Commentary

Round to Sarah?

Media counter-puncher Sarah Palin, the Wonder from Wasilla, was at it again Monday morning, coming back at the hosts of TV’s “Today” show after they attacked comments she made in Iowa last month in a shameful attempt to minimize domestic assault charges leveled again son Track.

On balance, the round went to Palin — at least with the judges who matter to her.

About three minutes into what started as a friendly bout, Savannah Guthrie asked Palin about her comments in Iowa concerning the Alaska arrest of Track, noting that “you mentioned PTSD and you said that President Obama may be to blame for some of the PTSD.”

“I never said that,” Palin immediately shot back.

She was right. She never said exactly that, which added weight to an argument she later raised about media credibility. This will not be missed by her small legion of supporters.

And none other than the Washington Post promptly smeared its credibility with the simplest of reporting errors when it covered the Today exchange this way:

“Guthrie asked Sarah Palin whether she regrets the comment. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee gave a terse reply and then objected to Guthrie asking the question in the first place.”

Guthrie didn’t ask that question. Co-host Matt Lauer asked it well into the dust-up between Palin and Guthrie. Anyone who watches the Today video will see clearly the Post messed up a simple timeline. If you can’t get that simple part straight…? as Palin might ask.

Guthrie raised the PTSD accusation. Palin immediately denied. Guthrie and Palin then talked over each other momentarily as they bantered back and forth. Finally Guthrie got in the question of  “what exactly did you mean?”

To this, Palin answered, “let’s start piece by piece. You guys brought me here to talk about  Iowa politics and the caucus tonight, not to talk about my kids. And that was a promise. But, um, as things go in the world of media, you guys don’t always keep your promises evidently. I never blamed President Obama. What i have blamed president Obama in doing, though, is this level of disrespect for the United States military.”

From there Palin segued into a rambling run of cliches about U.S. military power and ISIS after which Lauer finally asked, “do you regret the comment, though, Gov. Palin, on that day of the endorsement.”

“What did I say that was offensive?” Palin asked.

“That you seemed to lay it at the feet of the President,” Lauer said.

“I don’t regret any comment I made because I didn’t lay PTSD at the foot of the president,” Palin answered. She then repeated comments about Obama needing to show more respect for the military and slipped under Lauer’s roundhouse swing to deliver a hard, body blow to his kidney:

“But, no, if you guys have a specific quote, that, er allows the media to be more credible, if you guys will tell me exactly what you’re talking about.”

There is, of course, no specific quote. There are only some bizarre comments Palin made in trying to connect a lack of respect to post traumatic stress disorder, a psychological response to trauma.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that results from the experience or witnessing of traumatic or life-threatening events,” according to to medical authorities. It is not caused by lack of respect.

Palin, however, tried to link the two to excuse Track’s assault on his girlfriend. During a speech to endorse Donald Trump for President in late January, she launched into a long, rambling, word-salad attempt at damage control that started with her saying “let me get personal on this.

She then brought up America’s wounded warriors and continued:

“I can talk personally about this. I guess it’s kind of the elephant in the room.”

Her son, she said, is an Iraq combat veteran, and “they come back a bit different. They come back hardened. They come back wondering if there is that respect for what it is they do.”

She then she rambled on about a lack of respect for American servicemen, about how “that starts from the top,” about how returning soldiers shouldn’t have to wonder if they are respected, and a few more cliches before suggesting the problem “comes from our own president, when they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we’re going through? Do you know what we have to do.”

What finally followed was this reference to PTSD:

“So, when my own son is going through what he goes through after coming back, I can certainly relate with other families who kind of feel these ramifications of some PTSD and some of the woundedness (sic) that our soldiers do return with—and it makes me realize more than ever, it is now or never for the sake of America’s finest, that we have that commander-in-chief who will respect them and honor them.”

Palin’s comments at the Trump rally were ignorant. Not to mention that there has been no evidence produced to suggest Track Palin suffers from PTSD.

Most of the media coverage that followed Palin’s appearance on Today was also ignorant, negative, or had an “I-don’t-beat-my-wife” tone to it.  But Palin’s response on the TV show will likely help her more than hurt her among a hardcore group of Americans who see media bias everywhere and find evidence in the news coverage Palin attracts.

Why? Because she’s right when she says she didn’t blame PTSD on the president.

She made the bizarre claim that PTSD is based on disrespect and that Obama is somehow linked to this because he encourages disrespect for the military, a claim that appears to have little basis in fact.

The mainstream media would have been better served to follow the lead of “The American Conservative” on this story and question Palin what is actually doing — pandering to veterans.

“When Sarah Palin seemed to be blaming her son Track’s recent domestic assault charge on PTSD—and however indirectly, President Obama’s “disrespect” for the troops—veterans across the board delivered a swift and uniform rebuke,” that publication accurately reported, in a story that soundly went after Palin’s attempt to cover for her son.

“Veterans know the first step is taking responsibility for their actions,” the Conservative noted. “They just ask that politicians like Palin do the same. And they would appreciate it if public figures would keep veterans issues out of their partisan endorsement speeches.”

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