The charitable interpretation is that Ratigan and MSNBC staffers are so inept and clueless they don’t know the photo is a fake.
The more realistic take is that MSNBC is out to demean and squash Palin in a “fun” way. Sort of like how fun it would be to show a photo-shopped picture of President Obama's head on the body of some guy in a bikini. A real barrel of laughs.
Or how about a photo-shopped picture of Hillary in a bikini alongside a real image of Joe Biden in a suit? One might even think it sexist. Isn't it just good fun to show scantily clad female politicians juxtaposed to "serious" male politicans in suits?
There is evidence for the ineptness explanation. Ratigan doesn't even know the correct name of his guests. He introduces Time's Jay Newton-Small as "Jay Small-Newton"
There's an appropriateness to the mistake. Newton-Small proves herself to be a rather small person in smirking about Ratigan's jokes aimed at Palin including Levi Johnston's tabloid-like behavior. And Contessa Brewer brings in Levi's posing for Playgirl. Johnston, of course, has as much to do with Palin as Billy Carter's failings had to do with his brother Jimmy's political career and presidency. You don't get to pick your family connections.
But, as Ratigan, Newton-Small, and Contessa Brewer point out, "She has family drama that makes you feel better about your own." More to the point: these three have ineptness, lack of class and sexism that make pretty much everyone in the nation feel better about whatever their own failings are.
H/T Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters
UPDATE: Dylan Ratigan apologizes for using fake photos of Sarah Palin.
From Scott Whitlock of Newsbusters:
A transcript of the November 16 apology, which aired at 9:18am EST, follows:
DYLAN RATIGAN: Before we begin this one, I want to apologize to Governor Palin and all of our viewers. On Friday, in a very misguided attempt to have some fun in advance of Sarah Palin’s upcoming book Going Rogue, our staff mistakenly used some clearly photoshopped images of Ms. Palin without any acknowledgment. And on behalf of the show, I would like to say that this was completely unacceptable. We should have never used those photos in the first place and you can rest assured we spent the weekend and Friday afternoon taking measures to make sure it will never happen again. I apologize.