It is sometimes amusing to examine the Gordian-knot-like illogic of the left as they try to rationalize away their emotion-driven frenzies. Sarah Palin provokes such raving lunacy from lefties that any media appearance she makes gives the non-leftist observer a smorgasbord of rationalizations to unpack and ponder.
Joan Walsh’s recent vaporings on Salon are, in this light, choice:
I know she’s going to make herself a martyr over this
Before the sentence even gets properly underway, we’ve got ourselves a howler. Here’s how Merriam-Webster defines “martyr“:
- martyr. noun.
- 1 : a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle
3 : victim; especially : a great or constant sufferer
Now, definitions one and two are right out, except as sneering hyperbole (which, granted, may well be how Walsh intended the word). Palin in no wise is suffering death, either literal or metaphorical, and certainly is not attempting to do so by choice. She also is not sacrificing anything of great value. In fact, a year or so ago, she “sacrificed” political power for something she held as a greater value — her family. And it drove the left berserk (perhaps because they cannot comprehend someone who values anything in the universe more than power). As we shall come to presently, one of the major complaints Walsh has about Palin is that she did not sacrifice for this speech, she profited. (Consistency of principle is impossible when a lefty really gets going — Palin is the Ultimate Evil, so any means to attack her are valid, even mutually exclusive ones.)
Definition three, however, is a not-unreasonable usage. Palin has indeed been the constant target of leftist and media hatred, without relief.
But in what sense has Palin ever “made herself” a martyr? She has been attacked, her family has been attacked, all rules of civilised discourse went out the window immediately she was nominated as McCain’s running mate.
Walsh, there is a term for this sort of thing: “blaming the victim”.
– and among her followers, it will probably work –
Never, ever deal with the truth or falsity of an idea. Instead, recast it in terms of the social metaphysical “us versus them”, and imply that “they” are automatically wrong.
but Sarah Palin got remarkably candid reviews of her Friday night speech in Turlock, Calif., when an open mic picked up reporters savaging the former Alaska governor’s performance. I just checked Palin’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, and she hasn’t started trying to drum up sympathy by trashing the Lamestream Media yet, but she almost certainly will.
Another tactic of the social metaphysician: attempt to change the terms of the argument to your advantage.
Here, Walsh takes as a given the idea that reporters are objective, ignoring completely the real argument — that the Mainstream Media, beneath the lie of impartiality, are in fact irredeemably biased. This incident is just one more evidence of it, and anyone not in the media or firmly committed to the left has known it for years. But Walsh manages to assume the conclusion, and treats the “remarkably candid reviews” as unquestionably fair.
And then to sneer at Palin’s response before she even responds.
(So far the Lamestream Media hasn’t covered the open mic kerfuffle; I found the story on The Political Carnival.)
Question: Why would the “impartial” media cover a story that exposes their extreme partiality?
They won’t, of course, until they are forced to do so.
But Walsh, naturally, uses this lack of response to imply that the story is no big deal at all, and that Palin, in responding to this non-story, is hopelessly out of touch with reality.
Even though Palin has not, as of Walsh’s writing, responded to it.
This next bit is just amazingly fun.
Palin’s entire appearance was controversial. Raising money for California State University-Stanislaus, she reportedly charged a $75,000 speaker’s fee and asked for another $18,000 or so in expenses,
Which is way more than any other political or public figure charges for giving a speech of any kind.
Or, to pick another totally random example, former Vice-President Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. Mr. Gore is, as is widely known, so thoroughly committed to the cause of environmentalism that he donates any money he has ever made in his life to green charities, and lives in a cave in rural Tennessee, without benefit of power, modern telecommunications, or even hot water.
As for the expenses, I feel entirely certain that Joan Walsh never, ever takes deductions from her income taxes for business expenses. Why, that would be dishonest! And nobody ever, ever bills expenses separately from what they invoice for their services. Parts and labor are always included in the total amount; doing otherwise would be dastardly.
including first class plane travel for her entourage and luxury accommodations.
“Entourage” is a loaded word, chosen to imply that Palin is a superstar, completely out of touch with the world. It’s backed up by the “first class” plane ticket and “luxury” accomodations. All details chosen to color your judgement against Palin.
Mr. Gore, as we well know, travels only via carbon-neutral pack mules.
Mr. Clinton uses hamster-powered teleporters.
Both always stay at Motel Six, neither ever using more than one room.
