Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Thursday fretted about Sarah Palin and the use of the term "blood libel," deeming it a "loaded term." Reporter Claire Shipman chided that "what was meant to be statesman like, set off another round of controversy."
Shipman even featured clips from angry leftists such as MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and ex-Clinton aide Paul Begala. The Democratic operative derided the term, used by Palin as a defense against those who would associate her with Saturday's shooting in Arizona, calling it "narcissism of the extreme." Olbermann mocked, "Sarah Palin, quote, 'could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase.'"
While reporting for GMA, Shipman has frequently hammered Republicans while fawning over Democrats. In 2007, she famously described the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as one of the "hot factor" versus "fluid poetry." Additionally, her husband, Jay Carney, is the Assistant Director of Communications to Vice President Joe Biden. He's rumored to be a possible replacement for Obama press secretary Robert Gibbs.
In fairness, Shipman did feature Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz at the close of her report. She noted he defended Palin, quoting, "There's nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations."
On Wednesday's Nightly News, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell struck a condescending tone when reporting on Palin's speech. She observed, "Combative, carefully scripted and apparently reading from a Teleprompter, Sarah Palin used her Facebook page today to mourn the victims and strike back at her critics."
A transcript of the January 13 segment, which aired at 7:13am EST, follows:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Hours before the President spoke, Sarah Palin broke her silence with a video on her Facebook page that honored Gabby Giffords and the other victims. But also accused those who tied the shootings to political talk, using the loaded term blood libel. That has stirred up a new firestorm. So, we turn to Claire Shipman. And Claire, you were the first report that Palin has received more death threats since the controversy took off?
CLAIRE SHIPMAN: George, that's right. Since Saturday, a top aide told us that Palin has received death threats at an unprecedented level. And that her team is talking to security experts. It's not the first time there's been threats against Palin. But according to an aide, these are on a greater scale. Her team hasn't signed off yet on changing her security arrangements. And though not the same as death threats, her Facebook page has seen aggressive language this week. And big focus on the fact that her website placed cross hairs on many targeted congressional districts, including Giffords. "Good job provoking the shooting," said one poster. It was that kind of attack that Palin hoped to address or diffuse when she posted her rare, on-camera remarks, Wednesday. But what was meant to be statesman like, set off another round of controversy.
SARAH PALIN: Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence that they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.
SHIPMAN: And what she meant by the use of blood libel, a term often used to describe historic slander against the Jews, caused a media frenzy.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Now, she is speaking out and she's not backing down.
PAUL BEGALA: But, this is political narcissism of the extreme.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Sarah Palin, quote, "could not have come up with a more inflammatory phrase."
SHIPMAN: But, Palin was defended by attorney and Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who wrote, "There's nothing improper and certainly nothing anti-Semitic in Sarah Palin using the term to characterize what she reasonably believes are false accusations." Now, she's also been criticized for the timing of her remarks on the day of the memorial service. An aide explains she felt she was under enormous pressure to address the charges against her. And she also wanted to offer her prayers for the victims, Robin.
ROBIN ROBERTS: And we have to remember, though, last night that the President said not for us to point fingers. And to try to assign blame at this point. Thank you very much, Claire, for that.
— Scott Whitlock is a news analyst for the Media Research Center. Click here to follow him on Twitter.