"With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias."
-- NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, following the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod and the revelation that the recorded comments by her which led to it were selectively edited to appear more damning than they actually were
You know, the USDA really should've considered the source of the clip in question before it knee-jerked Sherrod right out of a job. Remember, Breitbart's last videotaped bombshell turned out to be almost 100% horseshit. A flat-out hoax. The government owes this woman an apology, given what we've learned over the past 24-hours (and kudos to CNN for putting Sherrod and the farmers she was referring to on the tape live on the air together this morning so that those supposedly aggrieved white people could sing their tormentor's praises -- and basically dump all over Breitbart's piss-poor argument on national television).
But still -- snookered?
(Adding: Incidentally, this is what I meant when I talked about allowing the right-wing feedback loop to drive the story -- to bully otherwise thoughtful and intelligent media outlets into reacting with the same kind of contrived outrage that the partisan extremes do. It's shocking when you consider that, despite his terrible track record, all Breitbart had to do was slap a quick, poorly contextualized clip up on his site and stand back. He knew the mainstream press's Liberal Media Bias Accusation Alarm would cause it to wet its collective pants and instinctively jump on the bandwagon and begin shouting for the head of whomever the right claimed was the enemy. The really awful thing, though? That Breitbart is already using the same monkey-shit dodge he did when the O'Keefe tapes fell apart. He's now feigning ignorance -- claiming that he never saw the rest of the recording that would seem to exonerate Shirley Sherrod. So, if you believe him, Breitbart -- remember, the future of journalism -- just throws something up on the internet having no clue what the fuck it really is, makes up a narrative, lets the ravenous Neanderthals who worship him fill in the blanks, and voila! suddenly he's got established journalists who should know better jumping through hoops. Oh yeah, and some poor lady who probably didn't do a damn thing wrong is out of a job thanks to the crowd of pitchfork-wielding knee-jerks indignantly demanding blood all over cable TV. God bless America.)