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The Morning Plum

* Is "race" the problem? The emerging media consensus this morning on the Shirley Sherrod mess is that it proves race remains a "stumbling block" for Obama. Few, however, seem willing to explain why this is the case, or who it is that's trying to ensure that race continues to trip up the president.

But Eugene Robinson cuts through the B.S. and spells out what's really going on here, arguing that the Sherrod tale "has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency."

Robinson rightly calls on the president to come to grips with this fact. Obviously there's no excusing the White House's handling of this whole mess, and it's absolutely true that the White House has been too willing to duck racial controversies, ceding turf to the right and its campaign to stoke racial resentment. But let's hope that more commentators are willing to acknowledge what Robinson said here, rather than taking refuge behind platitudes about how "race" is the problem.

* Is "partisan media" the problem? Also: You'll be hearing a lot of people blaming "partisan" media on both sides for the current state of affairs. Here, for instance, is Politico's Jim VandeHei:

"It speaks to a much broader problem in the media-activist industrial complex, if you will, and I think it's a problem that's going to get worse: There's been this proliferation of partisan media -- whether it's MSNBC and Fox at night, or it's Breitbart on the right or Huffington Post on the left -- there's just a huge incentive for people to engage in real tough combat, and to overreact."

This strikes me as a false equivalence. I think it's fair to ask folks wringing their hands about "partisan media" to take a stand on whether MSNBC and HuffPo are even remotely comparable to Breitbart and Fox in their willingness to cook the facts and engage in full blown political crusades. The problem is not "partisan media." It's Breitbart and Fox. Period.

* Coinage of the day: Jon Chait says the Breitbart scam and the ridiculous Journolist obsession showcase the :new conservative pseudo-journalism," a.k.a. opposition research.

* Senate Republicans are really, really good at blocking Dem legislation: Now they're successfully stalling the Dem plan to help small businesses.

* Key takeaway: This really may be the Dems' last chance to pass a meaningful jobs-related measure heading inton the fall elections. Indeed, the New York Times says Republicans are blocking the small-business bill because some Dems view it "as critical to their political prospects in November."

* The alternate universe known as the U.S. Senate: More Senate Democrats come out for extending the Bush tax cuts while simultaneously mouthing concerns about the deficit.

* And: Amazingly, some Dems appear to believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will help them in the midterms.

* Still more from this alternate universe: Senate Democrats may be concluding that even an energy bill without carbon pricing may be a non-starter this summer.

* More outside groups enter Nevada: The labor-backed Americans United for Change goes up with a new ad thanking Harry Reid for "leading the charge" to pass Wall Street reform, which was signed into law yeserday.

* And are White House advisers concluding that the Afghanistan war has become a political and practical quagmire? Says one top Obama strategist: "There are signs that the durability of this mission has to be attended to."

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 22, 2010; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Financial reform , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: A question for the press corps about Breitbart

Comments

Scocca deserves a link on Sherrod/Breitbart and the failure of journalists.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/scocca/archive/2010/07/20/washington-post-not-sure-who-s-to-blame-for-andrew-breitbart-s-fraudulent-race-baiting-video.aspx

Unfortunately, it points to the Post news pages as an example.

Posted by: grooft | July 22, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Scocca deserves a link on Sherrod/Breitbart and the failure of journalists.

http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/scocca/archive/2010/07/20/washington-post-not-sure-who-s-to-blame-for-andrew-breitbart-s-fraudulent-race-baiting-video.aspx

Unfortunately, it points to the Post news pages as an example.

Posted by: grooft | July 22, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

"The alternate universe known as the U.S. Senate: More Senate Democrats come out for extending the Bush tax cuts while simultaneously mouthing concerns about the deficit. And: Amazingly, some Dems appear to believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will help them in the midterms."

Veto. Say it, Mr. President. Say it and MEAN it. Stop messing around with these self-defeating sellouts.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 22, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

According to Newt Gingrich, "There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. "

http://tiny.cc/8aola

Because isn't that what we as a country should be striving for....to be more like Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 22, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - Nice to see such a direct criticism here on the false equivalency problem that the US media is so reluctant to face honestly or empirically.

