By and large, people don’t seem to understand how RedState works, and I guess that is more or less fine. One of the pitfalls of writing for a group blog – especially one on which there is fairly frequent disagreement on the front page – is that you run some non-trivial risk of being blamed for something someone else said, or having someone else take credit for your work.
This is an especially important point when it comes to a figure as polarizing within the right as Sarah Palin. Over the years at RedState, the rotating cast of 15 or 20 front pagers who have come and gone have written and said dozens (or maybe hundreds) of articles about Palin. Back in the aftermath of McCain’s defeat we, as a unified front, promised to deep six the candidacy of any Republican candidate who hired the McCain operatives who were engaging in a smear campaign against Palin.
Over the years, as Palin’s fortunes have waxed and waned, various RedState authors have taken various stances about various things that Palin has done – some positive and some negative. However, RedState has taken a unified stand against the personal smearing of Palin and her family, and has stood strongly against the tabloidization of their private lives and the attacks against the Palin children (including Bristol, in particular).
That having been said, bylines are fairly simple things to understand, and Erick’s position with respect to the Palins has been one of almost unrelenting positiveness. And over the years Erick has taken no small amount of grief from his cohorts in the media and the blogosphere for sticking up for the Palins even when many other people (including myself) had given up on them politically.
Which brings us to an unfortunate incident that occurred on July 1, 2013, when RedState (somewhat behind the curve with respect to the other blogs) was getting on board with the idea that including an image with each post helped to generate traffic. In those early days in particular, whenever you were writing a story about a given topic the easiest thing was to do a google image search and pick an image that looked interesting that matched your topic. Getty Images was one of the earliest image providers that we had worked out a licensing agreement with, so anything tagged Getty was of special value.
And so it came to be that one of our front page writers (not Erick, as the byline very clearly illustrates) wanted to write a story about Palin’s threat to go third party, which you can now view here. In writing the post, the author found an image through Google that was hosted at the Fiscal Times, which had a Getty Images stamp, and which looked for all the world to be legit. The photo, which you can see here (more on that in a second) I guess showed a hint of Sarah Palin’s alleged cleavage but would not have been immediately obvious to anyone as a fake or something designed to make her look like a bimbo. And so the image was used.
Palin fans, ever a sensitive bunch, immediately protested that the photo was fake. Erick, not having written the post, but having been inundated with Twitter complaints, inquired as to the origin of the photo, and was essentially shown that the photo was from the Fiscal Times and had a Getty Images stamp. Assuming (erroneously, as it turned out) that this was yet another instance of Palinistas being overly (and perhaps justifiably) prickly about public portrayals of Palin, we at RedState all initially blew it off. However, when it was uncovered that the photo actually was a photoshop, we promptly removed it, as you can see by the fact that the post is now blank (and has been since less than 48 hours after it was initially posted). Through it all, Erick never criticized Palin or her family, only her more enthusiastic and unreasonable supporters.
Enter Bristol Palin to repay the generosity Erick has shown over the years by dishonestly stabbing him in the back for no reason other than the fact that she really likes Donald Trump. In her initial blog post on the matter, she made the following claims:
1. Erickson’s RedState once used a demeaning fake photo (wearing a revealing shirt with Santa Claus) of my Mom for an attack article on her. Erickson refused to take it down even after he was made aware that it was photoshopped.
A couple of direct lies here – one being the easily demonstrable lie that Erick used the photo at all, the second being that he refused to take the photo down. There is a reason that the post includes a screenshot of the RedState post as it existed right after it was posted, instead of a link to the post as it currently existed.
By the time Bristol got around to posting about this on her Facebook page, she had edited these claims to remove the outright lies but still intentionally create the impression that this entire charade was Erick’s fault. NOW her claim about the photo is as follows:
“This is the FAKE cleavage-showing photo RedState‘s Erick Ericksonallowed on an article about my mom, Sarah Palin.”
Again, no mention of the fact that the article wasn’t written by Erick, or how Erick allegedly “allowed” it, thus intentionally creating the impression among people who actually are getting news from Bristol Palin’s Facebook page that Erick posted the image himself, or that he somehow clears everything that has ever been posted on this site (in spite of the fact that in any given week, well over 100 articles will appear at RedState).
It shows just a tremendous amount of class on Bristol Palin’s part that in spite of being one of the last pundits on the face of the earth to defend Sarah Palin’s electability and value to the Republican party, she turns and deliberately smears Erick for no other obvious reason than that doing so will get her in the news.
Apparently when it comes to the Palins, no good deed truly goes unpunished, especially if the punishment advances even the most trivial thing they want.