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The really obnoxious thing Palin said - Input Junkie
January 13th, 2011
05:46 am

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The really obnoxious thing Palin said
The BBC, with quotes and context about blood libel.

"Blood libel" has been used a fair amount without the full weight of historical context, even in Israeli politics.

Palin is both stupid and ignorant, and I have no reason to think she thought the phrase would be especially offensive.

However, the discussion about blood libel has overshadowed this from Palin:
"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.

I think she knows what "purport" means, and she said journalists are at best neutral about hatred and violence, and possibly in favor of it.

This is horrendous.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/459786.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.

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From:nancylebov
Date:January 13th, 2011 11:44 am (UTC)
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If you read the bbc link, it isn't just Dershowitz.

Here is a discussion which includes the difficulties of deciding how people with odd behavior should be treated. It's a mostly liberal/progressive venue.

A lot of the comments on the specific point are by or to Renatus.

Edited at 2011-01-13 12:10 pm (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
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From:bemused_leftist
Date:January 14th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
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"So...why was someone behaving in a manner scarily irrational enough to be expelled from college not on medication?"

Even without forcing medication, just following proper investigative and reporting channels would have got information on his record that would have kept him from being sold a semi-automatic gun with 30+ bullets in each clip.
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From:bemused_leftist
Date:January 14th, 2011 11:28 pm (UTC)
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Here are other instances of 'blood libel' being used in a political sense.

Mike Barnicle said that the Swift Boaters' accusation against Kerry was a blood libel.

Tony Blankley said that a Time report on a possible massacre of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines was being used as a blood libel against the military, "a propoganda catastrophe" for the US.

Tucker Carlson said that an accusation against Ashcroft was a blood libel being resurrected by the Center for American Progress (accusing him of advance knowledge of the 9/11 attack).


Source: Salon's War Room....
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2011/01/12/blood_libel_politics/index.html

Worth reading Salon for the context of these usages. The speakers all sound like they're using a familiar term in a familiar sense. These sound like leisurely elite talk show conversations, where it would be easy for the other guests to challenge the term, but apparently no one did.
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From:chickenfeet2003
Date:January 13th, 2011 11:46 am (UTC)
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The best analysis of this I've seen is from springheel_jack. Basically he's arguing that Palin is appealing to her supporters as a righteous minority persecuted by a fascist/liberal all powerful elite. In this context, any violence from their side is self defence.

No prizes for guessing where this strategy has been used before.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 13th, 2011 12:13 pm (UTC)
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I agree about the inappropriate self-pity. I'm much less sure about the anti-Semitism.
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From:chickenfeet2003
Date:January 13th, 2011 12:22 pm (UTC)
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I don't think there's anti-semitism in there at all.
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From:dichroic
Date:January 13th, 2011 01:05 pm (UTC)
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The anti-Semitism lies in the phrase "blood libel".
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From:chickenfeet2003
Date:January 13th, 2011 01:14 pm (UTC)
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I understand the connection but I don't think Palin really does. I don't think she's suggesting the liberal media is anti-semitic. If she is, she's further gone than even I imagined.
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From:dichroic
Date:January 13th, 2011 01:21 pm (UTC)
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That's not what I think she's saying; what her words suggest to me is that she thinks the media treatment of her is as bad as persecution and accusations of the Jews over the centuries.

I do think she's capable of being that melodramatic. I don't think that's what she actually meant in this case because I agree with you that it's unlikely she knows the meaning of the phrase.

But I still hold her responsible for the content of her words, no matter what she actually meant to say, just as I hold her responsible for the implications of the images her group posted. She's sought the public eye and high public position; she has a responsibility to understand the message she's sending.
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From:chickenfeet2003
Date:January 13th, 2011 01:42 pm (UTC)
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That's not what I think she's saying; what her words suggest to me is that she thinks the media treatment of her is as bad as persecution and accusations of the Jews over the centuries.


Certainly I think she's suggesting that she is being "persecuted" as a member of an embattled righteous minority. Maybe she is even going as far as you suggest.
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From:whswhs
Date:January 13th, 2011 03:20 pm (UTC)
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Is that your standard of horrendous? Palin is accused of encouraging and holding moral responsibility for political murder; a crowd of columnists, all the way up to Paul Krugman, join in the accusation; and you're offended that what she says in response strikes you as excessive? I thought the rush to accuse, in advance of any evidence about the killer's state of mind, motives, or background, based solely on an association of images, was horrendous. I certainly think it's fair to say that it incited hatred; it doesn't take much searching to see people online expressing the wish for Palin to die, or to be murdered, or posting images of guns pointed at her. And quite aside from such effects as that, the initial accusations came from people who already hated Palin on partisan grounds, and were willing to credit, or to take advantage of, even a purely associative link between her and a monstrous crime to condemn her, without waiting to see what the actual evidence showed to be the causation involved . . . because they knew she had to be guilty. When I see you calling that conduct horrendous I'll take your judgment on Palin's rhetoric more seriously.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 13th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
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I'm not up for developing a calibrated scale at the moment. However, saying that none of the journalists feel any of the normal grief, fear, or anger at a mass murder strikes me as a little much.
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From:whswhs
Date:January 13th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC)
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In the English language as I speak it, and as I use it professionally, "journalists and pundits" does not mean "all journalists and pundits do X." It means "some people, who are journalists and pundits, do X."

