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Long Division.
July 21, 2010 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Black people are coming for you white people. Rachel Maddow argues that is the underlying theme of the four major Fox News-only stories of the Obama administration: Van Jones, ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and now Shirley Sherrod. These stories are largely ignored by the mainstream media, but are being relentlessly pushed by Fox News in an effort to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president.
posted by ND¢ (160 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
i am pleased to say i am only aware of one of those stories... .250... im a fox news utility infielder.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:50 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cable news is now reduced to CNN and MSNBC covering FOX, who take their cues from... well, you get it. Talk about fucking framing.
posted by unSane at 8:51 PM on July 21, 2010 [29 favorites]


The other underlying theme, let's not forget, is that they're all total bullshit.

The other other underlying theme is Democrats rolling over for total bullshit.
posted by zjacreman at 8:55 PM on July 21, 2010 [26 favorites]


Just black people are out to get me? That's optimistic. I thought everyone was out to get me.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 8:59 PM on July 21, 2010 [27 favorites]


That's a great video by Maddow.
posted by stbalbach at 9:00 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


I already bought a magic acorn that protects me from panthers, so I'm at least half as well informed as those Fox viewers.
posted by ecurtz at 9:03 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Until the Shirley Sherrod story - I had never gone to check out FoxTV News. I wanted to see how they would wiggle out of "breaking" a bullshit story. Well - the spun it as the Department of Agriculture as harrasing Shirley Sherrod into quiting (which they did), while completely ignoring their role (in particular - the fucking idiot Sean Hannity) in the matter. The rest of the website is a complete joke. And unSane is right - all CNN did was repeat what Fox said.

I don't know what's worst - Fox's unrelenting drive to humiliate minorities in postions of power (the truth be damned) or the Obama administration's and traditional media for not holding Fox to basic journalistic standards. You know, sometimes the winner is the one who wants it more. And Fox wants to be the voice of the Tea Party - bad.
posted by helmutdog at 9:03 PM on July 21, 2010 [9 favorites]


but are being relentlessly pushed by Fox News in an effort to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president

The Tea Party is profitable. Fear makes money. No one went broke pandering to the basest instincts in people. Rupert Murdoch is just watching the bottom line.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:04 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


How exactly did Glenn Beck get away with saying that shit about Van Jones? Not a lawyer here but surely that falls under slander or libel or something?
posted by fleetmouse at 9:05 PM on July 21, 2010


Can someone explain if Glenn Beck wanders into actionable territory? Inventing a felony conviction on somebody? Seriously?

Also:

"They were looking for the result they got yesterday," [Sharrad] said of Fox. "I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:07 PM on July 21, 2010 [17 favorites]


Breitbart is *still* passing along the blatant lie that the NAACP audience was "applauding" Sherrod as she talked about her prejudicial moment against white clients. The video makes it completely clear that's not true, and yet the press is dutifully passing along his accusation without pointing out that it's another lie:

Contrary to Breitbart's claim, the audience does not applaud at any point during the story about her interaction with the farmer. Nevertheless, media outlets are already uncritically reporting Breitbart's attempt to cover his ass.
posted by mediareport at 9:10 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Part of me wishes that Maddow worked in a more serious forum than cable news. The other part is glad that more people see it because it's on TV.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what viewers of Fox News believe. And they will believe some fucked up shit.
posted by contessa at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


At some point, Breitbart's going to blame it all on Ambien or something.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:16 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


The thing that amazes me about the Shirley Sherrod situation, right up to Breitbart's claim that the NACCP is claping, is that even if all the things they said about the video were true, it still wouldn't really prove the underlying claim that she's a racist, or the administration seeks to discriminate against whites, or anything other than one person maybe messed up once. The only way you get to those conclusions is by wanting those conclusions to be proven prior to seeing the evidence. The fact that none of the things they said about the video were true just demonstrates how insanely weak the critique is.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:18 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


That video needs to be edited down to a loop of Maddow saying black people are coming to get you and take everything from you etc... and posted on YouTube or something (if it isn't already) so we can see how long until Fox runs it and demands she be fired.
posted by MikeMc at 9:22 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glen Beck most certainly wandered into actionable territory. But Van Jones most likely doesn't want to engage. "Don't pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel" and all that. The system works! Also, FOX has already won a court battle with the theory that they aren't required to tell the truth, so there's that protection as well, at least from any public claims against them (not from the libel claim - and broadcast remarks are now considered libel and not just slander.)

I don't know what to say about this that isn't preaching to the choir. We all know that this is going on, and Maddow has simply (though thankfully) put numerous examples in one place. But over the past week, I've spent way too much time diving into the depths of the Conservative Comics thread not too far down the front page, have heard Limbaugh respond to George Steinbrenner's death by saying that he's a guy who fired whites and hired blacks, and got to see a good friend's documentary screening about the growth of white-supremacist hate groups in recent years. Now I kind of just want to cry.

