The Left’s nastiness toward Gov. Sarah Palin is quite appalling, even given the usual ugly character assassination we have come to expect from liberals. That has been especially true regarding Palin’s family, particularly her choice to bring to term a baby with Down Syndrome.
Within that, there is a particularly nasty tack. The Left, including its mainstream-news sources, are alleging that Palin, as governor of Alaska, “slashed” funding for Special Olympics — as well as a myriad of other notable charitable causes — from the Alaska budget. The strategy is to frame Palin as a hypocrite, one who chose life for her own son, and claims to support government funding for special-needs programs, but as a state official worked to do just the opposite.
As far as we can tell, the Special Olympics claim was first made in the September 6 edition of the bible of the Left, the New York Times
, where Jennifer Steinhauer and Amy Harmon reported, “According to state documents, she cut the state’s Special Olympics budget in half.” Then came an Associated Press piece on September 9, in which a writer in the Atlanta bureau wrote, “During her few years as governor, she vetoed $275,000 for Alaska’s Special Olympics — half the amount being sought.” From there, the story became more twisted and mangled.
On September 11, liberal columnist Margaret Carlson used the allegation in a Bloomberg News column: “Palin, who said parents of special-needs children would have an advocate in the White House, cut funds for the Special Olympics.” (Carlson repeated the claim in a September 18 piece.)
On September 12, Linton Weeks of National Public Radio uncritically quoted a Palin critic, Sue Libenson, making a more distorted claim:
In that same speech, Palin told Americans she will be an advocate for children with special needs. “In fact,” Libenson says, “just this summer she cut funding for Alaska’s Special Olympics.” Libenson cites the governor’s line-item veto trimming the Special Olympics budget by $275,000.
The myth shows no sign of dying. To the contrary, it is gaining momentum, as shown in the reporting of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC on September 17. Olbermann noted Palin’s claim that she increased funding for special-needs kids. But there’s a “problem,” reported Olbermann: “As the chief executive up north, she vetoed $275,000, crossed it out, of the state funding for the Special Olympics. She cut the Special Olympics budget in half and is campaigning as an advocate for special-needs kids. That’s pretty sick.”
Added Olbermann: “Well, at least we do know which charity I should donate that hundred bucks to every time she lies about her record: the Alaska Special Olympics.” According to the Huffington Post, Olbermann has thus far donated $3,700 to the Alaska Special Olympics, presumably for Palin’s alleged cascade of lies.