. Chad says:

    Palin's letter and speech were beautiful. President Obama's speech was beautiful. I'ts too bad the President's advance team shamefully and embarrassingly turned the event from a solemn memorial service to a hyped pep rally. THAT was pretty disgusting, but that's not to take away from the President's speech. The MSM is vile and has lost ALL CREDIBILITY!!!!!!!! Martin is so biased it makes me gag-how can anybody listen to that libtard idiot?He's the BIG LOSER here, not Palin and not Obama!

  8. Tweets that mention The Politico’s Anti-Palin Hackery Could Backfire -- Topsy.com says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by NewsBusters, Deetz, Jimmie, R, Sean Agnew and others. Sean Agnew said: as always .. RT @diggrbiii: In which @jimmiebjr nails it -> http://bit.ly/e3usdw #tcot [...]

  9. bill says:

    why are the liberals so afraid of sarah palin is it because they think if she does get elected that may actully do something good for this country that they have to hold her back an tear her down every time she says something in her own defence

  10. The Politico’s Anti-Palin Hackery Could Backfire « Ray Harrison says:

    [...] The Politico’s Anti-Palin Hackery Could Backfire. [...]

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