Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

More questions arise about White House handling of Sherrod mess

Here's what I want to know: Did anyone at the White House or the Department of Agriculture ever ask themselves for one second whether the Andrew Breitbart tape of Shirley Sherrod might be bogus?

This morning, after the full Sherrod tape surfaced and vindicated her, the White House leaked word that they had leaned on Tom Vilsack to reconsider his decision to fire her. This came after the White House leaked word yesterday that they'd played no role in Vilsack's decision to ax Sherrod.

But a new report from Ben Smith raises new questions about what really happened here. Ben reports that on Tuesday morning -- after her firing, but before anyone knew that the whole Breitbart story was about to blow up -- a senior White House offical praised the White House's handling of the whole mess at a morning meeting.

This may cut against the White House's current version of events, which is that they were initially not involved and only engaged to push Vilsack to reconsider Sherrod's firing.

Ben's sources differ about what it is that adviser Jim Messina liked about the White House's approach to the story. But the key is that they all agree he praised the White House's speed in putting out this fire.

What exactly was the White House's role, then, in charting the response? And what exactly is there to praise here? The haste to put this story behind them apparently led to the decision to fire this woman before all the facts were in, effectively endorsing the claim that she said something racially questionable, based on nothing but Breitbart's word.

Whatever the truth to Ben's story -- the White House isn't commenting -- I'm curious to know if anyone involved in this firing asked themselves for a second whether it was appriate to let a fuzzy, scratchy Breitbart video dictate such a high profile decision. Did anyone think to track down video of what the woman actually said? All it would have taken is a call to the NAACP.

UPDATE, 3:22 p.m.: The White House has now publicly apologized to Sherrod.

By Greg Sargent  |  July 21, 2010; 1:18 PM ET
Categories:  Political media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Shirley Sherrod blasts Fox News as racist
Next: White House apologizes to Shirley Sherrod

Comments

Greg, you've got to appreciate the pure ruthlessness of this administration. They don't give a damn about a peon at USDA. The only thing that matters is protecting Obama. They didn't hesitate to throw her under the bus to insulate Obama from reverse racism charges before the story got any traction. That's what Messina is praising. Then the facts come out and they have egg on their face.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod said yesterday that she was repeatedly told that the WH wanted her resignation because "she was going to be on Glenn Beck." Either the WH did this, or the USDA undersecretary lied to Sherrod to lean on her. The administration needs to clearly address this matter.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Greg,
The key here was that NAACP threw her under the bus immediately. It was their video and they did not wait to fully investigate. Once NAACP came out against her (they were trying to appear not too eager to defend a black person after accusing tea party of racism), Vilsack, White House thought what more is there to investigate. They thought their decision to ask her to resign was safe given NAACP had already asked for her to go. I am not trying to excuse Vilsack and White House. But in my opinion NAACP screwed up big time. Everyone in administration assumed they had done their homework when actually they hadn't.

Posted by: TS11 | July 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

The bunker mentality revealed by this extraordinary turn of events reveals a real liability for the Obama Administration. Last week, they got the oil well capped, got financial regulation passed. This week they got the finreg bill signed and got moving on unemployment benefits again. And then Andrew Breitbart launches a despicable attack that anyone halfway familiar with him would recognize as false, and they react like Sherrod was Sister Souljah?

Bunker mentality is not the breakfast of champions, Mr. Obama.

Posted by: boloboffin1 | July 21, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

This is the problem, as I said before. Crediting (white) Fox News and (white) Andrew Breitbart and completely dismissing a black woman as not even worthy of listening to.

These guys aren't half as smart as they think they are. They come from a very insulated world. Obama needs a little more shall we say diversity among his top staff. Valerie Jarrett (assuming she was even involved, probably not) isn't representative enough. He needs a Donna Brazile or someone like that. Someone like Michelle, even. But no more know-it-all white boys.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 21, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

What a bunch of amateurs we have at USDA and their handlers in the WH. And while I normally have NO tolerance for FOX, their pirouette to sympathy for the done-wrong-to Ms. Sherrod really is a masterstroke.

Posted by: joeff | July 21, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

To elaborate a little, it reminds me of the "why are you hitting yourself" routine where the bully has hold of the victim's arm.

Posted by: joeff | July 21, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I've seen this kind of bunker mentality, panic-mode set in on campaigns, at the state level. Everybody wants the issue at hand to go away, no one wants to be caught holding the hot potato, no one wants their career ended by some BS wing-nut smear job. The results can be catastrophic.

The really disheartening aspect of the story is that the WH is still so susceptible to this sort of thing. Yes, Breitbart and Fox News are shameless. But that is to be anticipated. It's their MO.

However, the WH has apparently still not figured out a game plan for this. Van Jones, ACORN, the list goes on and on. If Messina thinks this is an example of how to handle these crises he is living on another planet.

