Sarah Palin Sparks Controversy with 'Blood Libel' Video

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 12:21 PM

Sarah Palin released a video today in response to criticism that her rhetoric might have had some role in Saturday's Tucson shooting. It's the first time that she's spoken out publicly since the tragedy and her choice of words is causing controversy: She accused pundits and journalists of "blood libel" in what she described as their rush to blame political rhetoric for the attack.

Does Sarah Palin have a point about the connection between rhetoric and an attack like this? How much do you think rhetoric is to blame?

Here's what Palin said:

“Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own ... 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 that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

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Comments [9]

MK from NYC

Every single one of us is responsible for the consequences of what we say and what we do. Resisting responsibility is a form of denial. Not thinking you are responsible at all, in extreme cases, makes one a sociopath. The political path can sometimes lay somewhere between these two places because power makes people blind. The real subtext here is power.

Jan. 13 2011 10:41 AM
MK from NYC

Every single one of us is responsible for the consequences of what we say and what we do. Resisting responsibility is a form of denial. Not thinking you are responsible at all, in extreme cases, makes one a sociopath. The political path can sometimes lay somewhere between these two places because power makes people blind. The real subtext here is power.

Jan. 13 2011 10:40 AM
Robert Bonfiglio from NYC

The rhetoric of the Tea Party is much like that of the House Unamerican Actities Committee - where intellectuals, people of color, Jews, liberals and homosexuals need not apply. We have a long history of violence around "them and us" politics.

Jan. 13 2011 09:09 AM
Al from KY

Our entire society now frequently degrades their language to harsh insults and angry criticisms, often using inflammatory words that sometimes would make a sailor blush. Such talk only propagates more anger and doesn't solve anything.
People with mental illnesses may obsess over such harsh angry words, and follow them with aggressive actions.
A less threatening way to handle our differences is to avoid anger and start out the conversation with words like this: "Here's how I feel about...." This opens the door for the other person to express his feelings in a similar non-threatening manner and enables us to have a meaningful conversation that allows for negotiation.
They always told me: once you get angry, you have lost the argument. I believe that to be true.

Jan. 13 2011 08:17 AM
Donna Perrotta from Providence

Okay, so I'm thinking of putting up a poster list of my so-so to failing students in the classroom. I'll use the cross hairs symbol over their names. Oh wait a minute-if I do that I might be fired....which raises the question, how doesn't crass or harmful rhetoric affect society?

Jan. 13 2011 08:11 AM
Johnny Enrique from Palm Beach Gardens

A question of rhetoric's role in society I think tone does matter. You think of any social situation be in personal life business church group politics and how leaders of that group conduct themselves and treat others, and it's adopted by the members of the group. So if society is constantly obliges with uncivil harsh voices that that becomes the tone of the populous especially susceptible or those trouble souls on the frame, so the responsible we recognize is that those the answers to Charles Barkley's question is yes. I am a role model.

Jan. 13 2011 06:01 AM
Mark Hershberger (via Facebook)

I agree with Jon Stewart's take in that you can't make a simple through line to angry political rhetoric to explain a mentally ill man's actions, but Palin's attempt to deflect criticism amounts to projection and comes across as trying to m...ake the tragedy about herself, and strikes me as hypocritical, as the Right seems to want to use violent revolutionary imagery to promote its causes but doesn't want to address it when an act of violence happens inevitably, especially since 9/11 was and still is politicized to justify the demonization of the Left

Jan. 12 2011 02:10 PM
George Peck (via Facebook) from Evergreen, Colo.

The biggest "point" Sarah Palin is making is any point to get her name in the paper again. Can we not give this twit any more publicity?

Jan. 12 2011 02:09 PM
AFriedman

What a hypocrite! She cannot absolve herself of the irresponsible rhetoric that she has used for the past 2 years to demonize her opponents. It is about time that she stick a sock in it and go back to the hole from which she came!

Jan. 12 2011 01:26 PM

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