The Shirley Sherrod Situation

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Voronwë the Faithful
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The Shirley Sherrod Situation

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I'm sure most if not all of you know who Shirley Sherrod at this point. She is the USDA employee who was forced to resign when the Andrew Briebert website biggovernment.com posted a clip of a speech that she made at an NAACP meeting that appeared to including a racist statement indicating that she gave less effort to helping white farmers than black farmers. In fact, it turns out that the clip was edited to be taken completely out of context, and that in truth the speech was all about racial reconciliation, and how she learned that it wasn't about race at all about about helping all people in need. The white farmers in question credit her with allowing them to save their farm, and she has been offered a new position with the USDA to improve racial relations.

Clearly the Obama administration (whether it was Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack or someone higher in the administration) was guilty of a gross rush to judgment without gathering all of the facts, in an effort to avoid a media firestorm. It does seem to follow a pattern in which the administration puts avoiding a fight above principles. That is unacceptable.

But what is most disturbing to me is the almost cavalier attitude that people have taken to the fact that this video clip was without any doubt intentionally edited in order to present a picture that was diametrically opposite from the truth. It's almost like people just expect this kind of conduct from this portion of the media (or the so-called "new media") and therefore aren't interested in condemning it. Well, I condemn in the strongest possible terms. This was Wrong, with a capital W. It has nothing to do with whether it was a right-wing or left-wing or middle-wing organization. This type of conduct should be condemned by people on all portions of the political spectrum. Of course everyone wants to bend the truth to some extent to support his or her believes, but this goes far beyond that. This was a flat-out, malicious lie.
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Post by vison »

I seldom watch American TV, particularly I seldom watch American news stations, but the other night I happened to see Anderson Cooper talking about this incident. I don't know how much, if any, guilt Cooper might have in the manipulation of the news, but his impassioned and articulate speech on THIS incident moving.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Much the same sort of thing was done to bring down ACORN: video edited after the fact, ordinary bits left out. Although in that case they also added in pieces that weren't part of the actual incident, to make the ACORN workers seem complicit and corrupt rather than merely careless at worst.

This was widely known to be the case even before ACORN was defunded, but there seems to be an attitude among those in power that it's politically wiser to react to what is widely perceived as true (partly because it is being falsely reinforced in parts of the media and blogosphere) than to react to what actually is true. So if the story people mostly seem to believe means that an innocent person must be thrown under the bus, you throw her—because then you can be perceived as doing the right thing. Even if you're doing exactly the opposite.

It's disheartening and depressing.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Post by axordil »

It's largely the 24 hour news cycle, which pushes people to stay "in front" of stories, that allows the deceitful to take advantage of the system in this way. They know by the time the whole thing is straightened out--if it ever really is--the damage will have been done by the reinforcement of the pre-existing narrative they've fed.

Is this sort of thing not libelous and thus actionable? Fox News may have deep enough pockets to deal with it, but Breitbart's another story.
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Post by vison »

In most cases in Canada, any public official or member of the government immediately resigns when ANY controversy of this sort occurs. It is believed that the issues are best fought out away from the public eye, and in some instances that may be true. In others, not so much.
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Re: The Shirley Sherrod Situation

Post by Infidel »

Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:In fact, it turns out that the clip was edited to be taken completely out of context, and that in truth the speech was all about racial reconciliation, and how she learned that it wasn't about race at all about about helping all people in need.
<snip>

But what is most disturbing to me is the almost cavalier attitude that people have taken to the fact that this video clip was without any doubt intentionally edited in order to present a picture that was diametrically opposite from the truth. It's almost like people just expect this kind of conduct from this portion of the media (or the so-called "new media") and therefore aren't interested in condemning it. Well, I condemn in the strongest possible terms. This was Wrong, with a capital W. It has nothing to do with whether it was a right-wing or left-wing or middle-wing organization. This type of conduct should be condemned by people on all portions of the political spectrum. Of course everyone wants to bend the truth to some extent to support his or her believes, but this goes far beyond that. This was a flat-out, malicious lie.
The video clip was an edit from the full video. The video clip posted by Breitbart actually contains the (as you put it) "and how she learned that it wasn't about race at all about about helping all people in need.".
http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/201 ... ore-145962
Starting at approximately 1:45 of the clip she states that it was revealed to her that it was 'about the poor vs. those who have', and starts to say "not so much about white..." She then says "it is about white and black but its not you know it opened my eyes"

So the video clip did have the part where she said it was not just about race (but about both wealth or lack there of and also race) rather than not about race at all.
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Post by Infidel »

axordil wrote:It's largely the 24 hour news cycle, which pushes people to stay "in front" of stories, that allows the deceitful to take advantage of the system in this way. They know by the time the whole thing is straightened out--if it ever really is--the damage will have been done by the reinforcement of the pre-existing narrative they've fed.

Is this sort of thing not libelous and thus actionable? Fox News may have deep enough pockets to deal with it, but Breitbart's another story.
What does FNC have to do with it?
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Post by halplm »

I'm sorry if I offend anyone but it is a thread like this that makes me feel it is utterly a waste of time for me to post here.

ACORN was (and still is) an utterly corrupt institution.

Shirley Sherrod is unequivocally blatantly racist, and frankly is a disgusting person IMHO.

But things like this are not about the truth any more. It's only about if people agree with you or if their actions benefit you in some way...

