Monday, December 13, 2010


Sarah Palin has gone to Haiti, where an AP photo in which (according to the caption) she "has her hair fixed" by someone with an obscured face has led to a small kerfuffle:

Allegedly, the "left" accused Palin of "bringing [a] hairdresser on [her] Haiti trip" -- a hairdresser or a "stylist." I can't find any evidence that anyone on the "left" used those words; AP (which right-wingers think is part of the "left") limited itself to the caption above, while a couple of lefty bloggers -- Michael Shaw of BagNewsNotes and the folks at Palingates -- did accuse her of being overly concerned with her appearance. Hardly a left-o-sphere outrage tsunami. And, yeah, it turns out that Palin's hair-smoother is her daughter Bristol. So I don't care. I'm not sure I'd care if there were an actual stylist in tow -- I suspect many pols, across the spectrum, take care to look presentable on TV in these situations, for better or worse. To me, there's no scandal here.

At least there's no hair scandal.

What really offends me is the rest of the company she's keeping:

... Mrs Palin was a guest in Port-au-Prince of Reverend Franklin Graham, whose aid group works in the impoverished country.

Reverend Graham's organisation, Samaritan's Purse, refused to discuss Mrs Palin's itinerary with other media and asked Haitian and American reporters to leave its compounds, citing a 'security lockdown'....

You remember Franklin Graham:

Graham came under criticism for comments he made about Islam in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks when he referred to Islam as "a very evil and wicked religion."[3] Further criticism came on April 18, 2003, when he preached at a Good Friday service at the Pentagon.[4] Rev. Franklin Graham has made anti-Islamic remarks saying "True Islam cannot be practiced in this country," Graham told CNN's Campbell Brown in December. "You can't beat your wife. You cannot murder your children if you think they've committed adultery or something like that, which they do practice in these other countries."[5] [6] [7] ...

In the August 30, 2010 issue of the Time magazine, "Is America Islamophobic?" Frank Graham reportedly said that Islam "is a religion of hatred. It's a religion of war." Building the cultural center near Ground Zero, he says, means Muslims "will claim now that the World Trade Center property ... is Islamic land."[9]

... On August 19, 2010, when asked by CNN correspondent John King if he had doubts that President Barack Obama is a Christian, Graham stated, "I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name." Franklin continues to say, "Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said."[10] ...

So there was no other aid group Palin could have focused on? There wasn't even another aid group with a Christian conservative bent? 

I don't believe that. Palin's appreciation for Franklin Graham goes back a ways. I assume she and her crew are fully aware of these controversies and are reminding all of us in no uncertain terms that this kind of talk is not something they consider to be over the line.  Quite the contrary, in fact -- I'm sure they believe that if we don't like Franklin Graham, it's because we're the (anti-Christian) bigots.


Oh, and:

Mrs Palin has provided access on her tour solely to Fox News and the religious organisation she is travelling with has asked all other Haitian and American journalists to leave the area because of a 'security lockdown'.

So this is what? A fact-finding trip?  Or a means of collecting location footage for a future tearjerking Fox News TV special?  Is this an attempt to draw attention to a crisis -- or to some upcoming reality programming?

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