As to the moral status of the people in question: Before we had any information about the killer's motives, mental state, or personal history, any causal chain, or any evidence, and while most of the country was in shock, they were writing columns pinning the blame on Palin. That says something to me both about what their priorities were, and about their professional ethics.
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From:bemused_leftist
Date:January 14th, 2011 11:02 pm (UTC)
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For a clear case, look at coverage of the JFK assassination. There was a chorus of "Dallas Rightwing Kennedy-haters did it!" before anything was known about that assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald. (His affiliation turned out to be clear: he had often declared himself a Communist, had more or less emigrated to Russia and Cuba.)
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From:ice_hesitant
Date:January 13th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
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It would have been nice if Palin had shown some personal responsibility and apologized for her past speeches -- a weasel apology for "inadvertent misinterpretation of my words on the part of others" would have been fine -- instead of denying any responsibility and blaming the whole thing on journalists.
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From:whswhs
Date:January 14th, 2011 12:15 am (UTC)
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But what evidence is there that any actual person has misinterpreted her words as encouraging political murder?

Look. The imagery of violence and warfare is commonplace in politics. Barack Obama said, "If they bring a knife, we bring a gun." Ayn Rand used to have a column called "Intellectual Ammunition Argument" for evidence against the welfare state. Paul Kanjorski, at the time a Congressman from Pennsylvania, said of Rick Scott, at the time running for governor of Florida, "Instead of running for governor of Florida, they ought to have him and shoot him. Put him against the wall and shoot him. He stole billions of dollars from the United States government and he's running for governor of Florida." If you care to look at this site, you can see maps of the United States with target images placed over districts hosting Republicans the Democratic Party wanted to defeat, including one that uses the phrase "behind enemy lines."

If you're going to assume that a psychotic murderer was driven to crime by violent political imagery, there are a whole lot of sources where he could have found it. To demand that one specific person apologize, when there is no evidence that her particular image was even involved, and when you don't demand that anyone else apologize, amounts to demanding that that one person make an admission of guilt. And I don't see that it's been shown that she has any guilt to admit.
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From:nancylebov
Date:January 14th, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
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You might have a point there. I tend to be more comfortable with leftish groups, and it's harder to see it when your own side is being insulting.

A left winger who thinks Palin is being treated unfairly.

Edited at 2011-01-14 01:42 am (UTC)
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From:richardthinks
Date:January 13th, 2011 04:49 pm (UTC)
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Xeni Jardin at boingboing weighs in. I didn't know Giffords was Jewish.
I wonder if there's some other dog whistle being sounded here, though. It's so gratuitous, and it kinda goes to your previous post about pissing off a bunch of the people you're supposed to be on the same team with. Unless somehow Palin's team doesn't contain any Jews... So I wonder what she gains by deploying this frankly rather obscure reference (sorry, if it has to be explained to readers it's obscure enough that you'd be better off just with the explanation).
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From:dr_zrfq
Date:January 14th, 2011 03:47 pm (UTC)
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Palin is an idiot. The problem is, she's an idiot with plenty of low cunning, and a publicity machine to boot.

Alas, the USA appears to have produced a LOT of folks like her. I'm going to quote madwriter and then send you to his post (unlocked) that contains the quote. It's worth a read.

"Like a lot of other people right now, I'm angry. The difference is that I'm not throwing my anger in one particular direction, at one particular party, at one specific set of P&Ps (Politicians & Pundits). I'm angry at all of them."

Here is the post. (This comment edited to include a much more appropriate icon.)

Edited at 2011-01-14 03:48 pm (UTC)
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From:bemused_leftist
Date:January 14th, 2011 11:37 pm (UTC)
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I haven't had time to look up the definition of 'purport,' but fwiw, my sense of the word is that it means a claim or assumption has been made and the speaker is not addressing its truth or falsity -- not that the speaker is declaring that the claim is false, or that the opposite is true.

In any case using 'purport' is nowhere near as strong as the outright claims that Palin and others want assassinations, or are deliberately inciting 'hate' and violence.
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