I have taken a small break from blogging as of late...but a recent story in the news has moved me to return and rip a few people a new one!
As many of you may have heard..Yesterday a video posted on a website owned by Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart claimed to shows an African-American USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, telling a story about how she denied full help to a white farmer who was facing the possibility of losing his farm at a NAACP event. Not surprising to anyone who doesn't watch FauxNews only..they quickly picked up the story and presented it as a current USDA official actively practicing racial discrimination. As usual with FauxNews, they discussed the story practically 24/7 for the next day and shortly thereafter word got out that Ms. Sherrod had resigned her position in the USDA, and this was confirmed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (native of my home state). Also not long after, the NAACP also denounced her and her supposed actions..Sounds open and shut right? Wrong..
Just one big problem with this case..Andrew Breitbart is involved. This man has a record of creating his own "truths" and shouldn't ever been considered a good source of anything other than Right-Wing propaganda. And shock of all shocks, the video has been heavily edited and leaves out several huge details that will become clear in a moment..
The main part of this story, is Ms. Sherrod telling a story of her being asked by a white farmer for help and believing he was acting 'superior' and he considering how many blacks have lost their farms in the area and she states that she wasn't going to give him her "full force" to help him. What the chopped version of the video on Breitbart website doesn't show is the full story. Here are the 2 big points that are not mentioned in the edited video or in FoxNews' early reports on this story:
1. FoxNews initially claimed that this story Ms. Sherrod was discussing happened while she was employed by the Federal Government. This is incorrect as Ms. Sherrod states in the video, this incident occured right after the Federal government extended Chapter 12 Bankruptacy to family farms..which happened in 1986. That is 23 years before Ms. Sherrod ever worked for the Federal government. Ms. Sherrod was at the time working for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund in Georgia.
2. If you listen to her entire story, she is trying to make a point. When she was first approached by this white farmer (a Mr. Spooner), she said this:
“The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm, he took a long time talking but he was trying to show me he was superior to me,” Sherrod said in the video. “I know what he was doing. But he had come to me for help. What he didn’t know while he was taking all that time, trying to show me that he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people lost their farmlands, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I can do.”
And that's all you heard if you only watched FauxNews' coverage of this story..But they missed to real story. Contrary to what Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews initially tried to tell you, she didn't actually withhold any help to Mr. Spooner. In fact the story was about how this incident taught her that she should help all poor in Georgia, not just blacks. In fact, the Spooner family came to Ms. Sherrod's defense today and stated that without her help they would have lost their family farm.
Today the NAACP came out apologizing for their condemnation of Ms. Sherrod and accused FauxNews and Andrew Breitbart of "snookering" them. As of now, Secretary Vilsack hasn't apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though I strongly suggest he should. And that's the real sad part and surprising part of this story..How quickly and stupidly Mr. Vilsack, the NAACP, and possibly the Obama administration fell for it. How much influence President Obama had in this situation is currently unknown but many do believe they may have pressured both Ms. Sherrod and Mr. Vilsack into their actions. Why Mr. Vilsack and the NAACP acted without even talking to Ms. Sherrod or looking into this chopped video I don't know..but they should both be ashamed of themselves...And speaking of being ashamed of themselves..I have a few words of FauxNews and Mr. Breitbart..
First to FauxNews..I am not at all shocked by how you failed to do any follow-up on this video and its full content. You are a sorry excuse for a reputable News organization and have proven time and time again to be just as biased, if not more so, than any other major news source in America. While not shocked, I do think you as an organization owe Ms. Sherrod an apologee, not that I expect you will do so. Regardless, the people at FauxNews should be ashamed of themselves..
Secondly, to Mr. Breitbart. I will give him credit for normally being a man who never backs down and fully expressing his Right to Free Speech. However, it was his website that started all this by posted this edited video and he has a responsibility to actually look into the content of his websites. He has stated since the truth was revealed that he doesn't have the original video, just the version his people posted. However, Mr. Breitbart makes a habit of claiming others edit videos of him or conservatives and take things out of context so I find it terribly ironic that he/his people have allowed an edited video on their website. Since it was a NAACP function she was speaking at, couldn't Mr. Breitbart or his people ask them for the full video so as to verify what the video depicted? They certainly could have but they must have seen the video as political gold and didn't even both to look into the video. And for that Mr. Breitbart, you are at fault.
Finally, the NAACP. This organization has been having a public fight with the Tea Party movement over its supposedly tolerance of Racists in their midsts. As such, this public fight may have caused the NAACP to be overly worried about possible cases of so-called 'reverse-racism' by people associated with the NAACP. As such, when this story first broke the NAACP over-reacted and condemned Ms. Sherrod without even talking to her or looking into the story further. More importantly, as Mr. Breitbart's website BigGovernment pointed out, the NAACP should have known better, since she was speaking at a NAACP event which means the organization had the original video! As such, they first should have looked up the video, watched it and then should have defended Ms. Sherrod not stupidity rush into condemning her on Mr. Breitbart and FauxNews' word for it. However, unlike the other two previously discussed, the NAACP has at least apologized to Ms. Sherrod, though the NAACP is still blaming Mr. Breitbart and FoxNews mostly for their error.
Long story short, there is alot of blame and shame to go around, with FoxNews, Mr. Breitbart, and the NAACP each had a hand in ending Ms. Sherrod employment. As such, they all need to admit such and apologize to Ms. Sherrod sooner rather than later..Though I have a feeling the NAACP will be the only one to do so..