In that video of disgusting death threats against Sarah Palin (Aaron posted screenshots of them here), there were a couple that I think were included by mistake.
Notably, this one:
To me, this is clearly a repudiation of those who blamed Palin. If there were any doubt, the author of the message explains:
Anybody who knows me, has read my books, has read my blog, has read my Tweets, has breathed the same internet air I breathe knows I’m a Reagan-conservative-moving-swiftly-to-libertarian Mormon with a side of objectivism to spice things up.
Thus, it didn’t occur to me that my tweet, made in conversation with someone else, in response to my utter disgust with the immediate blaming of Sarah Palin for Saturday’s shooting of a Congresswoman would be taken as a threat against Palin and/or a wish for her death.
In comments to Aaron’s previous post, some commenters blame the author for allegedly not making her point clear. In fact, I had a hard time seeing it as anything but an attack on those who wished death for Palin. But this could illustrate the power of reading words through a prism. Many people saw her words through the prism of a video that listed numerous death threats. I hadn’t bothered to watch that whole video, and her message came to my attention when I read a post defending her — meaning that the first time I read her message, I knew what she meant. It was very difficult for me even to understand the alternate interpretation, but when commenter Dustin patiently explained it (it appeared to him that she was telling Tea Partiers “you reap what you sow”) I finally got it.
In any event, any ambiguity from the face of the message is certainly cleared up by her explanation, which I wholly accept. I apologize to the author of the message for whatever role this blog had in adding to the negative reaction, although it seems that most people who wrote her to criticize her now understand what she meant.
By the way, the Twitterer and her defender both got pretty angry at people for misinterpreting her message, and issued some broad statements about conservatives or Palin defenders in general. I’d like to think those comments were made in righteous anger and that they would reconsider them. Both of them are utterly contemptuous of the left’s smears of Palin. In other words, their heads are generally in the right place. Give them some space, and I bet they’ll come around.
I haven’t examined every message to see if there are others that aren’t really threats, but there is one that leapt out at me as being questionable:
If you follow that link, you’ll find it goes to a ridiculous post that is exactly what the Twitterer described. I have seen him explaining it as such in subsequent messages and I am inclined to believe him.
Aaron pointed both of these out, but I thought it was worth a new post. I think what happened to these two Twitterers is, in micro form, similar to what happened to Palin and Michele Bachmann: perfectly legitimate sentiments were taken out of context and made into something they weren’t. They deserve to have this pointed out prominently — to be defended, in vigorous fashion, against a smear (albeit an unintentional one) . . . just as we would defend (and have defended) Bachmann and Palin against smears made against them.
The irony is that this illustrates that, like the makers of the video, some on the left might have actually believed Palin and Bachmann were calling for violence. Having viewed the awful Tea Partiers’ rhetoric through the prism of their certainty that Tea Partiers are violent bigots, they may not (all) have been cynically exploiting rhetoric they knew was innocent. This is a point I heard Rush Limbaugh make today: there are people who actually believe he and Palin incited this shooting (which bizarrely makes the death wishes for Palin more understandable).
I don’t credit the Krugmans and Boehlerts of the world with being honest suckers, by the way. They are simply exploiting those who are.
As for the other people who said those awful things about Palin: I don’t necessarily think they should be hounded and have their bosses notified and that sort of thing . . . but I don’t really have a problem with figuring out who they are, publicizing that, and contacting them to ask if they stand by their statements. When you make statements on the Internet, you own them, and need to stand by them.
UPDATE: Via Twitter, Jovan tells me that she was mentioned in a Fox News article. Luckily, the article was accurate and quoted her defense, so she was not further smeared.