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You know how Sarah Palin said Paul Revere warned the British? Well, he did. Now, who looks stupid?

Sarah Palin

You may have heard recently something about that Sarah Palin telling a reporter that Paul Revere warned the British on his famous rousing revolutionary ride.

Now, that so many Americans have wallowed in their smug confirmation that Palin is an idiot unqualified for anything but Paul Revere thinks about something paulreverefactsdotcomrepeating sixth-grade history, how far, wide and fast do you think the contradictory news will spread that the former governor of Alaska was indeed correct?

That the Republican non-candidate, in fact, knew more about the actual facts of Revere's midnight ride than all those idiots unknowingly revealing their own ignorance by laughing at her faux faux pas? How secretly embarrassing this must be, to be forced to face that you're dumber than the reputed dummy.

As it happens, though, such phenomena are regular occurrences in American politics, reminding consumers of news to be wary when some fresh story seems to fit contemporary assumptions so absolutely perfectly.

The well-known fable is Revere's late-night ride to warn fellow revolutionaries that....

...the British were coming. Less known, obviously, is the rest of the evening's events in which Revere was captured by said redcoats and did indeed defiantly warn them of the awakened militia awaiting their arrival ahead and of the American Revolution's inevitable victory.

Palin knew this. The on-scene reporters did not and ran off like Revere to alert the world to Palin's latest mis-speak, which wasn't.

Like a number of famous faux gaffes in American politics, the facts of the situation no longer really matter.

The initial impression was eagerly grabbed by so many, starting with the reporter and millions of others gleefully sharing the story that reinforced their beliefs and/or desires.

This phenomenon is actually not a new one in American politics, although its immediate spread is obviously hastened by the Internet. Speaking of which, Al Gore did not invent it. Nor did he claim to, as often as you've heard otherwise.

In 1999, the hapless former journalist, who should have known to make a better word choice, told CNN that in Congress he "took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Democrat Gore never used the word "invented." That was part of another willful misinterpretation that fit expectations of Gore's boasts and was gleefully spread by opponents as further proof of his unseemly hubris. It lives on to this day.Sarah Palin boards her bus 6-1-11

Perhaps you remember how one day during a photo op President George H.W. Bush was overheard asking a store checkout clerk how this price scanner thing worked?

That quote was immediately transmitted as proof of how disconnected that Republican chief executive was, that he had no knowledge of something as ordinary as a checkout scanner.

The fact is, asking such inane and often obvious questions as "what are you doing here?" is a bipartisan ploy used by politicians to fill the awkward time void they are hanging around someone working while photographers snap their photos several hundred times.

President Obama likely said much the same thing last Friday in that Toledo Chrysler plant when for the benefit of nearby photographers he feigned interest watching assembly-line worker Anthony Davis install a dashboard instrument panel. (See photo below)

A classic example of this faux faux pas was in 1992 when Vice President Dan Quayle agreed to participate in a New Jersey classroom spelling bee.

Working from a placard, Quayle corrected one sixth-grader by telling him to add an "e" to "potato." Journalists gleefully noted the spelling misteak. And Quayle's dunce hat was glued in place.

Trouble is, that mis-spelled placard was actually written out by the classroom teacher herself, either through her own ignorance or, a few suspect, some sly political set-up. Quayle knew he hadn't written it and thought the error was the point of the lesson.

And because the classroom spelling bit was a last-minute addition, aides who would have foreseen the everlasting damage of their boss inexplicably adding a mistake to a student's work did not know what the placard said. Quayle subsequently forbade them from explaining the error to the media, for fear of embarrassing the teacher.

One of the immutable laws of public communications in politics and other fields is, if you have to explain something, you lose. Seeking to explain you were for something before being against it simply digs a deeper Obama watches Chrysler employee anthony davis work on assembly line 6-3-11hole.

This time the mistake for Palin, who used to be accused of dodging reporters' questions, was bothering to answer such an amateur media gotcha question in a noisy, moving crowd. Better would have been a simple dismissive and cheery, "You're kidding, right?" Such are the ongoing lessons for primary candidates. Which she isn't now, of course.

Early in a previous race for the Republican presidential nomination almost 12 years ago, then Texas Gov. George W. Bush was in a jammed New Hampshire airport meeting room, answering questions from local media. Apropos of nothing, one reporter (perhaps prompted by an opponent's camp) asked Bush his pre-written gotcha: Name the new president of Pakistan.

