Link for 2/19 – You have to see this!
Former Governor Sarah Palin loves to critique the media. To hear her speak, you’d think that all media stations are out to get her. I’m sure she believes there was an “Attack Sarah Palin” convention where media executives all decided to do whatever they could to embarrass and denigrate her wherever possible. At any rate, the latest show to ruffle her feathers was the Fox comedy “Family Guy.” On an episode that aired on Valentine’s Day, Palin took issue with the portrayal of a girl with Down Syndrome who tells one of the characters that her mom is the former Governor of Alaska calling it “another kick in the gut.”
Well, it turns out that the actress, Andrea Fay Friedman, who played the girl on the show actually has Down Syndrome and has issued a strong rebuke to Palin’s criticism. Her comment that “my mother 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” is a pretty dramatic response! So far no response from the Palin camp – I’m sure you are as shocked as I am!
However, this isn’t as easy an issue as it may seem on the surface. Mocking health issues is a very dangerous thing and I can understand why some who are personally affected by Down Syndrome may be offended by what Family Guy did. Putting aside the fact that the show seemed to mock the character more for being demanding and less for her Down Syndrome, it is also important to consider the source. Family Guy has cultivated a well-earned reputation for mocking everyone and everything – that’s why people watch. The truth is that it is very easy to go through life looking for reasons to be upset or mad and Governor Palin has chosen to look for problems anywhere she can find them…as long as they benefit her. If she is so intent on being protective of people with health issues, why has she said nothing despite Rush Limbaugh repeatedly mocking Michael J. Fox’s tremors? Why is she so opposed to making health insurance more accessable to all Americans? Why has she called for Rahm Emanuel to resign for using the term retarded once, but defends Rush Limbaugh’s use of the word more than 40 times because it is “satire” (which, by the way, is what Family Guy is as well)? As Roland Martin writes in this fabulous piece on cnn.com “Sarah, when you hold yourself up as a fierce protector of the mentally challenged, politics shouldn’t enter into the equation. Either you criticize everyone who uses a word that you consider a slur, or you come across as a crass politician who is afraid to offend your chief booster.”
Governor Palin is entitled to her opinion and entitled to be upset by jokes made on a TV show. However, she is not entitled to claim to care when, in reality, she only complains about something if she feels it will benefit her career. She is not entitled to blatant hypocrisy to use her son’s medical condition to boost her political career. That is unacceptable to me.