It Works

BTW- lost in the ginned-up race-baiting is the fact that Obama today signed a historic financial regulations bill and that the Democrats were able to overcome near universal Republican opposition to unemployment benefits extension and provide relief to millions of Americans.

Mission accomplished. Win the news cycle, fire up your base about how the real racists are the folks in one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country, turn off the public at large to politics in general, and obscure administration legislative victories and Republican malfeasance regarding the economy. That you have progressives furious with Obama is just a bonus.

No need for the scum involve to apologize- this was a success. On to the next smear. It isn’t like Andrew Alexander, Clark Hoyt, and the staff at Fox News are going to approach your next claims with more skepticism.

BTW- can you imagine what would happen if someone attempted to claim the real anti-Semites are the folks at the ADL? Because that is exactly what the teahadists and wingnuts are doing with the NAACP.

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167 replies
  1. 1
    Ryan says:

    This reminds me of a fantastic post from BJ called “The New Definition of the Republican Party” or something similar. More fruit from their tree.

  2. 2
    Alien-Radio says:

    I’m presuming you already know that Brawndo is now a real product, you can order it online.

    http://www.brawndo.com/

    this taste of the future brought to you by

    http://www.omniconsumerproductscorporation.com/

  3. 3
    matoko_chan says:

    it is called catalepsis.
    “to be seized”…..lawyers use it religiously in jury trials to embedd irrational memes in the jury’s memory, even if they get overruled.
    homo sap. can take 10k reps to unlearn something once learned.
    it used to be a fitness advantage in the EEA….anymore, not so much.

  4. 4
    KG says:

    can you imagine what would happen if someone attempted to claim the real anti-Semites are the folks at the ADL?

    I’m guessing this is probably a rhetorical questions, but my first thought was: it’s only a matter of time.

  5. 5
    Alien-Radio says:

    @KG:

    They pretty much accuse J-street of being anti semitic.

  6. 6
    LittlePig says:

    @KG: Note to self: stock up on popcorn.

  7. 7
    staci says:

    They did NOT overcome the Republican crap regarding unemployment. They are still debating it on C-Span right now. The Republicans demanded another 30 hours of debate, so this thing will probably go into next week.

  8. 8
    Redshirt says:

    As long as we are entertained…. are you entertained? Then we’re all entertained!

    Seriously. Get your fiddles tuned.

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    damn right it works.

    Breitbart’s only sin is that he got caught, this time – as you can tell by Goldberg’s quote.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    @KG: Throughout the 1980s pro-militarist types on Israel said that the ‘real anti-Semites’ were those pushing for a strong two state solution to end Israel’s illegal occupation of internationally recognized Palestinian territories.

  11. 11
    staci says:

    Also, why is nobody talking about the fact that the NAACP thought they were opposing racism AGAINST a white couple? According to the conservative meme, they only advance the “black” agenda.

  12. 12
    frankdawg says:

    John,

    It isn’t like Andrew Alexander, Clark Hoyt, and the staff at Fox News are going to approach your next claims with more skepticism.

    Why single out the scum at faux news? The Washington Whore Post & New York Whore Times & CNN, ABC, CBS NBC all eagerly spewed Dimbarts BS. And when he was exposed they happily parroted his lame-ass excuse. The wingnuts don’t even need faux news any more the other media leaders do the job quite well

  13. 13
    danimal says:

    I don’t think it worked this time, JC. The blowback has been stronger than the initial story. They are running away from this story as fast as they can, with an angry, embarrassed media mob chasing them down.

    The Wurlitzer has been clearly exposed. Unfortunately, so has the spineless nature of Vilsack and the WH political team.

  14. 14
    Zandar says:

    can you imagine what would happen if someone attempted to claim the real anti-Semites are the folks at the ADL?

    That one’s easy.

    We’d hear how Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam, the new Black Panther Party, Eric Holder, LeBron James, rap music and Wayne Brady were all conspiring with Obama and the Liberal Media.

    It would be wall to wall on FOX on how African-Americans were trying to smear Israel and the Jews and were the real anti-Semites.

    …oh wait, FOX pretty much does that now.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    @frankdawg: They were real sorry, though, that they didn’t take the fraudulent ACORN story seriously enough.

  16. 16
    Shalimar says:

    I generally think Andrew is on the side of the angels

    Wow, those are some vicious, destructive, hateful angels Goldberg believes in.

    Also, “Breaking: Jim Hoft admits to 3-way with David Vitter and a diapered chimpanzee.”

  17. 17
    BruinKid says:

    I think if Frum’s piece blasting conservative media for what they did weren’t the lead story in that screen grab, you’d be spot on.

    Frum’s piece needs to be disseminated. Widely. THAT needs to be the meme from here on out, the utter corruption and hypocrisy of conservative media.

  18. 18
    Violet says:

    @danimal:
    It’s worked in that it obscured coverage of other, truly more important stories. Financial reform will affect a heck of a lot of people, as will the extension of unemployment insurance. But those stories are, yawn, buried way down somewhere if they’re covered at all. Because OMGracism! is much more popcorn-worthy.

  19. 19
    Brachiator says:

    @BruinKid:

    Frum’s piece needs to be disseminated. Widely. THAT needs to be the meme from here on out, the utter corruption and hypocrisy of conservative media.

    Unfortunately, Frum is pre-discredited by some conservatives because he does not consistently hew to the party line.

  20. 20
    Mnemosyne says:

    @danimal:

    Yep. Just wait for this afternoon’s O’Reilly show — he’s either going to have to double down on “Sherrod is a racist” or he’s going to have to back down. Since O’Reilly loves to follow the crowd, he’s going to back down, and he’s going to be PISSED OFF about it. O’Reilly hates nothing more than looking like a fool, and he’s going to take it out on Breitbart.

    Popcorn time!

  21. 21
    PeakVT says:

    “can you imagine what would happen if someone attempted to claim the real anti-Semites are the folks at the ADL?”

    It wouldn’t be hard to make that case, though that’s beside the point.

  22. 22
    John PM says:

    @Shalimar: #16

    Ah, but remember, Satan was an angel who rebelled against God, so the quote may be accurate.

  23. 23
    Jay B. says:

    BTW- lost in the ginned-up race-baiting is the fact that Obama today signed a historic financial regulations bill and that the Democrats were able to overcome near universal Republican opposition to unemployment benefits extension and provide relief to millions of Americans.

    Yes, yes, it’s the right wing’s fault that the Administration shot themselves in the head. It was a bullshit story. They fell for it. And made their own bed on it.

    If, instead of firing a civil rights hero in the name of better civil rights at the USDA, they ignored it and pushed their accomplishments OR if they tabled the matter “pending an investigation” and then talked about the positive news well we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The right wing might. But not the rest of the world.

    This was an own goal and they looked like cowardly amateurs in the process.

    ADDED: Not only that, you were all hurt yesterday the Left didn’t DO anything about it. Now they are. And today the problem is that we’re paying too much attention to it.

  24. 24
    TOB says:

    @staci:

    Thank you, Staci. That’s a great point, and one that really needs to be made.

  25. 25
    cleek says:

    @danimal:

    The blowback has been stronger than the initial story.

    is that why MSNBC’s lead story on this is about Breitbart and his claim that it’s “about the NAACP”, not about Sherrod, and that he feels bad about whet the media has done to Sherrod ?

    The conservative blogger behind the controversial video that led to Shirley Sherrod’s forced resignation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the footage was released in order to highlight racist behavior in the NAACP, not to target the former government official.

    “I feel bad that they made this about her,” Andrew Breitbart told NBC News on Wednesday. “You do see that she mentions a transformation and I’m sympathetic that they went after her and not the NAACP.”

    Breitbart said he was surprised by how the media “misconstrued” the tapes of Sherrod and that he did not expect that the White House “would throw her under the bus.”

    not a single criticism of Breitbart. not even a sideways glance. it’s a completely flat he-said / she-said piece – with very very little about what ‘she’ said. no blowback, only non-controversial coverage of the controversy.

    this, from the “liberal” MSNBC, no less.

  26. 26
    Violet says:

    Breitbart looks shockingly like a much older version of a guy I used to date. It freaks me out every time I see a video of Breitbart. Their mannerisms are even similar. The guy I used to date was wingnut-o-rific too. It’s like seeing what my ex would grow up to be. Scary, scary, scary.

  27. 27
    Malron aka eclecticbrotha says:

    And there you have it, John. This is exactly why every Obama/Dem Congress accomplishment is obscured and given little credit: because the media is usually off chasing some other shiny object at the same time things are getting done, racism being the shiniest of the shiny for these pea-brained pundits and protagonists in the media. Its also why Obama has done everything he can to avoid or downplay issues of race: because in most instances you end up with the same, hysterical mess you’re experiencing with the Shirley Sherrod fiasco. Even with Obama’s “More Perfect Union” speech, what’s being bandied about most is the part where he referred to his grandmother as “a typical white woman,” with the entire content of the actual speech pretty much forgotten.

