Today Show Highlights Sarah Palin's 'Refudiate,' Skipped Biden Gaffe

NBC's Peter Alexander, on Tuesday's Today show, mocked Sarah Palin for making up a word, 'refudiate' in her tweets about the Ground Zero mosque controversy. However when Joe Biden, the gaffe machine that he can be, made an arguably much more embarrassing mistake back in March, of falsely asserting that the Irish prime minister's mother was dead, the Today show, as Newsbusters' Scott Whitlock reported then, ignored it.

Alexander, after initially reporting about the former Alaska governor wading into the controversy surrounding the building of a mosque at the Ground Zero site, then poked fun at Palin combining two words:

PETER ALEXANDER: The former vice presidential candidate is, herself, coming under fire for both her substance and style. Palin tweeted "Ground Zero mosque supporters, doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours, throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate. But, of course, "refudiate" isn't an actual word, more like a blend of two words with similar meanings: refute and repudiate. Bloggers quickly pounced. "If Republicans can demand that immigrants speak English," one tweeted "can't we demand same for Sarah Palin?" For what it's worth, Palin has refudiated before.

CLIP OF PALIN ON FOX NEWS: They have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is, that this group is saying.

Alexander, then went on to remind viewers of another Republican who got "creative with words."

ALEXANDER: The former Alaska governor isn't the first politician to get creative with words.

CLIP OF GEORGE W. BUSH: They misunderestimated what our campaign is about.

However, back on March 19, Alexander, nor any one else on the Today show, highlighted the following quip from Biden during a St. Patrick's Day event at the White House:

JOE BIDEN SPEAKING ABOUT IRELAND'S PRIME MINISTER: His mom lived in Long Island for ten years or so. God rest her soul. And- although, she's- wait- your mom's still- your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul."

The following is the full Alexander segment as it was aired on the July 20 Today show:

MATT LAUER: Sarah Palin is wading into the controversy surrounding a proposed mosque near the World Trade Center site. And it's the language she used on Twitter to express her opinion that's getting the most attention. NBC's Peter Alexander is in lower Manhattan. Peter, good morning to you.

[On screen headline: "Controversial Comments, Palin Asks Muslims To Reject Ground Zero Mosque"]

PETER ALEXANDER: Matt, good morning to you. This is what the battle is all about. A proposed 13-story building to go right here with a gym, an auditorium and a mosque. But as we spin the camera around, let me show you what the problem for many people is. It's the proximity to what many Americans view as sacred ground, at Ground Zero, just blocks away. Add Sarah Palin to the mix, and it's a full-blown controversy. She is America's self-proclaimed "Mama Grizzly" and now Sarah Palin is dipping her paws into another polarizing debate, criticizing a proposal to build a mosque near the World Trade Center site in New York City. Palin tweeted: "Peace-seeking Muslims, please understand Ground Zero mosque is unnecessary provocation; it stabs hearts. Please reject it, in interest of healing." This latest controversy has unleashed a wave of strong opinions from visitors.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She does not need to be saying anything about anything that's over here. She doesn't even live over here.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN#2: It's her personal opinion. I don't think she's speaking for, you know, speaking for New York or for Alaska or for America. I think she is speaking out of her own, her own thoughts and opinions.

ALEXANDER: Developers of the planned $100 million community center and mosque had this response.

SHARIF EL-GAMAL, PARK 51 DEVELOPER: I wish she would pick up the phone and come down and say hello to us. Where we are today is all about healing. Is all about building bridges. Is all about outreach. Is all about reaching out to the community, to let them know that there is a moderate Muslim, that there is a voice for the moderate Muslim.

ALEXANDER: The former vice presidential candidate is, herself, coming under fire for both her substance and style. Palin tweeted "Ground Zero mosque supporters, doesn't it stab you in the heart, as it does ours, throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, please refudiate. But, of course, "refudiate" isn't an actual word, more like a blend of two words with similar meanings: refute and repudiate. Bloggers quickly pounced. "If Republicans can demand that immigrants speak English," one tweeted "can't we demand same for Sarah Palin?" For what it's worth, Palin has refudiated before.

CLIP OF PALIN ON FOX NEWS: They have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is, that this group is saying.

ALEXANDER: The former Alaska governor isn't the first politician to get creative with words.

GEORGE W. BUSH: They misunderestimated what our campaign is about.

ALEXANDER: As she reminded followers, in yet another tweet, "'Refudiate, 'misunderestimate,' 'wee-wee'd up.' English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words, too. Got to celebrate it! And Sarah Palin will have plenty of time to coin some new words going forward Matt. The scheduled groundbreaking of the site is still years away.

LAUER: Alright. Peter Alexander in lower Manhattan for us this morning. Peter, thank you very much.

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.