Sarah Palin said that Paul Revere “warned the British that they weren’t gonna be taking away our arms, by ringing those bells and making sure, as he’s riding his horse through town, to send those warning shots and bells that we were gonna be secure and we were gonna be free.”

As the author of a book about Revere’s life, when I heard this, I groaned. From Revere’s own account, it’s clear that he didn’t fire a shot, he didn’t ring a bell, and he didn’t intend to warn the British of anything (unless you count the townsfolk as British, which they technically were for a little while longer)…

It was a harrowing night for Revere. Meanwhile, our episode is thoroughly absurd. Palin got the story wrong. Big deal. It’s not worth mocking her and saying she’s a dummy. Nor is it worth trying to pull her bacon out of the fire with a lame and halfblind excuse for how she was really correct, sort of, if you look at it from the right angle, while basically ignoring her actual words. Both sides look foolish.