    Now, try telling that to all the Manic-Progressives who are currently venting their self-righteous anger at Obama over the Shirley Sherrod situation because it exploded less than 48 hours ago and he still hasn’t invited her to the White House to wash her feet.

    POLITICO has a bit of good news on the Shirley Sherrod front:

    BULLETIN — Yielding to a late-night phone call from the White House, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reversed himself early today and said he will reconsider the abrupt firing of Shirley Sherrod, a Georgia-based Agriculture Department official who was the victim of a media frenzy over comments that turned out to have been distorted by video editing.

    Strangely enough (or maybe not. We are talking about POLITICO, you know) the full writeup about Vilsack’s change of heart bears no mention of the call from the White House.

  28. 28
    eric says:

    @Violet: I disagree. THIS is the big story when understood as a concerted effort by the Right to gin up racial fears and animosity to energize disenfranchised whites in a base election. it is that simple. This is as close to “nigger, nigger, nigger,” as American politics can get.

    Look at the ACORN story, the NBPP story, the Community Investment Act, the Sherrod story; then add in the attempts to de-Americanize Obama and the Arizona law with sister state AGs suing the Feds.

    The people pulling the strings may not be racist, but they are immoral, evil, hateful, vile people. The analogy is to drug kingpins: the successful ones dont partake in the drug they just feed those that do and take advantage of that destructful habit.

    eric

  29. 29
    Ed Marshall says:

    When the ADL got sued in the 1990’s for running what amounted to a domestic spying operation where they were wiretapping everyone from White Power groups to the UAW to Nancy Pelosi, one of the wrinkles in the case was that when Roy Bullock was showing up to spy on Arab groups he would dump anti-semitic propaganda there to bitch about later. It’s not as crazy a stretch as it would seem.

  30. 30
    bkny says:

    and to add to the pile-on — wapo header:

    MORE ON POSTPOLITICS.COM
    Obama destroying Democratic fundraising system

  31. 31
    Sentient Puddle says:

    It really does chap me to see that the financial regulation overhaul is going to go out with a whimper as far as attention goes. It’s a big fucking deal, whereas this stupid controversy isn’t.

  32. 32
    Violet says:

    @Jay B.:

    OR if they tabled the matter “pending an investigation”

    This is what I don’t understand at all. Why did they fire her on the spot? Why not place her on administrative leave and look into the situation? It still wouldn’t be right, since obviously she didn’t do anything wrong, but at least it would look measured and thoughtful. And it would have been the appropriate measured and thoughtful response.

    The knee-jerk bendover by the Obama administration to the a wingnut liar’s accusations was shocking.

  33. 33
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    not a single criticism of Breitbart. not even a sideways glance. it’s a completely flat he-said / she-said piece – with very very little about what ‘she’ said. no blowback, only non-controversial coverage of the controversy.

    Did we read the same piece? MSNBC basically had Breitbart completely contradicting himself in the course of a single story. Heck, within a single paragraph:

    Breitbart said Wednesday that he received a tip about the tapes back in April, but did not publish them until the NAACP accused the Tea Party movement last week of having “racist elements” that are a “threat to democracy.” Breitbart said the audience reaction when Sherrod referenced her decision to not help the white farmer offers concrete evidence that the NAACP itself harbors racist elements.

    That story gave Breitbart just enough rope to hang himself with.

  34. 34
    cat48 says:

    OT Tablet has a funny article that made me laugh outloud. It’s about “jewbaiters” Greenwald, Sullivan, Walt, and Weiss.

    Ok, now back to racebaiting the black prez!

  35. 35
    Professor says:

    In the light of this smear against an innocent African American woman, why don’t we all complain to Andrew Alexander (Wapo ombudsman) about the smear concerning the New Black Panther Party debacle?

  36. 36
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Frum is spot on when he points out how everyone who pushed the story is now just pivoting to bash Obama and the NAACP… for being incompetent enough to believe the story were just credulously pushing.

  37. 37
    Davis X. Machina says:

    This is as close to “nigger, nigger, nigger,” as American politics can get.

    Don’t mortgage the house on that wager, sport.

  38. 38
    Pangloss says:

    “On to the next smear!” should be a tag.

  39. 39
    eric says:

    @Davis X. Machina: touche le pussycat.

  40. 40
    MattF says:

    And the only thing that the American public knows about the FinReg bill is that it has a very large number of pages. Thousands of pages.

  41. 41
    drlemur says:

    I’m filing this episode under more evidence that our executive branch is not currently filled with particularly skilled politicians. Since the cossacks work for the czar, I think we have to start hoping that Obama can start making some changes to both better build on the successes to date and make some better decisions to get more future successes.

    If Vilsack was influenced at all by somebody at the white house, they should be gone. If he wasn’t, fire him, he clearly doesn’t have the steady hand needed for a high-profile cabinet job. How about Shirley Sherrod for his replacement? Then she won’t have to worry about problems with her bosses on taking her job back?

    I don’t know what’s wrong at the White House, but something is. We shouldn’t be sitting around thinking “can’t anybody here play this game?”

  42. 42
    merrinc says:

    @cleek:

    Exactly! Why is this so hard to understand? Those who are waiting for the media to have some kind of epiphany over this can line up behind the unicorn folks.

  43. 43
    Arclite says:

    Does anyone have a link to a good article discussing the pros and cons of the financial regulation?

  44. 44
    Felanius Kootea (formerly Salt and freshly ground black people) says:

    Okay John, could you help us out by putting up some blog posts on financial regulation, the new consumer protection agency, unemployment extension and David Cameron’s visit to the US? Or are you finding out the same thing the MSM did eons ago – nothing galvanizes Americans like a discussion around race? Not complaining, just pointing out that the front page posts on your blog reflect the reality that you are decrying. Except for Kay’s post though – awesome choice for a frontpager.

  45. 45
    El Cid says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Good point — who’s to say that they soon won’t be saying “n***** n***** n*****” given that they already think that the limits of Reaganism are too state soshullist?

  46. 46
    KG says:

    @danimal: I’m not all that surprised that Vilsack or the lifers would be spineless. That’s what you get when you deal with career politicians and career political operatives. Obama still doesn’t strike me as a career politician and so I don’t get the spineless vibe from him as an individual. Unfortunately, to build an actual working administration, you have to get the career people, and those folks (on both sides of the aisle, really) are spineless CYA types. It is their nature.

  47. 47
    someguy says:

    Let’s face it. She was targeted because she’s a black woman. The only way they could hate her more was if her last name was Hernandez.

  48. 48
    Napoleon says:

    @Arclite:

    I would start by looking at what David Leonhardt has written at the NY Times.

  49. 49
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    i’m not seeing the contradiction.

    @drlemur:

    I’m filing this episode under more evidence that our executive branch is not currently filled with particularly skilled politicians.

    beautifully understated.

  50. 50
    Violet says:

    @eric:

    I disagree. THIS is the big story when understood as a concerted effort by the Right to gin up racial fears and animosity to energize disenfranchised whites in a base election.

    I get that, and as an overarching strategy, you are right that it is THE big story. But on a real life, day-to-day level, extending unemployment benefits is a big deal and helps a lot of people. The President and the Democratic Congress should be trumpeting that accomplishment all over the place, reminding people that the Republicans didn’t want to help the average person, and Democrats wanted to and did.

    But do you hear about that today? No. Because everyone’s busy blathering on about racism.

    The financial regulatory reform is an even bigger deal. It doesn’t help everyone today, now in the same way that extending UI benefits does, but it’s a massive deal and most Americans have been affected by this grueling recession. Terrible financial regulations were what got us into it. Democrats, the President and the Congress, are helping to fix it so it won’t and can’t happen again (okay, you can argue on the specifics, but at least they’re doing something). They should be talking up the financial regulations all over the place. Helping the average person and so forth.

    But is that the lead story? No. What is? Racism.

  51. 51
    Jay B. says:

    OK, here’s another thing that makes this “important”.

    To get out in front of a manufactured rightwing shitstorm, the Administration craters instantly and abjectly.

    Now, the key to financial reform will require strong regulatory bodies — and the credible authority that comes from strong White House backing. The consumer post the left is pushing Warren for is the preeminent example.

    If they buckled at an OBVIOUS smear job by an inconsequential right wing hack, what happens when Wall St., where they get oodles of cash, coughs?

