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Wondering why the NAACP & Administration Rushed to Judgment in L’Affaire Sherrod

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 6:00 pm - July 21, 2010.
Filed under: Blogging,Racism (Real, Reverse or Faux)

I’m cutting Bruce a little more slack than he did himself due to the limitations of this medium.  I know from our (all all too) infrequent communications that he has been very busy with work and yet remains very eager to blog.  It is no wonder he jumped on the Shirley Sherrod story.  As he put it: “(My one attempt at a lame excuse is that my “window” to blog comes and goes and it just happened to open up when the Sherrod video was first going viral).

With a more flexible schedule than he (and delighted in the distraction of blogging/internet surfing as I struggle with the outline for the next chapter of my dissertation), I have more time at my disposal to flesh out stories.  (When I recognized there might be more to the story, I joined the Anchoress in wanting to see more of the story before passing judgment.)

So, Bruce’s is more than an attempt at a lame excuse.  Unlike the folks in the MSM, the NAACP or the Administration, we lack staffs to assist us in looking into these matters.  What he calls a “lame excuse” is in fact a very real acknowledgment of the nature of blogging.

To be sure, I would that Bruce had said something about wanting to see the rest of the video (when he first posted it).   That said, as quickly as we can get thing out there, we can retract and/or apologize for them.  And Bruce did that as soon as he became aware of the nature of his error.

The head of the NAACP, by contrast, who had more ready access to the full video (than did Bruce or Andrew Breitbart) (as well as to people, you know, members of the organization he heads, who attended the confab where Mrs. Sherrod spoke), doesn’t, as Ann Althouse puts it, “acknowledge this personal responsibility.”  Instead he tries

. . . to shift the blame to “Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart” for editing the Shirley Sherrod video to heighten an apparent confession of racism. When he saw that video, Jealous’s reaction against Sherrod was immediate. She was toxic and had to be spat out.

Seems this guy hasn’t bought the Journolist line on FoxNews and trusts their coverage enough to use as the basis for a statement.  Given the resources at his disposal to investigate a charge, his rush to judgment is, well, noteworthy.  Guess he was more concerned about avoiding bad press than investigating a charge of racism.

The response from the White House was no less hasty, with Jonah Goldberg suggesting the Obama team did so because they recognize the power of FoxNews:

Meanwhile, as a matter of politics, I think this episode demonstrates that this White House is a much more tightly wound outfit than it lets on in public. The rapid-response firing suggests a level of fear over Glenn Beck and Fox that speaks volumes.

Jim Geraghty equates Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack with Police Squad‘s Lieutenant Frank Drebin.

And while Bruce, with fewer resources at his disposal than the NAACP or the Administration, he used the active voice in acknowledging his error, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs used the passive:

“A disservice was done, an apology is owed,” Gibbs said.”Mistakes were made.”

The Obama team made the mistakes, leaving us to wonder why.  Were they fearful perhaps that their failure to act on this incident which quickly gained currency in conservative and conservative-friendly media might draw more attention to an absence of Administration concern for very real examples of “reverse racism”?

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14 Comments

  1. I posted this comment on the thread below because I believe it is important information that will lead to the real story the White House is attempting to distract you from.

    Before you backtrack, This White House doesn’t move that fast unless someone’s rear end is badly exposed. My advice is follow the money.

    Sherrod’s family got $13 million of the $1.15 billion distributed to date under the Pigford civil rights class action suit against the USDA for alleging refusing to help black farmers. Indeed, Sherrod was hired by this administration for her USDA post very soon after her family settled.

    Sherrod’s hubby was a 60’s radical, influential in the Student Nonviolence Coordinating Committee. Her background suggests she knows more about community organizing than about growing crops and raising livestock.

    What makes this really interesting is that in 2008 Congress extended the time for people to file claims in Pigford dispite evidence that many such claims are bogus. We are talking several times more claims than the estimate of the number of working black owned farms.

    Sherrod helped to scam millions of dollars for African Americans who are not even farmers. That is probably what the White House is trying to distract you from finding out.

    Comment by OlyPatriot — July 21, 2010 @ 6:08 pm - July 21, 2010

  2. Yeah, so why did the NAACP and the Obama administration jump all over Shirley Sherrod?

    As I, TGC and others have said: the fact that she is more a Marxist than a racist is not much of an excuse or improvement. (The more so, because she is clearly both.) But that’s judging by our own pro-freedom, pro-individual values. Values not shared by Obama or the NAACP. What’s their excuse?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 21, 2010 @ 6:57 pm - July 21, 2010

  3. Sherrod helped to scam millions of dollars for African Americans who are not even farmers. That is probably what the White House is trying to distract you from finding out.

    That is interesting, if true. I don’t have time to look into it. I hope that, if it is true, I’ll see some bloggers substantiating it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 21, 2010 @ 6:58 pm - July 21, 2010

  4. I forget who pointed it out, but “his kind”?? That seems unnecessary to the story she was trying to convey. Seems to me she said it and she meant it, but didn’t mean to undermine her Road to Damascus story.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 21, 2010 @ 7:01 pm - July 21, 2010

  5. P.S. To make my question very clear, and then I’ll stop:

    Were they fearful perhaps that their failure to act on this incident which quickly gained currency in conservative and conservative-friendly media might draw more attention to an absence of Administration concern for very real examples of “reverse racism”?

