Fox News claims Palin “slammed ... Limbaugh for using 'retard' ” -- but she excused his remarks as “satirical”

In an article about Sarah Palin's critical response to the Fox comedy, Family Guy, “after the show appeared to mock Palin's Down syndrome son,” claimed that Palin also “recently slammed ... radio talk host Rush Limbaugh for using the word 'retard.' ” In fact, Palin excused Limbaugh's remarks as “satirical.” falsehood: Palin “recently slammed ... Limbaugh for using the word 'retard' ”

From a February 16 article posted on by News Corp. wire service NewsCore (emphasis added):

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's family on Tuesday said the creators of American animated show “Family Guy” were “heartless jerks” after the show appeared to mock Palin's Down syndrome son in an episode.

In a post on her Facebook page early Tuesday, Palin said it felt “like another kick in the gut” when a female character who apparently had Down syndrome made comparisons to Palin's 22-month-old son, Trig, in the episode of the Fox network show.

“My dad's an accountant, and my mom's the former governor of Alaska,” the mentally disabled character said, without mentioning any names.

Rather than going into details as to how she felt, Palin posted her 19-year-old daughter Bristol's response to the controversy, saying it was “a much more restrained and gracious statement than I want to make.”

Bristol wrote: “Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday [Sunday], they failed. All they proved is that they're heartless jerks.”

Palin, a Fox News contributor, recently slammed White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and radio talk host Rush Limbaugh for using the word “retard.”

Fox is owned by News Corp, the parent company of NewsCore.

But Palin excused Limbaugh's “retards” remarks as “satirical”

From the February 7 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday:

CHRIS WALLACE (host): OK, but, Rush Limbaugh weighed in this week, and he said this: “Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards.”

PALIN: He was satirical in that -

WALLACE: Wait, let me finish. “I mean, these people, these liberal activists are kooks.” Should Rush Limbaugh apologize?

PALIN: They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was using satire to bring attention to what this politically correct -

WALLACE: But he used the “R” word.

PALIN: Using satire. Name-calling by anyone -- I teach this to my children. You teach this to your children and your grandchildren, too. Name-calling by anyone, it's just unnecessary. It just wastes time. Let's speak to the issues and again, let's move on.

WALLACE: But you know what some people are going to say, Governor, and have said. They say, look, when it's their political adversary, Rahm Emanuel, she's going to call him out -- he's indecent, apologize. But when it's a political friend like Rush Limbaugh, oh, it's satire.

PALIN: I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh call a group of people whom he did not agree with “f-ing retards,” and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, it's been reported, did say that. There's a big difference there.

Palin spox originally criticized Limbaugh before Palin walk-back

Responding to Palin-Emanuel controversy, Limbaugh says liberals who complained about health care reform “are retards.” On the February 3 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Limbaugh said: “There's Rahm Emanuel out there, who is in big trouble for calling liberals -- for calling liberal activists 'f-ing retards.' Sarah Palin demanded that he be fired. Instead he has apologized to liberal activists. He was getting mad at them about health care. ... So now, I think the big news is, the crack-up going on -- but our political correct society is acting like some giant insult has taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards 'retards.' I mean, these people, these liberal activists are kooks. They are loony-toons. I'm not going to apologize for it, I'm just quoting Emanuel. It's in the news.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 02/03/10]

Palin spokesperson responded to Limbaugh, saying his words amount to “crude and demeaning name calling.” After Limbaugh's February 4 comments, the Washington Post Co.'s Greg Sargent posted a comment he received from Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton in response to Limbaugh's words. Stapleton said: “Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.”

Stapleton told Politico she was not singling out Limbaugh. A February 5 Politico article reported that Stapleton “told POLITICO that the comment given to The Plum Line was not specifically aimed at Limbaugh.” The article quoted her as saying, “The Washington Post is trying hard to take the pressure off the White House by creating a side controversy, but it is missing the point. ... As the governor has said, it doesn't matter who says the 'r' word. It should no longer be part of our lexicon.”

Limbaugh says Stapleton called “sort of in a panic” to explain. On his February 5 show, Limbaugh said Stapleton called his chief of staff “sort of in a panic” over the Politico article saying, “I didn't mention Rush in particular. They kept asking me about Rush, and I kept answering generically. But they kept asking me about Rush, and I just wanted you to know.” Limbaugh said he believed Stapleton over Politico, “no question about it.” [The Rush Limbaugh Show, 02/05/10]

Sargent posts email showing he received Stapleton remark in response to question about Limbaugh. Following the publication of the Politico article, Sargent posted on his blog the “email I sent to Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton,” which reads, "[Former Palin spokesperson] Jason Recher'd be reaching out to me about Rush's use of the term 'retarded.'" Sargent added: “I subsequently emailed her to be absolutely certain that it applied to Rush. She didn't dispute this, answering that it applies to ” anyone" who uses the term."

Many other Republicans have walked back their criticism of Limbaugh. Palin joins numerous other Republicans in walking-back criticism of Limbaugh.