    Now, I say that the Administration has already answered that question with their private talks with Big Pharma in advance of HCR and their and Congress’ roll over to the Insurance industry, not to mention the presence of Larry Summers and Tim G. on their core economic team and their failure to offer cramdown as a way to mitigate the foreclosure meltdown (to say nothing of their complete capitulation to the military-industrial-spy complex) — but opinions differ!

    Still, why should anyone think they will stick their neck out for consumers’ interests versus those of Big Banks and/or Wall St? What confidence should we have?

  52. 52
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Violet:

    This is what I don’t understand at all. Why did they fire her on the spot? Why not place her on administrative leave and look into the situation?

    Frankly, I think Vilsack and Cook panicked and stupidly thought a firing would control the damage better than a suspension. They really thought that firing her would shut the story down instead of kicking it into high gear.

    I think it accidentally worked out better for killing the story than keeping her on staff since it freed Sherrod up to go on TV to clear her own name, but it was still a bad move.

  53. 53
    D-Chance. says:

    In Political Blahgistan, it’s about process, not results.

  54. 54
    eric says:

    In this lawyer’s humble opinion you are not going to see a lawsuit even if there is a viable cause of action. Two reasons: (1) lawsuits are more emotionally damaging than people think they are, and (2) truth is a defense to a claim for defamation and the discovery into her life woul dbe so intrusive and so grotesque that she would lose her reputation based upon leaks and innuendo that it is not worth it. Every utterance; every letter; every person she ever interacted with is relevant. i do not care if she was pure as the driven snow, it would not be worth what the Right Wing Wurlitzer would do to her inside and outside the courtroom.

    eric

  55. 55
    dms says:

    @Malron aka eclecticbrotha:

    All hell’s gonna break loose now. We’ll lose the sanctity of the “at will” fire concept.

  56. 56
    Joseph Nobles says:

    I’m sorry, but who does Obama have to blame for this pushing his victories off the front page? His administration. That’s who fired Shirley Sherrod. I’m not just mad at the firing, but for the bunker mentality revealed by the firing.

    Shirley Sherrod: soon to be listed as an antonym for Sister Souljah.

  57. 57
    Corner Stone says:

    @Jay B.:

    Now, the key to financial reform will require strong regulatory bodies — and the credible authority that comes from strong White House backing. The consumer post the left is pushing Warren for is the preeminent example.
    __
    If they buckled at an OBVIOUS smear job by an inconsequential right wing hack, what happens when Wall St., where they get oodles of cash, coughs?

    I’m still waiting for someone to explain how the handling of Dawn Johnsen at OLC was done appropriately.

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cleek:

    Really? You don’t see any contradiction in Breitbart saying in one breath that Sherrod is a racist and in the next breath saying she’s not a racist and the real problem is the NAACP?

    Pair that with the usual bug-eyed rantings on the video above and I really don’t think Breitbart looks as good as you think he does.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @dms:

    We’ll lose the sanctity of the “at will” fire concept.

    OMG!
    Not the loss of at will employment!
    What will we poor employees do without those structured protections?

  60. 60
    gnomedad says:

    @Violet:

    Breitbart looks shockingly like a much older version of a guy I used to date.

    Was he anything like John Ziegler?

  61. 61
    Pamela F says:

    Dear John,

    Awesome post. It amazes me how we’d rather fight amongst ourselves than keep our eye on the big picture. We will never be effective unless we focus with laser intensity on the REAL bad guys.

    Yes, the admin. was suckered, snookered and Ms. Sherrod hopefully will be vindicated…but still we decided to focus on an over-reactive mistake instead of the real malice and its ramifications.

  62. 62
    ellaesther says:

    Way to make a depressing situation even worse! Oh John Cole, you have a talent, you do.

  63. 63
    Jay B. says:

    @Joseph Nobles:

    No kidding. The only upside is that the Administration is getting crucified for firing a civil rights hero, instead of being applauded by middlebrow assholes for being “politically savvy” by attacking his base.

    And, to understate it completely, Sherrod is not, in any conceivable way, Solijah.

  64. 64
    Nick says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Frankly, I think Vilsack and Cook panicked and stupidly thought a firing would control the damage better than a suspension. They really thought that firing her would shut the story down instead of kicking it into high gear.

    Had what she said been true, it would have controlled the damage better and until it was discovered to be a lie, and the media actually paid attention to the truth, it did control the damage better.

    If you put me in that position yesterday morning. I would have said it doesn’t matter what the truth is, the media will run with the “she’s a racist” story and if we want damage control, we need to can her, and then help her find something else when the storm passes. I would not have guessed the media would have actually discovered the truth, but I’m certain they only did because it would reflect negatively on the White House, which is the only thing that matters nowadays

  65. 65
    Jay B. says:

    @Pamela F:

    This is the Administration’s fault it’s not Fox News’. Had they handled it with literally any tact or intelligence, they’d have been able to attack, with a laser focus, the right wing’s racist methods and their complete emptiness.

    THE ADMINISTRATION created the narrative. Brietbart and Fox just set it up for them.

  66. 66
    Mike in NC says:

    Frum is pre-discredited by some conservatives because he does not consistently hew to the party line.

    But who’s come out and suggested someone should actually kill him ? Red State? Confederate Yankee? Malkin?

    Only a matter of time, of course.

  67. 67
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Arclite:

    Does anyone have a link to a good article discussing the pros and cons of the financial regulation?

    I’m sure there’s some article out there that does this (and I’m obviously unaware of it), but here’s a capsule-length list:

    Pros:
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, new tools for regulators to prevent and/or deal with crises, more transparency in the shadow sector

    Cons:
    Puts too much trust in regulators to do the right thing

  68. 68
    shortstop says:

    I have said more than once that I think the administration fucked up deluxe in this little matter…but, um, no to this:

    I’m sorry, but who does Obama have to blame for this pushing his victories off the front page? His administration. That’s who fired Shirley Sherrod.

    You don’t seriously think that if the administration had a) not fired her and stayed quiet or b) not fired her and explained why, this would not still be all over the news as “Obama defends black bureaucrats oppressing white farmers”?

    Of course they were towering asses for taking her out on the strength of a transparently bad accusation, but that’s not the reason this is dominating the headlines. The only thing the administration could control here was their reaction to this calculating sliming, which, because of the nature of our media and our “public discourse,” was a top story the minute Breitbart released that tape.

  69. 69
    David Brooks says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Breitbart said the audience reaction when Sherrod referenced her decision to not help the white farmer offers concrete evidence that the NAACP itself harbors racist elements. … gave Breitbart just enough rope to hang himself with

    No, it didn’t. It gave him and Fox a pivot. Now they have two stories: the White House was cruel to Sherrod, and the NAACP applauded her original racist act. As I pointed out a couple hours ago.

  70. 70
    Violet says:

    @gnomedad:
    I had no idea that guy was on a dating show. Lolz. They don’t look alike. No, they guy I used to date seriously looked like a younger version of Breitbart. It freaks me out every time I see him.

  71. 71
    Jay B. says:

    I would not have guessed the media would have actually discovered the truth, but I’m certain they only did because it would reflect negatively on the White House, which is the only thing that matters nowadays

    Doing the right thing never crosses your mind. Amazing.

    And the rest is delusional.

  72. 72
    PTirebiter says:

    I don’t watch any cable news or FOX, but financial reform and unemployment have been the big stories on every network news broadcast I’ve seen or heard today.

    I thought Glenn Greenwald struck an optimistic note today.

    …Finally, I think it’d be worth it to sue him just to uncover his “source” who did the editing. “Journalists” are supposed to expose their “sources” if they use the journalist to perpetrate a fraud.

  73. 73
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Frankly, I think Vilsack and Cook panicked and stupidly thought a firing would control the damage better than a suspension. They really thought that firing her would shut the story down instead of kicking it into high gear.

    Yes, I totally agree.

    And for everyone angry at Obama personally, doesn’t what Malron aka eclecticbrotha posted —

    Yielding to a late-night phone call from the White House, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reversed himself early today

    — suggest that Obama handled it just as you wanted? Story percolates, lower-level officials panic, make a bad decision; story boils over, more facts come out, lower-level official doubles down; more facts come out, president says, “Enough of this, lower-level official, take another look at the case.” And it all occurred in less than 24 hours.

  74. 74
    NonyNony says:

    @Jay B.:

    No kidding. The only upside is that the Administration is getting crucified for firing a civil rights hero, instead of being applauded by middlebrow assholes for being “politically savvy” by attacking his base.

    Actually, I have to say – that’s a pretty big upside.

    I mean that’s a HUGE change in the narrative right there. Democratic administration caves into right-wing lies and then suffers for it.

    Frankly that’s what I want to see happen more often. The more painful it is for Democrats who cave into right-wing liars the less often it should happen. The only reason Democrats cave so readily nowadays is because they think if they cave they’ll pay a smaller price than if they stand their ground.