So, while it's not anything original, I'll just say that Obama's election, far from taking us into a "post-racial" society, rather just let all of the racists feel like they could finally be overt, because, hey, as long as a black guy is president it's no longer racist, right?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:23 PM on July 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


I watched Rachel Maddow tonight. Before, I had only seen clips, but that woman has got her shit together. Everything she said was spot on. "They're coming for you." The only thing that bummed me out, was realizing that the people who could really benefit from some good informational news, will never watch her.
posted by wv kay in ga at 9:24 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


I watched Rachel Maddow tonight. Before, I had only seen clips, but that woman has got her shit together.

Yeah, at first I didn't like her I thought she was another Keith Olberman. She has proven to much more, much better.
posted by nola at 9:27 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can't wait to read NPR's mush-mouthed narrative on this.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


From the unedited Shirley Sherrod video:

"Now there are a lot of layoffs; have you heard of anyone in the federal government losing their jobs? That's all I'm saying..."

I might just have to give in and cry now.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:29 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh wait, Mushmouth was one of the Cosby Kids! And he was BLACK! SEE HOW BLACK PEOPLE INSERT THEIR oh forget it.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:30 PM on July 21, 2010


It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what viewers of Fox News believe.

To mangle a quote from L. Ron Hubbard (FSM forgive me for quoting that creature) that seemed appropriate:

"Nothing...is true for you
Unless you have observed it
And it is true according to your observation."
posted by MikeMc at 9:30 PM on July 21, 2010


At the gym this afternoon I saw on the Fox News TV, they had a chyron saying something about Fox News being attacked over this Sherrod sitation. I purposely use the StepMill farthest from the Fox TV so I didn't get the details about how poor little Fox News was being persecuted by "the mainstream media" (Hey Fox: you have the highest ratings, you ARE the mainstream media you fucks!)
posted by birdherder at 9:31 PM on July 21, 2010


Ask them to change the channel. It works.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:34 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't know what's worst - Fox's unrelenting drive to humiliate minorities in postions of power (the truth be damned) or the Obama administration's and traditional media for not holding Fox to basic journalistic standards.

What journalistic standards?

Roger Ailes met Richard Nixon when Ailes was a production assistant on "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1967 and convinced Nixon, essentially a dull, funny-looking man who Ailes joked "looked like somebody hung him up in a closet overnight," to tape canned question-and-answer sessions so he could come across more like Mike Douglas. The canned Ailes programs ran in selected big cities from September through October 1968. The "audiences" were all pre-selected Republican Party operatives. The rest is history.

Ever since then, Ailes has been spinning and lying and deceiving and captivating the American public. As Ailes' friend Joe McGinniss wrote in 1968, "With the coming of television, and the knowledge of how it could be used to seduce voters, the old political values disappeared." This has been with us for 50 years now, since the Nixon/Kennedy debates. FOX News is just the culmination of it.
posted by blucevalo at 9:38 PM on July 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


Nope. This is a force.

Fox News is scum, but this is a force. Racism is just one, fairly small, ingredient in their stew of bullshit. If you think of the blatant racial tinge to politics just 20 years ago (Willie Horton and such), we have come so so far since then. I'm sure the right would be using more blatant racial attacks if they could, but the fact is it just doesn't work right now. Sure Fox and Glenn Beck can preach to their frothing choir, but as a mainstream political society it is thankfully deader than Vaudeville.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:41 PM on July 21, 2010


mainstream political *strategy*
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:42 PM on July 21, 2010


Fox's unrelenting drive to humiliate minorities in postions of power

Stop humiliating Condy Rice and Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas. I'm sorry, again, Fox is scum, but it's not all about skin color. It's really not.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:43 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Until the Shirley Sherrod story - I had never gone to check out FoxTV News. I wanted to see how they would wiggle out of "breaking" a bullshit story.

I'm no fan of Fox, but they are sort of mixed on this one. Glenn Beck actually said it was a mistake. Shep Smith refused to run the story because he didn't trust the source.

So a mixed bag.

I think that the message got across. The right wing noise machine lost this battle and the Tea Party is on the defensive re: their white asses. The tea party caucus actually trotted out some black people who they said were their supporters for their first meeting before the cameras. That ain't a movement on the offensive.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:46 PM on July 21, 2010


Rachel Maddow is intelligent and her stuff on-air is smart. I'm not sure how to give a higher compliment. But if I could then I would.
posted by cucumber at 9:56 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Glenn Beck actually said it was a mistake. Shep Smith refused to run the story because he didn't trust the source.

Glenn Beck's Fox News show doesn't start until the evening. He condemned her on his radio show. Shep Smith is widely acknowledged as the token "liberal" (i.e. human being with a soul and some vague sense of ethics).
posted by dirigibleman at 9:56 PM on July 21, 2010


Watching that full Sherrod interview, Breitbart is just straight-up fucking evil. She started her story with the preface that it was about how she learned that her position wasn't about black vs. white, but about helping those who have no access, regardless of color, made her speech about that. "It's sad that we don't have a room of whites and blacks here tonight, because we have to overcome the divisions that we have."

Her speech was about telling a room full of African-Americans to accept that poor whites are in the same boat with them, and that we should all be together. After an astounding intro about her father being lynched and her mother and siblings having a burning cross put in their yard.

