Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Recent events have pointed out serious problems with modern media---or, more correctly, propagandists---and how people react to and use information on the net. The firing of Shirley Sherrod for allegedly making a statement seen as reversely discriminatory was unjust and knee-jerk; the original report that lead to her dismaissal was downright dishonest and inflammatory. Although I believe idiots such as Andrew Breitbart have a right to post opinion and rant anywhere they wish, they should be held accountable when purposely and premediatively issuing false information and altering media to inflame passions and adversely affect a person's private life. Especially someone whose record of helping people was considered rather sterling.

What makes all this even worse is that Breitbart admitted that he falsified his material (both in misidentifying her position at the time of the recalled incident, taking the sound bite clearly out of context to stain her reputation) in order to attack the NAACP, with no regard to the adverse effect it might have on Sherrod. He said he did so because the NAACP pointed out the rather obvious and blatant racism of some members of the Tea Party. Well, only the blind of heart (or racist individuals themselves) could fail to interpret many images held by Tea Partiers at their rallies as anything less than patently racist and offensive.

There really is no standard governing what passes as journalism and opinion today. Anyone---and I include myself---can say whatever they wish, pretty much, and get away with it. That FOX used Breitbart's blog to report on and condemn Sherrod, and others, is nothing new (Rush pioneered in that realm decades ago); I do not consider FOX reputable at all.

What also bothered me was how quickly mainstream media, the NAACP, and many individuals, all the way up the political chain, failed to ask questions and didn't allow Sherrod to truly defend herself. To their credit the WH, USDA, and NAACP quickly apologized for their too-quick judgements. Even FOX, or at least some commentators, reversed their criticism, except Breitbart. I hope he is banned from appearing on FOX programs, is sued heavily by Sherrod (isn't knowingly publishing false information liable?), and has a much-more-skeptical lens placed on every report he delivers in the future. He is a reactionary provoceteur---not a journalist---and should be treated and recognized as such. Even by FOX.

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