Video: Palin video prompts backlash over 'blood libel'

  1. Closed captioning of: Palin video prompts backlash over 'blood libel'

    >>> now to the national scene, the furious political debate over the events here in tucson continued today with a video response online from sarah palin . nbc's andrea mitchell covering this story in washington tonight. andrea, good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, brian. after days of debate over sarah palin 's use of gun imagery last year against congresswoman giffords and 19 other democrats, even though there is no connection to the tucson shootings, palin's response is now setting off more controversy.

    >> acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own. they begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state. not with those who listen to talkradio. not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle.

    >> reporter: combative, crypted and apparently reading from a teleprompter, sarah palin used her facebook page to mourn the victims and strike back at her critics.

    >> 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.

    >> reporter: but the internet was on fire over two words, blood libel . a central myth of anti-semitism used to jus fie the massacre of jews by falsely accusing them of using the blood of slain christian children for rituals. was that palin's inspiration? in both cases, it is offensive say critics.

    >> it's been the basis for terrible anti-semitism and anti-jewish fervor over the ages.

    >> i don't know why she could use that phrase. ignorance may be the best explanation.

    >> reporter: some republicans say --

    >> is that going to make her into a genuine national leader or to enhancing her role as the leader of a faction within the republican party ?

    >> reporter: palin supporters say she's right to defend her gun rhetoric.

    >> don't retreat, just reload.

    >> reporter: because it is central to who she is, not inflammatory.

    >> sarah palin , i don't know what she was doing saturday. for all i know, she was hunting a moose, maybe watching football. i know that she wasn't in tucson .

    >> reporter: since palin's video went up just this morning, more than 375,000 people have expressed their views in an online poll on msnbc.com. that's not scientific, but nearly 59% do not agree with palin. brian?

    >> andrea mitchell in our washington bureau. andrea, thanks.

msnbc.com news services
updated 1/12/2011 4:42:50 PM ET 2011-01-12T21:42:50

Sarah Palin posted a nearly eight-minute video on her Facebook page early Wednesday, accusing journalists and pundits of inciting hatred and violence in the wake of a deadly Arizona shooting that gravely wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

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Last spring, Palin targeted Giffords' district as one of 20 that should be taken back. Palin has been criticized for marking each district with the cross hairs of a gun sight.

In the video posted Wednesday, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate said vigorous debates are a cherished tradition. But she said after the election, both sides find common ground, even though they disagree.

"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," she said.

Video: Palin: Journalists incited 'blood libel' (on this page)

The term "blood libel" is the false allegation that Jews kill non-Jews, especially Christian children, to acquire blood for the Passover or other Jewish rituals, according to the Jewish Virtual Library. It has been used in other contexts, and Palin's meaning was not clear. Her aides did not immediately respond to an e-mail early Wednesday.

What is 'blood libel'?

Jared Loughner, 22, is accused of trying to assassinate Giffords, wounding 12 others and killing six people.

"There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal," Palin said. "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?"

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'Acts of monstrous criminality'
Palin quoted former President Ronald Reagan as saying that "we must reject the idea that every time a law is broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker."

"It's time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions," Palin continued, still quoting Reagan.

Live vote: Weigh in on Palin's reaction

"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own," she added. "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of the state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectably exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election."

Story: Conservatives scoff at attempted linkage to shooting

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had told the TODAY show Monday that political rhetoric may have contributed to Loughner's actions. "I think the tone of rhetoric that's occurred in this country over the past couple of years affects troubled personalities," he said.

Palin countered that and similar assertions, noting the "peaceful transition of power" when President Barack Obama took office and following the 2008 and 2010 elections, and pointing out that "vigorous and spirited public debates" are part of the process before candidates "shake hands and we get back to work, and often both sides find common ground back in DC and elsewhere."

