Sarah Palin Accuses Journalists Of ‘Blood Libel,’ Calls Loughner ‘Apolitical’ (VIDEO)

Four days after a gunman attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin responded to criticism over a map she posted before the election that featured gun sights over 20 targeted Democratic districts, including Giffords’s.

“Vigorous and spirited public debates during elections are among our most cherished traditions,” Palin wrote in an early morning post on her Facebook account on Wednesday. “But, especially within hours of a tragedy unfolding, journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn. That is reprehensible.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Across the Nation, Vigils Held for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords]

“There are those who claim political rhetoric is to blame for the despicable act of this deranged, apparently apolitical criminal. And they claim political debate has somehow gotten more heated just recently,” Palin wrote on Facebook. “But when was it less heated? Back in those ‘calm days’ when political figures literally settled their differences with dueling pistols?”

Palin pointed out that Giffords read the First Amendment on the floor of the House last week. “But less than a week after Congresswoman Giffords reaffirmed our protected freedoms, another member of Congress announced that he would propose a law that would criminalize speech he found offensive,” Palin wrote.

“It is in the hour when our values are challenged that we must remain resolved to protect those values. Recall how the events of 9-11 challenged our values and we had to fight the tendency to trade our freedoms for perceived security. And so it is today.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Dem Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot In Arizona]

Video of Palin reading the statement posted on her Facebook account is embedded below.

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