Post User Polls

Did you understand Sarah Palin's use of the phrase 'blood libel'?

Sarah Palin's statement in response to the Arizona shootings contained the phrase "blood libel." The religious reference refers to a centuries-old anti-Semitic slander - the false charge that Jews use the blood of Christian children for rituals - that has been used as an excuse for persecution. The imagery might have been missed by more secular voters who read her statement, but perhaps was recognized by the religious conservatives who constitute an important part of Palin's following.

Note 1/13/11 9:48 a.m.: An earlier poll has been replaced. As readers pointed out, the poll options did not correspond appropriately to the poll question. We apologize for any confusion our error caused.

By Ryan Kellett  |  January 12, 2011; 11:31 AM ET  | Category:  National Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Should the White House pressure China to reevaluate its currency policy? | Next: Should promoting diversity be a priority in public schools?

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



The poll question is extremely poorly posed: Yes, I understood the reference. However, I don't believe that Ms. Palin used it correctly or appropriately.

Posted by: humphrey1 | January 12, 2011 7:34 PM

Humphrey 1 is absolutely correct. Who chose the wording for this poll? Were you in a hurry?

Posted by: CRPren | January 12, 2011 7:37 PM

Wow, have you no decency left? This is one twisted push poll.
"Blood libel" is a phrase describing lies told about Jews to drum up murderous rage against them.
Representative Giffords was victim of the shooter's murderous rage not Sarah Palin.

Posted by: karenfink | January 12, 2011 7:50 PM

To those who don't appreciate how twisted Palin's use of "Blood Libel" is. Please be informed that Giffords is only Jewish Representative from Arizona serving in Washington currently and her murdered intern is also Jewish.

Posted by: karenfink | January 12, 2011 7:59 PM

Are you getting the poll results you desired?

Posted by: jess15 | January 12, 2011 8:35 PM

The term was appropriately applied. Palin has experienced calumny and character assassination of Biblical proportions since entering the public arena. I think she new exactly what she was saying - and had every right to use it in the context she selected.

Posted by: ddnfla | January 12, 2011 8:40 PM

The question, as posed in this poll, is nearly as shocking as Palin's use of the term of the first place.

The third option:

Yes, I understood the reference and found Palin's use of it offensive and inappropriate.

Posted by: chherndon | January 12, 2011 8:41 PM

This poll question is extremely distorted and deceptive. Sort of like the person who spoke those very provocative words in a vain attempt to defend herself.

An option should hev been:
"Yes, I understood the reference and found Palin's use of it offensive and inappropriate."

Posted by: Gary12 | January 12, 2011 9:01 PM

Let me guess a conservative worded the poll so that either you agree with Palin or your ignorant.

This is almost as good a the poll the other day that asked priorities for congress that left off jobs until half way through the day.

Posted by: pnwmainah1 | January 12, 2011 9:07 PM

The way the poll poses the question is as poor as Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "blood libel.

Here is my response: Yes, I understand what the meaning of "blood libel" implies. Yes, I believe Sarah Palin used it improperly. She is trying to exploit the suffering Jews have experienced for centuries, in order to make herself appear as a victim and exagerate her own pain. Shame on her! What is she is going to say next--that she feels persecuted like a Holocaust survivor? Sarah Palin is just pathetic.

Posted by: fridaolay | January 12, 2011 9:24 PM

To add my vote: Yes, I understood the reference and found it most inappropriate and insensitive. Why is this not a choice in the poll?!

Posted by: AJBF | January 12, 2011 9:44 PM

From Fox News, I expect such twisted, bias questions. Why did you stoop to it, WaPo?

Posted by: billiep | January 12, 2011 9:50 PM

Your polling questions make no sense at all. I am an educated non-religious citizen who completely understood her reference, and also understood she misapplied the reference by ignorance - or strategically applied it by malice.

Posted by: Trii | January 12, 2011 10:03 PM

Uh. Wanted to, but couldn't answer the question without posting a lie.

