Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) on Wednesday broke her near-silence on the tragedy in Arizona with a nearly eight-minute video condemning the violence -- as well as the "blood libel'' committed by the media in blaming the incendiary political climate.
Police say Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was the target of Saturday's shootings in Tucson that killed six other people and injured others. She was among 20 candidates Palin singled out for election challenges with a map that depicted crosshairs over their districts. After days of mounting criticism of the map from liberals - and substantial pushback from conservatives - Palin responded in trademark fashion: with posts on Twitter and Facebook.
"Acts of monstrous criminality stand on their own,'' Palin said in the video, which was posted to her Facebook page. "They begin and end with the criminals who commit them, not collectively with all the citizens of a state, not with those who listen to talk radio, not with maps of swing districts used by both sides of the aisle, not with law-abiding citizens who respectfully exercise their First Amendment rights at campaign rallies, not with those who proudly voted in the last election."
Palin went on to blame the media for their coverage of the shooting.
"Within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," she said. "That is reprehensible.''
Palin's previous comments on the tragedy were highly fragmented, in contrast to the uninterrupted videotaped response. She posted a brief expression of condolences just hours of Saturday's shooting. Then a staffer gave an interview to a radio talk show host arguing that the targets on the map were actually surveyor's symbols, not gun sights. Palin also delivered a short message through radio talk show host Glenn Beck that he read on air. It said: "I hate violence. I hate war. Our children will not have peace if politicos just capitalize on this to succeed in portraying anyone as inciting terror and violence. Thanks for all you do to send the message of truth and love and God as the answer.''
Palin's statement on Wednesday and accompanying video is certain to only inflame the debate over political vitriol and her role in it. With the video, Palin is effectively mounting a no-holds-barred defense of her incendiary brand of politics.