NAACP

By Ken Shepherd | July 27, 2010 | 1:00 PM EDT

Shirley Sherrod's now-infamous March speech before an NAACP audience is recognizable to practicing Christians as a "testimony." That's the spin that Syracuse journalism professor and former Washington Post staff writer R. Gustav Niebuhr brought to Newsweek/Washington Post's On Faith feature in a July 26 Under God blog post:

As she said to members of the Georgia NAACP back on that March day, she spoke as the daughter of a murdered black farmer, victim of a racial crime whose author was never convicted. That allowed her to talk about how, through her experiences with the financially hard-pressed white farmer in 1986, she came to believe a divine agency was at work in her life, teaching her.

"God helped me to see that it's not just about black people--it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know."

That's the key statement in her speech. In traditional Christian terminology, it's called a testimony.

By Rusty Weiss | July 26, 2010 | 2:05 PM EDT
With recent controversial race topics entering the spotlight, such as the voter intimidation incident and Shirley Sherrod story, the media has been more than willing to open their arms and turn on their cameras to hear the opining of the National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party, Malik Zulu Shabazz.  Shabazz has appeared on Fox News, issued a statement through CNN, and done exclusive interviews for various media outlets.

The Anti-Defamation League has described Shabazz as anti-Semitic and racist, trying "to recast himself as a serious civil rights leader in recent years by cloaking his bigotry and intolerance in religious and civil rights principles and inserting himself in high profile, racially charged issues around the country."  This certainly seems to be the case as he has made an increasing number of appearances in the media, in which the audience is to suspend belief and assume this man is an evenhanded voice on race relations in America.

In fact, Shabazz used his statement at CNN to accuse the ‘Republican or right wing tea party strategists' of ‘stir(ing) up racial fears'.

By Noel Sheppard | July 26, 2010 | 11:56 AM EDT

In the past six days, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some liberal media member claiming that Fox News was responsible for Shirley Sherrod's dismissal from the Agriculture Department.

So obsessed with this idea were the folks on PBS's "Inside Washington" Friday that the lone conservative on the panel Charles Krauthammer had to defend FNC's honor like a knight in shining armor protecting a princess from a gang of marauding Huns.

Two days later, CNN's Howard Kurtz and Politics Daily's Matt Lewis did their darnedest to convince Salon's Joan Walsh of the facts - unfortunately to no avail.

Getting fed up with the stupidity from his colleagues on the left, Mediaite's Steve Krakauer Sunday evening tried to once and for all put this matter to rest:

By Noel Sheppard | July 25, 2010 | 5:39 PM EDT

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): 

By Noel Sheppard | July 25, 2010 | 12:18 PM EDT

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean on Sunday accused the Fox News Channel of being racist.

With the opening subject of "Fox News Sunday" being last week's controversial termination of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod, Dean said, "I think Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. They took a, they had an obligation to find out what was really within the clip."

Dean continued, "They have been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this, this business, and Sotomayor and all this other stuff...The Tea Party called out their racist fringe, and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe."

That apparently was all host Chris Wallace could stand, for he struck back and struck back hard beginning with, "I know facts are inconvenient things, but let's try to deal with the facts" (video follows with transcript and commentary): 

By Noel Sheppard | July 24, 2010 | 7:33 PM EDT

Charles Krauthammer on Friday scolded Gordon Peterson, the host of PBS's "Inside Washington," for blaming Shirley Sherrod's termination on Fox News.

As he introduced the first topic of the evening, Peterson said, "Which brings me to the story of ousted Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod who was let go on the basis of a single piece of internet video that was edited out of context, posted on a conservative website, picked up on Fox News, and bought lock, stock and barrel by the Obama administration."

When Krauthammer got his turn, he went right after Peterson saying, "Speaking of apologies, perhaps you ought to apologize for saying that Fox News had her on the air before the administration had fired her" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary): 

By Ken Shepherd | July 22, 2010 | 4:13 PM EDT

My colleagues Brad Wilmouth and Lachlan Markay have catalogued how Fox News hosts played no role in the forced resignation of former USDA bureaucrat Shirley Sherrod over perceived racist remarks.

But why let the truth get in the way of a good screed? Just ask Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, who published a postmortem yesterday to the magazine's The Gaggle blog on "[h]ow the administration mishandled a manufactured scandal":

How could the White House have screwed up so badly in the case of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia USDA official who Wednesday received an apology from the Obama administration (through Robert Gibbs and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack)?

Sherrod was the victim of a smear by the right-wing agent provocateur Andrew Breitbart and his fellow travelers at Fox News. (Yes, that side has adopted some Leninist tactics, as conservative antitax activist Grover Norquist has admitted over the years.) They took a two-and-a-half-minute clip from Sherrod's address to the NAACP and used it to depict her as a black racist who discriminated years ago against a white farmer. It turns out the farmer thought Sherrod had been a terrific help, and a full review of Sherrod's speech suggests that, far from being a racist, she had honestly (and successfully) worked through the complex racial preconceptions we all carry around in our heads.

Later in his post, Alter added more spin and half-truths by noting that:

By Kyle Drennen | July 22, 2010 | 2:28 PM EDT

Erica Hill and Michael Eric Dyson, CBS On Thursday's CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Erica Hill discussed the firing of Shirley Sherrod with left-wing Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson, who used the opportunity to slam conservatives: "...there's unfair pressure on the Obama administration, Mr. Obama himself, from, I think, the far right wing, which perceives black gain at the expense of white security."