Posted by: omomma | January 12, 2011 10:12 PM

While the term was used properly, it was a poor choice. The term suggests harm to individuals - blood is often the result of violent action. The term also has a negative meaning to Jews, and the Congresswoman and her staffer were Jewish. Why chose a term that has causes such negative feelings.

Posted by: edwardatvienna | January 12, 2011 10:38 PM

Another vote for option 3: Yes, I know the term, and no, she did not use it correctly. She is either profoundly stupid or profoundly insensitive, and why anyone pays any attention whatsoever to her escapes me. As for your poll: the person who wrote the question should be prohibited from writing any more. Proper poll questions do not imply a conclusion.

Posted by: FredfromPescadero | January 12, 2011 11:02 PM

I hope an adult reviews the phrasing of this poll. It was insulting. I, like most of the commenters here, believe that Palin showed extremely poor judgment in using this term to excuse her political machinations.

I can only assume that the person who framed the questions really didn't understand what he was writing about.

Posted by: thmas | January 12, 2011 11:14 PM

Dear WashingtonPost:

THIS POLL IS AN OFFENSIVE AS IT GETS.

Where is the option "Yes, I understand the term and Palin used it INCORRECTLY."

Where is editorial supervision???

C'mon, you can do better than this trumped up poll.

What's next:

I stopped beating my wife:

1) 1 Year ago or less
2) 1 Year ago or more

Stupid!

Posted by: ethanquern | January 13, 2011 12:35 AM

.
Alright.

Let's have a comprehensive list of words in English that are owned by Jews and cannot be used by Gentiles.

Somebody ?
.

Posted by: BrianX9 | January 13, 2011 1:22 AM

Palin's real sin is overplaying the already overplayed anti-Semite card.

Posted by: politbureau | January 13, 2011 1:28 AM

Here's what the leftists don't understand:

From now on we should never use phases like,
*we're on target,
*the goal is in our sight,
*it's on our radar
*shoot for the top
*your dressed to kill
etc

Metaphors scare the leftist and make them pee the bed...

The leftist are the most intolerant and hateful group in the world.
Watch them riot, destroy property, shout obscenities and even kill in the leftist European countries when they don't get what they want.
And the leftist University pin heads reward their leftist hero's like Bill "the Bomber" Ayers of the violent leftists of the sixties by allowing him to be a professor corrupting the minds of our youth. The leftist thuggery of Unions has been documented for decades...

It turns out that Jared Loughner is a leftist Pot Smoking nut case who also hung out at the most radical leftist website the Daily Kos where the deranged make the most crude, vile and insane comments, the Home of Hate Speech...

But it doesn't stop them from spewing their propaganda crap for the benefit of their ignorant constituents

Where's the apology from Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, the New York Times the WP, the Tucson sheriff for their knee jerk opportunity for spewing propaganda? These are the idiots that started the hate speech and they wound up with egg on their faces

Posted by: dforce | January 13, 2011 1:54 AM

Here's what the leftists don't understand:

From now on we should never use phases like,
*we're on target,
*the goal is in our sight,
*it's on our radar
*shoot for the top
*your dressed to kill
etc

Metaphors scare the leftist and make them pee the bed...

The leftist are the most intolerant and hateful group in the world.
Watch them riot, destroy property, shout obscenities and even kill in the leftist European countries when they don't get what they want.
And the leftist University pin heads reward their leftist hero's like Bill "the Bomber" Ayers of the violent leftists of the sixties by allowing him to be a professor corrupting the minds of our youth. The leftist thuggery of Unions has been documented for decades...

It turns out that Jared Loughner is a leftist Pot Smoking nut case who also hung out at the most radical leftist website the Daily Kos where the deranged make the most crude, vile and insane comments, the Home of Hate Speech...

But it doesn't stop them from spewing their propaganda crap for the benefit of their ignorant constituents

Where's the apology from Paul Krugman, Keith Olbermann, the New York Times the WP, the Tucson sheriff for their knee jerk opportunity for spewing propaganda? These are the idiots that started the hate speech and they wound up with egg on their faces

Posted by: dforce | January 13, 2011 1:55 AM

Whoever made this poll is about as stupid as Palin. You have two different questions in one poll: 1) Did you know the phrase? 2) Did Palin use it appropriately?

