Friday, July 23, 2010

Ugly America

Some Things  Can


I just saw something like that today. It was over at the Daily Beast, and it has to do with the Odious Breitbart. Lloyd Grove writes:
For the media-savvy Breitbart, it’s an unalloyed triumph—even better than last year’s redacted videos of a fake pimp and prostitute seeking business advice from ACORN, which resulted in Congress voting to defund the community group. But lest anyone think he’s savoring his moment in the sun, he says think again.
“I hate this!” Breitbart told me Wednesday morning. “I feel bad for this lady.”
Well, as they say, sincerity is the key to success. Once you can fake that, the world's your oyster. Grove continues, apparently capable of processing such an enormity with a straight face.
“[Breitbart's source] told me about this back in early April—he said ‘I just heard a really sensitive speech, where this lady recounts this story and the entire audience affirms it,’ ” Breitbart said about the unidentified man who provided the video of Sherrod’s March 27 speech, adding that he can’t explain the highly selective editing. “I don’t know this person. I can’t divine what that person’s motivation was. I don’t know.”
In the full video—which Breitbart has since posted as well—Sherrod tells NAACP members about her experience decades ago as a case-worker for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund helping a financially strapped white farmer, and how she overcame her own prejudices to embrace the notion that whites and blacks share common interests and problems. “When I made that commitment, I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only,” Sherrod tells the crowd. “But [with God’s grace] you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.”
I asked Breitbart if he regretted posting the redacted video: Wouldn’t the full context of Sherrod’s words be considered exculpatory? “’Exculpatory’ is in the eye of the beholder,” Breitbart answered. He stoutly defended his redacted video, claiming that the audience’s approving response to Sherrod’s confession—of initially not wanting to help the white farmer more than minimally necessary—demonstrates that the NAACP is guilty of the same racially charged attitudes for which the civil-rights organization recently slammed Tea Party activists.
Within hours of Breitbart’s post, Fox News stars such as Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity were inaccurately presenting her remarks as though they reflected the current policy at the Department of Agriculture, and demanded her head on a pike. Weirdly, the NAACP, which had access to her full remarks, joined in calling for Sherrod’s resignation—and Vilsack followed suit.
Oh of COURSE it's a triumph! Yep. If that's what you need to tell yourself. And of course, by the way, the full version of the tape PROVES that "reverse racism" is a terrible, terrible problem, and that black people are out to get "whitey." Didn't people applaud when Shirley Sherrod revealed that she hadn't "gone the extra mile" for a white farm family? Well that proves she's a racist!
In the full video—which Breitbart has since posted as well—Sherrod tells NAACP members about her experience decades ago as a case-worker for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund helping a financially strapped white farmer, and how she overcame her own prejudices to embrace the notion that whites and blacks share common interests and problems. “When I made that commitment, I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only,” Sherrod tells the crowd. “But [with God’s grace] you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.”
I asked Breitbart if he regretted posting the redacted video: Wouldn’t the full context of Sherrod’s words be considered exculpatory? “’Exculpatory’ is in the eye of the beholder,” Breitbart answered. He stoutly defended his redacted video, claiming that the audience’s approving response to Sherrod’s confession—of initially not wanting to help the white farmer more than minimally necessary—demonstrates that the NAACP is guilty of the same racially charged attitudes for which the civil-rights organization recently slammed Tea Party activists.
That's the message the people who like Breitbart want to hear. But, you know, they really don't need him to tell them. They can pull it right out of a Media Matters interview. The truth is irrelevant.
timeisnow (The Daily Beast Forums)
She is a racists, the tape was not edited, which would mean the tape was tampered with. When she refers that she gave the white guy to one of his own kind, that is sooooo offensive to a white person, who are you kidding.
The fact in Media Matters interview she was very Racist shows how racist she really is. She also admitted she didnt help him the best she could have, again thats racist... pay attention and stop making excuses, thats the double standard Breitbart is talking about. 
Breitbart - and Beck, and Limbaugh and Boortz and quite a few others make quite a nice living serving up the stupid for those who want to be told what they want to hear. I'm starting to think that there ought to be some recourse, beyond economic pressure, for those who feel the public airwaves are being abused for private profit at the expense of the Social Contract.  This clearly exceeded the bounds of protected speech;  it was a deliberate and malicious ploy, performed with the clear intent to do grave, personal and unjust harm; disrupt the administration and deprive it of a surprisingly poised and competent civil servant.

Few of us would do so well under such circumstances. I'm sure that's what Brietbart presumed - that she'd do no better than any other person in such circumstances.

The political appointee turned out to be an ass - and admitted as much. He's embarrassed, as well he should be. And I can't even imagine what went through the minds of the people over at the NAACP. That utterly baffles me, as has been pointed out; they had the full tape. I presume they are humiliated. 
 "We were snookered," [into believing that Ms Sherrod made racist remarks] Benjamin Jealous, the NAACP president, noted ruefully.
Apparently nobody considered the source, and there were those involved who should know very well that Brietbart is in fact a committed political enemy - a propagandist, not a journalist.

But this is not about them; Mr. Grove, you treated Breitbart in the way one would treat a colleague. 

I shall presume that judgement to be accurate on your part. Meanwhile, Sir, here's how the pros do news and analysis.



Quick update:
Some useful introspection seems to have come out of all of this. 

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