Dyson used the phrase "right wing" a total of eight times throughout the five-minute segment. He lamented how the White House "caved into duress and stress from the right wing" and later pushed the false claim that Fox News had pushed the Obama administration to fire Sherrod: "And it does show that Andrew Breitbart and other right-wing bloggers have an intense power, this is focused at Fox News, that then forces the mainstream media to pay attention and the White House itself got roped into this."

At one point, Dyson remarked: "...it's not just a matter of 'oh, those right wing guys over there are horrible,' there's liberal enlightened racism as well." Hill responded: "The NAACP initially jumped on this and said – and condemned – condemned Sherrod as well. So, I mean, this is coming from all sides. This is not just a right wing issue or a left wing issue." Dyson admitted that he thought the NAACP acted "dishonorably," but quickly moved back to conservatives: "...why do we take the word of a right-wing media on the issues and practices and behaviors of people in the broader mainstream? I think we have to be very careful here."

By Rusty Weiss | July 21, 2010 | 11:59 PM EDT
Memo to media members wishing to invite the Tea Party Founder on your show, or use him as a source for your biased reports:  He isn't exactly who you think he is.

Since the NAACP voted to condemn extremist elements in the Tea Party, news networks, sites, and liberal blogs have rushed to include ‘Tea Party Founder', Dale Robertson, in their reports.  Problem being, Dale Robertson as Tea Party anything has frequently and thoroughly been, um ... ‘refudiated'.   

Despite this, the media has a history of holding Robertson up as a shining example of Tea Party racism.  Why?  Robertson once demonstrated a level of ignorance that boggles the mind by holding a sign reading "Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = (N-Word)", at a Houston Tea Party Society (TPS) event.

The reality however, is that Robertson has predominantly self-described, if any, links to the Tea Party movement, while legitimate factions of the movement have had to repeatedly distance themselves from the man.  Robertson was expelled from the event at which he was holding the aforementioned sign on the very same day.  He was formally denounced in a statement released by the Houston TPS.  He was called ‘no friend' of the Tea Party at Pajamas Media, and mocked at RedState.  He was shown to be for his infamous sign, before he was against it.

So logically, the media has decided to help further the cause of the NAACP by bringing Robertson back out of the shadows.  Since word of the the NAACP resolution got out, Robertson's name has appeared at...

By Kyle Drennen | July 21, 2010 | 6:11 PM EDT
Jim VandeHei, MSNBC Appearing on Wednesday's Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC to discuss the Shirley Sherrod controversy, Politico co-founder Jim VandeHei pointed out the NAACP's role in fueling racial accusations: "If you think about this, where this thing started, the NAACP comes out and makes this charge against the tea party movement."

VandeHei rejected the NAACP's claim of racism in the political movement: "It's a very, very diffuse group. You cannot say that they are racist anymore then you can say the Republican Party's racist or the Democratic Party is racist, so it creates this culture and it's a dangerous topic, it's a dangerous fire to light, and then when it happens this is the outcome."

Explaining how the NAACP charge led to the accusations against Sherrod, VandeHei observed: "I'm not defending Breitbart. But conservatives are outraged, they feel like 'listen, you're – because I'm part of the tea party movement you say, therefore, I'm racist.' And so what Breitbart's arguing is 'I want to push back.'"
By Rich Noyes | July 21, 2010 | 11:00 AM EDT
On Wednesday’s Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy took strong exception to the NAACP’s claim it was “snookered” by Fox News into denouncing former Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod based on excerpts of a speech she delivered at a dinner in March.

“There’s a timeline problem,” Doocy pointed out, noting that the NAACP had on Monday night denounced Sherrod as “shameful,” the same day that she was pressured to quit her job (she says by the White House). But Fox News never mentioned the story until after Sherrod had quit. “So for anybody to say that Fox News pressured her out, that is simply a lie,” Doocy asserted.
By Brent Baker | July 21, 2010 | 9:23 AM EDT

ABC and CBS last week jumped to advance the NAACP’s charge of racism within the Tea Party movement with friendly stories which provided corroboration for the allegation as neither identified the left-wing group’s ideology. On Tuesday night, however, the ABC and CBS evening newscasts had a sudden concern for the accuracy of the racism charge leveled against a USDA official via video posted by BigGovernment.com, a group the networks were quick to label “conservative” as they painted Shirley Sherrod as a victim of distorted editing of the video of her remarks – as if the news media never do that.

Meanwhile, the NBC Nightly News, which last week managed to refrain from promoting the NAACP’s anti-Tea Party agenda, ran a full story on Sherrod and BigGovernment.com’s “lie,” but also ran the very first broadcast network story on the Justice Department’s refusal to pursue the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case.

“We turn now to a story about race, politics and what constitutes a rush to judgment,” ABC anchor Diane Sawyer intoned. (Last week: “The NAACP has just adopted a resolution this evening at its annual convention condemning quote, ‘racist behavior by Tea Party members.’”) Jake Tapper referred to “a conservative Web site posting a video clip of Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod at an NAACP event talking about meeting with a white farmer...” He noted the NAACP, which had condemned Sherrod, later in the day “reversed course, saying they'd been snookered by conservative media.”