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Reflections on Sarah Palin's Statement About the Tucson Tragedy

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Duluth, MN (OpEdNews) January 12, 2011: Sarah Palin is a self-centered, just as President Ronald Reagan was. On January 12th, Palin issued a statement titled "America's Enduring Strength" in which she responds at length to her critics. But there are problems with her defense of herself.


Before we turn our attention to her statement, let's briefly review the case. As we all know, Jared Lee Loughner attempted to assassinate Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday in Tucson. He did not succeed in killing her. But he did seriously wound her and numerous other people, and he killed six other people.


After Loughner's shooting spree, the media were quick to point out that Palin had targeted Congresswoman Giffords, among others, in the recent 2010 mid-term election.


In due time, the media were able to establish that Loughner had indeed attended a gathering that Congresswoman Giffords hosted a few years ago. According to media reports based on information from Loughner's friends, he had asked her a question that I would characterize as incoherent and unintelligible. For understandable reasons, Congresswoman Giffords did not give Loughner a response that he could judge as a satisfactory response to his question. No one could have. According to reports from his friends, he formed a very negative view of her at that time.


But that event occurred a few years ago. Thus far, the media reports about Loughner have not established any connection between him and the Congresswoman's 2010 reelection campaign. In other words, no media reports thus far show that Loughner knew of Palin's targeting of Congresswoman Giffords in the 2010 mid-term elections.


Nevertheless, the lack of any such link did not deter certain media commentators from focusing on Palin's cross-hair imagery in targeting Congresswoman Giffords.


For this reason, I would say that the media commentators over-reacted and unfairly singled Palin out for sharp criticism.


I hope that I have demonstrated that there is a reasonable way for Palin to criticize her critics.


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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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