The whole episode is just the latest in the right-wing war against Truth and Obama, taking surreptitious statements by obscure fourth-level non-entities out of context so that they can play their favorite game: Six Degrees of Obama. Van Jones said this, you see, five years ago, and ran into Bill Ayers in a parking lot at the University of Chicago and Valerie Jarrett had lunch with someone who invited Jones to join the White House and, of course, that means that President Obama is a communist. You can see this little game played every day on the Glenn Beck radio and TV programs, where the manipulative little prick draws arrows on chalkboards to "prove" the grand designs of UW professor Joel Rogers (the "Wizard", according to Beck) and Obama to take over the world.
Literally every blogger and MSM commenter, left and right and Broder, in the universe has had something to say about the Sherrod story, saying it very quickly within the 24-hour news cycle, which is now more like a 3-hour cycle. Not only that; they had to blab about it twice -- both before and after the purposefully-edited version was exposed to be the deliberate and predictable Breitbart lie that it was. At his point and before, anyone who takes anything Breitbart or Fox News spews out at face value -- including the apparent buffoons at the Ag Department -- is an idiot. And anyone who is surprised that the entirety of the recording not only exonerates Sherrod, but practically qualifies her for racial-understanding sainthood is just not paying attention to the entirely dishonest way the right-wing media machine operates.
May I offer a couple of angles on this sad story that I haven't read in other places, although I can't say I've looked that hard:
- The entire thing was a set-up to embarrass the Obama administration -- no matter how they responded -- from the start. Breitbart and Fox News knew about the whole context and predicted that the administration would over react to their dishonest redaction. That's why, the day after Sherrod was fired, she was on the mouthpiece of the alternative-reality right-wing universe -- Fox News -- with the strangely outraged Megyn Kelly, complaining about her firing. What now? I thought. What does wing-nut Barbie-doll Kelly care about this supposedly reprehensible "racist" getting the ax she deserved? Something smelled fishy. Sure enough, Fox News soon had possession of the magically-redeeming part of the same tape. Now it was Obama-ites who had sinned and thrown this poor woman under the bus. Just another day (or, in this case, week) in the life of Fox News, which exists only to provide fake facts for right-wing talking points.
- If the Ag Dept. had not immediately sacked the poor Sherrod, the right-wing media would have gone Van Jones on Obama's ass and squawked for weeks about how he was allowing this unreconstructed reverse-racist to remain employed, looking down her nose at poor white farmers while heaping undeserved services on the privileged blacks of the rural south. If the contents of the entire tape were ever revealed (I'm sure Breitbart thought he had the only copy) or Sherrod managed to get the story out of what she really said, the phony Obama-as-anti-white-racist smear would have already worked its twisted magic, adding another notch on the belt of the right-wing campaign to convince (or, really, allow) white America to think the worst about their first black president.
- Compared to the vicious and deliberate sins of the right-wing media whores in this debacle, the clumsy overreaction of the Ag Department is small potatoes (although the consensus of the MSM commmentariat employs far too much of a plague-on-both-their-houses meme). However, was there not one person within the Ag Dept. bureaucracy who, when the frantic wheels are churning on Monday, couldn't have grabbed the organizational megaphone and say, wait a minute, that ain't Shirley? Who knew that Sherrod could not possibly have said such a stupid thing as presented by Beitbart, who may have even heard her tell the same story (these kind of stories are never told only once on the rubber-chicken circuit)? It wasn't necessarily Vilsack who failed her and us as much as it was whoever her immediate supervisor was, who knew her work and her disposition directly, who didn't move to protect her from the headlong political imperative.