Who is to blame for the fiasco in which a good woman was defamed and fired because of an maliciously edited video showing what appeared to be racist comments, but which was actually a story of racial redemption?
First of all, Andrew Breitbart, who presented the video, and the non-journalists who failed to question whether it was the whole story, including Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.
But these people are professional performance artists. They’re highly paid to rant and rave and be irresponsible. Unfortunately, in today’s media environment, people think they are journalists.
The real problems here are the NAACP, the White House, and other liberal organizations hoping to undermine the Tea Party and Sarah Palin by suggesting they are racist.
Every group has a few bad apples, and some tiny number of Tea Partiers are probably racist at the core. Some tiny number of any group is racist at the core. The vast majority are not. The Tea Party movement is not.
The NAACP, in a transparent effort to try to pump up the issue, earlier this month demanded that Tea Party leaders rebuke those in their organization who are racist.
It was an effort to play the race card against a movement that is a clear threat to Democratic rule. The race card has been viewed in this case as a potent weapon since the unsubstantiated charges by black House leaders who provocatively walked through a throng of Tea Partiers in Washington some weeks back and exclaimed they’d been jeered as if it was the Selma March all over again. No proof of this – other than their claims – has emerged.
The White House has stood by and allowed the smearing of a mass movement that they know could carry Obama right out of office. So when evidence surfaced this week that an administration official was guilty of reverse racism, the administration acted quickly, firing her without examining the evidence. They did so, I believe, because a ranting racist in the administration would ruin the storyline that the president’s opponents are a bunch of bigots.
President Obama, particularly as the first black president, has an obligation to object to race baiting. He has a duty to put in their place those who seek to foster racial tension in our society. In this case he has failed, miserably.
Let’s be clear about one thing: The Agriculture Department does not fire anyone based on racially tinged comments without running it by the White House first.
I’ve covered the White House for 13 years. Shirley Sherrod was not cashiered without at least the acquiescence of senior White House officials, and more likely, active pressure from them. This is what the Ag official who told her to resign said was happening, and I believe it.
According to POLITICO, Jim Messina, a top White House political hack, praised the quick firing of Sherrod at the Tuesday morning senior staff meeting.
The White House needs to investigate who in the West Wing knew about the decision to fire Sherrod and what they did about it.
White Hous Press Secretary Robert Gibbs will not say which of the president’s aides might have known what. He said that “not to my knowledge” were there any instructions from the White House to agriculture officials to fire Sherrod. “Not to my knowledge” is very different from “no.” Here’s something else Gibbs said:
Now, as you saw Secretary Vilsack’s statements from last evening, now that we have greater knowledge and a broader fact set, he is going to review all of those facts, and that’s what he’ll talk to Ms. Sherrod about today.
It looks, then, like the Agriculture Secretary is going to do the investigation. There will be an effort to keep this as far away from the White House as possible and let the Ag Department take the fall. That’s what’s called a coverup.
Of course, the big problem for the White House may be the possibility that the one who knew and perhaps even ordered the firing is the one who is in charge.