Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are you afraid of Black People?

On the July 21, 2010 Rachel Maddow show, Rachel had a good and long exposition on the political tactic of creating fear among whites—fear that the Black people are coming to get you and more importantly, get your stuff. Two of the biggest stories lately have involved Acorn and Shirley Sherrod.
In the Acorn story, videos were shown that seemed to show an Acorn employee agreeing to help smuggle young women across the border for prostitution. What wasn't shown was how the employee was getting information from the fake pimp and prostitute who were proposing this activity, which he then called into the police after they left. The police have verified this.
Acorn was not without sin, but it's biggest sin was getting a lot of people to vote who would not vote for the Republicans. Hence they had to go, and a carefully edited video was enough to do it.
Now just days ago, another video was aired on Fox "News" which came from Andrew Breitbart, who also, just incidentally, showed the Acorn video. Mr. Breitbart is a known liar and sleazeball. What else do you call someone who edits videos to promote a lie?
The editing here purported to show that Ms. Sherrod discriminated against a white farmer because of his skin color. And she was described as a "government official" when at the time of the story she was relating (20 years ago!), she was working for a non-profit. And the point of her story was how she realized that not doing her best for this farmer was wrong. She went on to help the man, and he has appeared on TV saying that she helped save his farm.
Somehow, gee I don't know how, that last part was left out.

The most disturbing part of this is not that Mr. Breitbart created this falsehood, nor that Fake, I mean, Faux, I mean Fox News immediately jumped on it and gave it mucho air time. No, you expect pickpockets to act like pickpockets, you expect mafia hit men to kill, so the actions of Breitbart and Fox are pretty much normal for them and what we expect. What is disturbing is how quickly the administration bought into this story, did not even TRY to verify it, and forced a resignation from Ms. Sherrod.

This is so utterly disgraceful.

There's no other way to put it. I mean, I mean, I mean I mean, how can this administration allow itself to be so totally flummoxed by these lies? Especially after Obama said a few weeks ago that Fox news was not a real news organization? Well, we knew that. Doesn't anybody fact-check at the white house? If Faux News says the Russians are going to launch missiles at us in moments, is Obama going to push the button?

Give me a freaking break.

Here's how spurious that video seemed to a, omigod, Fox News commentator, Mr. Shepard Smith:
"We here at Studio B did not run the video and did not reference the story in any way for many reasons, among them: we didn't know who shot it, we didn't know when it was shot, we didn't know the context of the statement, and because of the history of the videos on the site where it was posted, in short we do not and did not trust the source."

One redeeming commentator on Fox News.
Like Jehovah sparing Noah, I cannot damn the whole network to perdition.

But the point is, if even one, so it was only one, Fox News person was suspicious of the story, WHY THE HELL WASN'T THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SUSPICIOUS OF THE STORY? Forgive me for yelling.

Breitbart has a history of phoniness, and the fact that Faux News picked up this story and gave it lots of airtime should have raised some red flags. But no, the Obamarama caved and asked for a resignation, and then ended up with egg on its face when the real story came out. When will they learn? When will Obama remember he has ba— remember that he won by a big margin, still has a lot of support in the country, and still has the Bully Pulpit so he can get up and call a spade a spade (perhaps not the best metaphor in this context) and bring the force of his office against this fear-mongering and lying?

And now Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who asked for the resignation, have had to make public apologies for this embarrassing forced resignation.

The best part, for Fox and its minions, is that it doesn't matter that the story is proved false. The administration made such fools of themselves over it that the right-wing wingnuts win anyway.

"The buck stops here." You know that Mr. President. Please, please, show a little more leadership.

I thought I was supporting a brave and focused leader for President. I sure wish he would prove me right.
And I sure wish the Democrats would also show some fortitude in pushing a progressive agenda. When Obama was elected, I worried that I would have to go elsewhere besides politics to find things to rant about. I needn't have worried. My biggest gripe now is not that I still have Repubicans (intentional misspelling) to rail against (expected that), but that the Democrats and Obama also deserve the miniscule darts of my aggravation. Oh, if only I had one of those missiles buried in North Dakota, I could really get some attention then. All I have now is my two loyal readers, who really should be doing something else.

I see a need, a job which should be filled. For a mere, oh say, 70 grand a year, I would be willing to check all news stories which come out of the right-wing alternate universe, and advise the administration on any that need to be addressed, and HOW they should be addressed. I'm not asking that much money, but I would make that sacrifice for my nation. 70 grand is not that much to pay to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of over 300 million people.
Consider it Mr. O. You need me. I am willing to serve.


coastalcandy said...

Rigth-wingers and race. Check out this story on Obama's visit to Bar Harbor and the black power ice cream!

curmudgeon said...

That's funny and pathetic at the same time.
What is missing in people's lives that they need to engage in ridiculous conspiracy theories?

StewartIII said...

"Andrew Brietbart posted an edited clip of Shirley Sherrod. Chaos ensued. Sherrod was fired and it’s the fault of Fox News. Or is it? Herewith a case study of Fox Haters and their noise machine."

"To set the stage, it is necessary to know the true timeline. On the morning of Monday July 19, Andrew Breitbart posted a video clip of Ms Sherrod. Long story short, it did not provide the complete context of her remarks. That afternoon, Ms Sherrod was called repeatedly by the administration and told she was to resign. At this point, this story had not been reported on FNC, CNN, or MSNBC. There was a reason why FNC had not been covering the matter:"
'Michael Clemente, senior vice president of news editorial, said the network’s news programs reported the story with caution. “When I heard about this Monday morning and saw it on Breitbart’s website, I said, ‘OK, could be a story, let’s check it out,’ ” Clemente said. “We did the normal fact-finding we would do on any story.” At an afternoon editorial meeting Monday, Clemente urged the staff to first get the facts and obtain comment from Sherrod before going on air, according to internal notes from the meeting that were provided to The Times. “Let’s make sure we do this right,” he said.'
"Sherrod resigned, and the news broke on Monday evening. The first mention of the matter on FNC was from Bill O’Reilly. His show was taped about two hours earlier; he played the edited clip, called on her to resign. But by the time it aired, Ms Sherrod had already resigned, and an on-screen graphic noted same. (O’Reilly would later admit his mistake and apologize.) That same night CNN also played the clip in reporting on the resignation, as did Hannity (who discussed it with Newt Gingrich and a bi-partisan panel). It was also mentioned briefly by Dana Perino (subbing for Greta). By Tuesday morning, the NAACP had gone on record approving of the firing. Their statement has been removed from the NAACP website, but it said in part:"
'Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race.'
"Both MSNBC and Fox & Friends discussed these developments. As the LA Times noted:"
'The first reported piece on Fox News, by correspondent James Rosen, aired on Tuesday morning, and included a second video clip that added context to Sherrod’s comments.'
"Along with the LA Times, reports from Mediaite, the Washington Post, and others make one thing clear: nothing that aired on FNC could possibly have caused Ms Sherrod’s firing, because FNC aired nothing until after she was already gone. That’s not a matter of opinion; it’s fact. So now the fun begins, as the haters kick into high gear."
J$P: Fox Haters Week in Review!

StewartIII said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
curmudgeon said...

I didn't blame the whole mess on Fox News. My point was that the administration shouldn't have panicked.
That said, however, it remains true that the Breitbart tape got a LOT of play on Fox news. O'Reilly may have finally apologized, but what good was that? Did the truth of the story get as much play on fox as the lie?
I think not.
Even so, the fact remains that Fox news regularly twists stories around to fit their own views, falsifies them, and does so shamelessly.