    If Vilsack gets asked to tender his resignation over this, perhaps a few more Democrats will think before they over-react to right-wing smear attempts. Vilsack was totally out of line – even if the allegations were true it merited a suspension and a review of the facts not an outright demand for her resignation. That’s how you handle shit like this and he’s a gutless moran for jumping over it in an attempt to keep a lid on the story. He really does deserve to lose his job – both because what he did was wrong AND because his mishandling of the situation turned it into a shitstorm.

  75. 75
    handy says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Only those with little dreams can imagine!

  76. 76
    mcmillan says:

    If you see anything trying to defend Breitbart by saying this wasn’t supposed to be about Sherrod, here’s some quotes from the original posting of the videos

    In this piece you will see video evidence of racism coming from a federal appointee and NAACP award recipient and in another clip from the same event a perfect rationalization for why the Tea Party needs to exist.

    In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.

    Shirley Sherrod, a federal appointee who oversees over a billion dollars of federal funds, nearly begs black men and women into taking government jobs at USDA — because they won’t get fired.

    And the best is the first line of the post

    Context is everything.

    But Breitbart wasn’t actually expecting anyone to think Sherrod was racist, just that the NAACP wasn’t being critical enough of racists in their midst (though who they were supposed to criticize other than Sherrod isn’t clear)

  77. 77
    Jay B. says:

    @shortstop:

    You don’t seriously think that if the administration had a) not fired her and stayed quiet or b) not fired her and explained why, this would not still be all over the news as “Obama defends black bureaucrats oppressing white farmers”?

    I do. It would have ruled the Glenn Beck show, maybe, and Fox would have reported it, but that would have had exactly as much traction as the New Black Panther Party. Only psychotic racists really give a shit.

  78. 78
    TooManyJens says:

    Sent emails to the networks, NYTimes, and WaPo asking them to remember this incident the next time the right wing tries to gin up a fake scandal.

    I’m not really sure what else to do.

  79. 79
    Perfect Tommy says:

    Meanwhile Obama signed the financial reform bill into law an hour ago and the top story on CNN is “The Many Faces of Mel Gibson”

    Click on the “Politics” tab, top story :
    Democratic Agenda Running Out of Steam.

    sigh

  80. 80
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @shortstop:

    You don’t seriously think that if the administration had a) not fired her and stayed quiet or b) not fired her and explained why, this would not still be all over the news as “Obama defends black bureaucrats oppressing white farmers”?

    Especially because that’s also the heart of the similarly trumped-up nonsense about Eric Holder overlooking a civil rights complaint by a white person against the New Black Panthers. It’s still my theory that the Sherrod story was supposed to link up to that, to continue to advance a notion that Obama’s blackity-black government doesn’t care about white people.

  81. 81
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Frankly, I think Vilsack and Cook panicked and stupidly thought a firing would control the damage better than a suspension.

    And all without involving (well, they may have been invoking, but that’s done when the interns order out for pizza) the White House, preserving plausible deniability in the very event of a cock-up, or stepping on the WH’s big news days.

    Hell, they expected to get gold stars on their foreheads.

  82. 82
    celticdragonchick says:

    @BruinKid:

    Frum’s piece needs to be disseminated. Widely. THAT needs to be the meme from here on out, the utter corruption and hypocrisy of conservative media.

    Absofuckinglutely.

    Frum dumped a serious load of bad karma off of his tally with that essay.

  83. 83
    cleek says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Really? You don’t see any contradiction in Breitbart saying in one breath that Sherrod is a racist and in the next breath saying she’s not a racist and the real problem is the NAACP?

    i don’t see that particular contradiction in the paragraph you quoted, no.

    other places in the article, he does say he’s “sympathetic” to her “transformation” (presumably from racist to non-racist). and they mention his comment that Sherrod’s story was a “racist tale”. that could be a contradiction, but i think he’d argue that the quotes were from different times: he thought she was a racist based on the edited clip (just like everybody else did), then he saw the full video and learned differently. i wouldn’t believe him , because i don’t believe he wasn’t involved in making the edited version. but, the MSM would probably be cool with it.

  84. 84
    Violet says:

    @NonyNony:

    If Vilsack gets asked to tender his resignation over this, perhaps a few more Democrats will think before they over-react to right-wing smear attempts. Vilsack was totally out of line – even if the allegations were true it merited a suspension and a review of the facts not an outright demand for her resignation. That’s how you handle shit like this

    I won’t be holding my breath, but it will be interesting to see if it happens.

    Agree that the proper response to some unverified video is to place the person on administrative leave or suspend them pending investigation. Heck, police officers can shoot and kill people, and even if there is a video they still get sent to desk duty “pending investigation.” It’s ridiculous that the USDA can’t have the same standards for a much lesser offense than killing someone.

  85. 85
    Nick says:

    @Jay B.:

    I do. It would have ruled the Glenn Beck show, maybe, and Fox would have reported it, but that would have had exactly as much traction as the New Black Panther Party. Only psychotic racists really give a shit.

    Oh c’mon, you can’t honestly believe every media outlet in the country wouldn’t pass up the chance to run with a “THERE’S AN ANGELA DAVIS IN THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT!” narrative if given the chance. I mean, have you been living under a rock these past two years?

  86. 86
    Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony says:

    Shoot. I’d donate to the cause, if the cause was suing Breitbart for defamation.

  87. 87
    QuaintIrene says:

    lso, why is nobody talking about the fact that the NAACP thought they were opposing racism AGAINST a white couple?

    That’s an excellent point. Probably why Breibert was furiously trying to discredit their praise of Sherrod.

  88. 88
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    It’s still my theory that the Sherrod story was supposed to link up to that, to continue to advance a notion that Obama’s blackity-black government doesn’t care about white people.

    Oh, hell yeah. The missing piece in all this discussion is that, less than 48 hours before this blew up, the ombudsman of the Washington Post– and can you get more establishment than that?– posted what was an essentially an apology to the Breitbart-FoxNews-Teabagger axis of stupid that the BFNTBAoS wasn’t being allowed to act as the WaPo’s assignment editor on that very Black Panther fantasy.

    What Vilsack did was both stupid and unconscionable, and the White House ought to hang him out do dry, and they ought to do it last night.

  89. 89
    gnomedad says:

    @NonyNony:

    I mean that’s a HUGE change in the narrative right there. Democratic administration caves into right-wing lies and then suffers for it.

    Excellent point. And while I don’t believe this is what happened, it wouldn’t upset me if someone in the admin decided it would be strategic to lean in a bit and get hit by this pitch.

  90. 90
    celticdragonchick says:

    @eric:

    Damn. That was depressing.

  91. 91
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.:

    It would have ruled the Glenn Beck show, maybe, and Fox would have reported it,

    Right — that’s one of the specific things I would criticize about Vilsack (I’m not yet prepared to say it was Obama’s doing): it seems like he was _way_ too concerned that there was a new controversy being whipped up on Fox News. Didn’t Sherrod say that Cook told her if she didn’t resign the story was going to be on Glenn Beck? It’s kind of pathetic that there’s so much worry about things Glenn Beck might say. It’s also kind of pathetic that no one in a position of power knew enough to be skeptical of Andrew Breitbart.

  92. 92
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Violet: Vilsack won’t resign, but he ought to be publicly humiliated. Go out and answer questions, alone. A one on one interview with The Rachel Maddow. Forced to explain himself, face to face, to Shirley Sherrod.

  93. 93
    Kryptik says:

    I’m just wondering why the blame has shifted where it has to be one side or the other side.

    Breitbart, Fox News, Vilsack, the USDA, and Obama all fucking deserve a shit shovel’s worth of blame here.

    Breitbart because he’s a vile asshole that ginned up this whole thing from whole cloth, and then gleefully turned the discourse around his little finger when he saw how eagerly everyone swallowed up his bullshit.

    Fox News because, fuck, it’s Fox News, and they gleefully disseminate and enable this shit.

    Vilsack and the USDA for demanding her resignation from on the road, and not even bothering a modicum of investigation into this thing.

    Obama for backing Vilsack, and immediately kowtowing to the harpy right wing talking points in record time, without any of that pragmatism and common sense he was supposed to bring.

    They all deserve blame. I just have to be hypercritical of Vilsack and Obama because they should fuck all know better. Fox News and Breitbart might deserve most of the blame, but they’re vile and effective enough without our own goddamn side enabling them from the top.

  94. 94
    shortstop says:

    I really don’t think Breitbart looks as good as you think he does.

    I’m getting the sense from your collective posts that you have a really hard time seeing this story through the eyes of a non-liberal, and especially through the eyes of some jamoke who’s half paying attention to this whole story.

