Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Shirley Sherrod’s Damascus moment

Jerry Stratton, August 3, 2010

Consider this hypothetical discussion about the color of grass:

A: “The grass in the city park is green.”

B: “That’s ridiculous.”

A: “Here is a photo of the grass in the city park. The grass is clearly green.”

B: “Look at the context in that photo. The sky is blue. How can you say that the sky is green when the sky is clearly blue?”

A: ???

That’s the level of our political discourse today.

A: “The NAACP has become a racist organization.”

B: “That’s ridiculous.”

A: “Look at this video: Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement.”

B: “But look at the context. Sherrod went on to say she was wrong. How can you say that Sherrod is racist when she realized she was wrong?”

Sherrod recanted, and the video Breitbart posted showed that. But the NAACP audience approved of her tale before she got to that part of her story. That was the point of Breitbart’s Big Government article:

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.

The NAACP has been saying some stupid things about race lately—has been lying about Tea Party gatherings—and Breitbart called them on it.

Shirley Sherrod, describing her journey to Damascus moment, received laughter from the NAACP audience for her actions before she described her conversion. The Obama administration, rather than decry the racist response to her speech… forced her to resign, despite having earlier been warned by her that the speech was out there, and despite Breitbart including her conversion in the clip.

The worst part is how brazenly the left in the media, in politics, and in the blogs, are lying to pin this on Fox news. Fox didn’t even run with the story until the White House confirmed it. They were still fact-checking it—no airing of the video, no mention of her name—when the White House fired Sherrod. A cynic might say that they fired Sherrod to take the heat off of the NAACP. Or, maybe the White House didn’t like that she eventually helped the white farmer. It’s also entirely possible it was just bureaucratic incompetence—there certainly hasn’t been a dearth of that from the White House recently.

But trying to pin the blame for their own incompetence on Fox News is a new level of incompetence. This isn’t 1995. There are more than three networks, and there is a whole lot more computing power—including the power to display an entire day’s worth of news in a few seconds.

March 1, 2012: Rewriting history on the death of Andrew Breitbart

This is the only page I have that talks about Andrew Breitbart, and it’s especially timely today. In their obituaries, the news media, blogs, and blog commenters are falling over themselves lying about the dead, and the most common lie is that he somehow mistakenly defamed Shirley Sherrod. He did not. He included the context about Shirley Sherrod’s realization of her mistake in his original video of her road to Damascus. The stated point of the video was how the audience reacted to her mistake before she said it was a mistake.

Even the staff writers at Fox News felt compelled to include the left’s spin on the Sherrod story1:

Breitbart became embroiled in a controversy of his own, though, for his reporting on a web video of Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod. The edited video appeared to show Sherrod making a racist comment, but the full tape later put the remark in context and made clear that Sherrod was actually talking about bridging racial differences.

Certainly, the video edited by Breitbart showed Sherrod making a racist comment: that was her point in telling the story. The lie here is that “the full tape later put the remark in context”. The original video that Breitbart posted put the remark in context. This is a lie, it’s smoke and mirrors, to divert attention away from Breitbart’s bullseye: that the audience approved of her racism.

And you have commenters blaring it from liberal blogs and sneaking into conservative blogs trying to push the lie. I’ve seen it on Ace of Spades HQ and on Legal Insurrection.

Everybody makes mistakes; I’m sure Breitbart made some too. The Sherrod story wasn’t one of them.

  1. <- Press bubble
  2. Refuctionism ->