What Palin Really Said About Russia

Here are some of the headlines which followed Charlie Gibson’s interview with Sarah Palin:

  • Palin Would Support War With Russia — SF Chronicle

  • Palin Talks Tough On Iran, Russia in ABC Interview — LA Times

  • Palin Leaves War Option With Russia Open — Sun Sentinel

  • Palin Talks Tough About Russia — UPI

  • Palin Casually Speaks of War With a Nuclear Armed Russia — OpEd News

  • Sarah Palin: We’ll Go To War if Russians Invade Georgia Again — UK Mirror

The headlines clearly play into an image that the Obama campaign is trying to project of Palin: hotheaded and untrustworthy. They play into a long-standing image that Democrats have tried to force on Republicans — that of being warmongers. But the media would have had a harder time writing such headlines if ABC hadn’t hacked up the interview the way they did:

Palin’s extended remarks about defending our NATO allies were edited out to make it seem that she was ready to go to war with Russia.

GIBSON: And under the NATO treaty, wouldn’t we then have to go to war if Russia went into Georgia?

PALIN: Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.

But NATO, I think, should include Ukraine, definitely, at this point and I think that we need to — especially with new leadership coming in on January 20, being sworn on, on either ticket, we have got to make sure that we strengthen our allies, our ties with each one of those NATO members.

* We have got to make sure that that is the group that can be counted upon to defend one another in a very dangerous world today.*

GIBSON: And you think it would be worth it to the United States, Georgia is worth it to the United States to go to war if Russia were to invade.

PALIN: What I think is that smaller democratic countries that are invaded by a larger power is something for us to be vigilant against. We have got to be cognizant of what the consequences are if a larger power is able to take over smaller democratic countries.

And we have got to be vigilant. We have got to show the support, in this case, for Georgia. The support that we can show is economic sanctions perhaps against Russia, if this is what it leads to.

It doesn’t have to lead to war and it doesn’t have to lead, as I said, to a Cold War, but economic sanctions, diplomatic pressure, again, counting on our allies to help us do that in this mission of keeping our eye on Russia and Putin and some of his desire to control and to control much more than smaller democratic countries.

* His mission, if it is to control energy supplies, also, coming from and through Russia, that’s a dangerous position for our world to be in, if we were to allow that to happen.*

This was Palin’s first interview since being nominated to the vice presidency. ABC news had to know that it would be dissected ad nauseam, given her newness to the national scene. Yet they chose to carve the interview in a way that left a false impression of what Palin said on one of the touchiest of national security topics.

Once this election is over, the mainstream media is going to wonder why it got the reputation for being so biased, and why they’ve made a huge swath of their audience so skeptical of their reliability. It may even dawn on them that media bias is the mother’s milk that conservative talk radio and blogs need to thrive. And even if they decide to reform their ways, it will take years to regain the trust that they’ve lost.