Shirley Sherrod Reminds CNN’s Gergen of Nelson Mandela

Exhibiting an extreme case of the media euphoria over Shirley Sherrod’s vindication, moments before Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack appeared before the cameras CNN senior political analyst David Gergen gushed to Rick Sanchez:

I have to tell you, Rick, I don't want to put her on too high a pedestal. I don't think she would want that. But I kept thinking about Nelson Mandela as I heard her story, because he had to overcome the same sort of hatred on both sides. And he became this larger-than-life figure and I think we all loved him and revered him because he was able to grow like that. And there is that quality about her story.

48 hours without a job just like 27 years in prison. And how did she experience “hatred on both sides?”

Gergen continued, at about 4:45 PM EDT Wednesday afternoon on CNN’s Rick’s List:

And as you know, so many of us who come from the South have lived with race and have had to sort of struggle, sometimes had to struggle in our souls to reach this plane. And she sort of reached this place of ascendance, which I really respect in her.

Being compared to Mandela is the ultimate tribute from a liberal. In the introduction to his book, ‘Mandela’s Way: Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love, and Courage,’ which was published in April, Time magazine Managing Editor Richard Stengel enthused:

It is impossible to write about Nelson Mandela these days and not compare him to another potentially transformational black leader, Barack Obama. The parallels are many...

While it took twenty-seven years in prison to mold the Nelson Mandela we know, the forty-eight-year-old American President seems to have achieved a Mandela-like temperament without the long years of sacrifice. Obama’s self-discipline, his willingness to listen and to share credit, his inclusion of his rivals in his administration, and his belief that people want things explained, all seem like a twenty-first century version of Mandela’s values and persona.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center