PALIN LAMENTS ‘JERKS’ AND ‘STINKERS’…. In the wake of the election, McCain campaign insiders have been fairly aggressive in blasting Sarah Palin, including anecdotes about her confusion about which countries were part of NAFTA and whether Africa is a continent. For the most part, Palin brushed off the criticism.

Yesterday, however, upon her return to the governor’s office, it appears Palin just couldn’t help herself.

Ms. Palin told reporters in Alaska that the anonymous criticism was “cowardly,” and that she had discussed the campaign’s position on Nafta at her debate prep sessions.

“I remember having a discussion with a couple of debate preppers,” she said. “So if it came from one of those debate preppers, you know, that’s curious. But having a discussion about Nafta — not, ‘Oh my goodness, I don’t know who is a part of Nafta.’ ”

“So, no, I think that if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about Nafta, and about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context,” Ms. Palin said. “And that’s cruel and it’s mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks, if they came away with it taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It is not fair and not right.”

Commenting on her experience with the national media, Palin added, “For the most part, absolutely, media persons, reporters, have been absolutely right on and there has been fairness and objectivity. There have been some stinkers, though, who have kind of made the whole basket full of apples, once in a while, smell kind of bad.”

As much as I can appreciate Palin’s inclination to defend herself from some ugly criticism, which may or may not be true, keeping this story alive for yet another day seems like a mistake. By speaking at length about the campaign’s criticism yesterday, Palin has only produced yet another series of stories about whether she’s a “diva,” whether she asked for a lavish wardrobe for her and her family, and whether she has a basic understanding of geography.

And the more the two warring factions keep this up, the worse both appear.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.