Category Archive 'Shirley Sherrod'

21 Jul 2010

Conservative Bloggers Are More Critical And Fair-Minded

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When a tasty news item confirming one’s own prejudices and assumptions and wreaking injury upon one’s political adversaries comes along, it is only natural that the partisan blogger will seize upon it with a certain glee and give it prominent coverage in a major posting.

I almost simply referenced Andrew Breitbart’s video published yesterday of Shirley Sherrod apparently giving a tutorial on successful discrimination in federal program administration in a simple sarcastic posting, but it was short and I happened to watch it a second time, and then I began wondering about its editing.

A day later, everyone knows that all the wheels have come off of Andrew Breitbart’s discrimination story. (the Politico)

Breitbart was doing damage control, telling Talking Points Memo that he didn’t do the editing and was not even in possession of the full video when he launched the story. (sigh)

But the silver-lining in this unfortunate episode is that NYM was not alone in noticing the tricky editing. It was only to be expected that many blogs would be fooled. The truth is that everyone sometimes posts hastily without deep consideration of the material being passed along.

But the right-side of the blogosphere really does differ from the left with respect to honesty and responsibility.

The Anchoress was also paying attention yesterday, and her reservations received major attention because they were linked by Instapundit.

[Here’s] what is troubling me.

Doesn’t it seem like, after all of that sort of winking, “you and I know how they really are” racist crap wherein Sherrod–intentionally or not–indicts her own narrow focus, she was heading to a more edifying message? What did it open her eyes about? Was she about to say “I took him to one of his own, but it shouldn’t have mattered about that; my job was to serve all the farmers who needed help.”

Was she about to say, “I learned about myself and about how far we still have to go?”

Was she about to say “it’s not poor vs those who have, because we are not at war, we are just in the same human reality that ever was?”

Was she about to say, “poor is poor, hungry is hungry and the past is the past when a family can’t eat?”

I want to know. Because it seemed like Sherrod was heading somewhere with that story, and the edit does not let us get there. I want the rest of the story before I start passing judgment on it. …

I want to see the rest of the tape. I cannot believe Sherrod ended on “I took him to one of his own.” Either she said something much worse after that (which we would have seen) or she said something much better.

If it was something “better” then we should have seen that, too.

Before long, her skepticism was being echoed throughout the right side of the blogosphere. So much for Andrew Sullivan‘s “virulence of the far right.”

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UPDATE

James Taranto, on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, also noticed that editing and he had no doubts.

It seems to us that Sherrod got a bum deal in all this. While her description of her attitude toward the white farmer is indeed appalling, even in Breitbart’s video it is clear by the end that the story was one of having learned the error of her ways.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

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Congratulations to Shirley Sherrod on her vindication.

20 Jul 2010

Reporting Racism

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Shirley Sherrod

Andrew Breitbart seemingly catches the black audience at the NAACP nodding approvingly as Shirley Sherrod describes discriminating against a white farmer, deliberately doing as little as possible for him while avoiding getting into trouble and shuffling him along to be assisted by “one of his own kind.”

The 2:36 video seems shocking evidence of cynical, calculating racism and discrimination, until one watches it again and notices how craftily it is edited.

Watching it the second time, it seemed clear to me that Sherrod was not, in fact, presenting a tutorial to black NAACP members, advising them to take federal jobs and then covertly take out racial resentments on white applicants for federal services. She was telling a story, I think, of personal repentance and enlightenment, in which she was ultimately going to describe how, in the course of grudgingly providing the minimum help she could get away with to a white farmer, she suddenly realized that racial divisions didn’t matter, and it was helping people in economic distress that mattered.

Sherrod is cut off very abruptly. I don’t think she had reached her punch line, but I suspect I can guess where she must have been going.

If I’m right, Andrew Breitbart manipulatively edited her morally uplifting and inspirational speech and turned it around 180 degrees into a boastful account of successful discrimination. If I’m correct about this, I fear that it demonstrates that Breitbart is unethical and is an unreliable source.

Fox News reports that Sherrod was forced to resign as the result of the Breitbart video.

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One of (now leftwing) Little Green Football’s commenters argues that the Chapter 12 bankruptcy reference can be taken to establish the time of the incident as 1986, at which time Sherrod was managing a black farm cooperative in Georgia. If so, she would not have been a government employee at all, and her discriminatory impulses would have been perfectly reasonable. This theory is, of course, unproven.


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