I've suspected for some time that the next page in the playbook is to make Sarah Palin sound like some kind of religious wacko (payback, perhaps, for the genuinely offensive Jeremiah Wright?). Here's a prime example, in fact. And a significant omission on Charlie Gibson's part tonight only reinforces my suspicion. Here's the exchange:
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
Only problem is that the quote is not a complete one -- and the omission changes its substance markedly.
The full Palin quote is as follows: Sarah Palin was asking listeners to pray that "our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." That's quite a difference -- but one any real journalist is capable of understanding (Juliet Eilperin put the quote in its proper context in this WaPo piece; MSNBC got it right here.) Rather than declaring, in essence, that God is on our side, she was asking for prayers that we are on His.
Understandably, Gibson and ABC wanted to make news, but this kind of sloppy chop and bait and switch is bush league.