Thursday, July 22, 2010

So, how exactly did Shirely Sherrod get fired? Oh yeah! Tea Party Activist Gone Wild!

The phrase "teachable moment" continues to be repeated ever since the last "teachable moment."  It seems that no one, not even White House staffers or Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, learned from the Henry Louise Gates incident.  ENGAGE BRAIN BEFORE OPENING MOUTH.  VERIFY, VERIFY, VERIFY.  I have come to expect this type of behavior from conservatives and the various forms of right-wing political pundentry, but then again maybe they do. 

It seems that even when the rantings and ravings of the conservative talking heads proves once more that they are deaf-as-a-post to issues of race, they boost their readership and trick everyone into looking at the train wreak of social discourse they generate.  This was the point that Politico was trying to make in their article today, The Tucker and Breitbart Show.  Tucker Carlson, former co-host of CNN's Crossfire, even admits it's hard not to get caught up in the sensationalism needed to generate viewership on their blog.  Carlson is one of the conservative pundents that I admire (but don't agree with) because he at least tries to be a real journalist. 

There's a name for the type of journalism that has been promoted by Tea Party activists, as well as conservative political operatives:  Yellow Journalism.  It's that "gotcha" type that shouts "LOOK AT WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND THEY CALL ME A (RACIST, HYPOCRITE, DISHONEST, etc...).  It doesn't even try to use facts to support their story, just rhetoric, accusations, and counter-accusations to push their version of the truth. 

While I was finish up my undergrad degree I worked in high end hotels, primarily at a place called the Siena Hotel (by the way if this looks like a place you would like to go for a weekend get away, tell Anthony Carey that I sent you).  One of the first things you learn in the hospitality industry is that for every person that you provide excellent guest service to, they will tell maybe 1-3 people.  For every person that gets bad service, they will tell 10 or more people. 

Throughout my political and grassroots advocacy career, this rule has applied.  That's why grassroots work for positive social change is so difficult and demagoguery is so effective.  It's easier to spread a rumor than to take the time to learn the facts or discover the truth. 

The casualty of this latest battle was Shirley Sherrod who, as many of us know, was fired/forced to resign from her job with the USDA in Georgia.  The reason was a heavily, heavily edited tape of her giving a speech at a local NAACP banquet where she talks about the event that lead her to her "ah-ha" moment on race and discrimination. 

A very teachable event of realization was butchered by Tea Party Activist and conservative political hit man Andrew Breitbart.  Thank goodness the NAACP put the whole video up on their web site so we could get the entire context and hear what she really said.  Problem with what Breitbart did, he picked the wrong person to accuse of reverse racism.  Talk about a major backfire. 

If there was any person, any African American person, that should have bigotry in their heart it's Shirley Sherrod.  But she doesn't.  A woman who's father was killed by a racist, she went on to fight for Civil Rights and against injustice her entire life.  While nobody is perfect, and Mrs. Sherrod would I'm certain would agree, she too had to work though a lot to get to the place she is regarding race relations.  In many ways, I am no different. 

But again, because of Tea Party Activists (the racist and extremist elements of the Tea Party Movement) we are talking about race and discrimination again.  The bigotry of the conservative media gets a boost in their viewership and readership, and we are all distracted from the most important issue at hand, getting people back to work and fixing our economy. 


  1. The Tea party didn't fire her it was Obama's idiot's.

  2. Have you seen The Young Turks view of Tucker Carlson?

  3. Anonymous, yeah. Didn't quite say it as eloquently as you, but that's what happens when you don't fully investigate the reason for firing someone. But, Breitbart's actions are how it got started. Blew-up in his face, and Mrs. Sherrod will end up with a better gig.

    The Gaelic Wife, no I haven't. Can you provide a link?


  5. Hey in my humble opinion she should get a better job.Here is a woman that is working hard to get past racial tensions and gets punished by the White house for it.This is truely sad for a President that was suppose to bring CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN.

  6. Thanks for the link to The Young Turks. Interesting. Several years back I worked with a lady who did publicity for CNN's Crossfire, which Tucker Carlson was a part of. The way she described Tucker Carlson to me was that he was so nice. Bob Novak,... crumugin. Paul Begala was very nice and personable. James Carvel, well let's just say their network lawyers were on standby.

    I met Carvel when I was doing work in Oklahoma in 2002. This guy just don't care what people think about him. He doesn't have to worry about money and he is in high demand.

    Mrs. Sherrod is going to do just fine. All that can be said at this point is that The White House (through Robert Gibbs), President Obama, and Sec. of Ag Vilsack have all appologized. Vilsack has offered her a promotion. Not sure if I've heard an appology from the NAACP but they quickly turn around and admitted they didn't verify the validity of the Breitbart video.

    I really don't know what else you want from President Obama, Anonymous, (except for him to be a one term President), but for crying out loud he at least admits when he makes a mistake. GWB would never do that, and even said that he didn't make mistakes.

  7. Barry if Obama keeps going exactly like he has so far he will be a one term President.GWB would never have asked for her to have been fired until he knew the facts.Which would have been easy to find.If they President and the NAACP can be that easily fooled we are in for alot of trouble.Wonder how easily Russia could fool Obama?

  8. How do you know that Obama asked for her to be fired. At the time everything started playing out, all he said was that he stood by Vilsack's decission. It was Vilsack's call. All that we know is what has been reported. It doesn't matter if you or anyone else believes it or not, those are the stated facts to this point. Like any business with hundreds (in this case 100K +), you rely on your VPs/Managers to manage. If they make the wrong decision, they have to deal with the fall out.

    Keep in mind too, why would Obama even be that involved in a personel issue that doesn't require a Congressional hearing or consent? The list of things that are a much higher priority for the President is incredibly long. They have appologized, offered her a better job, she's considering it, time to move on.

    What about Breitbart? This guy started it all by perpetrating a FRAUD against this woman by removing the entire context of Mrs. Sherrod's speech and promoting his edited version as the truth. Fox News, O'Reilly, Beck, New Gingrich, and many others on the right did the same exact thing and parroted the same racist charge at this woman. This thing went viral. Why not hold these others and so-called "fair and balanced" news networks to the same high standard you are holding Obama and his Administration to?

    When people like Breitbart and the Tea Party react to chareges that they are racist and that there are racist elements with in their movement, buy saying "look at them. and you call me/us the racists!" how is this suppose to refute the charge that there are racist elements with in the Tea Party? This whole thing blew up in their face and cemented the perception that the Tea Party is racist, or at the least has a deeper problem with racism within their movement.

    If you are going to continue to post on this blog, you need to post as something other than Anonymous or you we need to talk over the phone. I need to know who you are and so do the readers of this forum. Again, email me so we can exchange phone numbers and have a conversation. I think that's only fair.

  9. Would i need to let you know who i am if i said things that you agreed with ? Give me your phone number and i will give you a call.

  10. Even if they are in agreement, I would expect them to have the courage to put their name/handle to the comment. I don't post things anonymously and if people are going to participate and enter into a conversation on this forum, that's what I expect.

    As a matter of personal safety, I have my email listed under the section about me if anyone wants to contact me. From there, I will exchange other contact information. The only way I communicate one-to-one from this blog or any other form of social media is through the listed contact information and then an exchange of additional contact information. So, just email me at and we can go from there.