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.
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 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.
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.
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?"
'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.
"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."
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."