January 14, 2011

And this is why we have “filters”

Roger Ebert observed:

Gov. Palin needs better advice before she issues statements. Every copy editor would have flagged “blood libel.”

Before the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and Sarah Palin’s response to criticism over violence-baiting political imagery, I wasn’t aware of the term “blood libel,” let alone its Jewish significance—but if I had come across it while reviewing a statement for release, I would have cocked my head at the phrase, since it’s an unusual and rather specific construction. I would have looked it up.

A propensity for gaffes like that is a sign of either confused thinking or incaution, both of which we really, really need to avoid in our leaders. Palin’s apparent lack of advisers who would correct it indicates that this confusion or incaution is endemic to her organization, which is an even more dire statement about her political potential.

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