Sean Hannity saw on Google that the liberal media is blaming Sarah Palin, so he asked her to come and explain. Also, she offered her definition of "blood libel," which is rather... liberal with the historic record.
Whether or not you believe Palin contributed to the environment that focused Loughner's target, it's clear that Palin has rather mixed messages in this regard. She admitted to Hannity last night that the graphic artist took down the notorious map with the crosshairs, which she said she approved of, but then said it had nothing to do with the shooting. (There's no evidence Loughner ever saw the map, though that doesn't mean the shooting happened in a vacuum.) She does, however, drop the ludicrous talking point, advanced by her message-maker Rebecca Mansour, that these were "surveyor's symbols. She calls them "crosshairs or targets" — and then says the Democrats do it too. Never mind all the gun stuff.
Unfortunately for Palin, the link between her rhetoric and Arizona has been made in the minds of a third of Americans, according to a CNN poll. "A third of all Americans say that the website –- which had an image that looked like the crosshairs of a gun marking Gifford's congressional district –- deserves a great deal or a moderate amount of blame."
Palin paid lip service to the idea that this wasn't about her, although her video made it, indeed, all about her. "They can't make us sit down and shut up. Having the voice of respectful dissent shut down, that would destroy our Republic," she said.
Speaking of respect, Palin also took on the "blood libel" controversy. She said, "Blood libel obviously means being falsely accused, or having blood on your hands." And ""It goes back to the Jewish people being falsely accused, A group of people being falsely accused of having blood on their hands." Well... sort of. Said Jeffrey Goldberg, who had optimistically said that maybe the usage would be a history lesson on anti-Semitism,
"Imagine if Palin had said this: "I should not have used that exact phrase, blood libel, because it refers to something very specific in history, the false accusation against Jews that they use Christian blood to make matzo for Passover. It's a terrible, destructive lie, not least because Jesus himself ate matzo at the Last Supper. I didn't know about this despicable calumny before, but I'm glad I do now, and I hope to use my platform to educate people about the history of anti-Semitism and other prejudices."
It's not that the usage was anti-Semitic in itself, or that others haven't used the term more broadly. It's that it was another example of Sarah Palin's narcissistic ignorance running blithely roughshod over reality, retroactively justifying whatever is necessary. In the meantime, Palin's buddy Glenn Beck has made a list of nine men who perpetuated the "big lie." It just so happens that eight of these men are Jewish. Well, then.
If that's all too grim for you, here's a rendition of "Battle Hymn Of The Republic" reinterpreted by Palin lovers, that's been making the rounds. Then again, it's depressing to remember that the song was written by abolitionist, pacifist, and suffragist Julia Ward Howe in support of Union troops during the Civil War.
After Tucson, Blanket Accusations Leave Much to Interpretation [NYT]
CNN Poll: Blame Game In Arizona Shootings [CNN]
Related: Glenn Beck's Jewish Problem [The Atlantic]