    In other words: Did “the Devil” (conservatives and Fox News) make them do it? Apparently, the NAACP now says so. But that’s bullshit. The Devil never makes anyone do it.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 21, 2010 @ 7:02 pm - July 21, 2010

  6. @#3 there is a commenter in one of the Big threads that had quite a bit of detail on Sherrod and the Pigford cases. There was a class action suit but Sherrod’s group filed a separate claim and won $13million. That is a huge payout to people who are not even farmers.

    The Pigford case is actually nothing more than reparations. The wording for the claim is such that people who were not farmers were putting in a claim… go figure.

    Comment by Straight Aussie — July 22, 2010 @ 4:26 am - July 22, 2010

  7. one thing you need to consider is that the head of the NAACP was present when Sherrod gave the speech. He was among those who applauded when she told about her racist actions, and he approved of her action.

    The NAACP had the full video, yet Jealous did not bother to check the video before opening his mouth and condemning Sherrod.

    The funny thing is that Breitbart was not aiming at Sherrod but at the reaction of her audience. Their reaction proved that they are the ones who are racist.

    On the other hand the whole story is beginning to have legs. Perhaps the White House wanted Sherrod removed from her post before people woke up that she had successfully sued the administration as part of the Pigford cases.

    Comment by Straight Aussie — July 22, 2010 @ 4:29 am - July 22, 2010

  8. The more light shined on this administration, the better.

    Apparently details on Pigford can be found here

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 22, 2010 @ 6:55 am - July 22, 2010

  9. The funny thing is that Breitbart was not aiming at Sherrod but at the reaction of her audience. Their reaction proved that they are the ones who are racist.

    I don’t think it’s fair to make this judgment about the NAACP audience, Straight Aussie, for the simple reason that Sherrod did open her anecdote with a remark along the lines of “I intended to help black people only, but God had other ideas.”

    In other words, it was pretty much spelled out from the very beginning that this was going to be a “redemption” story that ends with the narrator renouncing and distancing herself from her past misbehavior — and since the audience knows where the story is going, there’s no need for them to boo and hiss their disapproval during the part where she admits to having racist attitudes.

    To use Glenn Beck’s analogy about AA meetings: When the recovering drunk at the podium gives his testimony about how he would guzzle a fifth of vodka and then wake up sometime the next day in a puddle of his own urine, it’s quite likely to elicit smiles and laughter (of recognition) from some of the AA members in attendance — but that amiable reaction doesn’t signify their approval of the behavior described!

    Comment by Throbert McGee — July 22, 2010 @ 8:51 am - July 22, 2010

  10. Thorbert,

    I give you a slightly different take here.

    I’d value your insights on Mr. McCarthy’s take.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 22, 2010 @ 10:47 am - July 22, 2010

  11. When the recovering drunk at the podium gives his testimony about how he would guzzle a fifth of vodka and then wake up sometime the next day in a puddle of his own urine, it’s quite likely to elicit smiles and laughter (of recognition) from some of the AA members in attendance — but that amiable reaction doesn’t signify their approval of the behavior described!

    Really? Smirks and chuckles of enjoyment – i.e., taking pleasure in the thought – don’t count as a form of approval? Also, approval/disapproval is a moral concept. Why would you imagine that AA morally disapproves of drinking when none of their literature says so? When their philosophy explicitly rejects the entire notion of treating alcoholism as a moral issue? Not to start a sidetrack.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2010 @ 1:00 pm - July 22, 2010

  12. (P.S. Don’t bother bringing up Step 4; Step 4 is the idea that they should apply moral concepts to things *anything but* their choice to drink.)

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 22, 2010 @ 1:04 pm - July 22, 2010

  13. @ #9 that was a nice try with the logic OBOT…. but it does not wash with me…

    Whilst the context was supposed to be about “redemption”, the woman said many things that showed that she had not been redeemed in the slightest because her own statements condemn her as a bigot.

    I stand by my statement that Breitbart was more interested in the hypocrisy of the audience…. that is the NAACP who were so willing to call the TEA movement racist when here they are being caught in their own form of racism.

    I have now listened to some of the tape, and where I might have sympathized with Mrs Sherrod, that is no longer the case. Her own words condemn her completely for her vile bigotry…. not just racism. She made a series of statements regarding the TEA movement and those opposed to the Healthcare legislation showing that she is a liar…..

    Even though I have no sympathy for this woman, and the more she opens her mouth the more I distance myself from any sympathy, I believe that she should not have been forced to resign. That action had nothing to do with Breitbart but everything to do with the place of employment and the current Regime.

    Comment by Straight Aussie — July 24, 2010 @ 5:35 pm - July 24, 2010

  14. [...] And yet, in their rush to demonize Breitbart, the folks at CNN as well as their cohorts in the MSM, lose sight of the incredible complexity of this story.  On this occasion (as from the very breaking of this story and throughout its “trajectory”), I have not seen things exactly as my co-blogger has (my first post linking Anchoress).  I do think he was right to apologize , but cut him more slack than he did. [...]

    Pingback by GayPatriot » CNN’s “teachable moment” in their coverage of Breitbart — July 30, 2010 @ 3:51 am - July 30, 2010

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