Posted by: jbossch | July 21, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

yes, the wh and the naacp screwed up, and they need to make things right for sherrod. apologize, offer her job back, invite her to the wh, admit that they made a mistake.

but then turn the conversation to the larger issue, the one sherrod addressed in the interview: that breitbart, fox and the rightwing republicans in general were, are, and will continue to provoke racial mudfights.

that's what they did in this case and the wh should admit that they got taken in. but they should say with force and indignation that they will not be taken in again.

in fact, they will take the fight to the bastards. call them out. sherrod did it. it's not hard. just say what everyone already knows.

these bastards don't give a damn about the country. they want strife and division and hatred because it let's them steal everyone blind while they fight each other over petty differences.

call the scum sucking bastards out and say what they they are.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Re: my comment: Messina was previously the chief of staff to Max Baucus, one of the more out-of-touch and conservative Dems in the Senate, then before that Byron Dorgan. Pretty white-bread country that.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 21, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

You are asking a lot of questions, that only the White House can answer. Have you asked them to respond to your questions?

I have suspected all along that Tom Vilsack was pretty much told to get rid of her, by the Political team in the White House, and he was just providing them with Plausible Deniability cover.

I wonder if the White House might not have actually made some calls to check out if this Lady might be a loose cannon or not.

She certainly went all in on the racist conspiracy to take blacks back to looking up to whites, in her recent interview remarks.

I think that was very unwise, and sure to insert racial rancor into the national psyche, when President Obama can not afford to get sidetracked by such a divisive issue.

The more he is forced to talk about racial animosity issues, the less coverage their will be of his actually policy achievements.

That is not a good thing for Democrats, as they head into this year elections. They need to be able to get the voters to focus on the substantial policy changes that they have made, to repair the massive damage that was done to our national economy, by the Republicans.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I can guarantee this reached the highest levels and Obama himself likely gave his approval of the firing on midday Monday. Besides Vilsack is the WH. He is a cabinet member at the top of the Ag department so that's essentially the WH anyway. They already admitted Obama was briefed on it Monday and signed off on it. He had the chance to put the kibosh on the firing but he did not.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Rahm & The Professionals. Bunch of f-ing retards. Stupid and spineless will get you beat, even by the Right Wing wackos.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

When you're right, you're right. Make 'em eat grass.

Posted by: CalD | July 21, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So Truthteller12, big backer of Sharron Obtuse Angle;

You feel she should not have been dismissed, and I take it that means that you also support her position that Fox News were behaving in a racist manner.

You can not have it both ways, but of course that is how you Right Wing Nut Jobs always try to have it.


Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This is a bullsh*t article (sorry Greg, it is) sourced from another bullsh*t article from a piece of sh*t right-wing rag (politico).

Breitbart and Fox have won this debate thanks entirely to the liberal blogosphere's inability to focus for one second on the people who perpetrated this heinous act.

Greg, I am perplexed at why you continue to feed the beast.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

We clearly know now what most of us suspected all along...this WH will toss anyone under the bus if it suits their purpose. While Breibart has certainly put his credibility out there to prove a point, the reaction of the USDA and the WH was gold. I wouldn't be surprised if Ms. Sherrod told the USDA to go pound sand. Maybe a new tea party recruit?

Posted by: luca_20009 | July 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Truthteller.
Seriously?
The President was with some dude from the UK all day Monday.
He had time to deal with something lower level folks should have taken care of properly?
sheesh.

and folks this story is about FOX and Breitbart and their willingness to do anything to go after the NAACP and the Obama administration (and yes no one covered themselves in glory yesterday.)

Posted by: vintagejulie | July 21, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, the point is to ask why Dems continue to treat these folks with any credibility. That's the entire argument of this post.

So in that sense, this post is, in fact, all about Breitbart.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010, there were 2 places I know of that on the 19th were already saying that no one should pay attention to the tape from AB because well, it came from AB.
That was Little Green Footballs and Wonkette....

Posted by: vintagejulie | July 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod was fired before the story even was on TV. She was fired at lunchtime on Monday. Fox covered the story on Monday night. Fox News didn't fire Shirley Sherrod. If you want to take it out on them that's fine I really don't give a rip about them one way or the other. If Obama is dumb enough to be fooled by some right-wing activist with a website that doesn't look good for him either.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

It is far too late to refocus this in a way that attacks the credibility of Fox and Breitbart. The moment is gone. Almost every prominent conservative is already out taking the moral high ground, saying the WH should be ashamed of itself (it should) and rehire Sherrod. Even Fox has managed a master-stroke by pivoting to the narrative of a heartless WH, dumping a poor civil servant on specious evidence.

Posted by: jbossch | July 21, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What wbgonne said @ 1:48. This has Rahm's paws all over it. He's so concerned about triangulating that he does stupid things like this.

Posted by: tracymohr | July 21, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the king of the rope-a-dope, but looks like the game was played on him.

Rahmbo prints are all over this, in my book.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | July 21, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

the idea that we need to *avoid* a conversation about the blatant racism of breitbart and fox is defeatist and bad policy.

she is not a loose cannon for stating the obvious: fox, breitbart and a large majority of the teabaggers running the republican party are drawing on racial animosity for political reasons.

the correct response is not to cower like 'political babes in the woods' but to respond directly.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Sherrod was fired before the story even was on TV. She was fired at lunchtime on Monday. Fox covered the story on Monday night."

BS. Just because Docy says something on Fox and Friends does not make it true.

