They took video of a speech this woman gave, chopped it up so it would look like something completely the opposite to what it was. Then used that video in a deliberate attempt to level a charge of racism at the President of the United States. The goal? To scare white voters ahead of this November's midterm elections.
FOX News was very eager to get this story out and get it out loudly. Having had the Tea Party movement they helped create and constantly promote, exposed as having a very ugly racist element to it. Also having lost their most recent "Breaking News!" story about the Obama Justice Department protecting radical Black militants, in a new Black Panther Party. When that story was exposed as made up nonsense. With the Sherrod story, Fox News was almost giddy with excitement. Here FINALLY was the "Smoking Gun" of reverse racism by The Obama Administration they had sought for so long..
The story was a complete lie. Not one of the purported facts in the story was even remotely true. But that didn't matter. Just like with the supposed "Smoking Gun" of voter fraud by the non-profit group ACORN, Fox News grabbed the talking points for THIS new smoking gun and RAN with it at full speed.
In response, the Obama Administration's Agriculture Department quickly fired Sherrod, joining the chorus decrying the overt racism on display in the heavily edited video. But not even a day and half later, the story and Fox News/Breitbart narrative began to unravel. As the dust settles from this latest instance of race baiting by the political right in this country, a pattern has sadly emerged.
Rachel Maddow has the post-mortem.
It's hard to really know who is worse, the fools or the fools that followed them. In this case the fools being the race baiting hacks at FOX News and fools who followed them being, sadly - the Obama Administration. It is as if the Obama White House was so scared of a right wing talking point of Black favoritism they accepted a completely false, and easily debunked story, (all it would have taken is one phone call to the White family in question), and took it at face value.
The sad truth here is you can't really blame FOX News. They were just doing their job. They are not a news organization they are a political media arm of the Republican Party. It's their job to try to make President Obama look bad, even if they have to tell blatant lies to do it. It's what the talking heads on FOX are paid to do. No, the real sad truth here is how the Obama Administration has become a gutless, spineless quivering pile of political timidity. The audacity of hope has been chucked in favor of the expedience of whatever will test well with middle of the road focus groups.
Real heath care reform. was abandoned in hopes of gaining one or two GOP votes, that never came for what ended up being mild insurance reform. Real financial reform as been abandoned in the hope of getting one or two non existent GOP votes to extend unemployment benefits to millions of Americans. Who lost their jobs under the economic train wreck of the Bush Administration. Real advancement of civil rights in America has been abandoned out of fear of losing midterm elections by being painted as "too pro gay" by bigots, who are on their third and fourth marriages.
Now the latest casualty of cowardice is nothing less than the truth. Nobody in the Obama Adminstration even thought to question the accusations against Shirley Sherrod. No one in the White House thought to consider the source, and maybe, just maybe, take a day, one day to check and see if the story was even remotely credible.
There is a great scene in the movie "The American President" where President Andrew Shepherd , played by Michael Douglas finally stands up to the constant barrage of right wing attacks on his character. Realizing that he had been more focused on keeping his job as President , than doing his job as President.
We truly do have serious problems to solve, and the Republican Party and it's noise machine over at FOX is not even remotely interested in solving them. And the sad truth is they have successfully cowed President Barack Obama into being too scared of losing his job, to be able to effectively do his job. The millions of Americans who voted for hope and change are left wondering where the man they voted for has gone. How many steps backward will this administration allow itself to be bullied into, before they have their American President moment? In tonight's brilliant special comment, MNSBC's Keith Oblermann asks the same question.
The Tea Party racists like to say they "want their country back". I'd settle for getting back the President I voted for.