Teachable Moments: Things learned/reaffirmed from the Sherrod/Breitbart controversy (UPDATED)

Posted by: ST on July 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

O-GradA random list of things we’ve learned/reaffirmed in the aftermath of the Shirley Sherrod/Andrew Breitbart controversy (inspired by Jonah Goldberg):

— Context is everything.

— If you’re a big time conservative media guy/gal, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row before you go forth with potentially explosive info. Because if you don’t, it will bite you and the movement with which you are allied, making people even more skeptical of cons. claims of racism coming from left wing organizations when the fact is that it DOES happen, as I have and others have frequently documented, and as was evidenced by the video itself and the amens and murmurs of agreement during Sherrod’s story prior to when she got to the part about “redemption.” Even Ben Jealous took note of that, and has promised to “look into it.” (Uh huh)

— Most conservative bloggers/writers/commentators, when shown to be in error, will admit it, while the left stays stuck in denial mode when it happens to them.

— Fox News is always at fault, even if they had nothing to do with nor had they published the initial condemnations of Sherrod’s comments as they appeared on Andrew Breitbart’s website when this story first broke.

— The mainstream media really does know how to fact check in a hurry to put things “in context” to make sure no one is misunderstood – as long as we’re talking about a Democrat/liberal under fire.

— By the same token, we can always count on many in the MSM (and on the left) to completely ignore the larger point.

— It’s not ok to level false charges of racism against someone – but only if that person is a Democrat/liberal.

— President Obama and Co. are still apparently willing to throw people under the bus rapid fire with minimal to no evidence of wrongdoing. It’s important to keep up “appearances,” you see.

— So-called “respectable” (read: Beltway elite) Republicans will never resist the opportunity to pile on and join in on the demagoguery. Oh, if only we could be more like the left, who always get it right and are shining examples of how the right should conduct themselves on issues related to factual accuracy and context (and video editing!).

— “Post-racial” America isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

— Listen to The Anchoress.

I may have more to add to the list later. Your turn.

Update – 5:17 PM: Add one more:

— When the WH “acts stupidly,” they will own up to it – as long as it involves a big government liberal/socialist Democrat being wronged.

And another:

— Always consider the posibility that there may be more to the story than meets the eye.

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10 Responses to “Teachable Moments: Things learned/reaffirmed from the Sherrod/Breitbart controversy (UPDATED)”


  1. Yeah says:

    It’s too bad that the blatant racism showed by the NAACP audience – last March, not 24 years ago – has been lost in the discussion of Ms. Sherrod. There’s an audience that was eating up the idea that the woman had shafted a white man because he was white. These are the racists who dare to call others by that name.

  2. Joseph says:

    I think Breitbart has said his real target was not Ms. Sherrod, but the NAACP, as they appeared to be cheering when she got to the part about “not helping” the white farmer. Still, this appears to be a case of overzealousness in getting back at the NAACP for their attacks on the tea party, and in so doing, the conservative movement looks as bad. Get all the pertinent facts, and get the proper context, when making your case, and that goes for the incompetent Obama administration, so quick to throw her under the bus. Unless more facts come out to make her look bad, I think Ms. Sherrod should get her job back, with honors. That is, if she wants it.

  3. I have always been very careful in what I write in my blog and I never post if I have any doubt. We conservatives must not make the same mistakes as our opponents do by being so eager to deep six them. People no longer trust the mainstream media because they don’t care about facts and integrity. We should take that lesson to heart.

  4. Wayne says:

    I think the fallout favors the conservatives. Now Democrats and African Americans can see exactly how loyalty flows. It is a one-way street with this White House. I feel badly for Ms Sherrod as I think she is a fine person and not racist. But it wasn’t Breitbart, Fox News or the Tea Party who threw her under the bus.

  5. DaveO says:

    Think the firing of Ms. Sherrod to have been an excellent tactic in deflection by distraction. Racism and racialism being practiced by the NAACP is now a non-story; with the additional slap at Breitbart.

    Now the story is the WH’s participation in the firing – much like the Cambridge police debacle. So, a peach tea summit story arc until another opportunity can be taken by the Dems to ensure African-Americans are deterred from joining the Tea Parties?

    Well played Dems, very well played.

  6. Vatar says:

    She said that she didn’t use the “full force” of what she could do with a client based on his race. I don’t care what she rambled on about for the other 25 minutes, there is no way I would allow her to work for me.

  7. Sefton says:

    What’s odd to me is that, even in this wrapup phase of everyone talking about the rush to judgment by all parties involved, everyone’s rushing to makeup and apologize to Sherrod and make this go away. Everyone’s rushing to damn everyone else for angering the “context gods”.
    True, the edited video released by Breitbart portrayed her as being a racist in the performance of her duties. True, that what was presented at the time didn’t represent the whole story as evidenced by the entire 45 minute speech – a speech presented to show how she eventually came to the realization that it’s about economical versus racial discrimination. In her words, she ended up redeeming herself to the initial slight she imposed on the white farmer. She saw the light, according to her testimonial.
    Just one problem, and please correct me if I’m blowing this out of proportion. While everyone’s rushing to correct the apparent injustice and rushed forced resignation of Mrs. Sherrod, why is no one asking her about her racism accusation when referencing conservatives upset at townhall meetings during the health care debate or accusing Republicans of being racists since a black man has become president? More importantly, how does this blatant videotaped (and incorrect) accusation reflect on the total content of her speech? I thought she’d come to an epiphany on race matters? If so, why the drive-by, broad-broomed racial accusation?
    While the media is laser-sighted in on the content of the excerpted video from Breitbart, she’s getting a pass on the same accusation everyone was up in arms about from the NAACP just a few days ago. Maybe her comments even led to the ridiculous ‘resolution’ the NAACP passed condemning the Tea Party at their convention. After all, it’s in the same context. In the meantime, she’s recently expressed that a lawsuit isn’t out of the question. Ask me if I’m surprised.

  8. Richard says:

    Don’t know Jonah Goldberg. Don’t know if what Mr. Breitbart and Fox News did airing the video is right or wrong, that’s their call to make.

    What I do know is that Obama and his administration along with the NAACP are both arrogant and egotistical with an attitude of we rule by controlling in order to have submission to confirm they are always right.

    What Mr. Breitbart and Fox News have done with the Sherrod incident is to show Obama and his administration along with the NAACP have weakness and can be easily rattled and shaken.

  9. Kate says:

    I agree with you on that final point Richard….this is a true case of “nerves” and “knee jerk reaction” of the White House Administration.

    Personally, I think her speech in front of the NAACP as a representative of any government organization should have been reviewed by her superiors, at least after the fact. This is the public face of the government to whoever she spoke to and it is of public record. The fact that the WH and other were not aware or hadn’t reviewed the COMPLETE speech in context before asking for her to resign would make me loath to return to them in any capacity. So Stefon, I agree, a law suit is in order for her for all the right reasons.

    What disturbs me the most is that this case proves that substantive issues of racism have been parlayed into the most superficial position….definitely not looking at the whole picture in context. Is this how you run a government?

  10. puffpiece says:

    I first heard about the Shirley Sherrod story at The Anchoress. I love that blog!