Obviously, Pervez Musharraf had nothing to do with New Hampshire issues and is similar to some Democratic candidates flubbing the name of Russia's then prime minister during 2008 debates (Dmitry Medvedev).

Bush didn't know the Pakistani leader's name that day and looked clumsy attempting to answer. He could have brushed it away by instantly asking the reporter some arcane political who's-who, laughing off their mutual ignorance and quickly taking the next question. But he didn't and took media lumps for several days.

As everyone now knows, such a splashy gaffe can effectively doom any chance a candidate has of winning two terms in the White House.


Sarah Palin plays the media like a violin; They'll try to get even

Piper Palin shares her Mom's hot/cold attitude toward the media

Mitt Romney leads in Iowa poll, Sarah Palin comes in second, Ron Paul falls to 7th

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Jonathan Ernst / Reuters; Gary Hershorn / Reuters; Jeff Kowalsky / EPA (Obama at Chrysler, June 3).

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ROFLMAO @ the Lefties and their continued hate of Palin because they feel threatened by a strong and intelligent women.
It's ok , you are currently in the good hands of Obama who is directly quoted as visiting all 57 state's of the United States.
Sorry for laughing at you lefties; you just make it so easy.


On a personal level, I am impressed she even knew the broad brushstrokes of Paul Revere in history, never mind the details. That is how low my expectations are of her.

On a Presidential level, it is a sad testament to her reputation (probably deserved) that she uses such basic history in such a basic way. Paul Revere is a story my 6 year old can recite to me. If she's serious about her political ambitions, she's got to tell stories with a little more substance than Schoolhouse Rock history.

Palin's Paul Revere comment (or at least, the media's presentation of it).
Obama's 57 states.

If you are going to grab onto something so pedantic as a minor faux passe made among hundreds, if not thousands, of sound bites, you really have nothing substantive to add to the discussion.

The left cannot admit they are wrong even if you grab them by the scruff of the neck and jam their faces in it. They sound like arrogant, immature, spoiled little children who have received to many rewards and honors for being absolutely average, don't they?

I think Paul Revere got lucky as his name was easier for Longfellow to rhyme than Israel Bissel. At any rate he probably didn't shout "the British are coming", as we were the British. The riders probably shouted something like "the Regulars are coming".

Just remember the template: Obama = Genius Palin = Dunce. That is all, now go back to your shovel...

The new meme is that news-people are half-cocked idiots. Sarah Palin plays them like a loose harp. This story just reinforces that, and you wonder why news products are in such a rapid decline.

I am of the opinion that most of the unemployed and people on food stamps don't give a damn who warned who...or what Paul Revere's Horse's name was..unless they are in training for Jepardy... So why not have the press corps do a real and contemporary story ???

Lori, hoist on your own petard. Your third point is accurate. If that were the case, no one outside of her family and friends would know her name. Would she have competed in beauty pageants, or gotten reporting jobs at local tv stations?

"She is still and idiot." - This made my morning. Well done.

One might notice mistake is not spelled misteak.

No one seems to mention the fact that she said "He rang that bell!!" My history book said that he lit a lantern- "one if by land, two if by sea," then took his midnight ride.

In answer to Andrew Malcolm's headline question, "Now, who looks stupid?"
You do, Andrew!

With regard to covering politics, the media is an unmitigated disgrace; absolutely tripping over each other to run with an inaccurate story. How Dan Rather of them.
If you asked what the media hates most about Sarah Palin, 95% would say " she's stupid." No qualifiers, no real pricipaled objections; just, she's stupid.
You want stupid, look up Joe Biden's academic credentials sometime? He may well be the single dumbest person to ever serve on The Hill. But you never heard about those deficiencies while he was running for VP, or the name Neil Kinnock, the British Labor Party leader whose speech he plagerized...almost word for word...some time ago.
Proven stupidity right there...not that we'd expect to hear about it anytime soon from those compromised schmucks.

She was handed Wikipedia or something before she was asked so she would be prepared. Why we are so smug us she has so little grasp on what Revere did that she just regurgitates some whack part of the story as if that was what was important, when its not. She basically just copied her whole crib sheet down as the answer. Kids this is why u dont cheat, u don't really know the answer.

"Now, who looks stupid?"

You do, Mr Malcolm. Check out Palin's defense of herself on Chris Wallace. Not even she offers the excuse that you do. She makes it quite clear that she thinks the purpose of the the midnight ride was partly to warn the British, partly to warn "the Americans" (I guess she means Colonials, since there was no America then, but whatever at this point).

