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That’s What You Always Say November 16, 2009

Posted by monty in news, politics.
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It probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Sarah Palin’s upcoming memoir, Going Rogue, contains numerous factual “inaccuracies.”  In a fact-check conducted by the Associated Press (I mean, “the liberal media elite”), Palin apparently distorts her own record, and either misunderstands or outright lies about events in Obama’s presidency (confusing Obama’s stimulus package, for instance, with George W. Bush’s federal bank bailout).  The AP is kind in saying that Palin’s book occasionally “goes adrift,” when what they really should be saying is that it’s just more of the same kind of paranoid, lunatic babbling that gave us death panels and Drill, baby, drill!

But just as unsurprising as Palin’s drift is the fact that she’s now accusing the AP of doing “opposition research” in fact-checking her memoir.

We’ve heard 11 writers are engaged in this opposition research, er, ‘fact checking’ research!  Imagine that – 11 AP reporters dedicating time and resources to tearing up the book, instead of using the time and resources to ‘fact check’ what’s going on with Sheik Mohammed’s trial, Pelosi’s health care takeover costs, Hassan’s associations, etc.

So this is what it’s come to.  Checking the veracity of claims made by a public figure – one of the most important tenets of modern journalism – is now spun by the GOP as just another attack by the opposition.  Apparently, in Palin’s perfect world, she could just run her mouth about any old thing and have it be taken as gospel by the universe as a whole.

It is, I have to say, a clever ploy aimed squarely at appeasing her base.  When you make your reputation as a small-town rube with the intellect of a mosquito and a mistrust of anyone who uses polysyllabic words, it’s just the next logical step to further adopt the role of victim and scream that you’re being raped by the big, bad liberal media.  The portion of the American population who actually thinks Palin’s got something to say – you can recognize them because they’re wearing aluminum foil hats and screaming about black helicopters – will fall right in line.

I really wish I had a gauge to figure out how seriously the rest of the country takes anything she says.  My first inclination whenever I see or hear anything on the news about Palin or Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity or any of these right-wing asshats is to laugh hysterically.  But then I remember that a lot of people take them at their word, and that’s a sobering thought.

Palin wants to spin the AP’s reporting as equivalent to the death of free speech.  The truth, however, is that it’s Palin – who claims that the media has no right or responsibility to verify her claims – who’s the real enemy of the 1st Amendment.  It goes back to the same point I made about Carrie Prejean last week.  The right to free speech means that, yes, you can generally say what you like.  What it doesn’t do is guarantee you the right to say what you like and have it remained unchallenged. That’s the beauty of free speech.  It cuts both ways.  You have the right to say what you want, and I have the right to challenge you.  In this case, Palin had the freedom to write a book that’s apparently as boneheaded as the interviews and speeches for which she’s already known, and now she’s angry that responsible journalists have an equal amount of freedom to make sure she’s not completely full of shit.

Sarah, just a word of advice: It’s not free speech if the only people allowed to talk are the ones who agree with you.

*****

Current listening:

Saturnine – American Kestrel (1999)

Last movie seen:

Body of Lies (2008; Ridley Scott, dir.)

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Comments»

1. Fred Mowery - November 16, 2009

My mom thinks she’s dumb. So there’s hope.

rcm - November 17, 2009

I wish I could say the same of my mom. I made some insulting comment about her a few months ago (Sarah Palin, not my mom) and Mary Ann leapt to her defense. I cried a little on the inside.


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