Sarah Palin is using her daughter to attack the producers of Fox's "Family Guy" over a subtle reference to her young son's Down Syndrome.
Over the last 48 hours, the interwebs have been abuzz over a half-sentence of dialogue in Sunday's episode that could be seen as a shot at Palin's son, Trig. In the scene, the slow-witted Chris is seen on a date with a young woman with Down Syndrome.
Describing herself, she notes that her dad's an accountant, "and my mom is the former governor of Alaska."
"Cool," Chris responds.
End of reference.
But that's all it took for the elder Palin to jump all over Fox — or as she calls it, "Fox Hollywood" — and "Family Guy," accusing them of mocking her son. (Palin is now a paid commentator for Fox News).
"People are asking me to comment on yesterday’s Fox show that felt like another kick in the gut," the former governor of Alaska wrote on her Facebook page.
She then decided to let another Palin offspring, Bristol, take over the attack on "Fox Hollywood," saying she would be "much more restrained and gracious" than she would be.
Bristol, saying she's had to "develop thick skin" because she's Sarah's daughter, nonetheless said "insults directed at our youngest brother hurt too much for us to remain silent." She went on to call "Family Guy" a "pathetic cartoon show" and its writers "heartless jerks":
"People with special needs face challenges that many of us will never confront, and yet they are some of the kindest and most loving people you'll ever meet. Their lives are difficult enough as it is, so why would anyone want to make their lives more difficult by mocking them? As a culture, shouldn't we be more compassionate to innocent people – especially those who are less fortunate? Shouldn't we be willing to say that some things just are not funny? Are there any limits to what some people will do or say in regards to my little brother or others in the special needs community? If the writers of a particularly pathetic cartoon show thought they were being clever in mocking my brother and my family yesterday, they failed. All they proved is that they're heartless jerks."
What's ironic, of course, is that Palin herself has thrust son Trig into the spotlight — by disclosing her infant's son condition and then using it as an emotional applause line in her speech accepting the Republican vice presidential nomination in 2008. She mentioned his condition again in her speech to the Tea Party convention earlier this month.
What's more, it's worth noting that Sunday's "Family Guy" makes no mention of an infant with Down Syndrome or of Trig Palin. Indeed, the character with Down Syndrome is a teen woman — not a male infant. And she's actually seen as Chris' object of desire, as well as a fully-functioning member of society.
Meanwhile, as TV writers must always do when writing about some group being offended by "Family Guy," here comes the obligatory explanation that the show regularly seeks to offend just about everyone on the planet — from white people to fat people, straights to gays, saints to sinners.
We're hoping Fox doesn't feel the need to apologize for this half-sentence "mocking." Because, quite frankly, there's nothing to apologize for.