By her interview with Wallace, she appears to continue to be unaware that Revere warned the British only when they detained him after the ride was over - or she is not even trying to convince anyone that's what she was talking about. Either way, your defense of her is ludicrous.

In answer to Andrew Malcolm's headline question "Now who looks stupid?":
You do, Andrew.

What a biased article... so they defend all these Republican gaffes, and rip on Democrats... good thing I'm not part of either party. Seriously, though, Andrew Malcolm... you could have defended Sarah Palin a lot better and done so without showing your biased, conservative hand...

Well, just because she got lucky once.....

):) After reading the other comments, I like Donald Rump's idea of having Palin appear on «Jeopardy!». If she squared off against Obama & Biden, she'd probably kick their butts, & it would be more entertaining than a stodgy ol' debate. Bring it on!

):o Moo.

Seems to me the author needs to learn how to spell "misteak." Don't these news people ever use spell check or proof read their articles?

Here's the direct quote: "[Revere] warned the British that they weren't going to 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 going to be secure and we were going to be free."

First, to Terry Saulsberry above, she is pretty clearly claiming that Revere was riding.

Second, the entire point of Paul Revere's midnight ride is that it was *secret,* and that it was to warn the *Colonists* that the British were coming to arrest the revolutionary leaders and seize their weapons. Here's wikipedia: "Revere did not shout the phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols..."

The mission depended on secrecy; the secrecy depended on quiet. Revere did not use bells, nor was he involved in the firing of any warning shots, because if he'd done that, he would have been arrested before he was able to warn his fellow revolutionaries; obviously, he also did not do these things once he had been detained by the British.

I find it very odd that, in his defense of Palin, Malcolm didn't see fit to reproduce Palin's actual quotation. It's called Paul Revere's *ride,* not Paul Revere's *after-capture-conversation-with-the-British,* for a reason.

She said, "He warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms..."

That statement is correct. After being captured, Paul Revere told the British that the militia was awaiting them.

The rest of her innocuous statement is full of ellipses and pauses consistent with contemporaneous speech, and can be manipulated by those who please to smear her.

Palin, as always, accomplished one major objective: she once again demonstrated that the liberal mainstream media and the typical wackacdoo leftists are so afraid of her that the lose all sense of rational decent behavior at her mere presence. That is proof that she is directly over the target.

Sarah Palin is an idiot.That's why the media is pushing this Dumbo.Leave her to go shopping for lingerie for the rest of her life and give us Ron Paul news.I know Ron Paul is too dangerous to talk about but she is as much of an insult as Barry Soertero or Barack Obama,or Harrison J Bounel or whatever his name really is.
What kind of mentality is required to be a "beauty queen"anyway? You have to be a dim bulb in order to make your goal to be "The Prettiest Girl!"which was her claim to fame.
Shame on the media for covering this twit.

Despite the Declaration of Independence the future United States of America (actually, future Confederate States of America first) were still British Colonies and all of the inhabitants save the Native Americans were still British Subjects. It may have been a mistake on her part, but calling them Americans would have been a misnomer and incorrect. For those of you that have your reseravations, try to recall that the War for Independence lasted seven years and it was the time during which 13 British Colonies attempted to form a state separate from England.

I don't know what's more funny, Palin's comments or her supporters' vain efforts to somehow spin it in their favor. Whether what she said was historically accurate or not, her bumbling, barely coherent response accompanied by her deer-in-headlights facial expression are more than enough to make one wonder why anyone takes her seriously.

"who was Paul Revere?" Oh he's the guy who warned the British! Yeah, that's totally the answer we're looking for!

That's like saying "Thomas Jefferson? Yeah I think I know who he was. Wasn't he a slaveowner or something?" Technically accurate, but that doesn't demonstrate knowledge of the man.

This time the mistake for Palin, who used to be accused of dodging reporters' questions, was bothering to answer such an amateur media gotcha question in a noisy, moving crowd. Better would have been a simple dismissive and cheery, "You're kidding, right?"

Exactly what WAS that "gotcha" question? She wasn't asked about Paul Revere's ride. She volunteered that little gem of a history lesson when she was recounting what they had done that day.

The left cannot admit they are wrong even if you grab them by the scruff of the neck and jam their faces in it. They sound like arrogant, immature, spoiled little children who have received to many rewards and honors for being absolutely average, don't they?

Mr. Malcolm, are you for real? If ANYONE should be embarassed it should be you. TRUTH...does that word mean anything to you?

I somehow doubt that Palin knew the truth, her responses/witticisms belie a incomplete knowledge of history and geography.

