The Point of Palin’s Outrage

Sarah Palin Tea Party

Sarah Palin has stuck up for the mentally disabled in the last few week, first taking on President Obama's chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel for using the word "retarded," then blasting the Fox cartoon "Family Guy" for mocking her own son, Trig, who is affected with Down syndrome.

Pundits are split on whether Palin is being too PC, serving as an advocate for the voiceless or missing the point altogether:

  • Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams reluctantly agrees with Palin's Facebook posting blasting "Family Guy" for poking fun at Trig's expense, saying the show crossed a line with the "insensitivity" of the "low blow" at Palin's expense. "I don't want to have to find myself agreeing with Sarah Palin again for a long time," she writes.
  • Critics shouldn't indict Palin for taking offense to the "Family Guy" joke unless they know what it's like to have a child afflicted with a mental disability, Jennifer Armstrong writes for Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch blog. Armstrong cites references to a "short bus" and hugs that are "tighter than a vice and go on for an hour," asking: "Is this enough to warrant Palin's wrath? I honestly don't know -- I don't have a child with Down syndrome."
  • The Palin family shouldn't lash out at "Family Guy" producer Seth MacFarlane -- it should thank him and the show for treating handicapped people equally, Ellen Seidman writes for the Huffington Post. "The genius of this episode is that it made a girl with Down syndrome seem like just another feisty teenager with 'tude," Seidman writes, saying the episode "gave people in this country a way to get the conversation going about disabilities."
  • Palin's heart may be in the right place, but her constant attention to media criticism of the mentally disabled could actually be exploiting Trig, Kathleen Parker writes for the Washington Post. "Each time she sallies forth as Mama Bear to America's special-needs citizenry, invoking Trig's name amid demands for her children's privacy, a bit of uneasiness slithers between text and subtext," Parker writes of Palin.
  • No matter if Palin is in the right or wrong, she's stoked the fires on a few highly-publicized feuds that will feed the media monster for weeks to come, Roy Edroso blogs for the Village Voice. We "look forward to a long-running feud between Palin and "Family Guy"'s Seth MacFarlane in the manner of Fred Allen and Jack Benny, or at least of David Letterman and Bryant Gumbel," Edroso writes.
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