The Ballad of Shirley Sherrod
This morning I'm inspired. We all know the story of Shirley Sherrod, but it's so good I'm going to repeat it anyway. She's a USDA employee who recently made a speech about how her prejudices made her inclined to not help someone twenty-four years ago while working for a private company. She did so anyway and learned in the process that her prejudice was groundless and the real struggle isn't black vs. white but have gots vs. have nots.
Because this speech was given at a March NAACP meeting and she's now a government employee, it was heavily edited by Andrew Breitbart, the guy who brought us the phony ACORN/pimp controversy, to further the conservative storylines of scary, racist black people and outrageously corrupt government. Everyone in the wingnutosphere jumped on it immediately and as usual the MSM started to run it within a few hours. Tom Vilsack personally ordered her firing by the end of Tuesday, day one of this mess.
Also by the end of day one a <i>complete</i> tape of the speech surfaced and the story changed from "black bureaucrat hates white farmers and doesn't help them when she could" to "black public employee is giving speeches to further the cause of racial harmony thanks to an event that earned her longstanding gratitude and friendship with a white farmer." As a result, everyone hit the ground running on day 2, Wednesday.
The liberal blogosphere came out with a fury, probably in part because nothing irritates a liberal like powerful people unfairly attacking a person of much lower power. They were on the media, they were on the White House, they were on the USDA. The right went into a mad scramble for excuses. "She was for bigotry before she was against it"; "no, it really does say that she didn't help these people" (doubling down on the lie); "liberals do it too"; "everyone in the MSM believed it, so you can't blame us for starting it"; "the new tape is fake, Breitbart had it right"; and "the administration is really the group causing hardship for her, blame them!"
The blogosphere wasn't buying any of it, and by the end of the day it was accepted that Andrew Breitbart lied for partisan purpose, something he's done in the past, the Conservative "new media" ran with it, the MSM foolishly fell right into line, and the Administration caved under a tidal wave of unwarranted criticism.
Now it's day three. Shirley Sherrod has a new job and is publicly thanking the Administration for doing the right thing. It's right out in the open that the conservative media have no problem fabricating stories and pressuring the MSM to accept them. The Obama administration has the example they need to resist being bullied by the likes of Fox News. Best of all, there's open discussion of Ms. Sherrod's point the whole time—our issues are not white vs. black. They're haves vs. have-nots, and the have-nots work actively to keep us fighting each other instead of working together.
It's only Thursday, but I'm prepared to say it's a good week.
Des Moines, IA
Jul 22 2010 - 9:35am