My responses would be: 1) I did not know the reference. 2) Now that I have read about it I think the writer (obviously not Palin) used the term correctly only by prefacing it with "invented", which acknowledges that the term is a myth.

That said, it should not have been used. The writer failed to take into account who was going to be giving the speech. Not only would it would obviously distract from the main point of the speech, but I doubt Palin knew the origin of the term either.

Posted by: iMac77 | January 13, 2011 2:38 AM

Please rephrase your question in a way that does not suggest that it was proper for Palin to compare her own political folly with centuries-long persecution of the Jews.

Posted by: macosxaddict | January 13, 2011 2:46 AM

Palin intentionally used this derogatory term with a malice intent.

As you all read the Congresswomen is Jewish, as was her assistant who was sadly lost in the shooting.

As a Jewish American I am appalled. Palin has no sense of decency as she is now attacking the religion of the victims.

When Palin opens her mouth only ugly - hateful words come out, turn off the camera, shut down the mikes, you are not going to find any wisdom there.

America, We the People are better than this.

Posted by: honolulujane | January 13, 2011 3:19 AM

From now on nobody but practicing Christians can use the term "crucifixion."

Posted by: politbureau | January 13, 2011 3:32 AM

Who wrote this poll?

Posted by: diamante | January 13, 2011 4:05 AM

Yes, I understood the reference and found Palin's use of it offensive and inappropriate.

The question, as posed in this poll, is as shocking as Palin's use of the term in the first place.

Posted by: tjdavies | January 13, 2011 4:13 AM

I didn't participate in the poll because of its wording.

Posted by: lindsaycurren | January 13, 2011 5:17 AM

the better question would have been:

"do you understand the term 'journalistic malpractice?'"

a. yes, and the washington post middle school intern practiced it well today.

b. no, i don't understand the term because i watch real news on the fox channel.

Posted by: glenknowles | January 13, 2011 5:28 AM

False choices in the poll, DNL. Sorry I can't vote for that.

She wasn't even correct. First it was 'surveyors marks' now it's this. Neither her choice of words was correct, nor their application.

Sure if she wants to try to claim libel why not do it straightforwardly then. If she did that though she'd have to confront real evidence. Instead better to drag some good old Jewish persecution comparisons into the mix, thus allowing her to implicitly brand anyone who opposes her as part of some fascist big government...

She's sleazy, a liar, and well this is just one more ugly page in a nasty political chapter that includes her contributing nothing useful.

I really wish she'd go back to trying to see Russia from her back yard. Perhaps if she waded out a bit into the Bering Sea she might get a better view...

Posted by: Nymous | January 13, 2011 5:32 AM

this is precicely why you cant trust polls. This looks like a Rasmussen/ Fox poll

Posted by: jimbobkalina1 | January 13, 2011 5:50 AM

How does it imply that Sarah understands the use of a term if I understand it? The first option seems intended solely to put words in the poll takers mouth.

Posted by: FrankInKy | January 13, 2011 5:53 AM

Who cares? The left must be mighty worried about Palin. I think our current generation was never the rhyme, "Sticks and stones might break my bones, but words will never hurt me.

Posted by: Budpratt1 | January 13, 2011 6:06 AM

This poll needs a option #3.

the choice of these words may have been random. but it is disturbing that they have another meaning.

Posted by: edmonds_lorin | January 13, 2011 6:16 AM

Unbelievably poor question. Yes I understand the term blood libel, And No, Palin used it either in ignorance or maliciously. With her, it is hard to tell.

Posted by: geoffreyjames | January 13, 2011 6:31 AM

Who came up with the poll questions? Imbecile?

