Incredible Deniability

I just saw, on Countdown, the un-fuzzed up video of Sarah Palin animatedly chattering to reporters while turkeys are being fed into a killing machine behind her. It’s definitely graphic. You can see the turkeys struggling as the killing guy puts them headfirst into the machine.

And Sarah Palin continues to deny she agreed to that backdrop or knew what was going on right behind her.

Mudflats has a first-rate post on Palin’s apparently pathological aversion to the truth, and why the whole thing matters in the first place:

It’s not so much that we don’t deep down understand where our food comes from. It’s not that we’d expect our rifle-totin’, NRA member for life, moose field dressing governer to be squeamish about the turkey killing that was happening on a turkey farm. It’s simply the fact that she showed without a shadow of doubt that she does not “think outside the bubble” of her own brain. The scene did not offend her, but the critical step of imagining the scene from another’s perspective was completely missing. What about the vast majority of Americans who never get closer to their meat than the supermarket? What about small children who love animals that happen to be watching the 5:00 local news? There are all sorts of distasteful or unfortunate things in the world that are just part of life, but they’re not going to score you political points by standing in front of them and broadcasting it out to the world. This is the problem. Lack of perspective, lack of empathy and lack of understanding that this just might be controversial.

Scott Jensen is the one who filmed the scene. He’s local station KTUU’s award winning chief photographer. He told CC from KUDO radio yesterday that Sarah Palin, who was standing next to her personal assistant throughout the entire interview, chose the spot on which she stood for the “turkey slaughter interview” that quickly went viral on the internet, and received wide coverage in the news media. The turkey slaughter was already underway when the governor chose the spot. The photographer pointed out what was going on and asked her if she wanted to move. She said, “No worries.”

Several of her staff were present the entire time while the journalism-major-turned-governor spoke to the people. And then there was the actual footage of her looking at the guy while he was killing the turkeys.

This was pretty much covered on the day it happened in various reports of the horrifying pr debacle. So why bring it up again? Because now, Palin is denying it, and saying she had no idea of what was going on ten feet behind her while she gave the interview, and is basically calling the photographer a liar.

“The [Alaska] governor did not know it was going on behind her,” Palin’s spokesperson tells ET of the reportedly grisly scene at Triple D Farm & Hatchery outside Wasilla. Cameras captured Palin extending the annual Thanksgiving pardon to one turkey while a farm hand slaughtered the bird’s feathered friends in the background.

Palin’s spokesperson tells ET the bird butchering wasn’t going on when the shot was set up, and a cameraman “ignored” the governor’s staff’s request to remove the graphic sight once cameras were rolling.

Of course, Palin or her staff could have stopped the interview at any time if this had been the case. Considering there were many people there who saw and heard exactly what happened during this interview, and that I know one of them personally, we can feel confident in saying this desperate attempt on Entertainment Tonight to rescue Palin’s image from the turkey pile sounds like exactly what it is – a big fat lie.

Once again the media becomes the whipping boy for Palin’s incompetence, lack of judgment, and inability to understand how she is perceived by others.

13 Responses to “Incredible Deniability”

  1. Craig says:

    Well, here we are again Kathy.

    Let me say this, first and foremost, this was an unedited, raw video of her interview. This was not a live feed. Nor was this the way the video of this PR event played over the air by any local station. The ONLY reason that so many people are seeing it in this form is because this footage got released and posted on the web and then went viral. So any insinuation that this was either shown live or even in this specific form initially, on KTUU or another local Alaskan TV station, is false (your own initial post insinuated that this was shown to the local television audience).

    I was going through some of the Alaska blog sites this weekend and I read on one of them that there was some doubt cast by a person on one of the news crews present, as to whether those “death cones” were in use when the camera shot was initially set up. Now I regret that I can’t relocate that source again to post it. I know, I know, everyone is rolling their eyes. Since I’m not “award winning” like Scott Jensen, I doubt that I will be given a pass for unreproachable credibility.

