UPDATE AT END OF POST: Walsh responds, claims this isn't what she said!
Joan Walsh on Sunday said former USDA official Shirley Sherrod is allowed to say anything she wants about racism -- including calling Fox News and Andrew Breitbart racist -- because her father was killed by a white man.
Discussing last week's controversy on CNN's "Reliable Sources," Salon's Editor-in-Chief actually claimed, "The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses, and the white justice system never found the murderer guilty."
"She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to."
When Matt Lewis of Politics Daily asked incredulously, "Any way she wants to," the sparks began to fly (video follows with transcript and commentary):
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHIRLEY SHERROD, FMR. GEORGIA DIRECTOR, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, USDA: I don't think he's interested in seeing anyone get past it, because I think he'd like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery. That's where I think he'd like to see all black people end up again. And that's why --
ANDERSON COOPER: You think he's a racist?
SHERROD: -- I think he's so vicious. Yes, I do. And I think that's why he's so vicious against a black president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: So, Matt Lewis, she says Breitbart wants to take us back to the times of slavery.
Is that fair? And are the media giving her a pass now for using that kind of language?MATT LEWIS, BLOGGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: I think it's unfair. Look, I don't think it's right.
I think that Andrew Breitbart is a conservative activist. I think he cares very deeply about liberal bias in the media and about attempts to portray -- we're going to talk later, but we know that there are attempts for liberals in journalism to portray conservatives as racists.
I think he's concerned about this. I think this was -- clearly, Shirley Sherrod was misrepresented in that video. We have no doubt about that.
KURTZ: She also talked about Fox News, in effect, being racist.
We're over time, but Joan Walsh, a brief response from you on this point?
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM: The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses. And the white justice system never found the murderer guilty. She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to.
LEWIS: Any way she wants to?
WALSH: That's not giving her a pass.
LEWIS: So if you've had a bad experience in your background, you can say just anything you want?
WALSH: Yes, any way she wants to. A bad experience in your background? I'm talking about murder. Murder, Matt.
And the fact of the matter is, the woman turned out to be the antithesis of Andrew Breitbart, who told a story of racial reconciliation and healing and forgiving white people, and going on to help white people --
LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get --
WALSH: -- and going on to -- the issue in this country --
LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get a pass to talk about --
WALSH: -- is class as much as race. I'm not giving her a pass. But I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because from her vantage point it's especially true.
KURTZ: Well, in fairness, it's certainly debatable.
Debatable? Yes, I'd say what Walsh said was debatable.
I've got relatives that died in Nazi concentration camps. Does that mean my views on racism are incontestable and that I'm allowed to call anyone I want an anti-Semite regardless of merit? Or does Walsh's quizzical qualifier only apply to black people that have had relatives killed?
It's becoming impeccably clear that what we once again learned in the past week as a result of this episode is that according to liberal media members, certain people are the only ones allowed to talk about race and their views are to be considered indisputable.
We witnessed this last year when the media ganged up on the entire Cambridge, Massachusetts, police department and took the side of Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr.
When some black Congressmen this past March claimed they had racial epithets hurled at them on Capitol Hill during an ObamaCare protest, their word was taken as Gospel despite there being absolutely no proof such a thing happened. To this very day media members continue to echo this unsubstantiated allegation at the drop of a hat.
Now, four months later, because Sherrod says Fox and Breitbart are racist, so-called journalists are running with that much as NewsBusters predicted. You couldn't turn on a political talk show Sunday morning without hearing someone point such a finger.
As such, despite America electing its first black president over 20 months ago, our nation has actually grown more divided in matters pertaining to race rather than closer as was the belief of so many Obama supporters.
If we were honest with ourselves and truly considered why that is, we would have to conclude that first, Obama and his Party continue to use race as a wedge for political advantage.
As I opined days before this newest incident happened, the Democrats appear to be using race now as a Hail Mary to save themselves from losing Congress in the upcoming midterms. As always, an obedient media are at their side aiding and abetting.