Posted by: reefer | January 13, 2011 6:33 AM

Who writes these poll questions? I understood it, but she didn't use it correctly! The woman seems to have blood lust. Deflecting blame for the use of incendiary speech she piles it on with as much love of chaos apparently as the shooter she is being associated with. Repudiate that Republicans.

Posted by: SarahBB | January 13, 2011 6:35 AM

It seems to me that she protests too much. I suggest that now is the time for respectful silence on her part. Anything else is self promotional conceit.

Posted by: Chesterfield1 | January 13, 2011 6:43 AM

Sarah Palin probably used it in ignorance 9sic) but Rush Limbaugh inflame the issue by saying that the Democrats wanted an event like this to happen. Who would he blame is a "lefty" did this or a Republican was shot? He hath no shame.

Posted by: scottd43 | January 13, 2011 6:45 AM

Did a journalism intern write this question? Who approved it? If you are planning any layoffs soon, you shoulod start with those two folks.
Of course I understand the term "Blood Libel" and of course Palin used it incorrectly and offensively. Perhaps the poll writers were cooking the result with their phrasing?

Posted by: HancockCountyMississippi | January 13, 2011 6:53 AM

How in the world do you know in what content Palin used this term? Who are Obama's enemies? Who specifically was he referring to when he said the Republicans should sit in the back of the bus? Media did not question Obama on these two situations. Why?

Political correctness is killing our ability to have civil discourse. Two words taken out of context of an eight minute speech without addressing her message is beyond belief

This poll does not give the opportunity to determine anything except what the Washington Post wants to project about Sarah Palin.

Posted by: trags1414 | January 13, 2011 6:53 AM

Yes I understand the reference. Yes I find it insulting. Yes whomever constructed those questions should go back to school - or back to FoxNews.

Posted by: HeavyD1 | January 13, 2011 6:56 AM

Did a journalism intern write this question? Who approved it? If you are planning any layoffs soon, you shoulod start with those two folks.
Of course I understand the term "Blood Libel" and of course Palin used it incorrectly and offensively. Perhaps the poll writers were cooking the result with their phrasing?

Posted by: HancockCountyMississippi | January 13, 2011 6:56 AM

We've got the Food Police, PC Police, the Opinion Police and now the Phrase Police. And the Mainstream Media writes the laws and serves as judge and jury.

Posted by: logicprevails | January 13, 2011 7:01 AM

Considering her name should not have come up at all related to the shootings in the first place I find it an apt intensifier for her being libeled.

Yeah, she could have just said she was "libeled" it would have come across with the punch of a defendant on Judge Judy. This has more punch (it succeeded in that, look at the attention it stirred up) It is an intensifier with a useful overtone of "blood" eg, There was acutal blood which she is not responsible for.

Look, I'm no fan of Palin's, and from the gitgo I think she could have handled this in another way that would have neutralized the polemics, but I find it comical that people or groups think they own words. We have a long history of changing them, using them in other ways, "repurposing" them. This works well using the shock value to emphasise the level of injustice.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | January 13, 2011 7:02 AM

Sarah Palin gets a pass on this.
It is inconcievable that she knew the historical origins of the phrase. She would have had no way of knowing because that information would have been contained in a book.

Posted by: sidprejean | January 13, 2011 7:04 AM

Black people should make the term 'racism' off limits to whites. And how about 'pogrom'? Shouldn't that word be off limits to goyim too?

Posted by: politbureau | January 13, 2011 7:19 AM

Yes I understod the reference, however, I don't think Ms. Palin did. It was just a phrase she read off a teleprompter that sounded to her as if that mean ole lame stream media had victimized her again. You betcha.

Posted by: wireman65 | January 13, 2011 7:27 AM

this is like a fox news poll -- you can't be this dense.

Posted by: joeblow111 | January 13, 2011 7:39 AM

Terrible phrasing of poll question! Yes, I understood the reference due to general background knowledge rather than any religious instruction. An educated and informed politician as well as capable staff should have recognized and excised the phrase.

Palin reinforced her role as a rigid and defensive individual. Where is the self-awareness and contrition? Republicans, please promote another candidate with education, nuance, and skill. Please.