© 2013 msnbc.com

Photos: Sarah Palin

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  1. A scene from the TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska. Sarah Palin ready to head up the river in Todd's boat to see the fish counting in Dillingham, where the Palin family usually spend 4th of July. (Gilles Mingasson / TLC via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sarah Palin is handed Sophie, a 10-week-old puppy, for a signature during the kick-off of the Tea Party Express bus tour at a rally on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Reno, Nev. (Julie Jacobson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sarah Palin talks to supporters at an "Evening with Sarah Palin" event on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Rosemont, Ill. (Jim Prisching / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. People walk by a window display of "Going Rogue: an American Life", a book from former Republican vice-president candidate Sarah Palin, as it hit stores on November 17, 2009, in New York. Palin's book has already become a bestseller, with pre-release sales knocking Dan Brown's latest thriller off the number one spot on Amazon.com. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. In the November 23 issue of Newsweek: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? She’s Bad News for the GOP - And For Everybody Else Too, Evan Thomas looks at the impact of Sarah Palin on politics. The cover sparked controversy with Sarah Palin blasting the "out-of-context" cover as "sexist" because the photos were originally published in 'Runners World.' Palin took issue with Newsweek using a photo from an article about fitness to promote an analysis piece contemplating her relevance in politics. (PRNewsFoto via Newsweek) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. This photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 shows talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, second from right, with former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughters, Willow, right, and Piper, left, during the taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago. Although Sarah Palin didn't answer Oprah's question about whether or not Levi Johnston was invited for Thanksgiving dinner, Sarah told Oprah that Levi is "still part of the family" and "he needs to know hes loved. When Palin was asked about a 2012 run, Palin said, "It's not on my radar screen." (George Burns / Harpo productions via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announces that she is stepping down from her position as Governor in Wasilla, Alaska on Friday July 3, 2009. The former Republican vice presidential candidate made the surprise announcement, saying she would step down July 26 but didn't announce her plans. (AP Photo/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Robert DeBerry) (Robert Deberry / The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Susan Wynalek, right, of Coltsneck, N.J., her daughter Stephanie, center and son Brett participate in a "Fire David Letterman" rally across from the Ed Sullivan Theater, on June 16, 2009 in New York. The protest was held in response to jokes he made on "The Late Show" about Sarah Palin and her teenage daughter. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Sen. John McCain concedes victory during an election night rally in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 4, 2008. The Republican and running mate Sarah Palin were defeated by a wide margin. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sarah Palin accepts the vice-presidential nomination before a packed house at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. In her speech, she criticized the “Washington elite” that had raised questions about her qualifications. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Sen. John McCain, center, greets Bristol Palin and her boyfriend Levi Johnston as running mate Sarah Palin looks on. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. This picture provided by John McCain's campaign shows his running mate Sarah Palin, left, meeting with first lady Laura Bush, center, and McCain's wife Cindy in Minneapolis on Sept. 2, 2008. (Johnmccain.com / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Sen. John McCain greets supporters as he arrives with running mate Sarah Palin, center, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at a campaign rally in O'Fallon, Mo., on August 31, 2008. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Bristol Palin, 17, holds her brother Trig during the campaign rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her mother as his vice presidential running mate in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 29, 2008. (Stephan Savoia / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. An enthusiastic crowd greets Sarah Palin at the rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her as his running mate. (Matt Sullivan / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Palin and her family: son Track and husband Todd, in the back, daughters Willow and Bristol on each side and daughter Piper in the front. (Alaska Governors Office via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seen here on Aug. 13, 2008, describes herself as a "hockey mom" and an occasional commercial fisherwoman. She oversees a state that’s hardly shy about admiring her swept-back hair and celebrated smile. Bumper stickers and blogs have proclaimed Alaska and Palin: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor." (Marc Lester / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Sarah Palin visits Army Pfc. John Kegley at a U.S. military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, on July 26, 2007. (Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston / USAF) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Sarah Palin chats with Alaska-based troops serving at a desert camp in Kuwait on July 25, 2007. (Spc. Wesley Landrum / US Army) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Laurie Serino, left, talks about high food and energy prices with Sarah Palin in Barrow, Alaska, on June 30, 2008. Palin had proposed that state lawmakers approve $1,200 emergency payments to Alaska residents to help deal with rising costs. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd hold their baby boy, Trig, in Anchorage on April 23, 2008. Palin's fifth child was born with Down syndrome. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Appearing at the state elections office in Anchorage on March 14, 2008, Sarah Palin announces her endorsement of Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, center, in his run for Alaska's congressional seat. Parnell had just filed to run against incumbent Republican Don Young. (Michael Dinneen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Typically seen in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberrys in each hand, Sarah Palin has appeared in Vogue, the fashion magazine. (Win McNamee / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Sarah Palin is sworn in as Alaska's governor on Dec. 4, 2006, in Fairbanks. Alaska's first female governor, she took office on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former governors in the primary and general elections. Holding the Bible is her husband, Todd Palin. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Sarah Palin, along with one of her daughters, poses with the caribou she shot in Alaska. Palin grew up hunting and fishing and is a member of the National Rifle Association. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, worked as a news anchor in 1988 for KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska. (KTUU-TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Sarah Palin poses for a photo after she won the Miss Wasilla beauty pagent in 1984 in Wasilla, Alaska. She went on to compete in the Miss Alaska competition, where she finished as a runner-up. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Sarah Palin, a star basketball player in high school, stands with her brother, Chuck Heath, and sister, Heather Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath in Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, holding shrimp her father, Chuck, caught in Skagway, Alaska, where he was a school teacher for 5 years. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. This 1964 photo shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her mother, Sally Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. Palin was the first Alaskan to run on a national ticket. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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