Had CNN’s Carol Costello taken the step of apologizing on-air for having snarked about the audiotape in which Bristol Palin describes a recent, highly covered Alaska brawl, perhaps Sarah Palin’s interview today with Stuart Varney of Fox Business wouldn’t have had much pop. But Costello hasn’t taken that step.

In introducing the Costello issue with Palin, Varney noted the absence of an on-air apology and asked what it was like dealing with such “mockery” over a period of “more than six years.” Palin had some thoughts on the matter: “I always have to keep in mind that other people have it a heck of a lot harder than the Palins do.  You know, they’re taking the real shots out there. Maybe … they have a kid out there in the war zone fighting for America right now, and they’re worried about their child in the armed forces. Maybe they’ve just lost a job. Maybe their parents are ill and need — there are so many challenges. Every family has a challenge … but also, Stuart, the bottom line, of course, is that liberals love those Saul Alinsky rules for radicals where they’re out there playing the politics of personal destruction. They do want to destroy personally those who they disagree with. They’re very, very intolerant of those who maybe hold opposing views to their liberal, failed agenda views, so, you know, they want to crush us.”

Last week, Costello asked her viewers to “sit back and enjoy” the audio of an anguished Bristol Palin describing the scrum to police. She really had fun with the situation: “This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across,” she said. Costello issued an apology to Politico but has resisted calls, including from this blog, to issue a mea culpa directly to her viewers. Come to think of it, Costello’s apology didn’t even express regret explicitly to the Palin family. It said: “Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize.”