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“Palin Libels Rauf” – What Was The National Review Thinking?

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Posted on January 20 2011 12:00 pm

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As if Sarah Palin hasn’t suffered enough grief over the last couple of weeks, National Review Online came out of left field with an inane column accusing the former Alaska Governor of “libel.” The object of Palin’s alleged libel was apparently the former imam of the Ground Zero Mosque, Feisal Abdul Rauf.

Detroit News political cartoonist Henry Payne wrote the column, accusing Palin of falsely describing Imam Rauf as a Hamas apologist who refused to acknowledge the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

National Review‘s Contributing Editor Andrew C. McCarthy wrote a scathing rebuttal. McCarthy pointed out the factual inaccuracies in Payne’s article and tore into Payne for treating National Review’s readers to

a mendacious puff piece, leveling the weighty charge of libel while whitewashing the rich underlying basis for regarding Rauf as an apologist for Islamist terrorists in general, and for Hamas in particular.

Why did the usually sensible National Review editors run Payne’s piece to begin with? In McCarthy’s words, why did his own publication allow Payne “to exploit NR’s megaphone” with an apologia for Rauf?

The editors violated the standard of the founder of National Review, William F. Buckley, who insisted on using fact and reason to develop a logical argument. Payne used neither fact nor reason to develop his false moral equivalency argument.

Payne’s illogical, fact- deprived premise was that Palin inflicted the same sort of “libel” on Rauf, by allegedly quoting him out of context concerning Hamas and other matters, as the Left had inflicted on Palin by accusing her of helping to instigate the Tuscon massacre through her rhetoric and targeting of certain congressional districts with cross-hairs on her website. His “proof” centered on Rauf’s belated acknowledgement that Hamas is indeed a terrorist organization after first waffling on the issue. Has it occurred to Payne that Rauf finally decided to acknowledge the obvious after his earlier waffling was exposed by Palin and others?

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