    Palin’s staffers should have shut down the interview and relocated the shot if they even suspected that the action behind her was going to be on camera. Politicans depend on their staff to be sure that these PR things are being handled properly, so that they don’t give opponents any openings for this kind of negative press. Forget the “nudge” approach. I would have expected them to basically step in front of the cameras and say, “let’s try this over here”. Or at the very least ,signal that worker to get out of the shot! Geez!

    As I said on an earlier comment, her staff needs to pick up their game, as far as being more aware of how things will play and be spun in a wider national and international scope. Palin is not a local Alaska figure anymore.

    And, we could argue this one until the turkeys come home, but I also don’t buy the idea that Palin looked backwards at the guy. She looked sideways one time at whoever was standing on her left side. But since we can’t recreate the scene to determine angles and positioning and peripheral vision range, and so on, we simply aren’t gonna figure that one out with any true certainty.

    And I still wish you and yours a good holiday, Kathy.

  2. Kathy says:

    And I still wish you and yours a good holiday, Kathy.

    And I wish the same for you, Craig.

  3. Macswain says:

    Craig, I’m down with you, bro. Why believe some crap photographer from the media over Palin. She wouldn’t say “No worries.” Too damn Canadian. If she had approved shooting in front of the turkey slaughter, she’d of said, “Ya Betcha, this’ll work.” Plus, Palin’s got a history of truth-tellin’ (speakin’-in-tongues, too) that stretches further than that Bridge to Nowhere she told Congress “No thanks” fer.

  4. Leigh Oats says:

    Says Craig at the start of his post of “November 25th, 2008 12:11 am”:

    “Well, here we are again Kathy. Let me say this, first and foremost, this was an unedited, raw video of her interview. This was not a live feed. [. . .]”

    As opposed to the turkey-factory employee’s ostentatious feeding of squirmingly live turkeys head-first into the cone of eventual silence? Thanks, but no thanksgiving, the “pardoned” turkey might well say.

    Dear Craig, let me say this, first and foremost: What are you trying to say? What difference does it make whether the videography was being broadcast at the same time? The fact remains that there are only two possibilities: Either her gobblenatorial eminence _did not know_ what was happening behind her and to her left, or she _did_ know. Either possibility is hilarious in the opinion of the rest of the world. No comedy-writer could invent this stuff. It’s immortal.

    Once again the alternately ingenuous and disingenuous governor of aLASka has been _set up_. Also (!), perhaps the grinning performer in the video’s background is a Canadian comedian.

    My main fear is that the failed vice-residential candidate will go back to her fishoffal residence in Juneau and will never be heard or seen again by anybody south or east or west (or north?) of aLASka in any country or continent or whatever. The world will then experience Palin-entertainment-withdrawal symptoms far more severe than any bouncing side-effect of the dopey early-withdrawal trick that she seems to espouse.

  5. Dynamic says:

    The problem isn’t what was going on behind her – anyone who is offended by that scene but still eats meat is a hypocrite – the problem is that she bald-faced lied about it.

    It’s not that Scott Jensen has unreproachable credibility – it’s that Palin’s has already been so damaged by her string of lies that it’s all too easy to believe she’s pulling another one.

    I think it’s a silly, manufactured “scandal,” but her response to it is telling.

  6. Ace Armstrong says:

    Sarah Palin is a perfect example of the classic shakespearian tragic hero, and this particular video gives a wonderful glimpse into that. She is so consumed with controlling her reality she fails to understand the other reality swirling about her.
    With a monomaniacal determination she’s going to, God willing, smash through those doors of opportunity regardless of who’s securing them against her.
    Personally, I’m more drawn to the video where she is knelling before the large black african minister who is driving out her demons and securing God’s blessings for her future.
    One can only hope that she truly is the future of Gomer’s Own Party.