And Breitbart took ten seconds out of it to say that she denied white farmers any aid.

I don't know what to do with my rage anymore.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:56 PM on July 21, 2010 [55 favorites]


The thing is that this has been going on since the'08 campaign. The McCain campaign engaged in tactics that were pure race baiting. The right-wing noise machine did the same. Now that the right and Fox News has had some time to sit back they've perfected this style of hit journalism, yellow journalism, call it whatever you want. They control the narrative on a pretty much daily basis. The Obama administration needs to be more forceful, needs to try to exercise its ability to control the narrative. The other networks aren't nearly as bad, MSNBC leans left, the White House can use their voice to push at these networks, maybe they need some better people in the communications office.

Remember this?

What happened to that? The White House needs to be much more proactive I think, instead we see them succumb to the same bullshit stories out of Fox News that get picked up by everyone else.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:57 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the Tea Party can not be brought under Republican control, it will not be allowed to survive. This is a *TWO PARTY* system and neither party will let this change.

This is why when there's a media blitz about a "he-said she-said" type incident between some professional TV blowhards who are supposedly the embodiment of the essential salts of every person belonging to each "nutcase" pigeonhole, I tend to get a bit suspicious. Are we really getting real "news" or just a bunch of people trying to yell so loud that they flatten each others' hairdos?
posted by Sukiari at 10:00 PM on July 21, 2010


And Breitbart took ten seconds out of it to say that she denied white farmers any aid.

And when that fell apart, then said you could see the audience clapping as she recounted the story, before Sharrod got to the part about her transformation, hence racist NAACP audience. Which also turns out not to be true, but got reprinted anyway without any refutation. I think he could say there was a Sasquatch standing behind Sharrod the entire time, and it would get reprinted as fact.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:07 PM on July 21, 2010


My first thought upon seeing this post:

"Well, DUH."
posted by Saxon Kane at 10:08 PM on July 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Rachel Maddow has a degree in public policy from Stanford University, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and has a PhD in politics from Oxford University.

Glenn Beck has a high school diploma and was a morning zookeeper.
posted by sharkfu at 10:08 PM on July 21, 2010 [39 favorites]


Since when has the Black Panther movement even been relevant? This is pure racism.
posted by cucumber at 10:09 PM on July 21, 2010


That was pretty obvious from the getgo. What's unexpected is the absolute cowardice evinced by the Obama administration. Firing that woman just a couple hours after this fabrication was published. Pretty ridiculous. They just rolled over. What is wrong with them?
If the Tea Party can not be brought under Republican control, it will not be allowed to survive. This is a *TWO PARTY* system and neither party will let this change.
Two sides of the same corporate coin. I mean, I know there are lots of good democrats out there, but when it comes to actually implementing things the corporations still have a final say. You saw it with insurance companies controlling the outcome of the healthcare debate to insure no public option and mandates. You saw it with financial reform and the bailouts. Bleh.

I'm visiting my dad and he'll often have CNN on. I was really impressed with their coverage. They flat out called the smear a lie, no equivocation, and they had the women and the old farmer on to talk about it. It was actually a pretty sweet and inspiring story.
posted by delmoi at 10:12 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rachel Maddow has a degree in public policy from Stanford University, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and has a PhD in politics from Oxford University.

What, an American university not good enough for her?
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:12 PM on July 21, 2010


Rachel Maddow has a degree in public policy from Stanford University, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and has a PhD in politics from Oxford University.

This. Again and again and again. I'm generally not impressed by pedigree but this woman deserves everything. I mean, it's like "hi, i'm a smart person and I have some questions" v. "durr durr derr".

(not durrist)
posted by cucumber at 10:13 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's unexpected is the absolute cowardice evinced by the Obama administration.

Unexpected? He's a Democrat.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:15 PM on July 21, 2010 [13 favorites]


. What's unexpected is the absolute cowardice evinced by the Obama administration. Firing that woman just a couple hours after this fabrication was published. Pretty ridiculous.

Sadly, this was pretty lame and I agree. The dems need to grow a backbone and step up for once. So, so, so, annoying.
posted by cucumber at 10:15 PM on July 21, 2010


I'm visiting my dad and he'll often have CNN on. I was really impressed with their coverage. They flat out called the smear a lie, no equivocation, and they had the women and the old farmer on to talk about it. It was actually a pretty sweet and inspiring story.

Yep, even David Gergen called BS on this one. Maybe they've finally gone too far. I hope so, because otherwise, this may not end well.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:16 PM on July 21, 2010


If the Tea Party can not be brought under Republican control, it will not be allowed to survive.

Heh. Like they are distinct things.
posted by Artw at 10:21 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I hope this will finally get folks fired up for the fall elections. Despite the mediocre record of the Democrats, the alternative is a to let a bunch of jerks and bullies run things. Everytime you get pissed at the dems for not having a backbone, you are ignoring the real problem and giving a-holes a free pass to keep on doing the same bs. Direct your outrage at the aggressor here.
posted by humanfont at 10:28 PM on July 21, 2010


What's unexpected is the absolute cowardice evinced by the Obama administration.

