Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Joyous News: Momentary Outbursts of Spine on Display

Among both Democrats and the MSM, no less!

There's a story about Shirley Sherrod on the NYT's site that keeps getting updated. Most recent version of the story appears to have been posted just before 9pm, EDT (an hour before this posting). Here are some excerpts from the way it now appears.

With Apology, Fired Official Is Offered a New Job

WASHINGTON — The White House and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack apologized profusely and repeatedly on Wednesday to a black midlevel official for the way she had been humiliated and forced to resign her Agriculture Department job after a conservative blogger put out a misleading video clip that seemed to show her admitting antipathy toward a white farmer.

By the end of the day, the official, Shirley Sherrod, had gained instant fame and emerged as the heroine of a compelling story about race and redemption.

Pretty much everyone else had egg on his face — from the conservative bloggers and pundits who first pushed the inaccurate story to Mr. Vilsack, who looked stricken as he told reporters he had offered Ms. Sherrod, until Monday the Agriculture Department’s rural development director in Georgia, a new job that would give her a “unique opportunity” to help the agency move past its checkered civil rights history. She told him she would think about it.

“This is a good woman, she’s been put through hell and I could have and should have done a better job,” Mr. Vilsack said, as he conceded that he had ordered Ms. Sherrod’s firing in haste, without knowing that the video clip, from a speech she gave to the N.A.A.C.P., had been taken out of context. He said that he had acted on his own, and that there was “no pressure from the White House.”

Mr. Vilsack’s late-afternoon appearance capped a humiliating and fast-paced few days not only for the White House, but also for the N.A.A.C.P. and the national news media, especially the Fox News Channel and its hosts Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, all of whom played a role in promoting the story about Ms. Sherrod.

The controversy illustrates the nexus between Fox and right-wing Web sites like the one run by Andrew Breitbart, the blogger who initially posted the misleading and highly edited video, which he later said had been sent to him already edited. (Similarly, Mr. Breitbart used edited videos to go after Acorn, the community organizing group.) Politically charged stories often take root online before being shared with a much wider audience on Fox. The television coverage, in turn, puts pressure on other news media outlets to follow up.


Fox News began its pursuit of Ms. Sherrod in prime time on Monday night on three successive opinion shows that reached at least three million people. Leading off, Mr. O’Reilly asked on his top-rated program, “Is there racism in the Department of Agriculture?” He discussed the tape, plugged Mr. Breitbart’s Web site and demanded that Ms. Sherrod resign immediately.

By the time Mr. O’Reilly’s remarks, which were taped in the afternoon, were broadcast, Ms. Sherrod had indeed resigned, a development that Fox’s next host, Mr. Hannity, treated as breaking news at the beginning of his show. He played a short part of what he called the “shocking” video from Mr. Breitbart, and later discussed the development with a panel of guests, mentioning the N.A.A.C.P.’s recent accusations of racism within the conservative Tea Party movement.

“It is interesting they just lectured the Tea Party movement last week,” Mr. Hannity said, telegraphing a talking point that would come up repeatedly on other shows.

Fox’s 10 p.m. show also covered the resignation as breaking news. Ms. Sherrod later said Fox had not tried to contact her before running the video clip repeatedly on Monday.

Fair and Balanced™!!!1!

I'm about ready to faint that the NYT is finally showing enough stones to state such facts as appear in those last paragraphs (shoutout to Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who will no doubt have O'Reilly, Hannity, Breitbart, etc., calling for her resignation tomorrow), so I'll leave you to read the rest.

Also, here's the tweet that made me think I ought to go back to check on this article:

UOJim Cause they're lying sacks of shit? RT @daveweigel "Why is there no Sherrod correction at Big Government right now?"

(Big Government, if you didn't already know, is one of Breitbart's many websites.)


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