Currently at the top of the NYTimes’ “Most Popular” list is Frank Rich’s meditation on Shirley Sherrod, Andrew Breitbart, and America’s halting progress on civil rights since the days of Mad Men. It might be said that Rich overdoes the “all parties involved share the guilt” argument, but I think he’s done an excellent job of laying out a timeline and aggregating links in an easy-to-forward article for people who aren’t policy wonks:
… Even though the egregiously misleading excerpt from Shirley Sherrod’s 43-minute speech came from Andrew Breitbart, the dirty trickster notorious for hustling skewed partisan videos on Fox News, few questioned its validity… As the world knows now, her talk (flogged by Fox as “what racism looks like”) was an uplifting parable about how she had risen above her own trials in the Jim Crow South to aid poor people of every race during her long career in rural development… What’s important is not the exculpatory evidence that clears her of a trumped-up crime. What matters is Sherrod’s own story. […] __
This year, [Congressman John Lewis] was pelted with racial epithets while walking past protesters on the Capitol grounds during the final weekend of the health care debate. Breitbart charged Lewis with lying — never mind that the melee had hundreds of eyewitnesses — and tried to prove it with a video so manifestly bogus that even Fox didn’t push it. But he wasn’t deterred then, and he and others like him won’t be deterred by the Sherrod saga’s “happy ending” as long as the McConnells of the conservative establishment look the other way and Fox pumps racial rage into the media bloodstream 24/7.
“You think we have come a long way in terms of race relations in this country, but we keep going backwards,” Sherrod told Joe Strupp of Media Matters last week. She speaks with hard-won authority. While America’s progress on race has been epic since the days when Sherrod’s father could be murdered with impunity, we have been going backward since Election Day 2008.
On the other hand, Maureen Dowd, PR expert, tries to repeat her ‘Al Gore earth tones’ coup:
The Obama White House is too white… The president shouldn’t give Sherrod her old job back. He should give her a new job: Director of Black Outreach. This White House needs one.
I say: Let Shirley Sherrod have the job for which her story truly qualifies her. Her speech to the NAACP concluded that “It’s not about black against white; it’s about haves against don’t-haves.” So… Let President Obama appoint her the first national Director of Class Outreach.
Related (finally, my Van Jones News Alerts offer something other than rightwing red/black-scaring):
Dowd was horrifically bad this weekend.
Has Maureen met Michelle Obama? Probably his closet advisor, and I’m sure she has more than a few insights.
This controversy really has come full circle. From white conservatives questioning Obama’s commitment to white people, to white Liberals questioning his commitment to black people.
I do have to hand it to Dowd for hutzpah though. The whitest woman at the NYT’s declares (while hiding behind her anonymous black sources) a black man isn’t “black enough”, and manages to continue the First Black President myth about Bill Clinton.
She could have at least quoted Sistah Souljah on that last part.
I don’t know about her organizational, political or managerial skills, but she seems like the kind of person that we need at the very top for our leadership. A person who is gracious, smart, experienced in making crappy situations better, one who doesn’t ruffle under intense BS and one who looks way beyond herself in life.
That’s the kind of person that I want in charge.
Jeez, this pisses me off. No criminal referrals in the US Attorney mess.
And if you think Scott is being too hard on OPR, ask yourself why John Yoo is still walking around as an active member in good standing of the State Bar of California.
does Anne know what JC’s day-job is? All those posts about “the country’s best political cartoonist” all week.
Also this week the funding to settle the USDA lawsuits with black farmers was dropped from the bill in the senate.
I just wonder how many leather cat suits Dowd owns.
Just in case my post #3 was not clear I’m talking about Shirley Sherrod
@Ruckus #8: Just in case we thought you were talking about Maureen Dowd??
Maureen Dowd is not a liberal.
In other non-political news I spent the night watching TV and can say that I quite like the new (first?) A and E show “The Glades”
And Rubicon looks promising too.
So what happens now?
The settlement blows up, the case goes to trial, and plaintiffs win. They wait longer for the money, but they get more. And there’s an opinion out there.
This is bad?
@Ailuridae: The show that is making me go WTF? right now is “The Colony”. I’m not sure if I get the whole concept of a fake biological disaster being compelling.