This is a Republican talking point, period, the end.

Obama and even Ken Salazar had no hand in it, just a minor second-tier functionary who was countermanded the second it was brought to the White House's attention. Any noises about the cowardice of Obama is simply a right-wing talking point, and those who repeat it, even if they seem left leaning, are simply right-wing tools. Ignore them, they are worthless.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:28 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is a campaign by Fox that manufactures and uses a fear of black people to motivate white republicans and sway swing voters. I watch - well, monitor - Fox and they have been on about the Black Panthers (!?) for about a month now too. TRMS is correct I think in that this is an attempt to use, on a national level, methods from the Southern Strategy:
"From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."
It really isn't surprising. The R party hasn't had a new idea in decades. Since the office of President isn't currently up for election they can't use the wars to scare people so they use black people.

What I'm trying to say here is don't get fucking complacent about the upcoming elections. Please be alarmed.
posted by vapidave at 10:31 PM on July 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's unexpected is the absolute cowardice evinced by the Obama administration.

It's even better, if you can believe this anonymously sourced Politico report, which claims that on Tuesday morning WH deputy chief of staff Jim Messina actually praised the speed with which Sherrod had been summarily fired the day before as a fine example of exactly how to respond to a media crisis.

What a bunch of morons.
posted by mediareport at 10:36 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before I watched her, I thought Maddow was of the Olberman mold, too. I really don't need ranting heads on television in my life. But Maddow is so different from everyone else who surrounds her on the MSNBC schedule, it's amazing. She has a crack research and writing team, and she delights in laying out a clear thread of thought tracing a news story from its roots to its current (often exposed as fallacious) form. I feel so much better informed since I started watching her.

I also suspect that someone from her staff regularly reads the Blue. Because more than once, I've seen her cover things featured earlier that same day here.

I don't object to that.
posted by hippybear at 10:43 PM on July 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't know what's worst - Fox's unrelenting drive to humiliate minorities in postions of power (the truth be damned) or the Obama administration's and traditional media for not holding Fox to basic journalistic standards.

You don't know what's worse? Lying or letting liars lie? Hmm. As frustrating as it is to watch liars get away with their lies, I'm gonna go with the actual lying being worse. I'm pretty frustrated, too, with Ms. Sherrod's dismissal and the ham-handed way the administration (not to mention the news media) handled this episode, but my outrage is directed at the liars. Reading around the lefty blogosphere the last day or two, I almost get the impression that weakness and/or incompetence is even worse than fraud, slander, and libel. The Democrats may (as usual) be the patsies here, but Breitbart and FOX news are the bad guys.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:47 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Could some black people PLEASE come get me? Especially when I visit my relatives. You can honk from the driveway, I'll run right out, I promise, you don't even have to knock. Please?
posted by desuetude at 10:48 PM on July 21, 2010 [22 favorites]


If Democrats had a lick of sense, they would treat this as a major opportunity. In politics, that means two things: 1) the basis for fundraising appeals and 2) seizing the political initiative.

Instead, we see the steady stream of drivel via email from the DNC treating people like chumps. We can thank the DLC for this trimming, split-the-difference, triangulating cowardice.

They just don't know how to fight.
posted by warbaby at 10:49 PM on July 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So what happens if liberals get armed now and head out to Tea Party rallies with our own signs and unloaded guns?

I mean, aside from being arrested as terrorists?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:50 PM on July 21, 2010



My first thought upon seeing this post:

"Well, DUH."


Yep, that's what I came in to say. I like Rachel Maddow but sweetie, grass is green and the sky is blue. What else ya got?

Fox's unrelenting drive to humiliate minorities in postions of power

Stop humiliating Condy Rice and Michael Steele and Clarence Thomas. I'm sorry, again, Fox is scum, but it's not all about skin color. It's really not.


Oh, I'm sure plenty of shit gets/has been talked about those three behind the scenes at Fox. Skin color almost always comes before everything else (because it's usually the most obvious), but with the minorities within their own ranks, the Foxies have to be more covert about it.
posted by fuse theorem at 11:13 PM on July 21, 2010


So what happens if liberals get armed now and head out to Tea Party rallies with our own signs and unloaded guns?

"An Exclusive Fox News Report: Militant Feminazis and armed Socialists in league with the Black Panther Movement .."
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:16 PM on July 21, 2010


Obama and even Ken Salazar had no hand in it, just a minor second-tier functionary who was countermanded the second it was brought to the White House's attention. Any noises about the cowardice of Obama is simply a right-wing talking point, and those who repeat it, even if they seem left leaning, are simply right-wing tools. Ignore them, they are worthless. -- Slap*Happy
Lol, what? Are you under the impression that Ken Salazar is in charge of the department of agriculture, or that it's a sub-unit of the department of the interior?