Sure... those Black Panthers might be intimidating voters... but they're intimidating voters for the other guys... so we don't really care...
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Post by Inanna »

halplm wrote:Shirley Sherrod is unequivocally blatantly racist, and frankly is a disgusting person IMHO.
Why?
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Post by halplm »

Mahima wrote:
halplm wrote:Shirley Sherrod is unequivocally blatantly racist, and frankly is a disgusting person IMHO.
Why?
Any time a black person claims that they could teach another person (in this case the president, who is black) a thing or two about "being black..." frankly I think they care a bit more than most about the color of people's skin.

Anyone who makes the rounds of the news circuit (minus one channel of course) suggesting the President of the United States owes him or her a phone call is IMHO disgustingly self-aggrandizing.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Here is a link to the complete video of Sherrod's speech, followed by a complete transcript.

From the transcript (neither selected for Breitbart's excerpts):
I couldn't say 45 years ago, I couldn't stand here and say what I'm saying -- what I will say to you tonight. Like I told, God helped me to see that its not just about black people, it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know. As my mother has said to so many, if we had tried to live with hate in our hearts, we'd probably be dead now.

But I've come to realize that we have to work together and -- you know, it's sad that we don't have a room full of white and blacks here tonight 'cause we have to overcome the divisions that we have. We have to get to the point as Tony Morrison said race exists but it doesn't matter. We have to work just as hard -- I know it's -- you know, that division is still here, but our communities are not going to thrive -- you know, our children won't have the communities that they need to be able to stay in and live in and have a good life if we can't figure this out, you all. White people, black people, Hispanic people, we all have to do our part to make our communities a safe place, a healthy place, a good environment.
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Edited twice to provide link to complete transcript.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Post by axordil »

Infidel wrote:
axordil wrote: Is this sort of thing not libelous and thus actionable? Fox News may have deep enough pockets to deal with it, but Breitbart's another story.
What does FNC have to do with it?
They pushed the story heavily on O'Reilly and Hannity, as I understand it. Distributing and promoting a story that later proves defamatory makes one accessory to the defamation if one has been negligent about checking the story out.
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Post by Infidel »

Primula Baggins:
Did you change the wording in your post as well as changing the link from MediaMatters to American Rhetoric? I was going to reply to something you wrote (or so I thought), and then after clicking quote it was different. Or should I get my eyes checked?
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Post by Inanna »

Thanks for the explanation, hal. And I do agree with you on principle when you say
Any time a black person claims that they could teach another person (in this case the president, who is black) a thing or two about "being black..." frankly I think they care a bit more than most about the color of people's skin
.

However - and , I don;t know about Shirley Sherrod at all, so this is a general case I am talking about - I find it useful to replace one person with another.

If a low-caste Indian who has suffered because of his/her caste said that he could teach one of the low-caste, but extremely privileged politicians in India a thing or two about belonging to that caste, I would actually agree. If a woman laborer in India said that she could teach Sonia Gandhi a thing or two about being a poor Indian woman in India, I would agree.

however we might like to pretend that race, gender economic status, hair color, skin color, accent don't matter - they do. Especially to the people who are suffering because of those disadvantages.
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Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I want to remind everyone that insulting comments -- such as calling a person "disgusting" is strictly prohibited here, and will not be tolerated. Any points that anyone wants to make can be made without using language like that.
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Post by halplm »

axordil wrote:
Infidel wrote:
axordil wrote: Is this sort of thing not libelous and thus actionable? Fox News may have deep enough pockets to deal with it, but Breitbart's another story.
What does FNC have to do with it?
They pushed the story heavily on O'Reilly and Hannity, as I understand it. Distributing and promoting a story that later proves defamatory makes one accessory to the defamation if one has been negligent about checking the story out.
Oh, now it's libelous and actionable to falsely accuse someone of racism? Since when? How many tea party members have been falsely accused of racism ongoing from the moment the left realized they were going to be big?

How much of the ENTIRE media, not to mention every Democratic politician with a microphone has falsely accused conservatives of being racist?

Not to mention in this instance it was NOT false.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

Cut the sarcasm, please, Hal. We all know that you believe no tea party supporter has ever been or could ever be a racist. That fight's not worth having again.

Infidel, I did reword my post because I had been mistaken in saying that the transcript I linked to earlier was complete. The video was complete, but the transcript was not. Then I found a better source with a video and transcript that were both complete and where there was no political commentary on the page. As it had been only about five minutes and no one else had posted, I edited my post to provide the more complete and less slanted source of information.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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Post by halplm »

Primula Baggins wrote:Cut the sarcasm, please, Hal. We all know that you believe no tea party supporter has ever been or could ever be a racist. That fight's not worth having again.
What sarcasm? I'm entirely serious about every word I've posted today.

I don't believe I've ever said "no tea party supporter has ever been or could ever be a racist," but if you can point out where I did, I'd appreciate it.

I believe if it's suggested that people should be punished for falsely accusing someone of racism, then we should ask if that has been the case for all parties.
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Post by yovargas »

halplm wrote:I don't believe I've ever said "no tea party supporter has ever been or could ever be a racist," but if you can point out where I did, I'd appreciate it.
You have, in the past, responded to accusations of racist actions by tea partiers as if such accusations were only attempts to paint the entire movement as racist. There are some rather vast double standards in how you treat claims of racism.
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Post by Primula Baggins »

I apologize, Hal, you have not said that specific thing.

You have been pretty firm in denying any accusation of racism that's ever been leveled against a supporter of the tea party movement. And then quick to jump onto the accusations against Sherrod, who really was a victim of being taken out of context and having her words presented in carefully edited form by a hostile blogger.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
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