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.
[Here’s] what is troubling me.
Doesnâ€™t it seem like, after all of that sort of winking, â€œyou and I know how they really areâ€ racist crap wherein Sherrodâ€“intentionally or notâ€“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 â€œI took him to one of his own, but it shouldnâ€™t have mattered about that; my job was to serve all the farmers who needed help.â€
Was she about to say, â€œI learned about myself and about how far we still have to go?â€
Was she about to say â€œitâ€™s not poor vs those who have, because we are not at war, we are just in the same human reality that ever was?â€
Was she about to say, â€œpoor is poor, hungry is hungry and the past is the past when a family canâ€™t eat?â€
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 â€œI took him to one of his own.â€ Either she said something much worse after that (which we would have seen) or she said something much better.
If it was something â€œbetterâ€ 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.”
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.
Congratulations to Shirley Sherrod on her vindication.