The guy who fired her is Tom Vilsack, is the secretary of agriculture, which is a cabinet position, directly under Obama -- and on the same level as Salazar (and Steven Chu and Hillary Clinton). Now you may consider the Dept of Ag. a second-tier department, but Vilsack is by no means some low-level functionary

Btw, Vilsack used to be my governor. He was a complete non-entity. Dullest politician ever.
posted by delmoi at 11:16 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Her speech was about telling a room full of African-Americans to accept that poor whites are in the same boat with them, and that we should all be together.

And that's the crux of modern American white/black racism right there, the thing the Breitbarts of this world fear the most. Any significant progress in race relations between poor whites and poor blacks would mean the beginning of the end of American oligarchy.

Cuz once you start comparing notes, it doesn't take a genius to draw a line from shitty schools, no healthcare, and rigged legal systems through low-wage jobs, systematic employment discrimination, and the prison-industrial complex and right up to that shining McMansion on the hill where college boy and his daddy and his daddy's daddy live.

Hell, the whole history of the labor movement in the south is this story, writ large, repeated in a million variations, over and over again. Fox News is no anomaly. It's William Randolph Hearst fulminating about the darky plague all over again. The press coverage of the run-up to the Iraq War was straight out of 1898, except then it was Cuba and the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

Shirley Sherrod is just the latest in a long line of folks who got chopped down for stating an obvious truth. A truth so obvious and so glaring and so blatant that there are billion dollar businesses who do nothing but gild that turd day after day, year after year, generation after generation.

But we're at a tipping point. The Breitbarts of the world are getting more desperate. It's gonna get worse, and get meaner, and get louder, because they know if they lose poor white America they are GONE, washed away.

And this will happen. This has to happen. Demographically, there is no way that it CAN'T happen. And they know this. And they deny, deny, deny.

But they will lose. They must. Or we are all fucked.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:41 PM on July 21, 2010 [71 favorites]


From Louis CK:

"911, what's your emergency?"
"Help! Oh God..."
"Ma'am, what is it?"
"Oh Jesus, help!"
"Calm down ma'am, I need you to tell me--"
"Blacks!"
"What's that, ma'am?"
"Black people! Oh God..."
"What is your emergency?"
"I told you, black people! Jesus, help me...."
"That's it? Just... black people?"
"Yes, blacks, aaagh..."
"Where are the black people, ma'am?"
"In America... oh, help me!"
"We'll send a car right over."

posted by Rhaomi at 11:41 PM on July 21, 2010 [12 favorites]


Beck Subtext: Obama Planning to Assassinate Tea Partiers
posted by homunculus at 11:56 PM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


"911, what's your emergency?"

"Help! Oh God..."


That's funny, but all the "related" videos are real 911 calls of people dying and stuff. Kind of a downer.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on July 21, 2010


Skin color almost always comes before everything else (because it's usually the most obvious), but with the minorities within their own ranks, the Foxies have to be more covert about it.

Right-wingers use their minority members to "prove" that they, like Stephen Colbert, don't see race. See, it's only them liberals who care about race. When Colin Powell endorsed Obama? Hell, Rush Limbaugh set us straight: that was all about race! But when the Republicans name Michael Steele head of the RNC? That's just because he's the best man for the job.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:00 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Organization Targeted By Anti-Gov't CA Shooting Suspect Was Frequent Topic On Glenn Beck's Show (VIDEO)
posted by homunculus at 12:04 AM on July 22, 2010


Right-wingers use their minority members to "prove" that they, like Stephen Colbert, don't see race. See, it's only them liberals who care about race. When Colin Powell endorsed Obama? Hell, Rush Limbaugh set us straight: that was all about race! But when the Republicans name Michael Steele head of the RNC? That's just because he's the best man for the job.

This is like how Democratic bills never get Republican support, but Republican bills will get at least some Democratic support, thus proving that it's the Republicans who are committed to a bipartisan government. Right?
posted by kafziel at 12:14 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


I saw where the Republicans are touting Nikki Haley as proof that they're open to minorities. And that makes sense- they're open to minorities as long as said minorities are visually indistinguishable from white people.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:37 AM on July 22, 2010


I've heard a lot about Maddow, but I hadn't really watched her show until today, and man... That segment had me pumping my fist in the air. I was pleasantly shocked to see that level of callout on the air. She's a badass. I'll have to start tuning in.
posted by brundlefly at 12:39 AM on July 22, 2010


Rachel Maddow is the best journalist on national commercial television.
posted by vapidave at 1:13 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Could some black people PLEASE come get me?

I'm stuck in traffic on the east side, let me call dispatch and we'll get one out to you.
posted by new brand day at 1:20 AM on July 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Rachel Maddow is great and all, but if you need her to tell you that the main theme of Fox News is 'black folks are out to get white folks' then I feel sorry for you.
posted by fixedgear at 2:57 AM on July 22, 2010


This is evidence that Rachel Maddow is really racist.

She is lowering the quality of discourse by using facts and arguments.

