Huff Post Recycles Palin Attacks

Once the left invents a gaffe they never let it go. There's a good example of that at Huff Post yesterday where a post on political blunders includes Sarah Palin's interview with Katie Couric. Huff Post claims Palin's statements about foreign policy were so silly that Tina Fey parodied her on SNL "without the writers having to change a word." But that's not at all what happened.

The description that accompanies the Palin clip reads:

I Can See Russia From My House!

Sarah Palin's disastrous interview with Katie Couric is now legendary. In fact, it was parodied on SNL by Tina Fey without the writers having to change a single word. The sketch was hilarious and Tina Fey's impersonation was flawless. Here, Palin discusses her foreign policy credentials.

Actually, the lines Tina Fey used to mock Palin were not identical to the ones Palin spoke in her interview with Couric. The deviation began with the question posed by Amy Poehler playing Couric in the SNL skit. By greatly simplifying the question the two comedians exaggerate the convoluted nature of Palin's answer. Here's the question that Tina Fey was asked in the SNL skit:

Amy Poehler: What your opinion of this potential $700 billion dollar bailout?

Here's the actual question Couric asked:

Couric: Why isn't it better Governor Palin to spend $700 billion dollars helping middle-class families who are struggling with health care, housing, gas and groceries--allow them to spend more and put more money into the economy instead of helping these big financial institutions that played a role in creating this mess.

Palin's real answer was far from a model of clarity, but mocking her for SNL's comic exaggeration of the exchange is manifestly unfair.

As for the headline of the Huff Post caption, the line about Russia came from the infamous interview with Charlie Gibson. Here's how the exchange actually happened. Notice that it's Gibson who first raises the issue of proximity to Russia.

GIBSON: Let’s start, because we are near Russia, let’s start with Russia and Georgia.

The administration has said we’ve got to maintain the territorial integrity of Georgia. Do you believe the United States should try to restore Georgian sovereignty over South Ossetia and Abkhazia?

PALIN: First off, we’re going to continue good relations with Saakashvili there. I was able to speak with him the other day and giving him my commitment, as John McCain’s running mate, that we will be committed to Georgia. And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable and we have to keep…

GIBSON: You believe unprovoked.

PALIN: I do believe unprovoked and we have got to keep our eyes on Russia, under the leadership there. I think it was unfortunate. That manifestation that we saw with that invasion of Georgia shows us some steps backwards that Russia has recently taken away from the race toward a more democratic nation with democratic ideals. That’s why we have to keep an eye on Russia.

And, Charlie, you’re in Alaska. We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia. They are our next door neighbors.We need to have a good relationship with them. They’re very, very important to us and they are our next door neighbor.


GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

GIBSON: What insight does that give you into what they’re doing in Georgia?

PALIN: Well, I’m giving you that perspective of how small our world is and how important it is that we work with our allies to keep good relation with all of these countries, especially Russia. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.

So Palin is saying proximity gives perspective about the importance of being good neighbors. This is not a bad answer. Perhaps that's why ABC edited out everything in bold and left it with Palin suggesting proximity itself was her full answer. That obviously lent itself to parody by Tina Fey. 

Incredibly, after removing what Palin said about keeping good relations with Russia, ABC ran a story about the interview under the all caps headline "EXCLUSIVE: GOV. SARAH PALIN WARNS WAR MAY BE NECESSARY IF RUSSIA INVADES ANOTHER COUNTRY" Shortly afterwards ABC sent that headline down the memory hole and replaced it with the far more temperate "Palin Takes Hard Line on National Security, Softens Stance on Global Warming" The story itself was rewritten to remove the claim that Palin was looking for a war with Russia.

Incidentally, this was also the interview where Charlie Gibson misquoted Palin and then, when she challenged his version of the statement, snapped "Exact words." He was wrong, embarrassingly so but that never made it into an SNL skit.

It's a testimony to liberal media bias that conventional wisdom still sees the Gibson interview as a triumph for ABC rather than a series of shoddy journalistic gaffes that should have earned someone, probably several someone's, a reprimand. But the folks at Huff Post aren't interested in the facts. They'll continue to glide along on half-remembered versions of Tina Fey skits convinced they were Palin's exact words. Like Charlie Gibson, they got it wrong and they don't care in the least.


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