When blogger hacks have too much power and what we can all learn from the Sherrod case

I was going to blog about something entirely different to end to my 3 month blogging hiatus but I just have to say something about the story I saw unfold on CNN and the web last night.

Shirley Sherrod

In some ways its absolutely awesome that the blogosphere has given any average joe a voice to share their opinions with the world. Unfortunately a lot of average joes really don’t deserve to have working vocal chords or the kind of power a keyboard can give you in our microwave society. This unfortunate reality is evidenced by the whole fiasco I just learned about involving a woman named Shirley Sherrod. Apparently some idiot blogger hack with a clear agenda named Andrew Breitbart posted a video on his blog of a speech Ms. Sherrod was giving at an NAACP function. However he apparently only posted about a minute and a half clip of the video that when taken out of context appeared to be racially incendiary. Faux News also apparently broadcast his partial video and went on to sully this woman’s reputation. Then the NAACP after being shown this edited clip quickly moved to renounce Ms. Sherrod and her employer, the Department of Agriculture, quickly forced her to resign from her job. Well it turns out that when you watch the whole 42 plus minute long video you see that her story was actually one of redemption and overcoming racism despite having lost her own father at the hands of racists. The irony that a woman who spent her life fighting to overcome injustice lost her job because some hack with an agenda tried to use her to prove an erroneous point is just evidence for how screwed up our country is  when it comes to the race issue. It’s also evidence showing why it’s just stupid to pass judgment on someone based on quotes, short video clips, and internet snippets.  The saddest part of this is, instead of issuing a quick apology for the hand they played in costing this woman her job, Faux news has tried to flip the storyAn idiot with an agenda into blaming the Obama administration and the NAACP for their character assassination. They have taken little to no responsibility for the hand they played in fueling the fire by reporting this story without checking the facts. And the second saddest part is that instead of apologizing, that Breitbart idiot came out to say his use of the video wasn’t about Ms. Sherrod, but about how the people in the audience reacted to what appeared to be a story about discriminating against a white man.  He isn’t taking into consideration that the audience saw the whole speech and was reacting to her story IN CONTEXT.  Is there no limit to the lengths conservatives will go to to alter the narrative the fit their agenda? Wait a minute I take that back…both Fox News and Breitbart have an agenda…while it’s sad, this kind of thing is expected out of them. The saddest part is the willingness on the part of both the NAACP and her employer, the federal government, to believe a story as told by people with a negative agenda. See this link to see Breitbarts own words and his clear statement of his agenda.

At any rate, I firmly believe that there is always a lesson to be learned when things like this happen.

Lesson 1 There’s no way to get to know a person’s character based on any one thing they said. No matter what the circumstances are, is there is almost always a bigger picture and an untold narrative behind anything someone allows to come out of their mouth. In this case the bigger narrative was readily available in the rest of the 42 minute speech that was misused, but sometimes the story isn’t so obvious and we should all consider this before rushing to judgment.

Lesson 2 Being reactionary isn’t the most effective way to bring about change. In this case the NAACP quicky responded to the video and almost immediately renounced Ms. Sherrod without even reviewing a tape that was shown at one of their OWN events. They did this because this tape was leaked in the wake of their call for the Tea Party to renounce racism in it’s ranks. They were so quick to try to show the Tea Party, “see we don’t condone racism”, that they didn’t even bother to get the whole story. NAACP you’ve got to be smarter that this when dealing with conservatives. They are skilled at altering the narrative to fit their agenda. (I’m very tempted to write a post later this week outlining what I think the NAACP needs to do if they want to remain viable as an organization. Let us not forget the recent Hallmark Card incident.)

Lesson 3 There are people…ahem…conservatives…who are willing to twist the story any way they can to try to prove a point. Therefore we must ALWAYS consider the source before running with a piece of information.

Lesson 4 Anyone who considers the Fox News Network to be a legitimate source of news is either racist or stupid. Okay maybe that’s not a lesson, but I am starting to firmly believe it’s true. Anyone who can sit and stomach much less agree with more than 60% of the biased, inflamatory, and often downright inacurate reporting that goes on on that network is probably either harboring  some deep seeded racist views or is an idiot.

This link shows the whole video

Click here to see CNN’s coverage of this issue.

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7 Responses to “When blogger hacks have too much power and what we can all learn from the Sherrod case”

  1. I’m damn glad the whole thing happened. It’s past time that the tables were turned on Blacks. Now, possibly but not probably, you’ll learn that playing the race card works both ways and with equality of undeserved damage to any and all who its used against.

    • I initially wasn’t going to approve this comment, mostly because your avatar scares me. But I’m not a fan of censorship especially on the basis of me just not liking what you said very much. I’m also not an advocate of playing the race card by any party. I think it gets played too much which makes it much less effective in cases when race really is the central issue. I’m honestly not even sure race was the central issue in this matter. It just happened to be the catalyst that fueled the fire. More at issue here were incompetence, manipulation, and rushed judgment. At any rate I actually agree that playing the race card can sometimes result in undeserved damage to all parties.

      • LOL I get that a lot about my avatar, but it suits me too well to quit using it, and I’m apparently not much less scary to see in person.

        My – possible too vitriolic comment – was really an expression of hope, albeit a slim one, that the turning of the tables with the cries of racism might have a positive effect.

        As for the evidenced incompetence, manipulation, and rushed judgment – Breitbart played the part of a cynical Black grievance-monger (ala Sharpton) perfectly, and Obama, the USDA, and the NAACP played the part of any set of White people or groups faced with that sort of charge perfectly.

        It’s like a really twisted morality play…

  2. Fallible Sage Says:

    The term “playing the race card” diminishes the magnitude of the all too often real discriminatory practices that happen in this country. I don’t like when people call race to the table when it’s unwarranted either, because I do believe it’s damaging to relations, and also takes away the sting when real issues are brought to light… but this has nothing to do with “the race card” Jonolan.
    If the tables are turned, then I guess you’re saying that a white person in this instance was given the opportunity to play the race card, but you forget that this was proven fictitious, and most sad was the words in context were about healing and strides towards positive race relations. What this was,a sad excuse for a human race bating maliciously and untruthfully, and could have possibly destroyed someone’s life in the process, and a plan to scare white voters into a racial hysterics. What if the full tape had never been released or discovered? This would have destroyed an individual & created more of a rift… a needless one.
    I’m not a big fan of the NAACP, and I flinch every time Jesse Jackson and Sharpton gets rolled out calling for a boycott of something ridiculous, but it’s not bogus every time, and so this is not the opportunity to call foul. In this country still, black farmers are waiting on settlements owed them as a result of proven overt discrimination by the Department of Agriculture, and Ms. Sherrod didn’t even get the opportunity to say “but I…” in the wake of this bull. See a difference?
    BTW, that is a scary avatar Jonolan ;)

  3. Fallible Sage,

    Most times that the race card is played it is later proven to be fictitious. So this time the tables were turned. A bad act? Certainly and absolutely! But it may have a silver lining if it causes people to think twice about deciding to “call race to the table.”

    As for the Black farmers – that’s ludicrous! Discrimination happened and restitution was paid. The current lawsuit and payment was cynically made to those farmers who did not bother to file for the restitution grants during the original time period. Look it up if you don;t believe me.

    • Fallible Sage Says:

      Jonolan,

      Outside of catching my boss on video saying:

      “It doesn’t matter how qualified he is, I’m not promoting that nigger. Let’s wrap this up I have a Klan potluck to attend later.”

      Discrimination is difficult to prove. Just because something is hard to prove doesn’t mean it’s never warranted. Of course there are fraudulent claims, sometimes maliciously sometimes with all sincerity… but one of the privileges of being white in America is that you rarely have to contend with that small voice in the back of your head asking “is this racial?” Another truth is often we discriminate, and aren’t even aware that we are. Most people aren’t actively racist, but we all have prejudices to get around, and often white people are in a position where their prejudices are exacted into discriminatory practices, often unknowingly.

      The larger picture is how we know discriminatory practices still occur. I don’t believe in “reverse racism”, I think all racism is racism, no matter whom against. But the reality is, even when there were guards, such as affirmative action, in place to attempt to encourage fairness, opportunity, and rectify institutionally codified disparities; the statistics often showed that minorities, who are just as qualified as white counterparts, were routinely offered lower starting salaries than whites… for instance (that’s just one point close to mind).

      My point is, discrimination happens, and you’re not often subject to be the victims of it. This whole white man suffering reverse racism crap is a tantrum in the light of attempts to change the status quo of white dominance… which still hasn’t ebbed much if you’re honest. I’m not blaming you or anyone else Jonolan (outside of those who are actually actively racist), this thing was in place long before you or I got here, but let’s not pretend it doesn’t exist.

      And the farmers. Deadline Smeadlines… many of those guys were not aware, many met the deadline but were told their paperwork wasn’t in order, many of them died… but what’s true is they all met the original deadline where they were unjustly denied in a discriminatory fashion. The money is owed, give it to them.

    • FYI The “black farmers” finally received what was owed. I know you’re thrilled my man.

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