After days of reports about her map of congressional districts marked with gun sights or surveyor's symbols and the deleting on Saturday of a website devoted to them, Sarah Palin talks directly to the American public about what happened in Tucson.
It's a strong response. "There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal," Ms. Palin says. "And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently. But when was it less heated? Back in those 'calm days" when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols? In an ideal world all discourse would be civil and all disagreements cordial. But our Founding Fathers knew they weren't designing a system for perfect men and women. If men and women were angels, there would be no need for government. Our Founders' genius was to design a system that helped settle the inevitable conflicts caused by our imperfect passions in civil ways. So, we must condemn violence if our Republic is to endure."
The part that you're going to hear most about, though, would seem to be this one: "But, 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."
You're going to hear a lot about that section because she's pushing back at the media in general, and so this becomes a shoving match. But you're also going to hear more specifically about her accusing the media of "blood libel." As the New York Times carefully puts it, "By using the term 'blood libel' to describe the criticism about political rhetoric after the shootings, Ms. Palin was inventing a new definition for an emotionally laden phrase. Blood libel is typically used to describe the false accusation that Jews murder Christian children to use their blood in religious rituals, in particular the baking of matzos for Passover."
Full text of Ms. Palin's response on her Facebook page.