Sarah Palin Chats With NewsBusters About Her New Book, Martin Bashir, Santa Claus and Charlie Brown
NewsBusters had the great fortune to chat with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin last week.
The topics for discussion were her new book "Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” Martin Bashir, Santa Claus, and Charlie Brown.
NEWSBUSTERS: Tell us what you were trying to achieve with your new book “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.”
SARAH PALIN: Honestly, it’s easy to lose track of the true meaning of Christmas. Beyond the “Jesus is the reason” type slogans, there are deep truths that should permeate our lives the entire year – good tidings of great joy we all need to hear, especially in times like this.
NEWSBUSTERS: Early in the book you wrote, “An angry atheist with a lawyer is one of the most powerful persons in America.” Please explain.
PALIN: This takes a little explaining about how our rights are normally protected, about why and who can sue a city, county or school. I go into this deeply in the book, but here’s the bird’s eye view.
Normally, a person can’t sue a public entity for a violation of constitutional rights unless he or she has a concrete injury. In other words, someone would have to show how the action of the public institution harmed his legally protected interests. For example, if you’re told not to speak, your right to free speech is violated. If you’re prohibited from holding a Bible study, your right to free exercise of religion has been compromised. In these examples, the power of the state is forcing you into silence or subjection.
But there’s a double standard at work. If someone is offended by a religious expression or speech in a public setting, then courts have allowed that offended person to sue -- even if they weren’t censored, made to pray, or coerced into compliance with a different belief system, and even when they have a right to speak out and try to change public policy. Not only can people sue over hurt feelings, many times they’ve won.
This means people can silence their fellow citizens for no other reason than the fact that they were offended. This should stop.
NEWSBUSTERS: You enthusiastically state in the book that you’re a big fan of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as am I. Like so many other Americans, your favorite scene is when Linus explains the true meaning of Christmas to Charlie by quoting Luke 2 8-14. Tell us why this is so special to you.
PALIN: Mostly, I love when Linus recites the Scripture from the book of Luke, explaining to Charlie “what Christmas is all about.” It packs a punch. When he gets to the words “Fear not,” I love how he drops his blanket. It’s almost like he realized where his true security rests.
NEWSBUSTERS: What’s really interesting about that scene is that it’s been a Christmas tradition at NewsBusters for years for me to post the video of Linus’s words for Charlie along with the full text. Yet I learned something from your book about that scene – which I had never noticed in the probably 100 times I’ve seen it – that, as you just mentioned, when Linus says, “Fear not,” he drops his security blanket. When did you first notice Linus dropping his blanket? Is this something one of your parents told you, or a teacher?
PALIN: To be honest, I’d seen it many times before – just like you had – without noticing that part. I think sometimes different parts of movies or books jump out at you during different times of life. This is a pretty scary time in our nation’s history, so I guess it makes sense that this would jump off the screen a little more vibrantly than it would’ve back when I watched it in previous years.
NEWSBUSTERS: Still on that scene, were you aware that the show’s producer and lead animator were very concerned about mixing religion into the program? They met with Peanuts creator Charles Schulz to try to talk him into deleting that scene. The lead animator Bill Melendez said to Schulz, “It’s very dangerous for us to start talking about religion now.” Schulz answered him by saying, “Bill, if we don’t, who will?” Were you aware of this, and do you think if this were made today, CBS would allow the scripture reading to remain?
PALIN: I wasn’t aware of the background, but am thankful for people who stick to their guns. We’ve seen just recently that traditional Biblical values are being forced out of the mainstream. (Would A&E, which tried to silence Phil Robertson’s Biblical beliefs, tolerate a cartoon character reading the Bible? I doubt it.)
NEWSBUSTERS: Did you see that when this was aired a few weeks ago, although it’s almost 50 years old, it still got more viewers than a special featuring Lady Gaga and the Muppets? What does that tell you?
PALIN: That Snoopy is more popular than Fozzy Bear? Honestly, it wasn’t a fair fight. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a classic that every new generation learns to love. Lady Gaga and the Muppets didn’t stand a chance.
NEWSBUSTERS: Later in the book you wrote, “Atheism’s track record makes the Spanish Inquisition seem like Disneyland by comparison.” Explain that for us.
PALIN: I wrote that as part of a larger discussion about Peter Hitchens’ great book “The Rage Against God.” Many people know about the book Peter’s atheist brother, the late Christopher Hitchens, wrote condemning religion; but I think fewer people know about Peter’s book.
Peter, a former atheist, wrote about his journey toward faith in “The Rage Against God.” His journey had a lot to do with his work as a Moscow correspondent in the late 1980s. He witnessed first hand the Soviet Union’s break up, and in particular he witnessed the moral collapse of a society without God in a country that openly persecuted people of faith, closed churches, imprisoned religious leaders, and forbade religious education. Atheistic Communism was one of the most violent and murderous ideologies in human history.
The history of the twentieth century is a sad compendium of atheism’s murderous track record – from Mao’s China to Pol Pot’s Cambodia and on and on. But we can go back even further in history to the French Revolution, which I also mentioned in the book. The Jacobins hated traditional Christianity and openly persecuted the Catholic Church. They imprisoned and murdered priests and nuns who wouldn’t be puppets for the state. They demolished or closed churches. At one point they were even changing the street names to remove references to the saints! As I wrote in “Good Tidings and Great Joy,” their hatred of Christianity didn’t lead to utopia. It led to the guillotine.