The problem can be traced back to Buckley and up through the Nixon crowd then through the purposeful creation of conservative media/PR institutions in the eighties and nineties but it has reached something of a pinnacle in Murdoch/Ailes "fair and balanced" motto.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Greg: "This strikes me as a false equivalence. I think it's fair to ask folks wringing their hands about "partisan media" to take a stand on whether MSNBC and HuffPo are even remotely comparable to Breitbart and Fox in their willingness to cook the facts and engage in full blown political crusades. The problem is not "partisan media." It's Breitbart and Fox. Period."

Yeah, Greg, true enough. Send your comments to Howie Kurtz. He seems willing to give Faux Noise a pass. "Others did it, too."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/21/AR2010072106708.html

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

What the Democrats need to do is bring the small business loan legislation to the floor and DARE the Republicans to vote against it.

Then Obama needs to hit the drum beat day and day out about how Republicans are NOT for small business which is the engine for job creation.

That is the message that the Democrats need to take into the Fall.

Posted by: maritza1 | July 22, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Beck inspires another crazed paranoid to take back his country...

"The Tides Foundation, which prosecutors in California say was among the targets of the anti-government unemployed carpenter Byron Williams before he got into a chaotic shootout with several law enforcement officers Sunday, is also a favorite topic of Fox News host Glenn Beck."
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/organization_targeted_by_anti-govt_ca_shooting_suspect_was_frequent_topic_on_glenn_becks_show_video.php?ref=fpa

But it is Murdoch and Ailes who are primarily responsible here. If there are two more vile humans involved in modern US politics and media, I don't know who they would be.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Here's a quick and abbreviated list of what we got from finreg. It's all about the consumer, thank goodness, and limiting systemic risk. It'll be interesting going forward how the new regulations and regulators work in practice rather than theory. It's not everything but I think it's really pretty substantial. And I'll just say again, like a broken record, Elizabeth Warren please. This list is from karoli over at C&L.

* Tighter consumer protections on credit cards and lending. Among them: Simplified contracts, requirement for more transparency in disclosures, full advance fee disclosure, free credit reports once per year
* Consumer Protection Agency - This places all responsibility for monitoring and enforcing consumer protections under one roof, so that there is recourse and resources available to consumers from the Federal Government. Elizabeth Warren, who is one of the top candidates to head the agency, viewed this piece of the law as the foundation. Republicans fought tooth and nail on this, but it survived and became part of the final bill.
* The end of "too big to fail" Yes, it really does end too big to fail. If institutions are teetering on insolvency and present a risk to the financial system, there is now a procedure in place to unwind them in an orderly fashion without infusions of government dollars to prop them up.
* Real time reporting and transparency This is one of those quietly powerful provisions. Financial and trading data will be required to be available in real time in a standardized data format that can be used for analysis and review in order to be proactive about emerging anomalies and trends before they become a problem.
* Stronger requirements for bank capitalization Without climbing deep into wonk-land here, requiring banks to actually have a better debt-to-asset ratio with some stake in the loans they originate will do much to stabilize the industry and move forward.
* Shareholders now have a say in CEO compensation. That may not seem like much, but traditionally, shareholders don't have a lot to say about any company operations, so it does offer an opportunity for people to send a message to the CEOs of these companies.
* An end to "debit card fee bloat" - The pass-through of debit card fees is now limited to actual costs, instead of the routine bloat banks have attached in the past. This one should be interesting to watch...if people pay attention.
* Limits on rate hikes for existing credit card balances
* The Volcker Rule - Banks may no longer trade securities for their own profit while also managing customer investments.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 22, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The alternate universe known as the U.S. Senate: More Senate Democrats come out for extending the Bush tax cuts while simultaneously mouthing concerns about the deficit.

* And: Amazingly, some Dems appear to believe that extending the Bush tax cuts will help them in the midterms.
=============

Its a bizzaro world where cutting taxes doesn't affect the deficit but unemployment spending does. I believe this dystopian universe is at the edge of rightwingnutistan and the conservadems are applying for work visas there so they can work for (fellate) the 1% of people significantly affected by a tax on the <$250K crowd and the .01% that are affected by the estate tax.

Where oh where are the legislators that will represent the vast majority of people that voted for them and not the plutocrats that fund their campaigns.

Posted by: srw3 | July 22, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Last night I read the May New Yorker profile of Andrew Breitbart, appropriately titled "Rage Machine"--this explains it:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/05/24/100524fa_fact_mead

Breitbart is on a one-man mission to turn all we know about accusations of racism on its head Anybody or organization with a proven, historical record of working against racism will be accused by him of racism, e.g. when he put up $100,000 for proof that civil rights icon John Lewis is a liar (that the anti-healthcare mob called him a n.....) Now he accuses the NAACP of racism and tries to use the Sherrod tape as proof.

