Palin invokes Obama: 'At least Trig didn't eat the dog.' Inappropriate or fair game?

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has been trading social-media salvos with animal-rights activist organization PETA after posting a photo online of her son stepping on the family dog.

If launching headline-making spats were an art, Sarah Palin and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would be masters.

The two groups have exchanged increasingly absurd salvos in a bizarre social media controversy we'll call Doghazi, after PETA blasted the former Alaska governor for publishing a photo of her son Trig standing on the family dog, Jill.

Stepstoolgate reached new heights – or a new low – Tuesday when Palin told NBC's Today Show host Savannah Guthrie that PETA applied "a hypocritical double standard" in criticizing her for the photo. She referred to an initial statement she sent NBC News about Mr. Obama, who admitted he once tried dog meat as a 10-year-old in Indonesia.

"Chill. At least Trig didn't eat the dog," Ms. Palin told PETA on her Facebook page.

When asked if that was a cheap shot, Palin responded, "Oh heck no, that was the best line in the post that I wrote. It was the kickoff line."

When asked if it was appropriate to show a picture of her child stepping on the family dog, Palin reiterated, "In this case, yes, because Trig's service dog is a strong, trained dog that does really, really love his best buddy Trig, and they put up with each other and there was no harm at all to this dog."

Some have taken issue with this statement, noting that Jill the dog is very young to be a service dog, and that even with weight-bearing service dogs, owners must distribute their weight in a way that does not injure the dog.

Perhaps the most entertaining exchange between Palin and Peta was this, when Palin accused the organization of liberal hypocrisy on her Facebook post.

"Aren't you the same anti-beef screamers blogging hate from your comfy leather office chairs, wrapped in your fashionable leather belts above your kickin' new leather pumps you bought because your celebrity idols (who sport fur and crocodile purses) grinned in a tabloid wearing the exact same Louboutins exiting sleek cowhide-covered limo seats on their way to some liberal fundraiser shindig at some sushi bar?" she wrote.

PETA responded with another statement Saturday night, saying that "we're a vegan organization, so we sit on pleather couches, wear stylish vegan kicks, and consider fish friends, not food.

Since then, Palin has also said PETA has been hypocritical for failing to denounce talk show host and PETA 2009 Person of the Year Ellen DeGeneres, who posted a similar picture of a child stepping on a dog, in July of last year.

She also noted that PETA's 2014 Person of the Year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, accidentally dropped a groundhog that later died on Groundhog's Day last year.

“Man of the year, I think just last year, 2014, was Mayor de Blasio and he he had just, doggone it, killed a groundhog when he dropped it last year on groundhog day,” Palin said. “[It’s] absolutely hypocritical, double standard usual applied to, perhaps, constitutional conservatives.”

Is this, in fact, a double standard?

Decoder doesn't often say this, but Palin has a point.

While her example of Obama's dog delicacy is out-of-bounds for cultural reasons (check out the context in an excerpt of his book in which he describes eating dog meat as a child), Palin is correct about the DeGeneres and de Blasio accounts, neither of which PETA appeared to make a public spectacle of.

Still, as Gawker Media blog Jezebel pointed out, if that's Palin's best defense, "We're in for a classic 'Hey I did a [bad] thing but at least I didn't do this other totally awful thing" defense.

In other words, two wrongs – or three – don't make a right.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.