Both Weiner and Palin have been the focus of the media for their mistakes. In the case of Weiner, his mistakes include inappropriate internet behavior and a campaign of deliberate lies. In the case of Palin, she was wrong about a well known event in American history, namely the ride of Paul Revere. This was rather ironic given the purported mission of her bus tour. Obviously enough, Weiner’s mistake was morally worse. Palin was simply wrong about basic facts that people are supposed to learn in grade school, while Weiner was engaging in virtual infidelity and actual lying.
Weiner, of course, tried to cover up his mistakes by lying. However, he eventually held a press conference in which he admitted his wrongdoing and accepted responsibility. Rather surprisingly, he answered questions for about thirty minutes. Obviously he should have never done what he did, but at least he ultimately accepted all the blame and engaged in an act of public repentance. I do not, of course, know if this was a decision on his part or whether he was pressured into this act of revelation and contrition by someone of greater maturity and better ethics (or perhaps merely a better practical sense).
Palin’s mistake, though beautifully ironic, was incredibly minor in comparison with Weiner’s misdeeds and campaign of lies. While some people might have simply admitted to the mistake, that is not the way of Palin. Instead she followed her standard tactics.
First, rather than honestly admitting she had made some factual errors, she insisted that she was right. Interestingly, the Wikipedia page on Revere was changed to match her version, allegedly by her supporters (the possibility of pranksters should, of course, be considered). For someone who claims to be on a bus tour devoted to American history and who claims to base her political theory on the historical founders, she really should stick with the historical facts rather than insist that her errors are correct.
Second, she blamed the “lame stream media” for trapping her with a “gotcha” question. While there are “gotcha” questions (I suspect she might mean loaded questions or what philosophers call the fallacy of complex question), she was asked “What have you seen so far today and what are you going to take away from your visit?” That hardly seems to be a “gotcha question.” That is the sort of question school children are asked and are typically able to answer.
One possibility is that Palin is extremely lacking in her ability to handle questions. If so, then most questions would honestly be “gotcha” questions for her. If this is the case, then she definitely should not be president. Another possibility is that she lied about the question being a “gotcha” question, perhaps to protect her reputation. While this lying is not as bad as Weiner’s, it is still a point of concern.
Both Weiner and Palin could benefit from the wisdom of Confucius: “… if he finds he has made a mistake, then he must not be afraid of admitting the fact and amending his ways.”