This is his shtick, expect him to keep it up with one outrage after another, ala Limbaugh. The New Yorker profile explains who this guy is who's whipping up faux racism and why he's not going away.

Posted by: jandmward | July 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Ims!

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Expect to start hearing a lot about the "unintended consequences" of FinReg today. This morning on NPR, they reported that Ford Motor can't get a bond rating on asset-backed securities to make new car loans...because the bond has to have a rating...and the rating agencies are now responsible for the opinions they issue. So rather than giving honest ratings, the bond raters would rather just no give a rating at all...which leaves Ford out in the cold and unable to make car loans.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

srw, it's a disconnect we've seen over and over from the conservative Dems in both chambers. Hopefully, Obama doesn't fall for their wrong assessment of extending the Bush tax cuts. Ezra had a chart up the other day of the deficit because of them not only since they were passed but going forward ten years and it was staggering. The country cannot afford it, period, and it makes no sense for deficit hawks to tout advantages, there are none.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 22, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

From Yglesias...

"The Shame of the Daily Caller
I’d encourage everyone to read this Ann Althouse post on today’s bogus Daily Caller story about JournoList. Her bottom line: “The Daily Caller’s article is weak. And I’m inclined to think the material in the Journolist archive is pretty mild stuff.”

What’s maddening about this whole issue is that of course it’s impossible to prove a negative. The closest one can come, however, is reasonable inference. The Caller appears to have access to a very large proportion of JournoList emails and they can’t come up with anything that withstands cursory scrutiny. Nor are they willing to simply publish the full text of the pilfered emails they’re writing about, forcing their audience to instead rely on Jonathan Strong’s deliberately misleading writeups.

At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct—and Andrew Breitbart’s—for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear one’s opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information."
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/2010/07/the-shame-of-the-daily-caller/

They key there is "I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives."

This, more than anything else, speaks to the moral and intellectual bankruptcy of the modern conservative movement - the broad willingness to lie or to overlook how common and integral lying has become as a means of forwarding the movement.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 22, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

"Senate Republicans are really, really good at blocking Dem legislation: Now they're successfully stalling the Dem plan to help small businesses."
---------------------------------------------

The ads, they write themselves.

Posted by: CalD | July 22, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

"Here, for instance, is Politico's Jim VandeHei...This strikes me as a false equivalence...The problem is not partisan media. It's Breitbart and Fox. Period."

You are friends with Ben Smith, also of Politico. There's no reason you cna't drop an email to Ben, and ask him his thoughts on what you consider a false equivalence. Moreover, you are well within your responsibility to ask him to pass on your displeasure to the author you mentioned. There's no "unwritten code" that journalists cannot prod each other for what they see as not living up to journalistic standards. In fact, the very idea of your profression is the antithesis of that.

I'm an engineer. If I see another engineer designing something (say, a bridge or a building or an aircraft) who isn't doing their job properly...it's my responsibility to say something.

And please don't dismiss the idea of a flawed process of designing a building to not being the equivilent being an honest and fair journalist. The 2.5 million people that had to wait months for the UI extention would beg to differ. The responsibility of the Free Press in this country is important, should be taken seriously by those in it. Right now, most pundits/reporters in DC simply don't act like they see that as their role.

I will say, it's encouraging that we have more and more who are better at calling out the nonsense for what it is. You, Maddow, Olbermann, Shultz, Klein, Hayes, Melber, and so on.

But we need you all to do more than just call out the BS when you see it. We need you all actively working to reform those who are still stuck in the mindset that FOX is news, and to combat the awkward belief of "prestiege without responsibility" that the majority of the DC media still adheres to.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 22, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Some priceless Breitbart quotes from the New York profile--
He and his sister, who is Mexican, were adopted: "I grew up resenting people who would look at us...and go 'Why are these people together'...As a result, Breitbart says, he is outraged when charges of racism are cynically made."
"There'e nothing in the country that is a worse accusation--in America, if you accuse somebody of racism, that person has to disprove that."

This guy is a megalomaniac--keeps spawning websites entitled Big-this and Big-that. With his admitted un-medicated ADD he has unlimited energy to keep this s@#* coming out. Is there a psychiatrist in the house? I'm thinking projection--"I'm not a racist, oh no, it's those other guys, in fact it's the guys who FIGHT racism." Or maybe this is just a money-making proposition.

