Who acted dishonorable and who did not in the Sherrod case?

Posted: July 21, 2010 by datechguy in internet/free speech, opinion/news, tea parties
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I was part of a spirited exchange on twitter last night with Dan Riehl and Josh Trevino I argued that we are obliged to act honorably saying:

Being right isn’t always in our control but acting honorable is.

So in that spirit lets take a long look at what happened here and who acted honorably and who did not.

I took the liberty of re-examining Andrew Breitbart’s post of Monday. Examining it with a more experienced eye one can see that he has chosen his own words very carefully.

For the past week, Americans who consider themselves aligned with the Tea Party movement have suffered the indignity of being falsely labeled racist by the NAACP and their pro-bono publicity managers, the main stream media. The constant calls to “repudiate the racists from your ranks” have not only been insulting, but have also served to force a false standard upon America’s fastest-growing and most vibrant political movement that no other group could ever live up to nor would ever be asked to live up to.

He spends the majority of the post talking about the NAACP, the MSM, charges of racism against the tea party and a rush to judgment by the media.

From the beginning of the Tea Party movement, the Left, its aiders and abettors at MSNBC, the NY Times and other reliable left of center propaganda venues, raised race as the driving force behind the movement, even though the evidence was never there. MSNBC even egregiously cut off a black protester’s head in a photograph of a man carrying a gun to a rally in order to discuss that anti-black racism was rearing its head in America.

Read the whole first 14 paragraphs, He sets up the trap and almost lays out what is about to happen over the next 72 hours. Only then does he come to Miss Sherrod. Again he chooses his words very carefully:

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.

Now what is said is actually true and in context, but note what he never says, he never calls her a racist, never calls for her removal, and in a later paragraph notes this:

It’s unfortunate that the NAACP’s recent resolution and false accusations have forced us to show you video 1 when video 2 is the bigger problem. That’s not to say video 1 is not a problem, but this country can ill afford, in this time of economic peril, to waste our time poking and prodding at the racial hornet’s nest that was supposed to have been removed with this post-racial presidency. But now President Obama and the modern-day Democrat party reveal they are anything but post-racial.

Again he puts is focus not on Shirley Sherrod but on the media and NAACP. He lays the trap and as we have seen the Whitehouse and the media jumped all over it. He clearly is telling one story, The double standards of the NAACP and the MSM is that the story that will be reported?

Here is where the MSM and the White House had a decision to make. Do they address Mr. Breitbart’s legitimate critique of the major players? If they do there is no Shirley Sherrod story, do they decide to talk to Miss Sherrod? Nope. They decide that they can use Shirley Sherrod to prove their “even handed” approach to racial intolerance. So the MSM pounces and the White House fires her and they all pat themselves on the back. They are so afraid of Glenn Beck they make her pull to the side of the road and send in a resignation!

Now comes the NAACP. Not only do they know Shirley Sherrod, not only do they have possession of the full tape, but as revealed today NAACP President Ben Jealous was actually at that very speech and heard it himself. (Update was it the state prez? I’ll follow up)( Did they defend her? Did they wait a day to say they are “Examining the evidence” ? Did they contact the White House and say hold up a sec guys? Nope.

One can’t understate this point. All the NAACP had to do was wait a day and they could have baited conservatives (with the exception of the anchoress of course) would have fallen for it. They KNEW the truth. They knew Sherrod didn’t deserve to be fired it and within 24 hours they could produce the tape to back it up. They were given the choice of backing up a black woman, waiting a day, or the most powerful man in the world’s decision. What did they choose? They decided that backing up the first black president was more important than the fate of Shirley Sherrod.

Shirley Sherrod has at this point been jobbed by both the administration and the NAACP

And what happens next? The feared Glenn Beck skips it on the first day and backs up Sherrod on the second, Krauthammer on Fox does too. And the NAACP has to backtrack. The White house is even worse, they back up the firing and then reverse themselves. CNN decides they will have Breitbart on to watch him squirm, instead they do. GMA figures he will wilt when doubleteamed, he cleans their clock. and brings up double standards in information that CNN and ABC have given short shift.

So here we are today, the administration is now reviewing the case, and Shirley Sherrod now has in in the catbird seat to get what she wants from an administration she supported and threw her under the bus.

How did everyone act?

The Administration: They waited days on the Van Jones case and others, there was no reason why they couldn’t have waited a day or two here. The facts were less important than their image. Verdict: Dishonorable!

The NAACP: They had the tape, their president was eyewitness to the events in question and decided that backing the Obama Administration was more important than a solitary black woman. Verdict: Dishonorable

The Media: Jake Tapper gets kudos for digging in this story and straight reporting (Honorable) In a 24 hour news cycle I can’t see the media not playing the tape or holding it back, particularly once statements were out. Furthermore since they were jumping on unsubstantiated charges of racism before why would they stop now? Verdict: Mixed: The media treated these charges in the same way it treats charges against the right, that is honorable, but the way it treats the right is dishonorable. They were also a bit introspective and once they found the real story, the hasty actions of the White House and NAACP they reported it pretty well.

Shirley Sherrod: She knew the truth and choose to resign, I don’t understand this, but she also put the blame where it belonged. She had no idea what Breitbart knew but she knew what the NAACP knew and called them out on it. Verdict: Honorable

The Anchoress
: Verdict: Honorable No surprise there

Andrew Breitbart: This one is hard, his target was clearly the NAACP and the media double standard. His phrasing was practically Clintonesque when it came to Sherrod but his focus was elsewhere. It all comes down to this: Did he have the full video? If he didn’t then the verdict is Honorable as the video clearly illustrated the point he was making for days and used it in that context.

But if he did have the full video that changes things. Breitbart knows the media, knows how they react. The use of the tape was almost like directing a couple down a dark alley in a rough part of town at 2 a.m. If they are mugged it’s the muggers fault but you know it was likely it would happen and you let it happen. Would he in hindsight know it would work out? Perhaps, but this is someone life and reputation. The MSM and the NAACP and the administration, I don’t expect better from, but from my side I do. If he had the full tape I must conclude that Breitbart’s actions were Dishonorable.

As for winners and losers, Breitbart and Sherrod are the clear winners. The NAACP, the media and the White house are clear losers.

Oh as to Jonah’s point. The question of if Breitbart owes an apology turns on the same question as if he is honorable, but either way he will not. Why? The moment he does it gives the media an excuse to change the focus of their story and he’s much too savvy for that.

Update: Given the choice of going after Breitbart or the people with actual power and/or absolute knowledge of the facts who actually acted against a black woman’s livelyhood, pseudo conservative David Frum knows where his bread is buttered. That’s why he can be spared and Breitbart can’t.

Multiple relevant memeorandum threads

Update 2: Context for me but not for thee

Update 3: Confederate Yankee provides an excellent summing up

  1. mantis says:

    None of you soulless **** acted honorably. DIAF.

  2. mantis says:

    Not to worry, I’m done with your cesspool.

  3. “The constant calls to “repudiate the racists from your ranks” have not only been insulting, but have also served to force a false standard upon America’s fastest-growing and most vibrant political movement that no other group could ever live up to nor would ever be asked to live up to.”-Andrew Breitbart
    Perhaps Andy is blind to the posters that use the term “Niggar”, or ones that compare Obama to a monkey. Pure, overt racism. No code words here. In you face racism. So the NAACP has every right to cast dispersions upon an organization that will not police its vocal minority of overt racists.

  4. […] to write this posting when I remembered one more analysis I wanted to read, the one by my paisan, DaTechguy.  With a sigh of relief, I headed on over to The Examiner to peruse his latest article published […]