Sunday, January 09, 2011

Website Scrubbed But Not Forgotten?

I come not to bury Sarah Palin but to praise her.

In the wake of the horrific firearm violence which took place yesterday in Tuscon, Arizona, the supporters of the former governor showed uncommon good sense. Blogging on The Huffington Post, Rob Warnowski notes

In the minutes following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and members of her staff, the website operated by Sarah Palin that illustrated Gifford's 8th district with gun crosshairs drawn on a map was scrubbed from the internet.

The self-described "writer from the South Side of Chicago" detailed his pursuit of the "crosshairs" image and determined it could not be "found in The Internet Archive at" but was still on Facebook, Twitter, and various web sites. (The image below was taken today from Palin's Facebook page.) Perhaps prophetically, several liberal bloggers at the time were critical of the appeal, in which Palin pledged "We’ll aim for these races and many others. This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people...."

Giffords herself was concerned about the consequences of such tactics. Firedoglake reports this exchange between the Arizona congresswoman and MSNBC's Chuck Todd in March of 2010:

GIFFORDS: Community leaders, figures in our community need to say “look, we can’t stand for this.” This is a situation where — people don’t — they really need to realize that the rhetoric and firing people up and, you know, even things, for example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list. But the thing is that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve gotta realize there’s consequences to that action.

TODD: But in fairness, campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangeable for years. And so that’s — is there not, is there a line here? I understand that in the oment it may look bad, but do you really think that’s what she intended?

GIFFORDS: You know, I can’t say, I’m not Sarah Palin. But I can say that in the years that some of my colleagues have served — 20, 30 years — they’ve never seen it like this.

Too little is known now for any conclusions to be drawn as to motivations, even the assumption that Representative Giffords was the primary target. Still, if she was, it was an attempted political assassination and an objective, curious media would have a few questions to pose to the former governor.

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