Posted by: jandmward | July 22, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

A couple of points on the Breitbart fake charge of racism against an honest and forthright woman.

I appreciate the fact that the Administration, the USDA and the NAACP all came out so quickly and both apologized and admitted that mistakes were made. That puts and end to that part of the story IMO, especially if something was learned by the rush to judgment.

I think Breitbart's days of gaining a foothold in MSM, including at least some quarters at FOX are over, a benefit to all of us. Yesterday at FOX Shep Smith explained why he did not show or cover the Breitbart video, he didn't trust the source. And, O'Reilly apologized to Shirley Sherrod and said he hadn't done due diligence in his own research.

We know Breitbart's not going away, but I'd say there are considerably more people on the right who will not spread his lies any longer. I hope I'm right.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 22, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Here, Greg,
is Josh Marshall on the Sherrod issue. Everyone should read it. You and your comment stream did this too.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/07/shame_on_obama.php#more?ref=fpblg

Think about that.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Jim VandeHei has never gotten over being tagged as the "pool boy" by Jane Hamsher. The blogosphere provided devasting critiques of his reporting when he worked for the Washington Post. His view of the "partisan media" has little to do with the merits but rather is a personal animus.

Posted by: pwkennedy | July 22, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"The problem is not "partisan media." It's Breitbart and Fox. Period.""

Yes yesyesyesyesyes.

Breitbart and Fox.

What they did is RACE BAITING. Classic, definitive race baiting. But not JUST race baiting -- the use of racial issues to provoke a response -- but ALSO RACISM. They intentionally attacked Shirley Sherrod BECAUSE she was black.

This is out-and-out racism. Racism racism racism.

Shirley Sherrod is a victim of racism perpetrated by Breitbart and Fox News.

The mainstream media (and media consumers aka US) and the Obama admin are victims of race baiting perpetrated by Breitbart and Fox News.

On top of those two facts, President Obama and the Democratic Party are victims of a political strategy based on race baiting, again, perpetrated by Breitbart and Fox News.

So, again, this is very important to understand:

We have THREE different issues at work:

RACISM.
RACE BAITING.
And a GOP POLITICAL STRATEGY BASED ON RACE BAITING.

They are three very different things, and they are ALL issues in this debacle, and most importantly, they were ALL PERPETRATED BY ANDREW BREITBART AND FOX NEWS.

THAT is how this story should be addressed. Anything else is not only missing the big picture, but is totally ignoring the effects of these heinous actions on the VICTIMS of their disgusting, cowardly, cynical, anti-American, anti-black strategy.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 22, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Tom, you can say what you want about the comment stream here, we disagree with each other all the time, going way back. But I think Greg did an outstanding job covering the story as it broke from all the angles, Breitbart and Fox as perpetrators, the unjust call for the resignation of Sherrod, what exactly was the role of the WH, and ultimately the media fail in the story. He tries to give us the angles of an issue and then we run with it, wherever it leads, and it isn't always what you might call ideal. But I think for the most part it's honest.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 22, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The Truth Finally Sinks In:

That We Have No Honest And Competent Government To Stand Up In Afghanistan.

Let Us Hope That We Do Not Waste Years And Lives Arguing About The Shape Of The Table.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/19/obama-afghanistan-strategy-taliban-negotiate


"White House shifts Afghanistan strategy towards talks with Taliban"

"The White House is revising its Afghanistan strategy to embrace the idea of negotiating with senior members of the Taliban through third parties – a policy to which it had previously been lukewarm.

Negotiating with the Taliban has long been advocated by Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and the British and Pakistani governments, but resisted by Washington.

The Guardian has learned that while the American government is still officially resistant to the idea of talks with Taliban leaders, behind the scenes a shift is under way and Washington is encouraging Karzai to take a lead in such negotiations.

"There is a change of mindset in DC," a senior official in Washington said. "There is no military solution. That means you have to find something else. There was something missing."

That missing element was talks with the Taliban leadership, the official added.

The American rethink comes in the aftermath of the departure last month of General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan.

Barack Obama, apparently frustrated at the way the war is going, has reminded his national security advisers that while he was on the election campaign trail in 2008, he had advocated talking to America's enemies.