  7. BH says:

    Hey, Ace, if you’re going to invoke Shakespeare, you ought to read him first or at least give him the benefit of capitalization. I taught him for thirty years and I can’t recall how Sarah Palin corresponds to Lear or MacBeth or Hamlet either. Perhaps you think of her as Viola, posing as a castrato (a condition Palin evokes in Keith Olbermann–who would make a good Malvolio–and other boorish types who fear emasculation by a strongly principled woman). Or maybe you want Palin to renounce magic, Prospero-like, and come over to the right (left) side. Or maybe you just wish she never existed.

    As for the video you reference, she isn’t kneeling (or knelling either, unless there is a bell somewhere I didn’t see). She is standing in the typical position for “laying on of hands,” a common Pentecostal and evangelical ritual. If you doubt me, here’s the video, attached to a typical snarky Newsweek story:

    You should note that nowhere in the story do the writers quote Sarah Palin directly; their sources are critics like Salon. But then, this was Newsweek, whose Richard Wolffe is a regular cast member of Olbermann’s circle jerk.

    You should not, however, interpret this message as some sort of defense of fundamentalism; I don’t go to church, temple or mosque. I do, however, respect anyone’s belief, as long as it does not demand conformity from me. I very much believe in the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, which I suspect Sarah Palin does as well. I just wonder if you do.

  8. radical_Moderate says:

    Look I think that Palin was simply oblivious to the carnage going on behind her, any person who kills and field-dresses a moose (talk about blood and guts) is not going to be cognizent of the turkey kill going on behind her (or at least one who loves the spotlight as much as Gov Palin), I would also guess that hunting might restrain one’s sympathy for the suffering of eatable creatures. On the other hand, we are all adults and if we eat meat, as noted by a poster upthread, we should be willing to know from whence that fine glistening Thanksgiving Day bird come…

  9. Macswain says:


    I agree with most of your comment except for this zinger: “anyone who is offended by that scene but still eats meat is a hypocrite.”

    Do you, sir, take your dumps in public? Do you think Palin would let you do it as a backdrop to one of her interviews so as not to be a hypocrit against taking dumps?

    Or, do you, like me, recognize there are some ugly aspects to things in life that ought not be shown in the background of a political interview?

    I would agree that Palin isn’t a Shakespearian character but more of an Aptowian character; and, for that, I thank her.

  10. BH says:

    “Aptowian?” Macswain, are you praising Judd Apatow? He’s a little obscure, but I can see your point (pun intended for English majors). If so, I would assume you must be making the comparison to Ms. Tasty.

  11. Macswain says:

    Damn!!! After a decade of immersive study in Apatowian Cinema you would think I would know how to spell it correctly.

    Regardless, I was thinking more along the lines of “Debbie” in Knocked Up. However, your reference to Ms. Tasty shows you too are well-studied as it betrays a recognition that Apatowian Cinema, as a genre, extends well beyond movies involving Judd Apatow.

  12. Leigh Oats says:

    Says BH (“November 25th, 2008 10:49 am”): “Hey, Ace, if you’re going to invoke Shakespeare, you ought to read him first or at least give him the benefit of capitalization. I taught him for thirty years [. . .]”

    Pull the other one.

    “[. . .] and I can’t recall how Sarah Palin corresponds to Lear or MacBeth [. . .].”

    Mac Who?

    Anyway, my favorite Shakespeare play is _The Pot and the Kettle_. It’s one of his comedies. 🙂

  13. BH says:

    Well, Leigh, that’s a new one on me. Of course, there has always been a controversy over the provenance of some of Shakespeare’s plays, especially after Christopher Marlowe conveniently punched out at an early age, allowing vultures to sweep in on his literary carcass. Plus, there is also the strange theory that Marlowe faked his own death and continued to write as William Shakespeare, so I certainly can’t gainsay your comment. However, if you can give me a source sometime, I’d like to read it.


  1. Moderate Republicans the Urban Myth « The Long Goodbye - [...] Incredible Deniability Scott Jensen is the one who filmed the scene. He’s local station KTUU’s award winning chief photographer.…

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