Early today, Sarah Palin released a video in which she denied drinking the blood of Christian babies. No, seriously.
In a video that clocks in at over seven minutes long, Palin bristled with defensiveness while trying to look presidential at the same time. Judging from the reactions this morning, she changed no one's minds. And she may have distracted from whatever message she was trying to convey — that a healthy, passionate political discourse had nothing to do with Jared Lee Loughner's murderousness — by (mis)using a loaded phrase.
"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," she said.
Yes, blood libel — the term used to describe a host of medieval-era anti-Semitic lies about the Jews killing Christian children to use their blood for religious rituals. As The Daily Beast's quipped on Twitter, "My ancestors in the shtetl had a saying, "Yes things are pretty bad, but at least no on is saying mean things about me on MSNBC."
So is America buying the fact that Palin and her "surveyor symbols" had nothing to do with Loughner? Well, if you look at a CBS poll conducted after the Giffords shooting, you see that 45 percent of Americans said they believed Loughner had political motivations.
Of course, if you read The New York Post — the print counterpart to Fox News when it comes to the national political conversation, you see this instead. Not a word about what Americans think about Loughner's political motivations (from whatever direction).
In other words, they skipped to the bottom and came away with the part that sort of let them off the hook. Our spirited political discourse gets better every day!