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« Shots Fired! Sherrod Calls FOX News Racist | Main | Paint the Tea Party Black »
Wednesday
Jul212010

NAACP, White House, Pundits, et al, Get "Snookered" By FOX News

Yet all they did was end up with egg on their face. It was Shirley Sherrod who lost her job, was blasted as a racist online and on TV and was used as a political football between the Right Wing and the NAACP. Yesterday was just another day in knee jerk, reactionary 24-hour-news cycle. Where your career can end due to some poorly edited tape.

More after the jump.

According to the Associated Press, Shirley Sherrod had a really, really bad Monday. She was in her car when she received calls from the Department of Agriculture pressuring her to resign from her position as Georgia Director of Rural Development. She said she was told to tenure her resignation via her Blackberry. And she did.

What was the hubbub about? A 38-second video clip that had gone viral via conservative blogger and ACORN antagonist Andrew Brietbart. The video showed Sherrod addressing a local NAACP chapter, speaking on an experience where she momentarily considered discriminating against a white farmer who had come to her for help. The clip spread fast and wide on the Internet and was played on FOX News.

The only problem with this 38-second clip was that it was taken out of context. Sherrod was speaking on over-coming her personal prejudices and how she became good friends with the farmer's family as she helped them save their farm. Sherrod and the Spooner family spoke to CNN about what really happened, but neither the people who fired Sherrod, nor Brietbart, who is in the middle of waging his own war on the NAACP, sought the whole story before they leapt into action. You know who else didn't wait for the full story? The NAACP.

NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous, still dealing with the whole Tea Party condemnation fall-out, took to Twitter criticizing Sherrod's "actions." The NAACP pushed a statment criticizing Sherrod without learning the full story.

From NY Daily News:

"According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race," he said in a statement before Sherrod's explanation.

"We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers."

Later, NAACP backtracked, Jealous claiming the 101-year-old civil rights organization was "snookered" by FOX News. Jealous said he apologized to Sherrod personally over the phone. Then the NAACP released video of Sherrod's full statement.

TAPPED's Adam Serwer called the rush to trash Sherrod without getting the full story "fucking cowardly," which is about as apt of a description there is. Other words come to mind like "sad," "pathetic," and "amazingly stupid." This story, after all, originated with Brietbart who has a history of playing fast and loose with facts. This story was pushed largely by FOX News, which right now is pushing a two year old New Black Panthers are coming to eat your children meme, acting like the Department of Justice is being run by Nat Turner. The fact that Brietbart and FOX could scream "REVERSE RACIST!" at the White House and NAACP would both would jump without even questioning the source or getting the full story from Sherrod is beyond woefully depressing. It's especially sad since Sherrod was speaking to a local NAACP chapter and Jealous, et al, didn't even bother checking with anyone who saw her speech first to get the context. Brietbart had his bait, set his trap and the NAACP stumbled all over itself and fell right into it.

Greek dramatist and playwright Aeschylus wrote that in war the truth is the first casualty. There has been a racial war of words going on in this country for longer than any of us can recall that has only become more heightened and cowardly in the advent of the United States' first black President. It's one giant step forward ... a million tiny, obnoxious, shameful, nit-picky steps back as a gaggle of immature whiners get dragged into our so-called "Post-Racial" world.

Sherrod should get her job back and her life back and apologize all around. I say should, because these things are never known. So often when mistakes these big and public are made the last thing anyone wants to do is admit they're wrong. Even Roland Martin struggled immensely to hold on to his feeble criticisms of Sherrod after the full story came out. But rather than just admit that he hadn't known the full story before he rushed to his conclusions he dug himself a bigger hole and stood proudly in it, telling all critics on Twitter and Facebook to continue to pile on.

Again, a woman lost her career and had her good name destroyed over misinformation and cowardice. Over people who would rather be first than right. Over people who rather cover their own asses than stand up for a career employee. Over people who preen and pontificate for the fawning, fickle attention of the limelight, then abruptly change the subject when their beliefs prove false. Over people who have become afraid of their own shadow as they stood in a spotlight of their own creation. Truth is the first casualty in a war. Even if it's a war you never signed up for. The scary part is what happened to Sherrod could happen to anyone of any stripe, career or political affiliation in our age of information that comes at the speed of a Tweet. Any of us could find ourselves getting stuffed in the media's wood chipper by our own peers the minute we get caught in the crossfire.

In the battle of power and influence those with the least always suffer the most.

Yes this is embarrassing for the President, for Jealous and for the NAACP. But in a few days we'll be on to the next car crash. Let's hope things are made right for Sherrod before then. All too often the cameras move on while the true victim's dreams are dead and gone.