  95. 95
    PTirebiter says:

    @Arclite: Terry Gross interviewed The New York Times’ Binyamin Appelbaum today on Fresh Air. I thought he did a great job of explaining it. There’s an article and podcast at NPR. org

  96. 96
    handy says:

    @Nick:

    But doesn’t all what you are saying come down to, Sherrod was fired in order to do preemptive damage control on a potentially bad news cycle? Explain how what you’re suggesting is any more than that?

  97. 97
    eemom says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Quiet Harmony:

    I think Sherrod has a kick ass defamation case against Breitbart AND Fox, and you know what the bestest part would be? It would be heard by a DC jury. Fucking AWESOME.

    Of course, Murdick will pony up gazillions in settlement offers to keep that from happening, but maybe not enough for a woman of principle like Sherrod.

  98. 98
    Jay B. says:

    Oh c’mon, you can’t honestly believe every media outlet in the country wouldn’t pass up the chance to run with a “THERE’S AN ANGELA DAVIS IN THE OBAMA GOVERNMENT!” narrative if given the chance. I mean, have you been living under a rock these past two years?

    So, you’re saying that since idiotic racists believe every charge anyway over the past two years, and the media is complicit in them, it’s important to do the wrong thing in an effort to give people who believe lies made in bad faith the benefit of the doubt? Is that your media-savvy position?

    It’s idiotic and ridiculously complicated.

    Start with a simple premise:

    Consider the source.

    Make a judgment:

    It was at least fishy, probably a hit job.

    Then:

    Do the right thing.

    Finally:

    Live with the consequences of your actions.

  99. 99
    aimai says:

    @Violet:

    Much as I love Obama its been clear from the beginning that “let bygones be bygones” and love and forgiveness is something that is tendered to insiders, republicans, joe lieberman and white power players and not to the very people who put Obama in power. He booted Van Jones so fast his head spun, but Lieberman was and is given chance after chance. I admire Obama’s ability to work accross the aisle and he’s not a shoot from the hip kind of guy. But that being said the administration has not been shy at dumping people *on their own side* as soon as the right wing made a fuss. Look at the whole ACORN flap? There was never a moment when the white house stepped forward and stood up for ACORN as a matter of principle. And ditto for Van Jones.

    What I’m trying to say is don’t expect for a moment that Vilsack will be given more than stern, private, talking to by Obama. I don’t think he should be (btw). Everyone’s entitled to a second chance. Even Vilsack. But he shouldn’t be let out without a minder–and whoever pushed this at the White House level (Messina?) in the messaging shop should be demoted and sent to a re-education camp.

    aimai

  100. 100
    NonyNony says:

    @gnomedad:

    And while I don’t believe this is what happened, it wouldn’t upset me if someone in the admin decided it would be strategic to lean in a bit and get hit by this pitch.

    Yeah you’re right – that isn’t what happened. This isn’t the kind of administration that would do that – and Tom Vilsack isn’t the kind of guy who would be up for that kind of stunt.

    I’d love to think they’re playing 11-dimensional chess up there, but I think they’re flying by the seat of their pants and using well-worn heuristics to tell them what to do. Heuristic says “IF right wing propagandists are trying to kick up a shit storm THEN nip it in the bud no matter what it takes”. That’s all Vilsack did, and it turned out that this time the heuristic was wrong and it made the shit storm even bigger.

    My hope is that they learn from this and stop applying knee-jerk reactions like that. But they probably won’t. I’d also like to hope that Breitbart will be so thoroughly discredited that the beltway press would assume he was lying if he told them it was raining outside, but the fact that Matt Drudge continues to be a respected figure among the Beltway courtesans suggests that this isn’t likely to happen. Unfortunately.

  101. 101
    shortstop says:

    @Jay B.: Well, I think the Black Panther non-story got more traction than you’re admitting, and I agree with Flip that the BPP and SS/NAACP items were intended to be color coordinated (see what I did there?) as a matching set of Obama Hates White Folks offerings. But I may be suffering from blog blindness in which I wrongly think that what we’re looking at is on everybody’s radar.

  102. 102
    DBrown says:

    I generally think Andrew is on the side of the angels

    Remember, Satan is an angel, too.

  103. 103
    Nick says:

    @handy:

    Sherrod was fired in order to do preemptive damage control on a potentially bad news cycle?

    Yes, that’s all it was. It’s a damn shame that we have to live our lives and govern the country on news cycles, but that’s the world we live in. Maybe this experience will inspire us to change that, but I doubt it.

    We learned this from the death panels fiasco, and the Gates incidents. Politics is found on a battlefield of news cycles and in this day and age, you do what you can to avoid a negative one.

  104. 104
    celticdragonchick says:

    hey aimai

    I have no idea what you said over at Rod Dreher’s blog the other day, but you really pissed some people off and all your posts were deleted.

    I tried to stand up for you, but I doubt anybody payed attention. Sorry.

  105. 105
    shortstop says:

    @Jay B.: You just moved your goalposts tremendously in that comment. Nick was responding to your assertion that this would have been a non-story had the administration not reacted as it did. Now you’re shifting to the wisdom/morality of the administration’s decision, which is an equally (actually, way more) important but totally separate subject.

  106. 106
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    Meanwhile, Ben Smith has a piece up at Politico about politics and race. I only read the first few paragraphs to get the flavor of it, but it can be paraphrased in the form of a syllogism:

    FOX is stirring up racial controversy.
    MSNBC is stirring up racial controversy.
    Therefore, Obama’s Beer Summit was a failure.

    Not sure what grade Smith got in his formal logic course.

  107. 107
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Let’s all just move on…..to the next RACIST scandal, shall we: Obama visits black-power-supporting ice-cream stand.

    A Saturday jaunt to a Maine ice cream parlor by US President Barack Obama has brought serious concern after analysis of the the shop’s logo shows a striking similarity to the logo used to represent Black Supremacy in America.

    h/t

  108. 108
    QuaintIrene says:

    More wingnut disappointment. Blagojevich. won’t be taking the stand in his trial. There were so many who were salivating over administration heads like Rahm, being subpoenaed or some tasty dirt being revealed about Obama and his ‘Chicago’ connections.

    So much surprise cause Blagojevich had been boasting for months how he couldn’t wait to tell his side of the story. Why the surprise? The guys a total blowhard.

  109. 109
    danimal says:

    This story has been a disaster for conservatism and they know it. The only upside for them is that it has distracted attention from some other positive stories (UI extension, FinReg passing), but those stories are still getting a lot of play anyway. Conservatives really don’t like their methods exposed as baldly as they have been here. They are running away from Breitbart as fast as they can (see: Frum, David and Goldberg, Jonah).

    I expect President Obama to share a beer with Vilsack and a re-employed Sherrod by the end of the next week. They can all agree that Fox/Breitbart were evil, then kiss and make up.

  110. 110
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @shortstop:

    @Jay B.: Well, I think the Black Panther non-story got more traction than you’re admitting

    Before Shirley Sherrod, before the Andy Alexander column, before I, political- and blog-junkie to the detriment of things I should be doing, heard anything about the “New Black Panther Party, a Democratic congressman was being screamed at in a town hall meeting about Eric Holder’s racially motivated justice department. The thing about this relatively small number of old white people whose buttons FoxNews is pushing: They may not be coveted by advertisers, but they vote. In every fucking election.

  111. 111
    Nellcote says:

    Missing in the narrative is the fact that the NAACP condemned her, leading to Vilsack being spineless. It’s not as though he was only listening to FauxNews.

  112. 112
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    This story is from FoxNews, so no link from me, but this story is from July 14, and all the google links I found lead to RW sites.

    A California congressman who drew shouts of disbelief at a town hall meeting when he said he was unaware of the voter intimidation case involving the New Black Panther Party explained that the reason he hadn’t heard about the story was because his news sources didn’t cover it.
    Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., in a written statement released late Tuesday, accused Fox News of launching “attacks on me” for showing video of the meeting. He said he would soon send a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the incident and “the importance of allegations of voter intimidation,” but said the “major sources of information which I rely upon most” did not mention the issue.
    But he also offered an excuse for missing the news, saying none of the media he reads covered it.

  113. 113
    Mary G says:

    I thought (or hoped, I guess) that the president would take the opportunity at the end of his FinReg signing this morning to echo the NAACP’s extremely classy and nuanced apology to Sherrod as well as take a shot at Fox. So disappointing to see him ignore it.

    Don’t they ever think that it’s not the screw-up that matters as much as the cover-up later?

    The Dems have got to learn how to pivot as fast as the other side does.

    One good that might come out of this is to get the base fired up for November. I know it makes me want to get out and fight Breitbart, Fox, Palin et al with all my strength.

  114. 114
    shortstop says:

    @shortstop:

    Oops, missed the editing window: I apparently didn’t read the rest of Nick’s posts and certainly don’t agree with @his belief stated elsewhere that firing Sherrod was necessary damage control.