"FoxNews.com: "The Agriculture Department announced" the resignation "shortly after FoxNews.com published its initial report." A July 20 FoxNews.com article stated: "The Agriculture Department announced Monday, shortly after FoxNews.com published its initial report on the video, that Sherrod had resigned." That initial report was replaced by the July 20 article, but it was copied on a discussion thread here."
http://mediamatters.org/research/201007210032

Posted by: vintagejulie | July 21, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Look before you leap. Does anyone check on a story before acting on it? Fox is a very poor source for any news.

Posted by: Hoffmann1 | July 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The one question I want answered is the one that no one (that I've seen) has even asked: WHO intially leaked the video to Breitbart? He's insisting that he didn't edit it; if so, why isn't he telling us who did?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

and ya, we can't know for sure at this point, but this certainly fits rahm's image.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Thank God for Steve Benen. He picks up this story where Greg and Politico fail.

It's not just that the right gets worked up over stories that fall apart after minimal scrutiny -- though that's part of it -- it's also that the trumped up garbage is starting to get more focused. Kevin Drum raised an excellent point today:

There have been three big conservative outrages that have choked the airwaves over the past couple of weeks. #1 was about a bunch of scary black men, the New Black Panther Party. #2 was about a bunch of scary Muslims who want to build a triumphal mosque on the sacred soil of Ground Zero. #3 was about a vindictive black woman who works for the government and screws the white people she deals with. The running theme here is not just a coincidence.

This, by the way, coincided with leading Tea Party zealots blasting the NAACP as "racist," and a coordinated attack against Thurgood Marshall by Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_07/024829.php

"the point is to ask why Dems continue to treat these folks with any credibility. That's the entire argument of this post."

Sorry Greg, the phrase "White House" appears NINE TIMES in your article. NINE. To Breitbart's FOUR. It may have started out with your intent, but from my point of view it is an unfortunate hit piece on the White House. I expect Politico to come up with such nonsense, but I am surprised that you would run with their angle. It's actually a microcosm of the whole story. Politico reports anonymous White House conversations of questionable importance. Leftie blog turns around and reports it all as fact, pointing repeatedly at the White House. Nope. I don't like it at all. It stinks.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

vintagejulie, thanks. I don't usually go to those sites, but I just bookmarked them for future ref.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Rememeber, what Jim Messina was praising was the spped of the "resolution" -- Cheryl Cook telling Ms. Sherrod to pull over and text her resignation immediately, not wanting to listen to her side. Th\is smacks of a decision made above.

The point is, they believed a right-wing white news source that is notorious for this kind of stunt and didn't credit the black woman involved or ask her for an explanation. They panicked.

Fox and Breitbart are to balme for pulling the stunt, but as Rachel said, THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. The WH boys have to be smarter than to fall for it over and over.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 21, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Leftie blog turns around and reports it all as fact, pointing repeatedly at the White House"

I should edit that, as you're not exactly saying the politico article IS fact.

"Leftie blog turns around and repeatedly suggests it raises questions about the White House"

That's better. But the whole thing -- and the Liberal blogosphere's willing participation in the scam -- still sucks.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Will the WH press corps just accept Gibbs lies today or will they actually do their job for once and call BS? And why hasn't she been offered her job back yet? It's after 2:00PM already. Just get it over with before you get more and more bashing from the media and have to do it tomorrow anyway.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: I think your beef is with the WH staff that has butchered this OPPORTUNITY. And it was, perhaps no longer, a FANTASTIC OPPORTUNITY: this was a pinata waiting to be whacked over and over: Fox News, Breitbart, racism, the Right Win's credibility generally but instead the WH attacks the victim then plays games instead of coming clean and moving into attack mode. It as if they don't WANT to win. In any case, gross political incompetence by the supposedly realpolitik COS is news, though at this point and sadly, old news indeed. Here's is how Big Balls Rahm sees things: despise your friends and cower before your enemies, then call yourself savvy.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: I'm not letting the administration off the hook for pulling the trigger on this woman on the basis of a Breitbart video. Period.

I want to hear the White House unequivocally condemn what happened. That's all there is to it. We should all want that.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

i agree but the point is that the the naacp, the wh, and many dems got taken in. they acted precipitously. i'm not advocating a circular firing squad -- all they need to do is acknowledge they made a mistake and demonstrate that they won't give in again.

breitbart and fox are taking huge hits over this. that's what we need to be talking about.

gibbs is about to speak. let's see how they're going to go forward with this.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

"Fox and Breitbart are to balme for pulling the stunt, but as Rachel said, THIS IS WHAT THEY DO."

I guess that makes it okay?????

WTF?

If I see one more leftie excuse race-baiting in this manner I'm going to fking scream.

Suggesting that "THIS IS WHAT THEY DO" and therefore it doesn't deserve as much attention as the response to their bullsh*t amounts to complicity in my view.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Some interesting Straws In The Wind:

http://thepage.time.com/


"Valerie Jarrett and Elizabeth Warren dine at the Occidental after the financial regulation bill signing."

The site has a picture posted of the two ladies together at the table.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"On the great American scourge of racism, this administration must stand, sometimes publicly, for something. Failing that it will fall--indeed, already has fallen--for anything."

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2010/07/on-lacking-all-conviction/60134/

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 21, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Liam: On Warren, the WH couldn't possibly be so stupid as to pick someone other than Warren. Could they?