America is reviewing its Afghanistan policy which is due for completion in December, but officials in Washington, Kabul and Islamabad with knowledge of internal discussions said feelers had been put out to the Taliban. Negotiations would be conducted largely in secret, through a web of contacts, possibly involving Pakistan and Saudi Arabia or organisations with back-channel links to the Taliban.

"It will be messy and could take years," said a diplomatic source."

Posted by: Liam-still | July 22, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod said this morning on CNN that she would like to "get back at" Andrew Breitbart.

Asked if she would consider a defamation suit against Breibart, the conservative blogger who posted the edited clip that got her fired, she said, "I really think I should."

"I don't know a lot about the legal profession but that's one person I'd like to get back at, because he came at me. He didn't go after the NAACP; he came at me," she went on.

She agreed with the hosts that it would be a "great thing" if Big Government was shut down. "I don't see how that advances us in this country."

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/sherrod_i_really_think_i_should_sue_breitbart.php

SUE THE RACIST SCUMBAG. And sue the racist Fox News scumbags too. If I were a civil rights lawyer, I'd be banging her door down to represent her in this case, I'd do it pro bono.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I think if you go back over the last day and a half, lms, you'll find an extraordinary amount of outraged Obama-bashing by yourself and others. Greg too focused almost all his outrage on the White House staff and Vilsack. Really, go back and look.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Something that potential car buyers should be aware of.


"Ford will offer hybrid at same price as gas model"

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100722/ap_on_bi_ge/us_hybrid_cost

"DEARBORN, Mich. – For the first time, an American automaker plans to sell a hybrid car for the same, lower price as its gas-powered counterpart, removing at least one obstacle for drivers who want a greener ride.

At a little more than $35,000, the 2011 Lincoln MKZ sedan won't be cheap, but the decision by Ford to match the prices of the two styles could lead competitors to follow suit with future models.

The hybrid MKZ, debuting this fall and running on both gas and electric power, will be a bargain after factoring in savings at the pump. It gets more than double the mileage of the traditional version in city driving."

Posted by: Liam-still | July 22, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

TomBlue,

I'm not sure I understand your objection. The White House has ITSELF acknowledged wrongdoing in this case. Do you disagree with them?

Why can't we simultaneously go after Breitbart/Fox's role here while ALSO blaming the White House for being too willing to let Breitbart set their agenda?

And thanks, lmsinca, appreciate it.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 22, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

In the threads yesterday I criticized both Breitbart/Fox and the Admin. My point was that it is precisely because we EXPECT this kind of behavior from B/F, the Admin (whoever it was, and I don't think Obama was personally involved) was wrong to jump to conclusions based on fear of Fox. This is no way excuses Fox or Breitbart, who are in my book evil people. But when confronted with consistently evil and malicious people like this, one would hope that an Administration peopled with supposed smart guys could figure this out and stop being afraid of their own shadows.

Being afraid to criticize an Admin whom one voted for, donated to and still supports is what led to the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Bush years, where GOP so-called public intellectuals abdicated any responsibility for the decisions Bush made. The Dems may carry this to an extreme on occasion, but it is because we had hoped for so much more from Obama and feel betrayed by his Admin's unwillingness to stand by their own people and programs on so many occasions. Cowardice above all needs to be called out, along with the evil it refuses to confront.

Rachel Maddow deserves credit for her piece on the whole long-standing GOP method of preying on the racial fears of more vulnerable whites, though even she did not do what Ms Sherrod did, point out how it detracts from the struggle of the have-nots against the haves-and-always-want-mores. That's what it is about and always has been since the days of Tom Watson.

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 22, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

TomBlue, I'm not sure if I saw this place go after Obama like I did over at openleft and the bitter Hamsher who saw this as another opportunity to trash Obama as an incompetent and weak leader.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 22, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

HuffPo is on the 'left'??? Really ? That alone discredits that moran jim whatevah asshat's idiotic piece. While msnbc (Rachel and KO at least) deal in facts and debunk bs while all the rw media, including the highly offensive rw radio shock jocks, ever do is exactly the opposite.

Posted by: amkeew | July 22, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@Greg,

I'm just saying, the preponderance of your coverage here, and the frenzied outrage of your commenters, has been overwhelmingly anti-White House and anti-Vilsack. Of *course* they acted rashly and stupidly. Nothing wrong with pointing that out. But if you go over your coverage you will see that you pounded and pounded on it. Just look at your coverage.

