Did Sarah Palin Really Reference White Supremacy On Twitter? (Probably Not)

Evan Vucci/AP

The Twittersphere’s collective ears perked up Friday at a tweet from former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Promoting a Young Conservatives analysis of President Donald Trump’s pro-Western and nativist speech Thursday in Poland, Palin tweeted the article and posted it to Facebook. The social posts contained the phrase “14 words.”

It appeared on its face to be a nod to the well-known white supremacist slogan, commonly referred to only by its word count: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

The specific language of Palin’s social posts appeared to reflect the default social-media language of the article itself. The headline below automatically appears when posted to Facebook:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twitter user @johnkirrane noticed the same, the Daily Beast reported.

However, in an email to the Daily Beast that he later forwarded to TPM, the co-founder of Young Conservatives, Joshua Riddle, disputed that “14 Words” was a reference to white supremacy.

He said it referred to Trump’s closing line in the speech, buried in the middle of the article: “Let us all fight like the Poles. For family, freedom, for country, for God.”

Riddle threatened the Daily Beast with legal action if the site did not delete the article. (Read Riddle’s full response below.) And Young Conservatives added an extra section to the bottom of the article noting various number-centric headlines the site has published.

Asked about the headline in an email, Todd Gutnick of the Anti-Defamation League seemed to agree that it wasn’t a reference to white supremacy. “We don’t believe she meant those 14 words,” he said, referring to Palin. “Not a story here.”

Read Riddle’s email to the Daily Beast, which Riddle forwarded to TPM, below:

Hi Andrew,

Your article about Young Conservatives recently came to our attention.
It contains malicious and false claims. For this reason, please immediately remove the article and publish a written apology on Daily Beast.
This is the 14-word quote the social media post is referencing: “Let us all fight like the Poles. For family, freedom, for country, for God.”
About 2 minutes of research would have revealed how there is a long history of our site (and countless others) using word counts in social media headlines. To jump to the conclusion in your article is slanderous, dishonest, lazy, and very unprofessional and harmful to our business.
If you intend not to fully redact the article, can you please provide us the mailing address for you and DailyBeast. Our lawyers will contact you individually in regards to our intent to sue. If the article is unpublished and an apology issued, we will not demand compensation for damages.
Josh Riddle
CEO Young Conservatives, LLC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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