  115. 115
    aimai says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    Hey celticdragonchick,
    Yeah, that was an interesting experience. Rod really hates me, apparently, quite personally,–I had no idea he had officially banned me. He always deletes my posts but I didn’t think he actually kept track enough to officially ban me. I don’t get it–I mean, I do–Rod really hates to be called out, however politely, on the fact that he is basically nothing more than a paid propagandist for corporate/capitalist interests who uses anxiety about sexuality, morality, religion, and modernity as his wedge issues, or his themes, in promoting republican political causes. But he jumped right from not liking anyone to say “wait a minute!” to banning me. For me, I was incredibly polite.

    aimai

  116. 116
    Davis X. Machina says:

    The Dems have got to learn how to pivot as fast as the other side does.

    People have been suggesting all morning that this is precisely the problem.

  117. 117
    shortstop says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I was soooooooo hoping, knowing deep down that my wish was beyond foolish, that that link would lead to an Onion story.

  118. 118
    Jay B. says:

    @shortstop:

    I don’t really see it that way. The first point I made was that if the Administration downplayed the whole thing and said they’d investigate, it would have been relegated to the margins. They didn’t.

    Nick responded that I was naive to think that way because of some convoluted reasoning that had to do with the fact that if the Administration didn’t react the way they did, the racists and the out-to-get-him media would have been at his throat all day, just like they have for the past two years.

    I thought that premise was ill-conceived because if they do it anyway — spew shit based on lies, why would it be important to placate them now by doing the wrong thing? And then I once again laid out what I think the Administration should have done from the start.

  119. 119
    Corner Stone says:

    @shortstop:

    But I may be suffering from blog blindness in which I wrongly think that what we’re looking at is on everybody’s radar.

    Yep. I think a majority of white america is not paying much attention here.
    But I would wager that some significant percentage of the african american contigent is. Not that they will be put off voting for Obama by this, but they may have other priorities in the midterms.

  120. 120
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @shortstop: Maine is, by some accounts, the whitest state in the nation. I don’t expect anybody except tourists would look at that sign twice. Alas, the site seems not to be a parody site…they go back to ’08 at least. I find their interest in herrenvolk South Africa disturbing.

  121. 121
    Kryptik says:

    @Jay B.:

    I thought that premise was ill-conceived because if they do it anyway — spew shit based on lies, why would it be important to placate them now by doing the wrong thing?

    THIS. This, this, this, fucking this.

  122. 122
    shortstop says:

    I thought that premise was ill-conceived because if they do it anyway — spew shit based on lies, why would it be important to placate them now by doing the wrong thing?

    And you don’t see that as a goalpost shift?

    X: If the administration hadn’t fired her, this story would get no attention.
    Y: Dude, have you not been paying attention to how Obama and race are covered? Of course it would have.
    X: Okay, it would have, but that’s no excuse for doing it.

    Of course, as my subsequent edit above notes, Nick turns out to be actually arguing that the administration had to fire her, so the Y castigating the administration for the moral and judgmental crime of the firing but ALSO telling you that the firing is not the reason for the media frenzy turns out to be me, not Nick. Oops.

  123. 123
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Mary G:

    I thought (or hoped, I guess) that the president would take the opportunity at the end of his FinReg signing this morning to echo the NAACP’s extremely classy and nuanced apology to Sherrod as well as take a shot at Fox. So disappointing to see him ignore it.

    I think the Obama Administration rightfully deserves a great deal of the scorn they’re receiving so far, but let’s be serious. Did you really expect the president to address this issue during the signing ceremony for a piece of landmark legislation?

    I mean, that is not realistic thinking at all.

  124. 124
    farmette says:

    Also, the oil is no longer spewing into the gulf. Many in MSM do not like to monitor controlled situations. They like action figures and stories that produce emotional ambivalence and opposing characters so sides can be taken. Too many in media like to start rumbles, consequences be damned.

  125. 125
    aimai says:

    I don’t think it right to argue that JayB thinks if the Administration hadn’t fired her there would have been no continuing attacks from the right wing. JayB’s a damned good political observer and he obviously is arguing no such thing. I think (and he can correct me if I’m wrong) that he thinks that *given the wurlitzer nature* of the attacks, the absolutely programmatic nature from start to finish, it behooved the White House and all its Cabinet members to have a serious plan of action in hand that would be largely invariant and that would include a cooling off period/boilerplate statement that the incident “would be investigated.” The hasty pressuring of Sherrod to resign did nothing to end the incident that asking her to temporarily step down would not also have done. What blew the incident out of control and killed it for Breitbart was the instantaneous discovery of the white farmers and their willingness to go on TV to defend her. Absent that–and she was damned lucky after 24 years and given how old they are–Breitbart would have won this round and all future rounds.

    If the Administration doesn’t end up losing an important civil servant and losing the admiration and support of its own staff over this it won’t be due to any clever handling of this disaster but out of sheer luck.

    aimai

  126. 126
    Jay B. says:

    @shortstop:

    X: Okay, it would have, but that’s no excuse for doing it.

    I see.

    I was arguing his premise, I still don’t think the media would have covered it, but even if I did accept his premise it was an idiotic one because there was no upside to it. It’s not convincing anyone and it’s the wrong thing to do.

    Edit @aimai: And of course aimai is right because she’s nice and smart and I like her so very much! But she’s also right because I assume the right would have wet their pants, but it would have been relegated to that — and then THEY could have been discredited (again) by the rest of the video. It wouldn’t matter in the long run. But in the short run, it wouldn’t have been a self-inflicted wound.

  127. 127
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    The first point I made was that if the Administration downplayed the whole thing and said they’d investigate, it would have been relegated to the margins.

    I’m really not understanding why you believe this. As Flip said, this is part and parcel of the New Black Panther Party story — “Obama favors black people over white people! Film at 11!”

    The fact that Breitbart managed to shoot himself in the foot doesn’t mean that the story as he presented it wouldn’t have been enormously damaging.

  128. 128
    Nick says:

    @Mary G:

    I thought (or hoped, I guess) that the president would take the opportunity at the end of his FinReg signing this morning to echo the NAACP’s extremely classy and nuanced apology to Sherrod as well as take a shot at Fox. So disappointing to see him ignore it.

    you want the President to take what is probably his shining achievement off the front page to address a racial issue?!?!

    My God, I’m so glad his administration ignores liberals, because, my God, wow.

  129. 129
    TooManyJens says:

    @Nick: For once, we are in agreement. It would have been a terrible move to overshadow (because that’s what would have happened) the FinReg bill with a ginned-up scandal.

    Obama needs to address what happened to Shirley Sherrod, but not by drowning financial reform.

  130. 130
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    That’s only if you think the New Black Panther Party story is enormously damaging. I don’t. I’m sure it’s a bother to the Administration. But it’s playing in the same stupid margins, geared primarily at people who already won’t vote for Obama. It’s why the Administration has, to my knowledge, completely ignored it.

    I don’t see how hysterically overreacting the other way helps convince the “Obama Hates Whitey” crowd. Do you really think it would? Some of you are convinced that the entire media is geared up against him — is firing a civil rights hero going to turn them around?

    And if doing the right thing — something as easy as saying “we need to see the rest of the tape” — is so politically damaging as you seem to think it is, well, then Obama will be a one-term President anyway.

    Here are things that are WAY more damaging:

    Afghanistan
    The Economy
    The Filibuster
    Jobs

    The New Black Panther Party?

  131. 131
    Nick says:

    @Jay B.:

    why would it be important to placate them now by doing the wrong thing?

    because when presented with a choice of bad options, you pick the least bad one.

  132. 132
    PTirebiter says:

    Missing in the narrative is the fact that the NAACP condemned her, leading to Vilsack being spineless.

    Nellcote makes an important point. Obama got “briefed” meaning he was told an incendiary video was making the rounds, the NAACP condemned had already condemned Sherrod and Vilsack had fired her. So based on that information he initially backed a cabinet member and the NAACP. What’s he supposed to do, micro-manage every decision? Drop what he was doing to check out the blogs?
    The White House called Vilsack that evening to tell him to reconsider. Like it or not, the Financial Regulation and Unemployment Bills were stories they really needed and where their focus needed to be.
    @Mary G: I understand the sentiment but if he had moved off point even a little, that’s the story the press would go with.

  133. 133
    Nick says:

    @Jay B.:

    That’s only if you think the New Black Panther Party story is enormously damaging. I don’t. I’m sure it’s a bother to the Administration. But it’s playing in the same stupid margins, geared primarily at people who already won’t vote for Obama. It’s why the Administration has, to my knowledge, completely ignored it.

