The AP reports, “Palin derides anonymous critics on Fox as cowards,” a reference to a recent Fox News segment in which a correspondent relayed a variety of negative attacks from, he said, members of the McCain campaign staff against Sarah Palin.
No matter what you think about Palin in general, she’s right in this case. It’s a perfect example of why anonymous critics should not be taken seriously — in fact why they should often be flatly disbelieved.
Consider the source. Remember the avalanche of lies that emanated from the McCain campaign this fall? These folks were spewing untruths as a matter of routine. Now we’re supposed to suddenly start trusting them? Strike one.
Even though Palin betrayed a remarkable ignorance to go along with her arrogance, the notion that she doesn’t know Africa is a continent can’t be taken seriously. Strike two.
And then there’s the refusal of the person who allegedly said this to allow his or her name to be attached to the slander. Strike three.
This isn’t precisely like an anonymous comment on a blog, where we don’t know anything about the person posting it. In this case we know — or, rather, we’ve been told by a news organization that itself is often untrustworthy — that the comments came from a dishonest political campaign.
The anonymous comment on a blog or news article deserves less than no credibility. The Palin attacks, given the source, deserve about as much trust: zero at most.