One of the points I tried to make in the book is the positive force faith has been in advancing human rights – like, for example, in the struggle to end slavery and achieve civil rights. I believe an objective look at history shows that our Judeo-Christian heritage has been and is a positive force for good. Atheism, on the other hand, not so much.
NEWSBUSTERS: Moving away from the book for a moment, I have to ask you about something truly disgusting that happened involving you last month: Martin Bashir’s awful comments about you. First off, were you aware that NewsBusters was the first to expose his remarks doing so roughly 45 minutes after he uttered them?
PALIN: Yes, NewsBusters is always the first to report these things! I don’t think you guys sleep! I’m in awe of how fast you are to spot things and spread the word. What would we do without you guys? Thank you so much for all you do to defend conservatives and insist on fairness and accuracy in media.
NEWSBUSTERS: As this happened at 5PM on a Friday, it’s conceivable that had we not published that piece, no one would have known what he said given how terrible his ratings were. Would you have preferred we hadn’t have published it, or are you pleased this came to light? Why?
PALIN: I’m always glad you hold the media accountable. For me, this would be easier to talk about if I weren’t the subject because I never see myself as a “victim.” I’m used to the attacks. It’s important to call out the double standards and utter lack of professionalism in journalism though.
NEWSBUSTERS: When did you first hear about this, and what was your immediate reaction?
PALIN: I was out on my book tour meeting some amazing and inspiring Americans when this crap hit the fan, so I had more positive things on my mind than what another far left liberal spewed about me. Got to be honest though, I felt MSNBC’s tacit agreement with Bashir’s call to action encouraging that physical attack was downright gross and enormously demeaning. I hate, hate, hate that such an attack could have ever been punishment for any slave during that blight on America’s historical record. I’m so sorry for that chapter in a new nation’s life.
NEWSBUSTERS: How do you explain something like this to your younger children?
PALIN: It’s pretty sad that the kids’ formative years have been filled with this stuff. I want them to believe in justice and some goodness in humanity. But obviously when they hear mocking and lies and too often it all goes unanswered, you can see it knocks some of the jolly, innocent “oomph” out of them.
So, Todd and I don’t talk about this stuff in front of the kids except to remind them how blessed we are to have awesome opportunities and a big, fun, rambunctious family that always circles the wagons! They know that everything happens for a reason and that vengeance isn’t ours.
NEWSBUSTERS: How did Todd and your older kids respond?
PALIN: We shake our heads and ask God for strength to get through another petty attack – always remembering they’re just verbal attacks and others have suffered much, much, much worse. Those episodes make us draw closer as we seek the higher purpose in all of this. Then we go for a snowmachine ride and bake cookies and tease Piper for her middle school girl’s basketball obsession – all those normal family things!
NEWSBUSTERS: Have you ever figured out why you are so despised by virtually the entire liberal media and establishment?
PALIN: Nope. If you figure it out, let me know. But if they think their rabid foaming-at-the-mouth hatred scares me away from standing up for what's right and defending those who need help, I’ll be happy to disappoint them! In the meantime, like Bristol said when the critics came out in force during her two seasons on Dancing With the Stars, "The critics are going to criticize and the haters are going to hate, so you might as well dance!"
NEWSBUSTERS: What many on the right have never understood about the media’s treatment of you is that you represent the perfect picture of the ideal feminist woman that “has it all”: great career, great children, great husband. Shouldn’t you actually be considered feminism’s role model, or must one be a liberal to be considered a feminist in America today? If that’s the case, isn’t feminism actually a political movement and NOT a women’s movement?
PALIN: Back in 2010, I gave a speech in D.C. for the Susan B. Anthony List in which I spoke about what I call “the mama grizzlies” – the common sense women who are pushing back against those in Washington, D.C., who are bankrupting our children’s future. In that speech I spoke of how, as an Alaskan woman, I like to harken back to an older frontier feminism of those strong and courageous women who settled the American west. I also like to harken back to the first feminists – the suffragists – who fought so hard to give women the right to vote and the later feminists who fought for equality. I respect and admire these women, and I try to do my part in helping other women advance in politics and business. I just wish liberal feminists could look beyond the politics and see that we can disagree on some things, but at the end of the day there are so many more issues that we as women can agree on and work together on. After all, we all want a world were our daughters can be safe and free to achieve whatever they want.
NEWSBUSTERS: I’m sure you’ve seen the liberal media’s reaction to Megyn Kelly’s comments about what the color of Santa’s skin is. What’s your opinion about Santa’s racial makeup, and why do you think the media went so nuts over what she said?
PALIN: Honestly, I’ve never given it much thought. I didn’t know Santa’s race was a controversial topic.
NEWSBUSTERS: It’s conceivable that there will end up being more media coverage of Kelly’s comments about the color of Santa’s skin than Bashir’s comments about you. What does that tell you about the state of the media and our culture in the year 2013?
PALIN: If that turns out to be true, then I think that reflects skewed priorities. It’s just bizarre. I mean, seriously? We’re going to get all “outrageously outraged” over the supposed racial makeup of a mythical figure?
NEWSBUSTERS: Back to the book, you marvelously end it talking about how people shouldn’t expect Christmas to be perfect. Tell us what you meant and why that’s important.
PALIN: In December, every television commercial demands your tree to be perfect and your presents to be beautifully wrapped. Of course, these silly expectations set us up for disappointment. The baby in the manger was perfect. Christmas gently encourages you in your weakness.
NEWSBUSTERS: Thank you Governor. From all of us at NewsBusters and the Media Research Center, we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Photos courtesy Shealah Craighead of SarahPAC