What happened to Shirley Sherrod yesterday is a disgrace: Tom Vilsack should be ashamed of himself for forcing her resignation and the Andy Alexanders of the world should be ashamed that they’ve spent the last year sucking up to Andrew Breitbart.
But I’m starting to think that the overall effect of this episode may be positive. Even nuts like Jonah Golberg think Breitbart owes Sherrod an apology. I don’t think that means much as far as Goldberg himself goes — Doughy Pantload will certainly be cheering the next heavily edited tape that Breitbart produces. But when even wingers (and Goldberg’s reaction seems fairly typical) are saying things like this, it’s hard to imagine that Kaplan, the Times, etc. will continue to ask why they aren’t covering Breitbart more.
Remember, the ACORN tapes were also heavily edited, but media that covered them — with the exception of the Daily Show — never offered any kind of retraction. And now, of course, ACORN is nearly defunct, partly as a result of coverage of these heavily edited tapes. I think the Sherrod kerfuffle will make it less likely that something like that happens again.
I believe that the the famed Dan Rather memos were forged by Republican operatives intent on squashing future coverage of how Bush got into the National Guard. It was an epic rat fuck and it worked brilliantly. Yesterday, the rats fucked themselves and, while the effect won’t be as great as with RATHERGATE, there will be an effect.
Breitbart obviously released the Sherrod tape as a response to the NAACP/Tea Party dust-up. It’s amazing how much heat the NAACP resolution caused.
Update. I see that David Frum already made the comparison with the National Guard memos earlier today.