Posted by: wbgonne | July 21, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

wb, Greg, blahg, I hear ya. I just couldn't disagree more.

This is *ALL* ABOUT BREITBART AND FOX. Period. Any other aspect of the discussion is a DIRECT result of their distraction techniques.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: "Sorry Greg, the phrase "White House" appears NINE TIMES in your article. NINE. To Breitbart's FOUR. It may have started out with your intent, but from my point of view it is an unfortunate hit piece on the White House."

Ethan, this administration has some answering to do about how this matter was handled. Shirely said she was repeatedly told that the WH wanted her resignation. So much so, that the undersecretary who called her in her car requested that she pull over and text in her resignation. Now, either someone at the WH was involved and was leaning hard on the undersec'y, OR the undersec'y LIED about WH involvement, OR Shirley Sherrod LIED about what transpired on the drive back to her office. Shirley has said more than once that she was TOLD that the WH was involved.

A straightforward clarification from the WH on how this POS event went down is warranted.

And, damn it, someone should be shown the door.today.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

ethan, c'mon. no one is advocating excusing them. we want everyone to call attention to but the way to do so is not by unfairly firing sherrod in a knee jerk way and then dither.

the wh needs to apologize and then move the conversation to fox, breitbart et al. it's a necessary move because sherrod was treated badly by a number of sides here. that simply has to be acknowledged but then they, and everyone, can get back to doing the work of government, reminding people of their accomplishments and calling out the racist tactics and strategy of so many voices of the rightwingers.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Sue, you -- as well as the aforementioned others -- are being played by Andrew Breitbart and Fox.

Ya'll are great folks and well-meaning, but sorry, that's my opinion.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

He sure is a slow learner:

""I've learned a lot of lessons from this whole experience... perhaps the biggest lesson is that I talk too much."

-- Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, explaining why he won't testify at his corruption trial."

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Message to Kathleen Parker.

CNN thinks that you will fail on your TV show, so you can stop sucking up to the Teabaggers, and Grizzly Palin now.

"New York Post: "Eliot Spitzer was so desperate to be on TV, he accepted a contract from CNN for less than $1 million to host a prime-time, 8 p.m. show. A source says he's making closer to $500,000 than $1 million, as is his co-host, Kathleen Parker... Insiders say CNN isn't spending a lot on talent for the 8 p.m. show because its chances for success are slim." "

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

is it your position that the wh shouldn't apologize or that they should but we shouldn't be calling for them to?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Obama has allowed a climate to develop that is simply not conducive to harmonious race relations.

1) In less than a month after his appointment as Attorney General, Eric Holder pronounced on Martin Luther King Day that whites were 'cowards' when it came to race.

2) Similar to the Sherrod case, in the summer of 2009, Obama jumped the gun and blamed a white policeman for racial profiling against Professor Gates -- WHEN IT DID NOT EXIST. He (Obama) FAILED TO DO ANY DILIGENT HOMEWORK!

3) Obama seems to have a delight in mocking any of his adversaries -- many of whom are in fact white.

4) DOJ's failure to take prudent action on the voter intimidation case (Black Panther Party) in early 2010, further caused antenna to go up.

5) When word leaked out that instructions had been given within DOJ 'NOT TO PROSECUTE CASES OF VOTER INTIMIDATION IF THE DEFENDANT WAS BLACK', serious question started developing as to whether Obama was living up to the oath that he took to uphold the laws of the USA.

6) The NAACP's recent resolution (targeting the Tea Party) certainly was not encouraging from a race relations point of view, and candidly, Mrs. Obama's appearance (though her message was on obesity) was perceived by some as tantamount to approval.

7) Then comes the Sherrod case. Again, Obama jumps the gun to protect HIMSELF -- at the expense of Sherrod.

Let us not forget that Obama threw his own grandmother (who was white) under the bus during the 2008 campaign. At the time, many of us gave him a pass, but now, it appears that he did hold a grudge against her – for her race!

Folks, a lot of this is just lack of leadership experience showing up.

Face it! Obama IS NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 21, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

This is why I'd like to see this develop into a lawsuit against Breitbart and Fox.

Because as seen on the last thread, these wingnuts would like to make it seem as though acting on propaganda presented as "news" is worse than making up the lie that led to the action.

It isn't. You know, shame on whoever it was who thought anything that came from Breitbart was reliable enough to act upon. But look at Fox's take on it: remember Animal House, after they trashed Flounder's brother's car? Otter says to the weeping Flounder, "hey, you f***ed up, you trusted us." Because that's the only way they escape culpability here - by claiming that no one should take their word for anything.

And that's the position a lawsuit would force them to take. Bring it on - go after the responsible parties here - the ones who slandered the woman and led to the action against her. I'd love to see the White House counterspin this by saying, "well, the folks at Fox have complained when we said we didn't consider them a news organization, and when we give them the benefit of the doubt, look what happens. We've gotta agree with the tune Fox is playing now - it's our fault for trusting them. We hope everyone out there is taking note."

Posted by: JennOfArk | July 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

whee,

take your racist rants elsewhere. you're not even a good troll.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Ethan: Sue, you -- as well as the aforementioned others -- are being played by Andrew Breitbart and Fox.

Ya'll are great folks and well-meaning, but sorry, that's my opinion."

