Sarah Palin’s Family Guy Faux Pas

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Fresh from the fray of “Retardgate,” as some media outlets called it, Sarah Palin this week sought to expose another dark and insidious force aligned against her. By which she meant an episode of the TV cartoon Family Guy. On the episode in question, the awkward teen character Chris Griffin dates a girl who has Down syndrome—and at one point identifies her mother as “the former governor of Alaska.”

Palin chose one of her preferred media forums—her Facebook page—to argue that the line of dialogue “mocked” her special-needs son, Trig. She called it “another kick in the gut,” powerful language that’s apparently calculated to remind us she’s been hurt before, and the blows are felt most in that part of the body where intuitions—and babies—come from. In effect, she’s saying the blows are an attack on common sense, disabled children and womankind.

But irony is a harsh master: the cartoon character in question was voiced by a woman with Down syndrome, professional actress Andrea Fay Friedman, and she thinks Palin is the one who lacks common sense—or at least “a sense of humor” or “sarcasm.”

“I was making fun of Sarah Palin, but not her son,” Friedman tells the New York Times today in a candid interview.

Beyond its obvious problems, Palin’s latest claim of victimhood certainly isn’t helping endear her to the public. As Kevin Drum noted last week, the more Americans see of Palin, the less they like her. And the responses to Palin’s Family Guy comment on Facebook—there were 10,567 and counting as this story went online—are largely unsupportive of the former governor’s viewpoint.

Friedman, too, thinks Palin’s concern for special-needs children is disingenuous. “My mother,” she says, “did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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