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.
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 story 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.