That's okay, Ethan, you're entitled. :o)

Frankly, I think Shirley ought to talk to an attorney and see if she can sue Breitfart and Fox.

But, the administration cannot rightly justify their own actions based on what FOX and Breitfart did.

There's more than one tine on this fork.

I understand what you are saying. But I don't think the administration gets a pass. They helped ruin this woman's reputation by acting hastily and without just cause.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 21, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"the wh needs to apologize and then move the conversation to fox, breitbart et al."

Vilsack should obviously apologize to Sherrod.

But the focus -- in the msm, on the blogs, etc -- should have IMMEDIATELY shifted to the perpetrators.

And I don't mean to pick on Mimi (or Rachel since it was her quotation), but "THIS IS WHAT THEY DO" is defeatist BS imho. This is indeed "what they do," which is why we need to get them to stop doing "what they do." And the way to do that is NOT to attack the response but attack the perpetrators with force.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse


Liam: On Warren, the WH couldn't possibly be so stupid as to pick someone other than Warren. Could they?

Posted by: wbgonne

..................

It might not be that cut and dried. From what I have seen and heard from Ms. Warren, I would not be surprised to learn that she also has a list of demands, on how much Independent decision making power she will have, before she would accept such a position.

I would like to see both Summers and Geitner out of there, because those two have a history of having stepped on another women who saw the Wall St Casino Banks crash coming, and tried to take steps to head it off.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

gibbs is apologizing and coming clean in what i think is a smart way. he said vilsack has been trying to reach sherrod and when he does, they'll discuss going forward.

maybe early retirement?

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"is it your position that the wh shouldn't apologize or that they should but we shouldn't be calling for them to?"

I think Vilsack should apologize. If the WH wants to as well or instead, that's fine. I am sick of excuses as to why we on the Left -- and I am specifically talking about the blogosphere/media -- eat our own when confronted. If you want to do the right thing, get THEM. THEY did this. If THEY want to go after Obama, fine. But we are doing their work for them by turning this onto the WH. It's part of a pre-conceived plan to distract us and attack the Obama admin and it works every gdmn time. Every time. Sick of it. THEY are the ones who did this. THEY are the ones who should be apologizing FIRST. Anything else, as I've said, is a direct result of THEIR actions.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"Obama seems to have a delight in mocking any of his adversaries -- many of whom are in fact white."

Many of them are men, also. Are you suggesting that he's sexist? Many on the right mock Pelosi and Reid. I guess according to you this means they are mysognists and Mormon-haters? I seem to recall Bush mocking his adversaries....perhaps W is a self-hating white man?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Off course, after Right Wingers have started saying that she should not have been fired;

Once she gets her job back, those same Right Wingers will start demanding that she be fired for charging Fox News with engaging in racist practices.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 21, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

ethan,

i hear you. i'm not attacking the wh, just advocating they do what they have done.

now attack the bastards. i'm with ya all the way.

now gibb's is getting asked about race.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse


Greg Sargent the WaPo hack claims "the full Sherrod tape surfaced and vindicated her"

Not so fast. NAACP DID NOT RELEASE the full, unedited tape. Sargent does no fact checking, as usual. We have to assume Sargent reads blog comments as he sometimes answers them, so for him to persist in claiming it is the full Sherrod tape is disingenuous.

The NAACP YouTube video is clearly edited in the middle of at 20:59 there is clearly a cut in the middle of a sentence and who knows how much has been by the NAACP during the gap that was edited out. The scene change is plainly visible to anyone who views the YouTube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I have to give it to the FOX spin machine. Check out how the focus is on Obama and not FOXNEWS.com.

Masterfill

Some are saying she was fired before FOX released the news. Then I went to:

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/19/clip-shows-usda-official-admitting-withheld-help-white-farmer/

It said on the website:

THE ARGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCED MONDAY, SHORTLY AFTER FOXNEWS.COM PUBLISHED ITS INITIAL REPORT ON THE VIDEO THAT SHERROD HAD RESIGNED.
This from FOX News you dopes

FOX lied to the public. - Again

Posted by: sherardg | July 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

screw,

that was when they switched the tape.

next.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Greg Sargent the WaPo hack claims "the full Sherrod tape surfaced and vindicated her"

Not so fast. NAACP DID NOT RELEASE the full, unedited tape. Sargent does no fact checking, as usual. We have to assume Sargent reads blog comments as he sometimes answers them, so for him to persist in claiming it is the full Sherrod tape is disingenuous.

The NAACP YouTube video is clearly edited in the middle of at 20:59 there is clearly a cut in the middle of a sentence and who knows how much has been by the NAACP during the gap that was edited out. The scene change is plainly visible to anyone who views the YouTube video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk


Posted by: screwjob17 | July 21, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

******************
POOR BABY !!

Posted by: sherardg | July 21, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

crooksandliars has a story that was also on tpm yesterday i think. i won't quote the transcript of the racist death threat against the naacp but here's the c&l opener:

'[WARNING: Audio not safe for work.]