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Reader Comments (42)

Again I ask, why are these guys relevant? The NAACP is becoming a running joke in a realm usually occupied by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. How are we supposed to take and Organization like that seriously, when they get "snookered" with a doctored version of a full tape that THEY HAVE IN THEIR ARCHIVES! *sigh*

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Noface

No one cared enough to view the entire tape and investigate before rushing to judgement? Mind-Blowing!

Fox News strikes again! Shirley Sherrod deserves apologies across the board and she should be reinstated immediately. It was absolutely ridiculous how no one would admit that they F'd Up! Also, I am an Obama supporter but he played a part in this as well, I can't stand how he straddles the fence on certain issues when those issues require decisive actions. I am disappointed in his knee jerk reaction that resulted in the unjust and unnecessary termination of this woman.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJason

The true problem is that 1) No one wants to be found guilty of "reverse racism" and give the right any validity to some of their claims. They don't want to set a poor precedence for the first black President and his time in office. 2) No one has any guts anymore. An organization with GUTS would have stood firm on waiting to hear the facts and the whole story before making any statements or judgments.....but the NAACP acts like they're running scared.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDiva (in Demand)

Jesus, be a fence...and a good PR team.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTamara

I mucked up too. We all make mistakes. Nobody's perfect.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Wise

Jealous and Obama (and apparently Martin as well) were too busy showing White people what good little darkies they are.
The NAACP stupidity is shocking even for them; but Professor Obama's signing off on the firing of this woman (days after defending the Tea Party against racism claims-the same group who called him a 'welfare monkey') is beyond sickening. First Van Jones, Eric Holder, the bromance & beer photo-op with the White cop and now this-I am through with that spineless bastard Obama, and longer care what happens to him.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBluTopaz

Meant to add, if Obama grows a pair in the next few days he also needs to call Vilsack out on the carpet for this mess also, and let the public knows that he did it.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBluTopaz

naacp's mission has a solid place and the connections and resources can be put to good use to serve that mission, black people, and all americans in turn. the leadership and organizational challenges are real and affect their ability to advocate and affect change. that sucks. but it's not insurmountabe

this 'sherrod' shit, though? pathetic. and pathetically embarrassing. all around. brother barack's people, jealous and all the rest need to man up and handle it.

brilliant post, danielle.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternzinga

Yes, disappointment is the word. I am so over this weird self sabotaging reactionary habit of the Obama administration when it comes to racial and populist issues. its like they don't get that 1) fairness is not the top priority of these so called conservative or 2) they don't have his best interest in mind and 3) they will do ANYTHING to discredit him. Its surprising to me that somebody who ran such a powerful campaign where these issues were successfully addressed can't seem to do the same since coming into office. I'm not sure what the best response is; but. automatic acquiescence is not the answer.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDavid L

I think the NAACP's willingness to throw Sherrod under the bus so quickly without first investigating was a case of them trying to show people that they can root out the "Reverse Racism Cancer" that has taken root in Black America since the ascension of Obamalot. Their efforts to serve this cynical meme will do nothing but further erode their influence in "Post Racial" America.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDash

ok, did the administration really do anything? vilsack repeatedly said he acted completely on his own. where did it say that the administration did something?

i do think obama doesn't have nuts, tho.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

@ swiv

In the middle of all the back and forth yesterday the White House said they backed Vilsack's decision and were aware of the firing.

July 21, 2010 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

This is the straw that broke the camel's back. We need a Democratic primary challenger for 2012. NOW.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChanel

Obama should refuse to accept her resignation or simply give her a better gig.

Didn't George Bush invade another country based on lies and faulty information?

Mistakes happen...

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWenzel Dashington

Laughable that the NAACP says it got snookered by Brietbart and Fox News. Seriously? That should never have happened. I can't believe that they would put any stock in what these folks would say. THe NAACP and NAACP alone is responsible for being snooked!

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnlycoar

she got her job back

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/21/vilsack-apologizes-to-sherrod/?hpt=T1&iref=BN1

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterswiv

Now that we see the influence the "Jersey Shore" has over the NAACP for being "Snookered"...can we begin a dialog about what the hell they are doing when they should know better! They know that FOX News is OUT to get them in every way they can. Not to mention the Tea Party leadership has been pushing a narrative that outlines the need to cut out programs and reduce taxes (highlight "cut welfare and inner-city programs to give me my money back"). Anyone with half a brain knows that before you act, you investigate! The fact that they rushed to put a nail in the coffin lets you know that the NAACP is running scared. They are not ready to fight for the cause. They want to stave off the potential "Gotcha" moment and keep their "reputation" in tact.

