Is this an actual fake outrage, where partisans pretend to be offended at something to play up the supposed inhumanity of their opponents, or is it a fake fake outrage, where only a few even bother to pretend but the media seizes on it anyway because it’s a “controversy,” sort of, and they’re bored? For the moment, it looks like it’s being pushed not so much by American liberals but by foreign press — the Independent, an Irish newspaper, and the always buzz-hungry Daily Mail. Turns out Facebook commenters grumbling at a former VP nominee now qualifies as international news. Who knew?
Good news for Slate, though, as this takes care of January 2nd in next year’s “Year of Outrage” round-up.
Happy New Year!
May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward. Trig just reminded me. He, determined to help wash dishes with an oblivious mama not acknowledging his signs for “up!”, found me and a lazy dog blocking his way. He made his stepping stone.
– Sarah Palin
Click for pics. American news outlets like the New York Daily News and The Blaze picked it up this morning, with a full-blown Twitterstorm now shaping up as lefties and righties wearily assume their designated roles. I’m going to guess that if little Trig’s weight caused the dog any pain, the dog would have made that clear to him in ways that dogs are wont to do but I’ll defer to experts in the comments. In the meantime, let’s pray that the number of hideously overwrought Smart Takes this incident produces remains small:
Eagerly awaiting Andrew Sullivan's smart take on what Trig Palin putting his foot on a dog means for the future of our republic.
— Popehat (@Popehat) January 2, 2015
To answer my question, I think this still qualifies as a “fake fake outrage” for the moment but has potential to become an “actual fake outrage” simply because there’s a dog involved. Remember how the story of Mitt Romney putting his dog in a kennel on the family car’s roof during a trip years ago became a thing, at least on the left, during the 2012 campaign? Stories of possible animal abuse by Republicans grab them, I think, because they support the liberal narrative that conservatives are heartless. They’re a Window onto the Conservative Soul in a way that, oh, say, abortion without restriction is most certainly not a window onto the left-wing soul. And of course they disdain Palin singularly for a mess of reasons, so any chance to score a point on her is a chance that must be taken. It’s really a perfect post-New-Year Friday story — nothing else is going on in the news, everyone wants to get back to holiday revelry before the deep-breath plunge into normal order in January, and one of their favorite whipping boys has given them something to chatter about. I figure they’ll reach “actual fake outrage” intensity by mid-afternoon today, with the storm dissipating this evening as everyone eases into the weekend and stops thinking about this even a little.