It's obvious why Andrew Breitbart successfully smeared Shirley Sherrod on utterly fake grounds -- he wants desperately to prove that it's the NAACP is actually a racist organization, after its condemnation of racism within the Tea Parties. Indeed, this has been a long-running schtick of Breitbart's -- that the "real" racists are not white people, but people of color.'


http://crooksandliars.com/david-neiwert/violent-racist-haters-among-tea-part

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks blahg, I hear you as well. And I totally appreciate the "buck stops here" argument. I just think that when you want results in a case like this, you hit them where it hurts, at their core competence ("journalism").

And having the "buck stops here" argument now drastically reduces the impact of nailing them on their core competence -- which, shockingly, there's been very little of in the first place.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

and tpm has a good reaction to breitbart:

'Almost Sociopathic

Andrew Breitbart claims he feels "bad" and "sorry" for what "the media" has put Shirley Sherrod through: "Watching how they've misconstrued, how the media has misconstrued the intention behind this, I do feel a sympathy for her plight." Watch.

--David Kurtz'


http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/breitbart_feels_sorry_for_shirley_sherrod_video.php#more?ref=fpblg

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Ethan is right when he says that the real story here is the deliberate attempt at distortion by Fox News and Breitbart.

Did the NAACP and the USDA, and by extension, the White House.... screw up royally? Yes, of course, they did. "Snookered" doesn't even begin to describe their stupidity. But their actions were misguided and foolish over-reactions to a deliberately misleading story.....a story that was designed to create exactly what it ended up accomplishing.

The NAACP and the USDA were foolish and cowardly in their rush to judgment....but Fox News and Breitbart were vicious and deliberate.

So I agree with the emphasis that Ethan is placing on the original culprits. The real story here is that Fox News has no credibility and no legitimate claim to be any kind of journalistic enterprise, and the fact that the legitimate media remains reluctant to call them out on their antics merely proves that Fox News as the big bad bully on the media playground lives on yet another day to continue to do their dirty work.

Posted by: elscott | July 21, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Gibbs is a lying sack of sour owl dung.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | July 21, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

All, the White House has publicly apologized to Shirley Sherrod:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/white_house_apologizes_to_shir.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 21, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

The WH and Vilasek's team look awful in this. But Breitbart's actions are beyond disgusting, both immoral and, in a just society, actionable. Fox aids and abets the crime, willfully, and are little better.

Until the swiftboaters become the story (and as propagandists not machiavellis, Rove is an arch villain, not a sage) then the swiftboaters keep winning, at the expense of the truth.

Surely, surely there will be some lasting effect to Breitbart after this?

Posted by: bullsmith | July 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Surely, surely there will be some lasting effect to Breitbart after this? "

yes. he, fox and a lot of rightwing republicans will be forever known as racist scumbags.

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, the right wing that includes operatives like Breitbert will find ways to slander and diminish the President at every turn. We know that and call them on it at every opportunity, the entire left/blogosphere does and you know it. He's also getting push back from mainstream news sources as well and rather than back track he's now questioning whether the couple who's farm she saved are even the real deal. He's a total a__hat and we all know it. In trying to take down the NAACP he took down an innocent woman and most people of reason and good judgment are pissed about it.

The problem is that the good guys, the NAACP and the Administration bought into it as well and now they're justifiably taking some heat for it. The NAACP admitted their mistake immediately while the WH reviews the evidence. They should have come down on the side of truth instead of politics, as evidenced by Greg's post, and you can try to distract us from that point if you want but AFAIC they screwed up and the sooner they fix it the better. Time's a wastin'. Now they've inadvertently given the Becks of the world a chance to pity the poor woman with fake sympathy which has made a bad situation even worse. Sheesh

Posted by: lmsinca | July 21, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

So who is next for the FOX smear machine.

Posted by: sherardg | July 21, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

What a bizarro world the Fox News devotees live in. You would think that in America there are vast numbers of abused white people who only recently were liberated from their enslaved state. Clearly, if the tea party is going to lie, its only choice is to lie big. And lie it does.

Posted by: Keesvan | July 21, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm watching the Gibbs press conference right now. The White House Press Corp is a joke. Not one of them can ask a question that does not involve Sherod. Not a one. This is not that big a story. I'm sorry, it's just not. One person got fired wrongfully, Gibbs apologized. He's said the White House didn't have her fired and it is the Agriculture Departments decision. But it isn't that big. Financial Reform was signed today. Republicans are still trying to stop unemployment benefits for 2.5 million people. Those are big stories. This Sherrod story isn't that big compared to what is actually going on in this world and is indicative of nothing. This is just garbage media obsessing on this. This site included.

Posted by: zattarra | July 21, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: zattarra | July 21, 2010 3:28 PM This is not that big a story. I'm sorry, it's just not. One person got fired wrongfully, Gibbs apologized. This is just garbage media obsessing on this. This site included.
====

And the reason you are posting on this nonstory is why again? To tell us how much of a nonstory it is? Oh, uhm,

ok

Posted by: dcis1 | July 21, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

"So who is next for the FOX smear machine."

It was not about Shirley, it was about the reaction of the folks listening to her.(which is BS)
Oh and how horrible Journolist was.

Them's the new outrages...

Posted by: vintagejulie | July 21, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

good -- gibbs is pushing back on the reporters about the responsibility of the media for falling for and pushing made up stories like this

Posted by: blahgblogwordpresscom | July 21, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Tom Vilsack should resign IMMEDIATELY!