What they should do is take out an ad in all major newspapers and online editions stating that they will no longer respond to any allegations from FOX News since the media outlet has continued to slice and dice videos that portray African Americans in a way that questions the validity of their news organization. That is a way to fire back and take some viewers with them. The way to attack FOX is on the credibility of the storyline. They are not challenged because the Obama Administration is afraid to flat out say, "FOX continues to Outfox the viewers, and we will no longer regard them as a serious News organization. If people want to be led astray, then continue to watch. However, be advised that they are not telling the truth and stories continue to surface that provide evidence of misrepresentation."

As for the NAACP.....What is we gone' do? Heavy sigh.......

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJustice

Now that we see the influence the "Jersey Shore" has over the NAACP for being "Snookered"...can we begin a dialog about what the hell they are doing when they should know better! They know that FOX News is OUT to get them in every way they can. Not to mention the Tea Party leadership has been pushing a narrative that outlines the need to cut out programs and reduce taxes (highlight "cut welfare and inner-city programs to give me my money back"). Anyone with half a brain knows that before you act, you investigate! The fact that they rushed to put a nail in the coffin lets you know that the NAACP is running scared. They are not ready to fight for the cause. They want to stave off the potential "Gotcha" moment and keep their "reputation" in tact.

What they should do is take out an ad in all major newspapers and online editions stating that they will no longer respond to any allegations from FOX News since the media outlet has continued to slice and dice videos that portray African Americans in a way that questions the validity of their news organization. That is a way to fire back and take some viewers with them. The way to attack FOX is on the credibility of the storyline. They are not challenged because the Obama Administration is afraid to flat out say, "FOX continues to Outfox the viewers, and we will no longer regard them as a serious News organization. If people want to be led astray, then continue to watch. However, be advised that they are not telling the truth and stories continue to surface that provide evidence of misrepresentation."

As for the NAACP.....What is we gone' do? Heavy sigh.......

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJustice

I sooo want call Ben Jealous "Couisin Snookie''.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteranlycoar

Briebart s the same azz behind the ACORN tapes. Why would anyone other than Faux news, consider him a credible source?

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkhia213

lovely, thoughtful post, mademoiselle.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdevessel

I live abroad and thankfully I'm not swimming in all the muck and mire of this scandal let alone the Obama administration.
It's a shame how President Obama effortlessly succumbed to a racist network, didn't investigate further before showing Sherrod the door. I've long since not expected anything sensible, intelligent or groundbreaking from the the NAACP (can we PLEASE get rid of that word, it's 2010 for goodness sake? I'm Black, ok?) I am certainly not a voter who expected Obama to change the world, or America in four years. I expected a President that would try his best to serve as a good example of good, solid leadership, someone who has the ability to think for himself. That's why I voted for him. I see, and disappointingly so , that this is not the case. Instead of him trying to appease the conservative apes that clearly despise him, he should look within and do the right thing according to his mind and conscious before his term is up. I hope that he can at least to do this without straddling a media fence.

July 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Tall One

The reason this went sideways for the NAACP is because Jealous left his lane. The NAACP is not a HR department. It has no issue with one fired individual, even if the first Black president does the firing. Obama doesn't need the NAACP's back up. The NAACP is supposed to promote social justice for all underrepresented minorities.

When Jealous decided to fight Fox News with today's media, it was really a wrap. Would MLK have Twittered his disapproval of Montgomery, Alabama's racial oppression? Could you see Thurgood Marshall as a talking head on Fox News sitting across from Gov. George Wallace? America should thank its lucky stars that our civil rights heroes didn't piddle around trying to get their 15 minutes of fame.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWenzel Dashington

I'm SICK TO DEATH of this Stokely Carmicheal attitude towards Obama!! First off shit happens lots of people lose thier job over a bullshit lie she isn't the first and she won't be the last so why is everyone acting like the world just tipped?!! Second and I know I've used this analogy before black people didn't say SQUAT when Clinton screwed over Lani Guinier but now we want to get pissed because the president didn;t have a sister's back?! Please it's not for Obama or any other black politician to save evry single little black person who gets messed up over something like this and some of you are acting like he just decreed a ledger to send all black people back to Africa! That's not what's happening as for 'growing a pair' a lot of you need to too what a crock if this were Kerry/Gore/Hillary/Edwards/Kennedy would you all be rushing to let your haters flag fly?!! No gee wonder why not Obama was NOT elected president of the Black Panthers but president and once the whining and self-serving stops he will start to care about a group who seem intent on bitching about every little thing he does. All while demanding he takes care of them.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach

I meant to say united States and forgive the misspelled words.

July 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Beach
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