But the other dirty little secret here is that the Obama administration has repeatedly shown itself inept when it comes to race issues. Witness last year's bungled treatment of the Gates-Cambridge PD affair as well as the lost opportunity presented when racist statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) about presidential candidate Obama were revealed this past January.
Six months later, when allegations of racism were lodged against an administration official, the White House, much as it did with Gates, quickly rushed to judgment worsening the situation.
If the executive branch would have acted like competent adults when this story broke Monday morning instead of like a group of inexperienced children, they would have immediately asked for the complete video of Sherrod's speech and requested to speak with her. That her resignation was demanded within hours of Breitbart's piece being published without this happening was absurd.
If we had an honest media as opposed to willing accomplices, the real story this week would have been about White House incompetence.
If you doubt this, consider the following scenario: a prominent liberal website -- let's say Daily Kos -- in 2006 posts a video of a black Bush administration official making what appears to be racist comments. Within hours, the NAACP condemns the remarks, and the official in question is forced to resign. An hour later, MSNBC starts playing the video.
The following day, the official in question goes on CNN, tells his/her story, and blames MSNBC and the Netroots for his/her termination. Hours later, the NAACP releases the entire video, retracts its condemnation, and then accuses MSNBC, Markos Moulitsas, and the Netroots of racism.
If this happened in 2006, would we now be talking about racism at MSNBC as well as Moulitsas's prejudices OR the inept way the Bush administration handled the matter?
As it seems almost a metaphysical certitude that Bush would be taking the fall in this scenario, why are we talking about Fox and Breitbart now?
If you don't think it's because there's a crucial election happening in less than four months and the Democrats are in serious danger of losing Congress, I've got some swampland in Florida to show you.
As for Walsh and her views on this matter, contrary to what the Salon editor repeated several times earlier in this segment, Fox News DID NOT air the excerpted Sherrod tape on Monday before she was dismissed by the USDA. Readers are also reminded that Walsh was chastised by the Nation's Chris Hayes last week for misrepresenting facts about him.
As we learned from former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean Sunday, this appears to be a common malady afflicting liberals these days.
*****Update: My fellow Bay Area resident has responded claiming this isn't what she said...
Finally, host Howard Kurtz and poor Matt Lewis ended the segment talking about how Sherrod has now gone too far, calling Fox and Breitbart "racist." I defended Sherrod, and Lewis (and now Brent Bozell's minions at Newsbusters!) claimed I was arguing Sherrod should get a pass to say whatever she likes about race, because her father was murdered by a white man, who was exonerated by white Georgia justice.
Watch the video for yourself, and see what I said. First of all, the idea that any journalist is wasting his or her time policing Shirley Sherrod's rhetoric on race, after what she's been through, is absurd. But what I said was, I think her charges of racism by Fox and Breitbart are justified. Both are peddling a false story of all the nonexistent ways white people are hurt and/or oppressed by blacks; in particular, our black president. In my book that's racist; others may disagree. I didn't give Sherrod carte blanche to peddle hatred of white people (not that she would if I gave it to her.)
First, notice that Walsh didn't include a transcript of the relevant discussion, nor did she link to our article about this segment. As such, readers couldn't actually READ what she said OR what we claimed she said.
Rather, she wrote that we were wrong, and left it to readers to watch an almost 13-minute video -- with the relevant section near the very end, mind you -- to assess her veracity.
Pretty pathetic, Joan.
This is WHY we include transcripts whenever possible.
That said, as we've already done that, here are Walsh's words without any interruptions:
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM: The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses. And the white justice system never found the murderer guilty. She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to. That's not giving her a pass. Yes, any way she wants to. A bad experience in your background? I'm talking about murder. Murder, Matt. And the fact of the matter is, the woman turned out to be the antithesis of Andrew Breitbart, who told a story of racial reconciliation and healing and forgiving white people, and going on to help white people and going on to -- the issue in this country -- is class as much as race. I'm not giving her a pass. But I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because from her vantage point it's especially true.
I guess you can see why she chose NOT to include a transcript or a link to our piece in her rebuttal.
Readers are encouraged to also review Matt Lewis's take on the matter.