It concerns me because obviously the WH is sensitive to Fox and Breitbart, but they are also sensitive to how you liberal bloggers saddle up your outrage pony and whip your commenters into paroxysms of anti-Obama outrage. And that's what you did here, in my opinion. It was entirely predictable, of course. But it isn't pretty.

Does it occur to you outrage-mongers that you might be making the situation WORSE, that Breitbart and Fox and Politico are *profiting* from your outrage? You are actualy helping them with their narrative, and helping them "win the morning" with your anti_Obama high-horse outrage. Just think about that.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

"you'll find an extraordinary amount of outraged Obama-bashing"

WOW. Sorry, disagree. Breitbart and FOX own the original sin, but the Administration could not get a pass on this, and had to be called on it. It was pressure from the left that got Vilsack to revisit his decision. His first reaction was to double down. Let's not forget, as an EMPLOYER, he had a responsibility and obligation to thoroughly investigate before acting, and he failed to do that. If we want to count on government accountability, then when they screw up, we have to call them on it.

That said, I thought he owned his part in this quite well yesterday. He admitted his mistake and took steps to make it right. And, he admitted learning something, too, from this event. That is priceless.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Tom, what you call Obama bashing on my part, I call being personally true to my commitment to reinvigorating the middle class and civil rights issues. I like to dole out praise for the Administration whenever I can as well as criticize and shame the right wing propaganda machine, but I also cannot just be silent when I believe a mistake has been made. I'm not a political operative but I deeply care about the fate of the Democratic Party and this country. I think it's important to be critical of ourselves and the President when we fall short. I don't agree with the assessment that that makes me a pawn of the right wing smear campaign. I have to be honest with myself first and I cannot uniformly support policies, strategies, or decisions I disagree with. My goal is to make politics better and this was a case I could not ignore.

To be honest with you and everyone else here, I hold my tongue more often than not because I figure it doesn't serve the larger purpose. I try to pick my battles and this was one I felt strongly about. The Administration came down originally on the wrong side of the truth, it's been recognized by them and I appreciate it.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 22, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

lms - Nice round up of finreg, which unfortunately, seemed to have dropped out of public conscience, thanks to snookergate.

Bernie - Yes, ailes and murdoch rank as the most evil men in the world after darth.

Posted by: amkeew | July 22, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Tom is ABSOLUTELY right, like it or not folks.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 22, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

TomBlue: "Does it occur to you outrage-mongers that you might be making the situation WORSE, that Breitbart and Fox and Politico are *profiting* from your outrage? You are actualy helping them with their narrative, and helping them "win the morning" with your anti_Obama high-horse outrage. Just think about that."

I guess it would have been better for everyone on the left to keep their mouths shut and let Shirley Sherrod end up unemployed and ostracized. Good lord.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@mike,

Well, you are a better man than I am if you were reading openleft and fdl. I've been a good, strong Democrat my entire life, but those people are the equivalent of freepers on the liberal side. I gave up on them years ago.

I generally like Greg and PlumLine -- he does good, original reporting and I admire his willingness to call out his MSM buddies on their sins. But I think he just went over the top on this at the worst possible time.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

More borrowed billions to extend tax cuts for the top 1%? The mad rush to rebuild the glorious 1830s continues.

Posted by: bullsmith | July 22, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I guess it would have been better for everyone on the left to keep their mouths shut and let Shirley Sherrod end up unemployed and ostracized. Good lord.

Grow up, sue.

Unfortunately, I have to go to work where I am unable to post. Please feel free to either flame or to engage, and I will come back after work and read and consider anyone's comments to me. I'm just asking people to reflect on whether you are really doing any good here, or if the game is just to camp on comment threads and howl.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Must read from TPM on the timing of the Brightfart video release:

"Conservatives Try To Bash USDA Anti-Racism Suit, Shirley Sherrod"

In defending his decision to fire Shirley Sherrod, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack explained multiple times that his department has a "sordid" and "checkered" history of both overt and institutionalized racism. But with the term "racism" being tossed around rather a lot recently, it is important to understand both what he meant -- and what role that acknowledged racism played in Shirley Sherrod's life.

It's also important to understand that Andrew Breitbart's timing of the release of the grossly distorted video of Sherrod, which he admits having had for weeks, may not be entirely random. Congress will soon vote on whether to fund part of a settlement between the USDA and African-American farmers who faced acknowledged discrimination -- farmers like Sherrod and her husband used to be. It's a tiny piece of the upcoming war supplemental bill.