If you remember American history, the colonies were split between Loyalists and Rebels. In warning the rebel (Colonial) militia, Revere inadvertently also alerted the Loyalists. Regardless of his capture, it is more than likely the British command would have suspected to engage colonial troops.

I'm no fan of either Palin or the American media; I think this type of reporting is indicative of how far removed our politicians are from current issues, and how biased the media has become; it is time the media files with the FEC as a PAC.

The democrats look stupid. But that isn't news. It's common knowledge.

You paint it as though she knew about him being captured by the British but I never saw her defend her comments using that story. Palin explained it as though while Revere was riding and informing colonists and others, he was also informing the British. That's not how it went down. Stop giving credit where credit isn't due. You've created an "aha!" story where there isn't one.

The liberal media has tried to portray Sarah Palin as unscholarly and unknowledgable about global issues and history. The truth is that she holds two PhD s (one from Harvard and one from Stanford) and that she is very respected in the academic community as both a scholar of history and expert in constitutional law. Kudos to Andrew Malcolm for helping clear up this widespread and massive misunderstanding!!!!

Isreal Bissel rode 345 miles 4 days 6 hours he was the real hero Lonfellow created the Revere myth even though he rode 19 miles! Screw sarah

She's playin' the media like the fools they are!!! I love it!!!!

The lengths that this moron's accolytes will go to attempt to redefine idiocy as rebellious or 'Maverick'-like is astounding.
This woman is not bright enough to be the third option down on a flea circus emergency contact list, even if all the fleas are just flecks of pepper on strings.
She was not right, and she continues to not be right, and no amount of apologist re-imagination of history will change that.
Stop lionizing stupidity, Andrew. Your credibility=FAIL.

Doubling down, Ken?

You are relying on the very news media who we now know got Sarah Palin wrong, to be the arbiters of what she actually said?

This is just like when she was firing up the Tea Partiers and said "Party like it's 1773!" All the hate-consumed Democrats guffawed that she didn't even know the Revolution started in 1776. Except.... The Boston Tea Party indeed took place in 1773, in the run-up to the actual Revolution. She may be a clumsy speaker, but she's smarter than most of her critics, and I will cheerfully vote to make her President.

The unsaid part of the media's attack on Palin, who was correct about Revere, is the desire of the leftists to rewrite or obliterate American history and culture. Even if they were aware she was correct, it would not fit with their agenda. MSM = faux patriots or traitors. You pick!

In regards to Dan Quayle's spelling "misteak". . . who wrote that; the teacher or you, Andrew Malcolm, the author? Nice going.

Andrew have to be kidding, right? What a nonsensical, mixed up, messed up apologia for SP's blundering ignorance.
LA is hard to believe that you publish this guy.
Now, let's have the other side of the story please. Steve Lopez, Tim Rutten, can we have a rebuttal to this gibberish ? Please?

Reinventing history to support Palin's abject ignorance is a sad statement about this author, and others who are trying to do the same thing.

Palin was simply wrong on several points. Hardly worth all this nonsense and revisionism.

In the face of fact, PALIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME reveals it's smug, ugly head.

Sarah should try to live by the most celebrated Republican, Abraham Lincoln who stated: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

Palin is right, her detractors wrong. With some of those antagonists being malicious liers.

So you've inferred what she actually meant was that Paul Revere gave a verbal warning after being detained instead of the stated ride through town firing warning shots and ringing bells? How very astute of you. If that's really what she was implying -- and you know it is because you can read her mind -- she's lacking in the communication skills necessary to run a country... or a state... or a business... or a family.

"Journalists gleefully noted the spelling misteak."

I gleefully noted YOUR spelling MISTAKE. Have you heard the one about "people in glass houses . . . ".

Andrew, I think you're snarking up the wrong tree. People were mocking her more for her delivery than the content of what she said. It was rambly, barely coherent, and devoid of much substance.

She did NOT state that Revere was "riding" to warn the British. Typical Palin hating fool who wouldn't know truth if it was staring him in the face...What a bunch of complete idiots.
Posted by: Terry Saulsbury | June 06, 2011 at 04:29 AM
Read the quote, Terry. We 'idiots' await your apology:

"He who warned uh, the British that they weren't gonna be takin' away our arms, uh by ringing those bells, and um, makin' sure as he's RIDING his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be sure and we were going to be free, and we were going to be armed."

Sounds like she said 'riding' to me. Maybe you couldn't hear it with all the bells ringing and shots fired.

Palin=Dolt. That is a fact.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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