On Monday, Jack Stuef at Wonkette wrote a post where he poked fun at a poem that had been posted by “Team Sarah” for Sarah Palin‘s son Trig Palin’s birthday, with the refrain: “Oh little boy, what are you dreaming about?”
Stuef wrote: “What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.” Trig Palin has Down syndrome.
We don’t quite know where to begin with that one. Wonkette is known to be a colorful, biting blog, but we can’t imagine what the author, editor, or anyone part of the Wonkette crew who saw it go up on the site was thinking. Picking on a child with special needs, no matter what your intentions, is one sure-fire way to become universally reviled.
And retribution was swift. The post went wide among conservative blogs, and in about 36 hours, a campaign led by Big Journalism editor-in-chief Dana Loesch and Big Government writer Derek Hunter resulted in nine advertisers dropping Wonkette, including Papa Johns, Huggies, the Vanguard Group, Holland America Cruises, Nordstrom, Bob Evans Farms, Reliant Energy, DealSwarm, and Coldwell Banker. Whoa!
Wonkette editor Ken Layne told David Weigel at Slate that he had placed Stuef on probation, and Stuef himself put up the following apology:
UPDATE: I regret this post and using the word “retarded” in a reference to Sarah Palin’s child. It’s not nice, and is not necessary, but I take responsibility for writing it. For those who came and are offended by this post: I’m sorry, of course. But I stand by my criticism of Sarah Palin using her child as a political prop.
Perhaps that wasn’t enough. Yesterday the post was removed, and in its place was put up the following, somewhat more heartfelt, apology from the editors:
A post on this page satirizing Sarah Palin using her baby as a political prop was very badly done and sounded like the author was mocking the child and not just Sarah Palin/Sarah Palin’s followers.
The writer, Jack Stuef, has apologized for it. And we have decided to remove the post as requested by some people who have nothing to do with Sarah Palin, but who do have an interest in the cause of special needs children. We apologize for the poor comedic judgment.