Wow, Rich doesn’t pull any punches:
Shhh, you’re not supposed to say that. Teabaggers are just concerned citizens and the fact they sprung up ten seconds after Obama was inaugurated is just a coincidence. And Republicans only get 5% of the black vote because, well, you’re just not supposed to bring that up.
Someone needs to slap the shit out of Maureen Dowd. I’ve been dying for the chance for years now.
Yep, President Obama really needs to reach out to black voters.
Only 9 out of 10 black voters approve of him. He still has a lot of work to do to capture the Clarence Thomas/Ward Connerly segment of the African American population.
If I had just written a column chiding my newspaper for not covering some GOP race-baiting scandal, I might be a little embarrassed by the past week’s events. If you’re an asshole like the WaPo’s ombudsman, you just pretend it didn’t happen and talk about a story everybody’s already forgotten about.
Granted, the national security story is pretty important (though Alexander evinces no understanding of why), but is it too much to ask the guy to say something about Sherrod, considering how important he thinks it is for the paper to cover whatever bullshit Fox is flogging?
So I think that the DNC might be trying to bait John Thune into running for President in 2012.
John Thune is smarter and more articulate than Sarah Palin but he is also, undeniably, a wing nut who can’t win the Presidency as latino voting demographics change. But he would likely beat out Jeb and Palin in a primary.
@Ailuridae: At this point, Zombie Reagan looks better against Obama than any living Republican interested in the job.
Minor quibble, but I woulda gone with “Excuse Me While I Whip This Out…”
I say: How about they first try and offer her the job of Rural Development Director in Georgia, a role which she seems to have enjoyed and be eminently suitable for? Might work out better for Ms Sherrod and everyone else than forcing her into to some sort of job that represents all the crap (nice and nasty) that’s been projected onto her in recent weeks?
They’re not trying to win the Latino vote, and they don’t care about demographics.
They’re trying to take whatever margin they need from the Democratic white vote. As the Latino vote increases, they’ll try to increase the white voter margin.
They’re not worried about losing a piece of the Latino vote in Arizona, because they hope to win a section of the white vote from Democrats, and they’re using immigration to do that.
There are plenty of white voters. It’s just that 43% of them are voting for Democrats.
They’re zero sum people. Any gain or loss is exactly balanced by the gain or loss from the other side. Not a bigger pie, a bigger piece of the pie that exists.
Howard Kurtz is a complete shitbag.
I’m just reminded to say that because I watched the segment of his media show with Joan Walsh, a professor, and some right wing hack worshiper of Andrew Breitbart.
And supposedly they’re talking about the media coverage of the Sherrod fraud.
Walsh keeps trying to point out the utter racist, anti-jounalism actions of FoxNooz on ‘covering’ that issue for several days, and Kurtz and his right wing guest just keep repeating ‘but the administration fired Sherrod before Fox News was covering it heavily.
I thought he had a show to discuss journalism.
So if ‘the administration’ fired Sherrod earlier than Fox’s coverage, this makes it okay that Fox News hyped a fraudulent racist story as news without the tiniest bit of investigation?
It is amazing how little of the shit has stuck to Fox.
That Obama ‘not liking black people’ has been going around for a while. I’ve seen plenty of that speculation in posts and diaries all over the liberal blogosphere. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that we were arguing over Obama’s lack of a ‘black agenda’ or some such nonsense.
I certainly would like to slap Maureen Dowd. I hope she got a tongue lashing in the comments section. Although she comes off as someone who could care less what’s said in the comments section.
I like Frank Rich but I think he got this wrong. We haven’t gone backward since the election.
It is and was exactly this bad, and we (now) know that. The conditions existed. All Breitbart did was create a crisis within that.
The last thing that the Republicans want to do is make it a class issue. By making it a class issue the democrats can win back some of the southern whites that Webb wrote about. You will hear Fox News and Rush continue their he hates white men speech because without race, they got nothing.
I’ll just note here that the class issue – haves vs. have-nots – does exist, and it’s the most notable difference between the glibertarians that you guys love to hate and the left-libertarians whose opinions I read IN ADDITION to the more right-leaning libertarians you know of. Yes, Reason magazine never brings up the issues surrounding class, how resentment is used to keep the wealthy and politically powerful at the top, and who the cops really work for. But anarchists and left-libertarians are very much aware of those issues.
@Mayur: We should raffle off chances for charity.
She can choose it!
She has a helluva lot of gold plated nerve to say crap like that. There’s empathy, and then there’s this patronizing, “I understand your experience better than you do” bullshit.