MMM LOVELY HAMBURGER
posted by Ogo at 3:30 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone, everyone. Please. Dr Rachel Maddow.

fixed that for all of you
posted by Mikey-San at 3:31 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just read Protofascism Comes to America, which lead me to Eternal Fascism. Now I read this post. My eyes are really starting to open.
posted by loosemouth at 3:42 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Beck Subtext: Obama Planning to Assassinate Tea Partiers

I like the way the opening paragraph of that article proves that Rupert Murdoch is definitely a racist because he's Australian.
posted by dng at 3:59 AM on July 22, 2010


FOX is really broadcasting from and to a different world than the one that I live in. Every time that I've tried to watch them, I don't even understand what the hell they're talking about; their frames of reference are so different from mine. It's like they've created this little pocket universe for themselves and their viewers and make up these bizarre stories about that world that don't even touch our objective reality.
posted by octothorpe at 4:27 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


More on Breitbart.
posted by availablelight at 4:30 AM on July 22, 2010


If I were the Prez, I would very publicly publish a memo (or have a minion do it) to all government agencies that no action of any kind is to be taken based on any story broken by Fox News until all the facts are thoroughly verified. In it I would state, directly or indirectly, that Fox is not interested in actual facts, just stories that support their narrative, and that all stories, video and audio are presumed to be edited to support that narrative at to the detriment of the actual facts.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:07 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


"Nothing...is true for you
Unless you have observed it
And it is true according to your observation."


You've just killed my last thetan
posted by the noob at 5:21 AM on July 22, 2010


I like the way the opening paragraph of that article proves that Rupert Murdoch is definitely a racist because he's Australian.

And, as a racist Australian, I would have to agree with Blazecock - Murdoch couldn't give a tinkers cuss what was on Fox, they have sliced out a big chunk of the weirdiverse and it's theirs and hugely profitable - and the more chatter there is about the band of loons that work there - the better.
posted by the noob at 5:25 AM on July 22, 2010


I think you are all mistaken if you think that Fox is leading anything. Fox isn't a movement, trying up to rile their followers into dubious rage or action; Fox is a business. Fox has identified what a huge segment of the population wants and is merely spoon-feeding it to them. Fox is the Yes-Man to the 50% of the population that feels the hair on the back of their neck rise when they think of Obama as President and sees Rachel Maddow on TV for even two seconds. Fox doesn't lead. Fox finds the biggest bunch of gullible scaredy-cats with deep pockets and whispers and shouts all the sweet nothings into their ear that they've ever wanted to hear. Fox fills the world with black people and child molesters and turbans you can delight in fearing cause you already do. Fox gets big money so that the loathsome self-centered mass of the country can feel like their beliefs aren't backward and racist and ignorant, they're news. Fox is generous in the services it provides; but people eat all they can at that buffet and demand more. Fox is guilty of merely trying to keep enough dishes on the table for these swine to snuffle down. The minute --if ever-- the country turns weirdly and suddenly 52% Muslim, it's gonna be the Bill O'Reilly Sharia Show. Money, money, money. You people who are concerned and care about stuff always think politics is the motivation. Fox doesn't give a rat's ass about politics beyond the fact that the coastal dems have been yelling 'rube' at the rest of the country for so long (and still do) that it represented a giant pocket waiting to be picked.

You all think that half of the country is going to stop being assholes? I guarantee they're wondering the same thing....
posted by umberto at 5:26 AM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Republicans are racists. Period. At this point, I refuse to acknowledge that anyone who supports that party in any way is not a racist, whether it's apparent in their everyday actions or not. They have been singing the racist song since the Civil Rights era, and they have it down. It is THE PARTY OF RACISM. Period. Not to mention never having done a damn thing good for the American people in any other way.

Some day, this will be accounted for. If we make it to 2050, anyone who voted Republican or watched Fox News regularly will be seen like those crackers in the deep south who dumped food on black kids sitting at the Woolworth's lunch counter.

I actively wish a whole lot of the right wing media would just fucking die, painfully. They're subhuman freaks anyway.

Yeah, President Obama, you fucking caved in to them on this one, just like with Van Jones. Expediency is not a sufficient excuse. I would have Tom Vilsack's job, if I were you, just to send a message that this shit stops now.

And I love Rachel Maddow. Love her. I cannot believe we somehow got a PhD lesbian liberal with great TV presence and brilliant interviewing chops on TV every night. A slender thread of rational discourse in a swamp of bigotry and ignorance. She's the only damn thing worth watching on cable news, by miles. The rest of it is shit on a stick.

Although I was surprised to see Anderson Cooper really go after Breitbart and the racist right last night in a segment entitled "The Truth Matters." Too bad the rest of CNN couldn't care less about the truth.

But never lose too much precious hope thinking anything has changed in America.

I'm a pro-gun liberal for a reason. My lefty friends, pacifism will not do any longer. We must be armed.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:40 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not surprisingly, Howard Kurtz, a media critic for the Washington Post and CNN, totally exonerated Fox in his article about Sherrod's firing today. Pathetic.
posted by longdaysjourney at 5:41 AM on July 22, 2010


So what happens if liberals get armed now and head out to Tea Party rallies with our own signs and unloaded guns?

This isn't that original a joke, of course (my friend Ted Rall did a great cartoon about it a few years back, for example) but I've long held that the easiest way to get gun control in this country is a comprehensive, systematic, nationwide drive to put firearms in the hands of as many black people as possible.