    Conveniently ignoring the fact that a lot of racists and people skeptical of the black guy voted for Obama in the end because of the economy and Sarah Palin, and they are susceptible to this bullshit

    Some of you are convinced that the entire media is geared up against him — is firing a civil rights hero going to turn them around?

    It’s gonna change the story, from “black radical racists who hate white people work for Obama” to “Obama fires nice black lady”

    and you know what? nobody cares about the nice black lady, but they care about black radical racists working in the administration.

    And if doing the right thing — something as easy as saying “we need to see the rest of the tape”

    nobody knew there was a “rest of the tape” when this story broke.

  134. 134
    Jay B. says:

    @Nick:

    It’s hard to see how, in any conceivable way, they made the least bad choice yesterday.

    Your approach of “optics” and “news cycles” is demented, and worse, a complete failure. I pray you work nowhere near politics because literally everyone — and I mean everyone — thinks their response has been a failure while it simultaneously cocked-up their positives of the day, getting UI out of the Senate and signing the financial regulation bill.

  135. 135
    Jay B. says:

    @Nick:

    Conveniently ignoring the fact that a lot of racists and people skeptical of the black guy voted for Obama in the end because of the economy and Sarah Palin, and they are susceptible to this bullshit

    Well, that and a SHITTY FUCKING ECONOMY. You’re so fucking obtuse it hurts my teeth.

    nobody knew there was a “rest of the tape” when this story broke.

    IT CUT OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF HER STORY.

    Jesus Fucking Christ. Now I know you work for the Democratic Party.

  136. 136
    Nick says:

    @Jay B.:

    It’s hard to see how, in any conceivable way, they made the least bad choice yesterday.

    and you know what? It’s hard to see how you think this would be a dead issue if they had not fired her and that we’d all be talking about UI and FinReg today.

    I sure hope you work no where near politics, the cable news monster would eat you alive.

  137. 137
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    That’s only if you think the New Black Panther Party story is enormously damaging. I don’t.

    By itself? No. With what appears to be supporting evidence of “more bias by the Obama administration,” especially when the Washington Post had only just written a mea culpa for ignoring the NBPP story and pledging to investigate it? Hells yeah it would have been enormously damaging.

    I don’t see how hysterically overreacting the other way helps convince the “Obama Hates Whitey” crowd.

    As I’ve said multiple times, I think a suspension would have been just as effective (and possibly more effective), but I don’t think anything short of that would have worked as well to speed the story along. But I think that’s another place where we disagree — I think it was a good idea to try to squash the story immediately rather than letting it fester for weeks like the Van Jones story until the only option was to fire the guy.

  138. 138
    Nick says:

    @Jay B.:
    you really don’t get it, do you? Get out more, that’s all

  139. 139
    shortstop says:

    @aimai: That is an eminently reasonable and, as is usual from you, beautifully rendered argument. It doesn’t, however, bear more than a passing resemblance to what Jay is actually saying, though it gives him a lot of credit for what he might say if he didn’t seem to be so oddly convinced (see #130) that it’s not possible to simultaneously believe that a) this nasty story had legs beyond “the margins” regardless of the administration’s reaction to it and b) the administration seriously fucked up its reaction to it, making a bad situation much worse.

  140. 140
    TooManyJens says:

    @Nick: How would things be worse today if Sherrod had been put on “administrative leave, pending investigation” rather than being fired as soon as some right-wing provocateur spread a nasty rumor about her?

  141. 141
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    Well, that and a SHITTY FUCKING ECONOMY. You’re so fucking obtuse it hurts my teeth.

    Jay B., the Republicans have glommed onto the shitty economy to blame the usual suspects: black and brown people. You still have people blaming “subprime mortgages” (ie poor, black and brown people) for the financial collapse.

    Please stop pretending that there’s absolutely no racist subtext to the ongoing anti-immigrant and anti-unemployed memes being spread so therefore there’s no way that people would pick up on a “Obama is being racist against white people” story as being part and parcel of that.

  142. 142
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    By itself? No. With what appears to be supporting evidence of “more bias by the Obama administration,”

    Or the even more insidious “questions have been raised.. the administration has faced controversies such as…” and there will only be more “questions” and “controversies” through 2012. The average voter probably thinks of Meet the Press as an informative and insightful hour of programming, and gets their news while multi-tasking–listening AM640 on the way to work, doing a crossword puzzle during ActionNews7 while waiting for the weather, or skimming headlines while flipping back to the horoscopes and the sports page.

  143. 143
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Nick: @shortstop:

    Obama’s problems are not racial ones. They are, overwhelmingly, based on every fucking poll one could find:

    The Shitty Economy
    The Shitty Oil Spill
    The Shitty Endless Wars and Fears
    The Shitty Deficit
    The Shitty State of Health Care

    He’s tried to address some to varying levels of success. Everything else is a sideshow. If they turn around, he’ll get the credits and the votes. If they don’t, he’ll get the blame.

    You, like them, need to worry less about how the right reacts to everything, and start focusing on what will work to turn the things around that normal people are concerned with. Worrying about whether racists vote for Obama will be a moot point if the economy is better.

    The New Black Panther Party, like ACORN, is a sideshow that even the Bush Administration dodged.

  144. 144
    Jay B. says:

    Please stop pretending that there’s absolutely no racist subtext to the ongoing anti-immigrant and anti-unemployed memes being spread so therefore there’s no way that people would pick up on a “Obama is being racist against white people” story as being part and parcel of that.

    Then by the logic shown on this thread he should have opposed UI, since black people would get it. The lesson: give up and don’t do the right thing if people will, in bad faith, cook up a bullshit narrative against you in the media.

  145. 145
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @aimai:

    What she said.

    McCarthyism is alive and well, and revamped for the internet age. Vilsack had a chance to have a “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” moment, and instead his cowardly and paniced reaction was to say “please sir, may I have some more?“. Obama picked him for Ag. Sec and Obama sets the tone for the whole Exec. branch, so this is Obama’s screwup too.

    I know Obama has a lot on his plate, and can’t be everywhere at once, or be able to keep tabs on every nook and cranny of the massive federal govt. But that is why it is all the more essential that his subordinates, starting with the Cabinet and proceeding down the org chart from there, follow his lead in dealing with these situations even when he and his top staff are busy elsewhere. And either he isn’t setting the right tone, or the message isn’t making it thru the ranks.

    I said it in a prior thread, I’ll repeat it again here: this is Eisenhower playing golf while McCarthy stalks the halls of power level of stupid on the part of this admin. There is too much at stake here, they can’t keep doing this.

  146. 146
    shortstop says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I just went back and read the whole story. Although it would take a sharper rhetorical sword than mine to successfully poke a hole in the sophistical prowess of paragraphs like this…

    “Why President Obama chose to patronize an establishment with such a politically-sensitive logo at this time is uncertain. Some speculate that his handlers, or Obama himself, decided on the press shoot to send a subtle message to his core radical base.”

    …I think the author misses a critical gap in the circle of lefty wagons when he fails to pick up on the true meaning of this…

    “In fact, store owner Linda Parker admits to intentionally modeling her logo after that of the Black Power Movement, telling a reporter in 2008, “Everyone has seen enough cows in the hillside.”

    A blatant slam at iconic liberals Ben and Jerry? Or a subtle message for the core radical base that once we’re done helping him “pay back” all the white conservatives*, Obama will be picking off white liberals as part of his racial remodeling of America? My god, have we been useful idiots after all?

    *Seriously, though, I admit to having been shockingly naive, pre-2008, about the amount of time certain older white folks spend obsessively worrying that if the nigras ever get a leg up, they’re going to use it to torment whites in exactly the way they’ve been oppressed. This has been an eye-opening couple of years.

  147. 147
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jay B.:

    The Shitty Economy — which is blamed on black/brown/poor people
    The Shitty Oil Spill — blamed on government regulation
    The Shitty Endless Wars and Fears — fear the scary brown people! fear them!
    The Shitty Deficit — blamed on “entitlements” aka payments to undeserving black and brown people
    The Shitty State of Health Care — blamed on (you guessed it) black and brown people fraudulently using Medicaid (ETA: and “illegal aliens” clogging up ERs)

    Again, all but one of those things has had a racist meme attached to it by the right wing, and they’re still trying to figure out how to blame the oil spill on black and brown people. It’s all tied in together. You really think that Republicans were spreading the blame evenly when they complained about the “lazy” unemployed?

  148. 148
    twiffer says:

    @Davis X. Machina: what is most amusing about that is following the links, which lead to an article about maine ice cream shops. the “black power” shop is owned by a white, blond woman.

    also, obama ordered vanilla ice cream: conflicting messages? [grin]

  149. 149
    Jay B. says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Right. Then by the logic of “getting out in front of the meme” and “looking even handed to racists”, Obama must reject anything that looks like he’s being biased, even when in objective reality it’s bullshit.

    Because winning the media cycle is evidently more important than having a plan, doing the right thing and fighting back against bullshit right wing/media narratives.

    ADD: Let’s also remember to surrender first to anything the right does or says, because, if not, they’ll never give us credit for doing what they want.

  150. 150
    goatchowder says:

    This is nothing more than Republican projection. They do it all the time. Whatever nefarious deed that they have been doing for years, they go on the attack and jump up and down accusing Democrats of TRYING to do. And the media covers them jumping up and down, because it is bought and paid for by corporations getting fat off of the Reaganomics of the land.

    Basic Republican M.O.: Whatever you’re doing, shout that Democrats are doing it, manufacture a scandal, and you’re off the hook. Bonus if you bump something Democrats are doing out of the news cycle.

    End result: Today in San Francisco a right-wing stormtrooper who has been watching too much Glenn Beck and Limbaugh, shot up some CHP cars and said he was on a mission to kill liberals, the ACLU, and non-profits. This is what the teabaggers are up to.

  151. 151
    shortstop says:

    @Jay B.: The fact that you even lumped me in with Nick and Mnemosyne in that comment shows how little you’re paying attention, or less charitably, how willing you may be to misrepresent.

    Get it straight this time, please: The only point on which I have agreed with Nick is that, because of the way the media covers Obama and race, this would have been a complete media circus regardless of how the administration reacted. Obviously, Nick and I strongly disagree on the correct administrative response to this, and I’ve been really clear about that in several posts. Mnemosyne and I, on the other hand, disagree about the breadth of the damage caused by this whole incident and particularly by the administration’s response.

    A good-faith response from you would not construe that when I say I think the firing was both immoral and counterproductive, I mean the opposite; nor would it find it necessary to inexplicably attribute to me beliefs about why Obama is in trouble which I have explicitly not made; nor would it pretend that I have argued that because many of his critics are racists, racism is the only problem affecting his standing in the polls. This has all been good fun, bro, but you’re starting to piss me off with all this rhetorical dishonesty.

  152. 152
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: Over so many of these recent threads, you have shown a tendency to fulminate about what would be the right thing to do, even–especially–when other people are talking about _why people did the thing they did_. These are incompatible conversations. Yes, it would have been cool for Tom Vilsack to say, “Go fuck yourself, Breitbart, this is a good woman here and we’re backing her all the way.” Why didn’t he do that? That’s what some of the rest of us are talking about. It is interesting to contemplate why it unfolded the way it did: it gives us the opportunity to talk about the media and politics. It is _not_ claiming that he _did the right thing_. Saying “I can see why he did what he did,” does not rule out the corollary, “But it still fucking sucks.”

  153. 153
    Jay B. says:

    @shortstop:

    I am sorry. I was trying to respond to different points from all three of you.

    Since you thought it would have been a mass freakout in any event, my point was, accepting your premise (even if I disagree with it), it would be irrelevant anyway because there was literally nothing Obama could have done that would have prevented said freakout.

    So, it seems, the best thing would have been to do the right thing because the jackals would have howled anyway. The only difference is that I think that if they weren’t so rash, it would have been confined to the Beck/Fox realm.

  154. 154
    shortstop says:

    also, obama ordered vanilla ice cream: conflicting messages? [grin]

    All part of the plan to pretend he doesn’t hate us, my friend. Ordering chocolate would have been way, way too obvious.

  155. 155
    Jay B. says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Maybe because I find it incomprehensible that the first response of anyone, even a politician, would be to cave in to a race baiting loser without knowing anything.

  156. 156
    shortstop says:

    Jesus, Jay, you’re still doing it. Will you try and get your mind around this? Of course not freaking out and firing Sherrod would have been both the best thing and the right thing, IMP. What is so fucking hard about understanding that when I disagreed with your premise that there wouldn’t have been a media frenzy if the administration hadn’t fired her, that was the only point I was then discussing? I can see you missing this one time, but this is about the sixth time I’ve explained it, I think. Why do you have to go on and on arguing against an imaginary conclusion which you imagine inevitably leads from my assertion? Could you just try sticking to what people actually say around here?

    It is absolutely not irrelevant to try to honestly assess how the media has and is certain to continue to cover Obama and race. Not, as Nick argues, because understanding the reality absolves the administration from acting rightly, but because it’s the only fucking hope for not bolloxing it up going forward. One of the most frustrating things about this stuff is how little this administration, so adept at campaigning, is able to look six seconds down the road and game out their future responses to what is absolutely coming around again. Understanding the media situation is not the only part of that, but it’s a critical one.

  157. 157
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.:

    The only difference is that I think that if they weren’t so rash, it would have been confined to the Beck/Fox realm.

    IMHO the thinking probably was “With a quick firing, we can keep this to a one-day story on Fox; if we wait, we’ll manage to make it a two-week story on Fox that eventually spills over into the non-Fox media, like the New Black Panthers.” And of course the entirety of how it was handled _was fucked up_ because it wasn’t a damaging story after all; but, as other people have suggested, it was a solid game plan for how to handle an actually damaging story in the contemporary media environment. That’s why I think the more interesting question going forward is “Why did they start out by presuming it was damaging?” and/or “Why does Fox set the agenda for the media on race?” rather than “Why did the administration handle it the way they did?”

  158. 158
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jay B.: Well, then we’re agreed. The interesting questions are “Why do they cave to fake controveries?” and “What consequences would they face by refusing to cave?” Because I don’t think anyone is saying “Repeated caving is the just and proper course of action, and I hope they do it every time.”

  159. 159
    Jay B. says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    I don’t think you’re saying that. But, put in different words, I certainly get a whiff of it elsewhere.

  160. 160
    Joel says:

    To be fair, the FinReg bill wasn’t exactly generating excitement on either side of the aisle.

  161. 161
    BrianD says:

    “That you have progressives furious with Obama is just a bonus.”

    If the administration hadn’t fired her, progressives wouldn’t be furious and this wouldn’t be exploding all over the news cycle.

  162. 162
    Mnemosyne says:

    @BrianD:

    If the administration hadn’t fired her, progressives wouldn’t be furious and this wouldn’t be exploding all over the news cycle.

    No, it would still be lurking under the surface for another week or two until it burst forth with demands for Sherrod’s firing. There is no way in hell this would have quietly faded away.

    As I keep saying, I think Vilsack was stupid for firing her outright when he should have temporarily suspended her, but I do think they moved quickly enough to keep this from turning into another Van Jones nightmare.

  163. 163
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think they followed the script for how to handle a damaging bit of verbiage, especially when there’s audio and/or video. Both the NAACP and the administration quickly made a point to say that discrimination of any kind has no place. What I wish would have happened is greater effort to determine whether the bit of verbiage should be considered damaging in the first place, that is, whether it revealed discrimination or not; and, secondly, something more to confront how quickly stories go from the right-wing blogosphere to Fox to the other media outlets chiding themselves for not paying enough attention to the story.

    But I also see why, especially after the WaPo ombudsman had just days ago said that their paper should have covered the New Black Panthers sooner, the administration would think, “Oh, shit, the WaPo is going to be all over this stupid shit as a make-good for the New Black Panthers, so let’s quash it fast.” So, again, to me it was _understandable_ that the administration reaction was what it was, given the current media environment. That doesn’t absolve anyone for their decision to concede that media environment rather than confront it.

  164. 164

    […] Like John Cole says, the reason the right wing hate machine does this shit is because this shit works. I’m sure NYT public editor Clark Hoyt will reaffirm that he is very sorry that the media aren’t paying enough attention to right-wing news and overlooking these important stories. […]

  165. 165
    Arclite says:

    @PTirebiter: Thanks to all who replied to me. I’ll start with Terry Gross, since I’m at work and I can listen while I work.

  166. 166
    Sheila says:

    Progressives are not furious with Obama. Blogosphere “progressives” are furious with Obama, a perpetual state of affairs for them. A quote from Eric Hoffer says it all: “In their fanatical cry of ‘all or nothing at all’ the second alternative echoes perhaps a more ardent wish than the first.”

  167. 167
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @Kryptik:

    Obama for backing Vilsack, and immediately kowtowing to the harpy right wing talking points in record time, without any of that pragmatism and common sense he was supposed to bring.

    Backing Vilsack? What fucking proof do you have that Obama even knew about the shit that had happened before Vilsack fired her?

    You do know that more than one person works on the WH staff don’t you?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Like John Cole says, the reason the right wing hate machine does this shit is because this shit works. I’m sure NYT public editor Clark Hoyt will reaffirm that he is very sorry that the media aren’t paying enough attention to right-wing news and overlooking these important stories. […]

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