Then, in defending the charges (which is what NAACP and the Democrats wanted), Breitbart airs an edited tape that appeared to show a black member of the administration practicing some really vile racism.
In lightning fashion, the administration fired her before she could even pass go. Pull over and resign!
Then, Ms. Sherrod blamed Glenn Beck, Fox, and the, yep, Tea Party for starting the brouhaha. Which was wrong because Fox didn't air the story until she had already been fired--it was Breitbart and bloggers who stoked the initial clip. And why did someone send Breitbart this edited clip? Was he snookered, too?
Sherrod then blamed her superior at the USDA, which begs the question--why did administrator Vilsack want her gone so fast, without a proper investigation? Where is Obama on this? Did he act stupidly, too? Shouldn't she get an apology and her job back? Is something funny going on or is this the most egregious example of government incompetence seen in a long while? Lord help us all.
Let me be clear ! It appears Breitbart will take a hit on his journo cred for not waiting to see the entire tape before going to press. He appears to be a bit too hasty at times to 'dance in the end zone'. But that doesn't explain why Vilsack or Obama or Don't mess with Joe haven't come out and given this woman her job back.. Is there something else they know that we don't? Or was her comment about cushy, bulletproof federal jobs just a bit too far past the comfort bar?
TEACHABLE MOMENTS 7/21/10
This may be the all-time teachable moment simultaneously in politics and the media. Here are my takeaways, starting with me..
Me.. I didn't initially post on this, not because I didn't think it was a story, but because I didn't have time. At first blush it sounded really bad and besides, it was silly to think Breitbart would go with something without checking. So when she later resigned and the NAACP issued a strongly-worded condemnation statement from my view it was legit and worthy of climbing on the bandwagon. That was my bad--trusting the administration and not full disclosure.
American People.. most average Joes probably couldn't care less. Their teachable moment is for others: "don't pay so damn close attention to that stuff".
Breitbart.. loses major rep. Even a non-journalist knows you don't go to press without fully vetting. Apparently he wanted this to be true so bad he threw away all caution, unless he's got something else in the can. But he looks a little angry. That's exactly the kind of thing the NAACP was gunning for when they issued their taunt statement last week, and he fell for it.
The NAACP.. looks cartoonish. Hopefully they don't fashion themselves as too clever. Some could argue they take a bigger hit than Breitbart and Fox because they started the whole thing by issuing the tea party taunt.
Obama Administration.. Vilsack wins the knee-jerk of the year award. Congrats to him. Obama wins the tunnel vision management award for blindly backing the blind Vilsack. At least the clowns apologized, but it begs the question--is the first black president so sensitive about race he would assume any black person speaking to the NAACP is a bigot without checking?
Fox News.. takes a hit. Yes they do. They aired the Breitbart story on their website and Hannity was harping about it on his radio show before the resignation, even though he claims he never went with it until after the firing. Hannity refuses to own up to it or apologize in the least, still holding on to this woman's racism. The corners of his mouth are red with Kool Aid.
From my limited perspective Ms. Sherrod and bloggers Allahpundit, Tom Maguire, and Anchoress all come out smelling like roses. Drudge was curiously absent during the whole blowup despite his history with Breitbart. Now he finally has a story on it. Did he have inside info?
But the real question everyone wants answered -- is this really what Eric Holder wanted for America? After all, the race cowards sustained no damage in this.
From Gibbs' painful press briefing today:
Q Since you’ve made your statement here and she heard you, she says that she was most struck by how this would play for her grandkids that the first black rural director in Georgia was fired by the first black President. Does that have some resonance?And those USDA decisions were backed by the president. So it's funny Sherrod is directly blaming the president but Gibbs spent his entire time trying to make everyone believe it was Vilsack's fault, even though he couldn't explain why he was having a hard time reaching Ms. Sherrod by phone to offer her the job back. He also didn't touch on why Obama wasn't taking full responsibility for this event like he did with the BP mess. One reporter even quizzed Gibbs about the 'teachable moment', asking him who the teacher was. Comedy gold, as they say.
MR. GIBBS: Well, I would -- decisions on personnel at USDA were made by USDA. Those decisions were made based on an incomplete set of facts and they're being reviewed based on a more complete set of facts.