The USDA settlements with African-American farmers are a longtime bête noire of the right, which they deem a giveaway to a core Democratic constituency. It's not clear whether Brietbart's release of the video was specifically intended to hurt the chances of other African-America farmers to receive recompense from decades of discrimination that caused them to lose their farms, but conservatives immediately used the video to attack the settlement. The discrimination claims, known globally as the Pigford settlement, is the elephant in the room, so here's the background.

More: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/07/shirley_sherrod_and_the_discrimination_of_black_fa.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | July 22, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

All, pushing another angle on Breitbart here:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 22, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse


I think if you go back over the last day and a half, lms, you'll find an extraordinary amount of outraged Obama-bashing by yourself and others. Greg too focused almost all his outrage on the White House staff and Vilsack. Really, go back and look.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 22, 2010 10:26 AM

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

The Right Wing we expect to keep attacking President Obama, like a pack of rabid dogs. Now we have the left doing the very same thing to him.

He said before: "I screwed up. It was not the first time, and it will not be the last time" The Lunatic Left will make sure that Republicans will be back in control soon.

Just Eighteen months into a 48 Month first, and probably only term, how is President Obama doing?


Stopped the economic meltdown, caused by The Republican policies, that they want to return to.

Passed the most important Wall St Casino Banks regulations bill, since The Republicans" Earlier Great Depression.

Passed a history making National Health Care Reform bill, where several other Presidents had failed.

Adding Two Women to The Supreme Court, setting a record of three, that will now be on it, at the same time.

Passed the Lily Ledbetter, equal pay, for equal work law.

Negotiated a new START treaty with Russia.

Has made a large down payment on an effort to establish a green energy domestic production economy.

Has most of the world looking up to the President Of The USA, instead of despising him.

Of course, since he does not walk on water all the time, then the Lunatic Left will destroy him. That is how they opperate.

No one stopped to even think that he probably got rushed into letting the woman go, because of the prior experience of having the Rev. Wright Tapes being used against him, over and over. The NAACP called for the woman to be fired. What was President Obama supposed to do. Drop everything, and tell David Cameron; I will get to you later; because I have to devote all my time into micromanaging a minor personnel staffing situation.
The prolonged use of the Rev. Wright Tapes,
probably led the White House to make a rushed decision, in order to avoid the same thing happening in this case.

He screwed up on this particular decision. He is not perfect.

Look at all the major things he has accomplished in just his first year and a half.

The Republicans will be back in power soon, and will reverse much of what he has accomplished.

The Lunatic Left, that is already talking about not voting, the next time around, will make sure that happens.

Posted by: Liam-still | July 22, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Greg hits on the key question:

"Why can't we simultaneously go after Breitbart/Fox's role here while ALSO blaming the White House for being too willing to let Breitbart set their agenda?"

The reason you cannot go after both is because going after the WH for their response undermines the idea that Breitbart/Fox did something wrong in the first place.

We have seen this unfold as the VAST majority of reporting after the fact is about the WH apology.

The correct response is to pin the problem on the perpetrators FIRST and attack their core competence. Then deal with residual issues related to the response.

And I understand that the motivation in demanding that the WH/Vilsack address the situation because it is the quickest path to justice for Shirley Sherrod. I get that and I appreciate it. But in a story like this it is actually MORE IMPORTANT to nail the perpetrators first. And to do that, THEY need to be the focus of the reporting, not the reaction to their actions.

The story will fade, people will forget, and all people will remember is that the WH apologized for some personnel issue at USDA, rather than the fact that there was an intentional, coordinated effort to use race to attack the President while smearing a black government official. I'd love to be wrong, but I doubt I am, especially now that I've seen the Day 3 headlines in the msm.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 22, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. The left plays the race card every chance it gets, the NAACP just claimed Tea Partiers are racist, the media uncritically reports, despite a complete lack of evidence, that Tea Partiers hurled racia epithets at Congressmen and it is Fox News and Breitbart that are the race baiters? You can't make up assertions that stupid.

Get back to me when the left and the likes of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow quit blaming every single criticism of Barack Obama on racism.

Posted by: Bob65 | July 22, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"the NAACP just claimed Tea Partiers are racist"

No such thing happened.