Posted by: CMAmmirati | January 13, 2011 7:44 AM

YES, I understood Ms. Palin's reference. And NO, she did not use the phrase correctly. Who wrote this poll?

Posted by: docromulus | January 13, 2011 7:50 AM

What bonehead wrote this poll? Did Palin write it?
Palin is an idiot who took a phrase from some jerk at Murdoch's WSJ who also did not understand the heinous implications and history of it and co-opted it-WRONGLY.

And you poll just further obfuscates it!

EPIC FAIL!

Posted by: suec716 | January 13, 2011 8:16 AM

To ETHANQUERN:

THANK YOU! You said with humor what I said with anger--Your was much better!

Posted by: suec716 | January 13, 2011 8:22 AM

Did Sarah Palin write this poll, or was it just something randomly typed by monkeys?

Posted by: MarilynManson | January 13, 2011 8:22 AM

Dear WAPO Poll Writer,

Posing a question about Sarah Palin and presenting its "opposite" as a question about my understanding is a "galactically" poor effort at making a post event poll. May I suggest you read, reread and get a colleague to read and reread BEFORE you post.

I understand the reference...and I don't think Sarah Palin understood the historical implication of the term. I also think that Sarah Palin's use of this term to describe a tragic event involving a Jewish woman is far beyond any contact with reality or propriety.

Doesn't anyone at the WAPO realize that Sarah Palin attempted to use her 8 minute video to redirect the attention to her...and she clearly sought to make herself another victim in the aftermath of the shooting...it's all about Sarah, isn't it? Yeah, she's a victim alright...a victim of her own making and a victim of her inward looking staff. Palin is leading the effort to make hatred into a money making industry...yet her shallow intellect and marginal intelligence are the primary stumbling blocks to any success of lasting or meaningful value.

Posted by: LouisianaVirginian | January 13, 2011 8:27 AM

This is exactly what I thought

"The poll question is extremely poorly posed: Yes, I understood the reference. However, I don't believe that Ms. Palin used it correctly or appropriately."

Instead, our choices are either Sarah Palin is right or we don't know what she is talking about.

Posted by: Prosperity2008 | January 13, 2011 8:33 AM

Come on, WP. I know you are on your last legs and are hiring people with no actual journalism experience, but this poll is ridiculously poorly phrased. There should clearly be a third option - that the use of the term was inappropriate.

I used to love reading the WP. Now, it's an exercise in frustration.

Posted by: TheHillman | January 13, 2011 8:44 AM

This must be one of the Top 10 Poorly Worded Polls featured by the Washington Post (or any other news outlet).

I know you have college graduates on your staff, but where were they when someone decided to set up this poll?

For the record:

I understand exactly what the term "blood libel" means. It masks the well established canard that both falsely accuses Jews of wrongdoing (social and political discrimination) and impugns the ceremonies and observances that Jews participate in (religious discrimination).

Here's the problem: Sarah Palin (and her advisors) THINK they understand the linguistic meaning of the phrase "blood libel" and are attempting to (incorrectly) manipulate in their own political favor.

Ms. Palin: Please hire yourself a competent linguist (preferably someone Jewish) who can explain to you in single syllable words and very short sentences why you need to avoid using phrases that are so clearly tied to another social or religious group, and the fact that your avowed "Christian warrior" status in fact puts you and your ancestors in the groups of people who were more likely to be responsible for raising and spreading a Blood Libel in the first place, rather than the innocent and beleaguered group of people who were forced to respond to it.

Ms. Palin's choice of words is especially distasteful since Ms. Gifford is Jewish as was her intern, Gabe Zimmerman.

The larger issue in this tragedy is not whether Jared Loughner (who is probably suffering from some form of mental illness) was directly incited by Ms. Palin's Lock and Re-load" philosophy or her "Let's Get "Em With Bull-eyes" map.

The more disconcerting problem is that Ms. Palin, who SEEKS to be Presidential, clearly does not understand how to BE presidential.