What finally occurred to me about this Sherrod tape is that Breitbart could have looked at the tape and seen an out of control Government Program interfering with the free market to the detriment of African Americans (only providing loans to white farmers) and used that to sell Republicanism to the black community (I know this is BS, but every thing he pushes is BS), but instead chose to use to use it as a wedge to generate resentment in white voters. That’s very telling of his racism.
@BrYan: Segregation was really more about helping black Southerners live more independently and not live so much on expectations of government aid.
@BrYan: That would have been breathtakingly coldblooded & cynical! And the fact it didn’t occur to them means their racism trumps even their win at all costs thinking.
Which is good news.
kommrade reproductive vigor
I love it when Caucasians say this. Really, you have no idea how cute it is. “Oh dear, you’re not conforming to my stereotypes. Could you hold this watermelon and maybe dance a little? It’d make me feel much better.”
And the smearing of Sherrod continues. Summary: It’s not lynching if there’s no rope involved, and did you know there were racists in the Democratic Party before 1964?
Can you imagine the field day the GOP and Fox would have if Obama established a “Director of Black Outreach” position? “Where’s the Director of White Outreach? The Director of Latino outreach? Obama hates white people and Latino people.” The script writes itself.
Honestly, Maureen Dowd is an idiot. Who takes this woman seriously? Why does she have a job at a major newspaper?
@Hal: This whole damn thing makes me so…. stabby. I just can’t anymore. These people exhaust me. But I guess it’s nice to know that as a black woman who grew up in Park Slope Brooklyn with mostly white friends… that one of the top pundits at the NYT would quantify me as not black enough… perhaps, I should tell that to the guy I cut off yesterday. Because while trying to apologize to him he hurled the N word for a couple of miles at me as we drove down Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills. Sigh… post racial my black ass…
Meanwhile, a resolution explicitly supporting an Israeli attack on Iran has been introduced in the House, with 46 (!) co-sponsors. It is virtually certain to never get to a floor vote, but still …
As a pasty white person, I just want to say that Maureen Dowd has embarrassed the living crap out of me with that idiotic column of hers.
Maureen Dowd wrote that the this Administration is too white??
In the name of all that is evil and un-holy, somebody needs to club that stupid bitch like a baby seal!!
E.J. Dionne is shrill.
They really need to be called out as traitors at some point, these fuckers. Or they need to sign their sorry asses up for military front line duty, along with all their kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews. Let their flesh and blood get blasted to little bits of bone and bloody flesh for their precious wars, let them pay for it, but leave me and mine out of it thankyouverymuch.
Jeez. Cyber hug. And that motivated me to go send a nasty e-mail to the NYT about modo.
@over_educated: I could use a cigarette after reading that.
I say let Maureen Dowd have the job for which she truly qualifies: Smarmy Pundit Who Manifests the Stereotype of Women as Catty Gossips rather than Qualified Journalists.
Not really. Given that pretty much everyone on every side of the political spectrum was eager to pin the blame on the Obama administration, it was a foregone conclusion that Fox and Breitbart would get off scot-free.
Heck, read that Dionne column — how much blame does he put on his fellow media elites for buying Breitbart’s bullshit? And how much blame does he put on the administration for being afraid of a media shitstorm fueled by the media buying Breitbart’s bullshit?
Right now, the media should be having a 24/7 soul searching to figure out what went wrong and why they give credibility to lying racist liars like Breitbart, but that ain’t gonna happen as long as they can play innocent and put the blame on someone else.
Heck, read that Dionne column—how much blame does he put on his fellow media elites for buying Breitbart’s bullshit? And how much blame does he put on the administration for being afraid of a media shitstorm fueled by the media buying Breitbart’s bullshit?
It’s the “You failed to stop me, so it’s all your fault and not mine” school af argument. For most people, this stops being credible around the age of 5, which places the mental age of the DC press corpse somewhere below that.
I agree with your assessment. The only thing that changed is that the polite facade covering the rot and fear underneath (the real issue) our so called “progress”, has been stripped away for all to see.
Personally, while it stinks to high heaven and Lordy it shure looks awful, as a nurse, this kind of wound just must have the light of day and its been stinking under that superficial scab rather than truly healing, for a while.
Just wanted to be clear. I try for perfect. I fall short so often I’ve gotten used to it though.