Posted by: roguecowboy | July 21, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I think that we all agree the white house and USDA acted rashly. Gibbs has apologized on the part of the administration.

But as Ethan and bullsmith rightly point out, this is only a story because Breibart (knowingly or not) posted a thoroughly distorted video without:
-checking with the NAACP, where the video was taken to ask for the entire video to see if the clip was taken out of context (Who would do such a thing?)
-checking with the speaker to see if the video accurately expressed her views
-checking with the subjects of the story to see if what the video showed was an accurate portrayal of Sherrod or their experience with her.

Fox news took the video and proceeded to NOT DO ANY DUE DILIGENCE ON THE ACCURACY OF THE VIDEO. THIS IS JOURNALISTIC MALFEASANCE OF THE FIRST ORDER. It is the journalistic equivalent of shouting fire (racism) in a crowded theater (cable tv).

THIS IS THE BIG STORY HERE!!!!

Poor or rushed white house reaction is not the big issue, although it is an issue. I think that the emphasis in all of these stories should be on the doctored video and the organizations that pushed it without doing even minimal confirmation of its truthfulness or context.

Every time you headline the white house response and not the distortions pushed by Breibart you contribute to misdirecting the emphasis from the dishonest and journalistically lazy posting to the media storm around it.

Which is the more important story? Don't you have an obligation to keep the focus on the what the actual wrongdoing was--posting a distorted video that purposely takes a part of a story out of context to transform a story of redemption into a story about a black person discriminating against a white couple.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I think that we all agree the white house and USDA acted rashly. Gibbs has apologized on the part of the administration.

But as Ethan and bullsmith rightly point out, this is only a story because Breibart (knowingly or not) posted a thoroughly distorted video without:
-checking with the NAACP, where the video was taken to ask for the entire video to see if the clip was taken out of context (Who would do such a thing?)
-checking with the speaker to see if the video accurately expressed her views
-checking with the subjects of the story to see if what the video showed was an accurate portrayal of Sherrod or their experience with her.

Fox news took the video and proceeded to NOT DO ANY DUE DILIGENCE ON THE ACCURACY OF THE VIDEO. THIS IS JOURNALISTIC MALFEASANCE OF THE FIRST ORDER. It is the journalistic equivalent of shouting fire (racism) in a crowded theater (cable tv).

THIS IS THE BIG STORY HERE!!!!

Poor or rushed white house reaction is not the big issue, although it is an issue. I think that the emphasis in all of these stories should be on the doctored video and the organizations that pushed it without doing even minimal confirmation of its truthfulness or context.

Every time you headline the white house response and not the distortions pushed by Breibart you contribute to misdirecting the emphasis from the dishonest and journalistically lazy posting to the media storm around it.

Which is the more important story? Don't you have an obligation to keep the focus on the what the actual wrongdoing was--posting a distorted video that purposely takes a part of a story out of context to transform a story of redemption into a story about a black person discriminating against a white couple.

Posted by: srw3 | July 21, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse ******************
********************
I am so glad you said this. FOX is trying to sweep this under the rug. The dirty bastards.

Posted by: sherardg | July 21, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse


The Nixon tapes had a missing 8 minutes gap too and it was the downfall of a presidency. Gred Sargent's lack of journalistic curiousity it appalling. Pathetic, really.

What a surprise, the NAACP tape contains an obvious, unexplained and visible cut and a scene switch "just happens" to occur in the middle of Sharrod's "the white farmer" story.

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Obama has allowed a climate to develop that is simply not conducive to harmonious race relations.

1) In less than a month after his appointment as Attorney General, Eric Holder pronounced on Martin Luther King Day that whites were 'cowards' when it came to race.

2) Similar to the Sherrod case, in the summer of 2009, Obama jumped the gun and blamed a white policeman for racial profiling against Professor Gates -- WHEN IT DID NOT EXIST. He (Obama) FAILED TO DO ANY DILIGENT HOMEWORK!

3) Obama seems to have a delight in mocking any of his adversaries -- many of whom are in fact white.

4) DOJ's failure to take prudent action on the voter intimidation case (Black Panther Party) in early 2010, further caused antenna to go up.

5) When word leaked out that instructions had been given within DOJ 'NOT TO PROSECUTE CASES OF VOTER INTIMIDATION IF THE DEFENDANT WAS BLACK', serious question started developing as to whether Obama was living up to the oath that he took to uphold the laws of the USA.

6) The NAACP's recent resolution (targeting the Tea Party) certainly was not encouraging from a race relations point of view, and candidly, Mrs. Obama's appearance (though her message was on obesity) was perceived by some as tantamount to approval.

7) Then comes the Sherrod case. Again, Obama jumps the gun to protect HIMSELF -- at the expense of Sherrod.

Let us not forget that Obama threw his own grandmother (who was white) under the bus during the 2008 campaign. At the time, many of us gave him a pass, but now, it appears that he did hold a grudge against her – for her race!

Folks, a lot of this is just lack of leadership experience showing up.