Ms. Palin: Your ideas are divisive. Your words are divisive. When criticized for adding to the general political and societal climate of incivility by using highly inflammatory phrases which feature not-so-subtle vocabulary with violent imagery, you add to the problem.

And when criticized for doing so, the adult response is to push back from the table, take a long, deep breath, and do some serious self-examination before crafting a thoughtful answer.

Instead, you prefer to jump on the bar, wave your dueling pistols of pistology at everyone in the room, shoot at everything in sight, and then claim you are the victim here and the defender of all that is holy.

You are neither.


Posted by: zanyjaynie | January 13, 2011 8:45 AM

Oh please, liberals. This is too much. Jews do not "own" the phrase. I am Jewish. Myself and many other jews have no problem with the use of the word. Get over it. The libeals who were committing blood libel were wrong and now they are upset about being called on it.

Palin has had multiple death threats, many more since the liberal unmeritocracy has gone off the deep end about the left wing nutjob going on a shooting spree. These intellectual morons have committed bloodl ibel particularly about her because they are stoking the fires of other liberal nutcases.

Don;t you get it? Historically, political assassinations have been done by LEFT WINGERS.

Posted by: LawrenceCooper | January 13, 2011 8:53 AM

"Blood Libel" is, to me, such an obscure, esoteric term. I've never heard anyone use it before and I can't imagine any situation, in casual conversation, that would prompt anyone, no matter how literate, to use it. I have to think that it's likely that Palin may have used the term without fully understanding its meaning.

Posted by: Auslander1 | January 13, 2011 8:58 AM

The poll may be misleading, but that 79% do not know the phrase might indicate that a good part of the country does not share the "outrage" of those condemning Ms. Palin's "misuse" of the phrase. Because we tend to live with others who share our values (discussed in recent articles about the homogenization of counties), we sometimes assume a level of knowledge about our sensitivities that does not exist. If in fact over 2/3 of the country does not know the meaning of "blood libel," the controversy seems artificial to a large segment of the population - and outrage seems misplaced.

Posted by: Ashland | January 13, 2011 9:02 AM

I had to look up the meaning but I must say I don't think Sarah Palin ever heard the term before her speech writer used it in her statement. I also think it was used solely because Congresswoman Giffords is of the Jewish Faith.The statement was typical Palin attack and take no responsibility.

Posted by: mondaytothursday | January 13, 2011 9:03 AM

I have a fourth option for the poll, in addition to the third one suggested above:

Sarah Palin is a 24-karat ignoramus.

I would DEFINITELY vote for that one!

Posted by: oldguy2 | January 13, 2011 9:07 AM

The more important question is whether Sarah Palin understood the phrase.

Posted by: bpete4 | January 13, 2011 9:09 AM

I seriously doubt that Ms. Palin understood her own comments. She rarely does.

Posted by: AxelDC | January 13, 2011 9:20 AM

Palin just hasn't a clue and apparently neither do her handlers. She needs to go away, far far away.

Posted by: MILWI | January 13, 2011 10:47 AM

Who cares, and what does it matter anyway. Sarah Palin, who I would love to have as a sister-in-law, someone I can poke a little fun at, enjoy her pratfalls, shake my head at her musings, but still love her as an extended part of my family, is again over the top. She is that type of person however; everything she says and does is over the top. I no longer get upset with her rambling as it is just who she is and it is the product of how she thinks and views the world. She opens her mouth and nonsense often come out. I don't think she is evil; I don't think she means actual harm to anyone (except critters in Alaska); and I don't want her anywhere near real power.

Posted by: army164 | January 13, 2011 11:12 AM

While grammatically correct, Palin's use of the phrase "Blood Libel" is wholly incorrect. It would mean that the AZ killings involved Jews committing ritual murders. Obviously, not the case.

http://www.zionism-israel.com/dic/blood_libel.htm

Palin & Lonesome Roads Beck are poster children for justifying a *complete* college education.

Posted by: alb2 | January 13, 2011 12:39 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company