Unctuous liar Dana Milbank - last discussed here in May regarding him misleading for Barack Obama - is back with an even more disgusting smear. This one a) portrays Sarah Palin supporters as bloodthirsty yahoos, b) tries to give the impression that Palin doesn't renounce bloodthirsty yahoos, and c) most importantly, raises the specter of Barack Obama being assassinated by a Palin supporter.
Discussing a speech today in Florida ("In Fla., Palin Goes for the Rough Stuff as Audience Boos Obama", link), he first downplays Barack Obama's links to Bill Ayers ("[m]any independent observers say Palin's allegations are a stretch; Obama served on a Chicago charitable board with Ayers, now an education professor, and has condemned his past activities"). Then:
"Now it turns out, one of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," Palin said.
"Boooo!" said the crowd.
"And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,'" she continued.
"Boooo!" the crowd repeated.
"Kill him!" proposed one man in the audience.
Palin went on to say that "Obama held one of the first meetings of his political career in Bill Ayers's living room, and they've worked together on various projects in Chicago." Here, Palin began to connect the dots...
1. There's no indication that Palin heard the "one man in the audience". Even if she did, she can't be responsible for what others shout out. Milbank doesn't say whether she heard him, leaving that up to the reader's fevered imagination.
2. Milbank is trying to portray Palin's audience as composed of yahoos, when similar call and response happens at most political rallies, especially those conducted by Obama.
3. Milbank almost certainly knew that some people would think that the "one man in the audience" was referring to Obama, causing some to smear the GOP, Palin supporters, and any other Obama opponents and also introducing an even more vile component to the campaign than both campaigns - but especially Obama's - have done so far.
The last point is bolstered by at least two widely-read "liberals" intentionally or unintentionally taking the comment in that sense. Josh Micah Marshall pretends he doesn't know who the shout was referring to ("Who They Are, What They're About", talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/222324.php, discussed in a demagogic way at http://www.patterico.com/2008/10/06/josh-marshall-is-a-liar), as does Jeralyn Merritt ('Palin Ignores Supporter Who Yells "Kill Him" After She Insults Obama', talkleft.com/story/2008/10/6/22537/3821).
UPDATE: Milbank's despicable smear spreads to the HuffPost, with Jeffrey Feldman saying "McCain Campaign Amplifies Violent Rhetoric, GOP Crowds Threaten Obama's Life" (huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-feldman/is-palin-trying-to-incite_b_132534.html) and Nico Pitney and Seth Colter Walls offering 'Obama Hatred On Display Again At Palin Rally, Supporter Screams "Treason!"' (huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/07/obama-hatred-on-display-a_n_132572.html). Both reference Milbank's article.
UPDATE 2: Another Milbank reference hits Daily Kos' front page, this from "BarbinMD" at dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/10/7/12422/0539/654/622785
UPDATE 3: There's a discussion of Milbank's smear here including a round-up of others who took his smear and ran with it. That also discusses two other MSM reports from the same rally that described a much more placid event than Milbank's invention.