So I don't completely derail this, it's a good connection to what Maddow's saying, and the overarching point of her commentary- we are suffering a very huge problem right now in that we have, since Emancipation, never truly created racial sensitivity in the bulk of this country. It's a goddamn disaster that our first black president is cast in the light of "post-racial" as if it means one of two things: there isn't racism any more (which is bullshit) or a black man being president somehow means things that were racist a year and a half ago aren't racist anymore (even more bullshit)

Race is our national scapegoat. It's why the War On Terror happened, it's why Glenn Beck is successful. It's why Ronald Reagan was elected president. But most of all it's why right-wingers try to legislate discrimination. It's about power. Because when you're afraid of an "other," you're justified in saying they shouldn't be allowed the same rights as you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:41 AM on July 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Umberto, did you just watch Network?
posted by condour75 at 5:52 AM on July 22, 2010


umberto, Glenn Beck is still on the air after saying Obama has a deep seated hatred of white people and white culture. He's lost around 200 sponsors so far. I don't think that's about the money. Since then he's also said that black and white people got along fine until slavery was politicized in the lead up to the civil war and that Obama is trying to start a race war. These are true believers.
posted by stavrogin at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2010


Glenn Beck might be going blind.

Can I be the first to say how pleased this makes me? He's probably just making shit up as usual (and this from a guy who recorded a video from the hospital right after having cysts removed from his ass). But the prospect of a blind Beck makes me almost as happy as the compelling vision of the man lying dead in a pool of his own vomit.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:02 AM on July 22, 2010


Thank you for posting this, I hope it will find a wider audience. Glad she pulls no punches here.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:02 AM on July 22, 2010


Also, the motherfucker who was just shot on I580 in Oakland (and can I say this is the first police shooting I have actually cheered?) was headed, with his car full of guns, to the ACLU offices to shoot them up. Apparently, he was also gunning for the offices of the Tides Foundation, the lastes Beck bogeyman. No other news outlet has reported on the activities of the very respectable Tides Foundation; only Glenn Beck. So, case closed, Beck incites violent sociopaths to kill.

Oh, and shoot at cops.

Dollars to donuts he was a Fox News viewer.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:10 AM on July 22, 2010


They are recycling that Tides Foundation garbage again? I remember when they tried to use that weak sauce to attack Sen. Kerry and his wife. Pathetic.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:20 AM on July 22, 2010


After the Shirley Sherrod episode, there's no longer any need to mince words: A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites.

That is from Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winner and fellow South Carolinian. He was on Rachel Maddow's show last night right after this segment ran. Also I would just like to concur that Rachel Maddow is an unparalleled national treasure.
posted by ND¢ at 6:27 AM on July 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Glenn Beck might be going blind.

These guys are so quick to say that God hates their enemies, but when something terrible happens to them it's a gift or a well meaning test of their faith.
posted by stavrogin at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fox and Glenn Beck aren't the same thing. Glenn Beck started on CNN and Fox grabbed him when it became clear he had a following ($$$). I've also wondered if he would last since he seems to be genuinely batty as opposed to batty for the benjamins. I also don't know if Fox puts more emphasis on ratings or holding sponsors. Sadly, if someone gets ratings, I'm betting there's always a sponsor.

Fox's agenda is to make money. If they are racist, it's because there is money in it. And frankly, to the mind uncluttered by ethics, it would appear that racism is a gold mine.

The only thing I know about Network is the guy yelling he's '..not going to take it...' out the window. Just like, y'know, J.G. Wentworth.
posted by umberto at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2010


So what happens if liberals get armed now and head out to Tea Party rallies with our own signs and unloaded guns?


Who said anything about unloaded? Concealed carry laws permit you to be fully loaded. An unloaded gun is a foolish thing to brandish. If it's taken seriously as a gun, you might be needing those bullets.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:28 AM on July 22, 2010


Also, I really don't agree that Fox is all about the money. There are easier ways to make more money -- sex, for example, sells better than racism (so I suppose the Stepford Wife/RealDoll anchors they employ are that, and I suppose some cracker moron finds them attractive). But I think they clearly have a political and social agenda.

Thought experiment: if you offered Murdoch and Ailes twice as much money as they make from Fox News if they would stop lying, race-baiting, inflaming, distorting, etc., do you think they'd change their tune?

No way. They're in it for the hate, not just the bucks.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:32 AM on July 22, 2010


just a minor second-tier functionary who was countermanded the second it was brought to the White House's attention

Slap*Happy's defense of the White House here is confused at best, as delmoi pointed out. The man who fired Sherrod, Vilsack, is a White House cabinet official who says the White House was informed of the firing as it happened on Monday, before Glenn Beck's scheduled discussion on TV that night (but apparently after he'd vomited about it on the radio). Even if you believe the White House that there was no directive to Vilsack to handle this immediately (me, I'm sure everything was done with the standard deniability, but if you don't go that far, ok) the idea that the White House countermanded the firing "the second it was brought to the White House's attention" is clearly denied by the facts as the White House and cabinet official themselves have reported them.