Although CSU is a public university, its leaders didn’t disclose Palin’s demands — saying a private foundation was raising the funds, and was thus exempt from public disclosure laws —
If CSU was not paying the bill, why should its leaders disclose the amount? “Forget it, man, [s]he’s rolling.”
When Palin quotes her speaker’s fee, she is issuing “demands”, just like terrorists and hostage takers.
When Clinton and Gore quote their speakers’ fees — oh, right, wait, I forgot. They never charge anything.
And if a private foundation footed the bill, what business is it of Joan Walsh’s what they paid? Well, except to allow her to sneeringly imply — falsely, of course — that a public university is wasting its funds (not) paying Palin’s fee and expenses.
Walsh is trying to wave her hands rapidly enough so that you, the reader, do not notice that the implication she wants you to arrive at — Palin is wasting taxpayers’ money! — is refuted by the facts that Walsh herself is giving you.
and we only know about them because intrepid student journalists found the contract in a dumpster.
They oughtta give medals to dumpster divers!
Now Walsh goes into connotative overdrive:
In her speech Friday night, the vengeful Palin trashed the students as “dumpster divers” with her trademark meanness:
Palin is “vengeful”, “trashes” poor, innocent, heroic students, does so with “trademark meanness”, and dares to call these valiant heroes of the people’s revolution “dumpster divers” as if they had done something vile, lowdown, and dirty like actually entering a dumpster to find private records of a private transaction in order to defame an individual citizen! This demands scare quotes!
Wait, what was that Walsh said in just the last sentence? “[S]tudent journalists found the contract in a dumpster.” So, if they didn’t go dumpster diving, who did? Their personal servants?
Now, before reading the actual quote, take away the prejudgement-encouraging words and scare quotes with which Walsh tried to color your view of what Palin said, and see for yourself if what she actually said was reasonable:
“Students who spent their valuable, precious time diving through dumpsters before this event in order to silence someone … what a wasted resource,” she told the crowd. “A suggestion for those Dumpster divers: Instead of trying to tell people to sit down and shut up … spend some time telling people like our president to finally stand up.” CSU student journalists were barred from the speech.
Is it really that out of line? I certainly don’t think so. They did go dumpster diving, and it almost certainly was done in an attempt to stop Palin’s speech or, at the least, to discredit her.
And if a specific group of people picked through your rubbish in an attempt to shut you up or discredit you before you had even spoken, would you let them attend your speech?
But this is Sarah Palin, so the normal rules do not apply. It is axiomatic.
But the journalists who got to attend Palin’s speech were no more impressed than her student critics. The reviews begin as soon as Palin says her final “God bless America.”
And it is perfectly their right to do so, because, as they keep assuring us, they are perfectly objective, impartial, and unbiased. So Palin must be evil.
“I feel like I just got off a rollercoaster,” one man says (the voices, so far unidentified, were all male.) “I don’t know how you’re gonna make a story out of that,” another remarks, and someone comments, “Well, that’s the story.” Another describes the speech as something like a student paper, where “you just try to jam as many quotes in as possible, from as many random things.” The most cutting line of all: “Now I know, the dumbness doesn’t come from just soundbites.”
Wow. That’s cutting. Because nobody has ever called Palin dumb before.
It’s funny that some of the sharpest media criticism of Palin has come in open mic mishaps. During the 2008 Republican convention, Peggy Noonan had a rare moment of clarity on MSNBC, when Chuck Todd asked during a commercial if she thought Palin was the most qualified VP choice: “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and that’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.”
A conservative has a “rare moment of clarity” when agreeing with the neverending leftist hatefest. Uh. Huh.
CSU officials said they made $200,000, even after paying Palin’s fees
But according to Walsh herself, CSU did not pay Palin’s fees. In any event, the fundraiser raised funds.
and erecting tall, temporary security fences around the event.
And, of course, it’s Palin’s fault that security fences had to be erected.
While Palin endorsed GOP Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, she didn’t bother to campaign for her while in the state, perhaps an acknowledgement that the Palin brand is a boost in a GOP primary but death in the general election in this true-blue state.
And if she had mentioned Fiorina, Walsh would call the mention “inappropriate for a fundraiser” or something else even more negative. Because Palin Is Evil, and Everything She Does Is Wrong.
Could Walsh possibly have made a more abject confession that leftist ideology is bankrupt, empty, and incapable of dealing with even its weakest opponents?