"The resolution condemns the bigoted elements within the Tea Party and asks for them to be repudiated. "

I understand reading comprehension is not a strong point for most on the right, but "elements within" is not the same as condemning the whole movement. And based on Mark Williams subsequent overtly racist "mock" letter to Abraham Lincoln, it looks like the NAACP were right.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 22, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@TB: It concerns me because obviously the WH is sensitive to Fox and Breitbart, but they are also sensitive to how you liberal bloggers saddle up your outrage pony and whip your commenters into paroxysms of anti-Obama outrage.

Right, all the pressure that the blogosphere put on the Obama administration to come out strongly for the public option, investigating and prosecuting torture, limiting the size of the megabanks obviously had a big effect on the legislation...oh wait...

Praise where praise is due. Criticism of actions when necessary. I do think that the emphasis should be on the evil that breibart did and does. That is the main story here. But, pointing out that the admin fell for those lies is certainly fair game. Unlike the right, we actually try to hold public officials of either party to account for their mistaken actions.

@b65: NAACP just claimed Tea Partiers are racist, the media uncritically reports, despite a complete lack of evidence

did you miss the obama as witch doctor signs that were created by a tea party activist, duplicated, emailed, and prominently displayed at rallies and not by so called liberal plants. Did you miss the racist screed by Williams? How about the illustration of the white house with a big watermelon patch in front of it? Obama as Aunt Jemimah at conservative conferences? Michelle Obama as "Obama's baby momma?" The examples go on and on. Doesn't this episode of distorted video mean anything to you? If you choose to not see what is in front of your eyes, then you lose all credibility as a poster. Wake up and grow up!

If you can't stop with the "big lie" theory of posting, you should go to big government where your views will be welcomed.

Posted by: srw3 | July 22, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I'm amazed at the article & the ignorant reactions...
Is race a problem? ...yes, but I think the message here is that Breitbart showed it is not just a white against black thing anymore. This in the wake of the Black Panther group denouncing the Tea Party for racism (yet not a single video of proof can be found...hmmm) I found the Sherrod video to be disturbing on so many levels...the reaction of the crowd, her enthusiasm in the telling of her story. I don't care that it was 24 years ago...she told the story a few months ago & the people there were proud of her for it. THAT is disgusting!
Is partisan media the problem? ...obviously you people refuse to the see the other side, so as far as I'm concerned Fox did balance out the airwaves. I thought it amusing the reference of Faux Noise...I bet it eats you up knowing they BLOW all others out of the water in ratings. Perhaps its time to actually watch some of their shows? I bet if you gave them a chance, you'd start wondering about idiots like Greg here.
Oh...and as far as letting the Bush tax cuts expire & sticking it to the evil rich. Why don't some of you actually look up what they are before you speak. They affect everyone, not just that top 5% some of you pointed out. Speaking of the 5% (who pay over half the taxes collected in this country already anyhow)...how many of you have ever been hired by poor person?
yeah, that's what I thought...but you keep biting the hand that feeds you for some dumb reason! take a look at what's going on in Greece...that's where we are headed w/the entitlement programs the dems are handing out.

I cannot wait til November!!!!!

Posted by: larector | July 22, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"The Republicans will be back in power soon"

I hope not but, if so, Obama and the Democrats have themselves to blame because they've given their supporters the Middle Finger one too many times. Watch the White House panic in the face of some McCarthyite-wannabe with a PC. Despise your friends and cower before your enemies; then wonder why you aren't popular. Oh, and now let's blame the disappointed and disaffected supporters who dare to express criticism. Great strategy from the Grownups & Professionals running the White House and the Democratic Party. Watch them next as they fail to nominate Elizabeth Warren. See the Administration put Timmy Geitner's sidekick in charge of the Consumer Protection Agency instead. Then watch as the White House folds like a cheap suit all over again and fail to tax the SuperRich who stole all our money through Wall Street shell games and are now doing it all over again. Get ready to savage the Left yet again when it rises up in fury and outrage. Blame the Left when it stays home in November. A brilliant political strategy. Brilliant. What could possibly go wrong?

Posted by: wbgonne | July 22, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

>> I think it's fair to ask folks wringing their hands about "partisan media" to take a stand on whether MSNBC and HuffPo are even remotely comparable to Breitbart and Fox in their willingness to cook the facts and engage in full blown political crusades.

Maybe you've forgotten about the vicious lies the Huffington Post gleefully propagated about Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Carolyn Kay
MakeThemAccountable.com

Posted by: CaroKay | July 22, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

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