Some readers viewed the picture as sexist and demeaning — and the last thing conservative women need from their own side. But there’s an even bigger problem with the photo: It isn’t real.
Monday evening, RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson took to Twitter to deny that the image had been photoshopped. He subsequenly deleted the tweet, but not before Stacy Drake captured a screencap:
Erickson’s colleague Ben Howe, a RedState contributing editor, also appeared to vouch for the photo’s authenticity:
He mocked those who complained about the image:
After it became clear that the photo was fake, Howe lashed out at Sarah Palin’s defenders, calling them “insane,” “perpetually offended” “cultists”:
At the time of this writing, the photoshopped “photo” is still up on RedState’s site.
According to blogger Jen Kuznicki, Peter List, the author of the contentious piece, “responded to an email, saying that he honestly thought the picture of Palin was a flattering, real picture of her, and ran out of time to replace the pic before the whole thing blew up.” That may well be what happened. But once it became clear that the image was phony, would it have been so difficult for Erickson and Howe to acknowledge their misstatements rather than deleting a tweet (Erickson) or attacking those who complained (Howe)?
What message are they sending to conservative women like blogger Stacy Drake, whose views diverge from their own?
Howe is still in attack mode: