Fri. May 24th, 2024

Written by Eric Boehlert

When Tina Fey was honored by the Kennedy Center and awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the comedienne, known for her dead-on impersonation of Sarah Palin, took some pointed swipes at former Alaska governor when receiving the award [emphasis added].

Politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women — except, of course, those who will end up paying for their own rape kit and stuff. But for everybody else, it’s a win-win. Unless you’re a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years. Whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know — actually, I take it back. The whole thing’s a disaster.

The jokes became news when PBS edited out those comments before airing the Kennedy Center special; a move PBS’s ombudsman later said was a “big mistake.”

Before that story completely fades from view though, it’s important to note that Fey’s claim about Palin and rape kits was accurate, no matter what right-wing bloggers say as they continue their ongoing effort to whitewash the thorny issue and try to wall off the legitimate story from further review.

Right on cue last week came their loud, indignant response to the Fey controversy. From the far-right blog, American Thinker:

Well, yes, those remarks were a disaster. And mostly wrong. The rape kit apparently referred to an incorrect rumor that Alaskan women who claimed they were raped had to pay for their own test.”

And from Palin blogger Michelle Malkin:

Tina Fey recycles Palin rape kit lie

See, the story about how the town of Wasilla, Alaska, while Palin was mayor, made rape victims pay for their rape kits (or made their insurance companies pay for rape kits) is a “rumor” and a “lie.”

Except that, of course, it’s not.

In 2008, most of the Beltway press, perhaps under the false impression from Palin’s frantic defenders that the story had been “debunked,” passed on the rape kit story. If she runs for the White House in 2012 though, there’s no way the story won’t become a hot bed of controversy. And this time around it’s imperative that reporters look at the facts and not get bogged down by right-wing cries of “rumor” and “lie.”

Crossposted at County Fair, a Media Matters for America blog and

About the author
A senior fellow at Media Matters for America, and a former senior writer for Salon, Boehlert’s first book, “Lapdogs: How The Press Rolled Over for Bush,” was published in May. He can be reached at


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