Face it! Obama IS NOT READY FOR PRIME TIME!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 21, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

This is a frightening look at how this administration makes decisions. The cold-blooded, political calculation involved in the decision to fire this woman, and the speed at which it was done, is chilling. Does no one in this administration care about the truth? Is putting forth a minimal effort to gather facts before making such a high profile decision just too much work? Why should we believe that any decision this administration makes is driven by anything other than self interest? Mr Obama keeps bending over backward to prove to racists that he's not a racist. When is he going to stop cowering and trying to placate people who mean him nothing but harm. Man up, Mr. President. You allowed members of your administration to slandered a decent woman, attack her reputation and fire her from her job so you could win points with racists. You owe all decent citizens in this country an apology for behaving like a coward. Get some integrity. Show us you actually stand for something besides your standing in the latest polls.

Posted by: ksmillerhere1 | July 21, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

How in the world can we trust the judgment of the White House on national security and economic issues, when they cannot even sort out the facts regarding a tape of one of their own USAD employees?? REALLY PATHETIC FOLKS!!

Posted by: wheeljc | July 21, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The tape WASN'T bogus, it may not have been complete BUT one thing it did show FOR SURE - those attending that NAACP dinner/function - whatever - were nodding and clapping with approval when they "thought" the efforts to deny the white farmer assistance had been successful.
There's your racism.

Posted by: ReneesOpinion | July 21, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I knew the WaPO was going to put the blame on the WH while giving Breitbart and Fox a pass. No problem with Breitbart editing a tape and going on TV to say. I did that to embarrass the WH and Dems.
Monday the WaPo apologized for NOT covering the NBPP story that Fox so aggressively "pushed".
This paper will do and say Anything Fox wants.

Posted by: yvonneweston | July 21, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Why isn't Breitbart indicted?
Clearly a video hog that intentionally ripped and smeared Sherrod.

It's Breitbart that is the culpable violator.

Posted by: aorj | July 21, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The Buck Stops at the Idiot in Chief's Desk. This is just another reminder of the jump to conclusions thought process of Obama. He did the same thing with Professor Gates and the police Sgt. remember? This guy is so far over his head he cannot see his own body. One term that will live in infamy.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | July 21, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

OBAMA AND THE DEMOCRATS WILL SOON BE GONE AND ALL THEIR LEGISLATION REPEALED. HOPEFULLY, WE CAN JAIL MOST OF THEM AS TRAITORS. LOOK HOW FAR THEY HAVE SUNK.

Quinnipiac University today released a national poll of 2,181 registered voters, almost twice the size of most national polls. (It has a margin of error of 2.1 percentage points.) It showed President Obama’s net job approval rating at its lowest point ever – 44% approve, 48% disapprove.

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | July 21, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh great. So, going on your lefty logic, if the White House hears that nukes are in the air heading our way, BHO will just press the button without checking it out first. You people and this administration are pathetic.

Posted by: BadNews | July 21, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Where's the Police report ?

Don't media outlets use those anymore ? You know, where the crime is named and the statute and the punishment ?

OK, I'll help. The Political Establishment has dug itself a huge hole. The 13th and 14th Amendments mean that every elected official and agent of government at Federal, State and Local levels is duty bound to non-discrimination against persons. As Ms. Sherrod pointed out "It's all about the money".

We can argue Black on White or White on Black race discrimination all we want, but in the end farmers want to farm, and that's why Ms. Sherrod was on the job. No mention of some greedy evil opponent. Then Ms. Sherrod was summarily thrown under the bus by her boss. This of course happens every day. Yet a spokesman for her bosses boss declares it an 'injustice'. Yes, it was - every action up and down the line was a Constitutionally prohibited discrimination per 18 USC 242. It (might have) kept a farmer from his farm, an employee from her work, and a Constitutional Lawyer President from any credibility with the public.

Therein lies the problem for the Political Establishment. Congress can be divided, corrupt, fight tooth and nail over partisan causes in an Election Year. But they cannot make civil servants abandon those they are duty bound to protect.

Posted by: gannon_dick | July 21, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

The WH got suckered into a race bait and snapped it up hook, line, and sinker. Granted, Sharrod did what she could to defend herself until she was fired. Assuming she has other offers from non-governmental agencies, I'd accept their apology and tell them thanks but no thanks.

Redressing an eror goes as far as admitting wrongdoing and apologizing for it. A feeble attempt at recompense (she's having a special position created for her?) only smacks of ineptitude.

Now we know what happens when, in an effort to be quick to act, we forego common sense and evaluate the information. Speaking of which, why wouldn't the WH have a QA type person on staff to make sure PR nightmares like this don't happen regularly?

Posted by: thelongblueline | July 21, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo has lost any sense of proportion and focus here. This roasting of the administration for overreacting to an organized DISINFORMATION campaign by America's right wing media is ridiculous. They've already MADE THINGS RIGHT AND APOLOGIZED.

Have we seen any accountability, apology or rectification by the PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY CAUSED THIS? You know, the liars who created the crisis???

Yet this is all the Administration's fault? You've forgotten that they have to play constant Jackie Robinson defense against the threatening notion of a barrier-breaking president amongst the constantly onslaught of a heckling racist rightwing crowd?

What cheap seats you guys occupy. YOUR sense of balance and sobriety is in question, just as much as the White House's ability to deal with these conservative-generated crises.

Posted by: B2O2 | July 21, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company