You're trying to hard, Slap*Happy, to defend one of the most obviously cowardly political moments of the year.
posted by mediareport at 6:33 AM on July 22, 2010


Cuz once you start comparing notes, it doesn't take a genius to draw a line from shitty schools, no healthcare, and rigged legal systems through low-wage jobs, systematic employment discrimination, and the prison-industrial complex and right up to that shining McMansion on the hill where college boy and his daddy and his daddy's daddy live.

If only it were that simple...

Republicans are racists. Period.

Could you explain that please? As far as I can tell, some are, but most aren't. But perhaps you know better than I do.

I'm a pro-gun liberal for a reason. My lefty friends, pacifism will not do any longer. We must be armed.

Mods, could we have fewer calls for armed insurrection in this thread?
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:54 AM on July 22, 2010


I suspect people avoid legal action because they don't want a repeat of Blumenthal v. Drudge. Drudge ran an anonymously sourced story that Blumenthal has a history of relationship violence. When Blumenthal sued for libel, Drudge:

1: found himself backed by a conservative think-tank with practically unlimited warchest in his defense
2: claimed journalist privilege to protect his source, and dared the Blumenthals to go fishing for the source
3: threatened to subpoena every person associated with the Blumenthals because the charges might be true, forcing a protracted process of discovery

Worse, the Blumenthals' lawyer screwed up on a procedural issue putting them in contempt of court and liable for a relatively small amount of attorney's fees. When Blumenthal dropped the case with a small settlement for attorney's fees, Drudge of course spun it as a vindication.

The Van Jones thing strikes me as ludicrous given that the Bush administration appointed Iran-Contra terrorist supporters to "czar" appointments without a wink of protest.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 6:55 AM on July 22, 2010


Although I was surprised to see Anderson Cooper really go after Breitbart and the racist right last night in a segment entitled "The Truth Matters." Too bad the rest of CNN couldn't care less about the truth.
I think CNN was hammering this on it's other shows too. Going after Breitbart by name and calling him, essentially, a liar. They were even saying later that he was "evading questions" and "not saying anything" in an interview they gave him. Good stuff.
Not surprisingly, Howard Kurtz, a media critic for the Washington Post and CNN, totally exonerated Fox in his article about Sherrod's firing today. Pathetic.
Kurtz covers the media the way the beltway media covers politics. By cozying up to sources and saying nice things about them. He's ridiculous. Apparently his argument is that fox didn't start going after her until she'd already resigned. But what does that have to do with the fact that they went after her, and even ran breitbart's tape without even verifying any of it. Given the guy's history the tape may as well have been dubbed.
posted by delmoi at 7:00 AM on July 22, 2010


Two words: pimp suits. Anyone claiming this garbage is not an attempt to stoke racial fears and resentments is being willfully blind. (and let us not sink to their level by celebrating blindness, willfull or otherwise, please.)
posted by joe lisboa at 7:05 AM on July 22, 2010


This is spot-on, these stories are all manifestations of the Willie Horton phenomenon. But, hearteningly, this is starting to backfire. Shame on other media outlets for not waiting to see the entire source material on the Sherrod outrage. But yay internet for setting everyone straight on this! But boo Dept. of Agriculture for doing just what the media did.
posted by Mister_A at 7:08 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Murdoch's certainly in it for the money, although being in it for the money and pushing a right wing agenda aren't at odds very often. And his politics are definitely right wing. But I think at this point Beck is something of a white elephant for him. Pulling him off air would create way too big a stink, and alienate Fox viewers. And Beck's also something of a loss leader, raising Fox's brand image among the loyal paranoids.

Thought experiment: if you offered Murdoch and Ailes twice as much money as they make from Fox News if they would stop lying, race-baiting, inflaming, distorting, etc., do you think they'd change their tune?

Why change their tune? They can harmonize.
posted by condour75 at 7:09 AM on July 22, 2010


On the blaming Obama for the Sherrod scandal meme, this says what I have been trying to say all along, albeit more coherently: link.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:15 AM on July 22, 2010


But we're at a tipping point. The Breitbarts of the world are getting more desperate. It's gonna get worse, and get meaner, and get louder, because they know if they lose poor white America they are GONE, washed away.

Poor whites are not in the same boat as poor blacks. Poor whites can change clothes and haircuts and look exactly like privileged whites. A poor white child can become a privileged white adult.

By contrast, poor black children can only ever hope to become rich black adults. At which point they are marginalized anyway. Obama was a privileged black child of a white educated mother. He went to top schools, etc. He became president. He is nonetheless a black President, unlike say Bush, who was simply President.

Fox news does not appeal to poor people. Fox news depends on advertising and poor people don't have money. Watch the commercials. Commercials always flawlessly decode television. The commercials on Fox news are "sell your gold jewelry" (older women, divorced women, widows), "buy some gold for investment" (older white men) and the usual cars and consumer products crap. But those other commercials tell you that Fox news is an older audience. The people watching fox news now are people who voted for Reagan when they were in their 40's.

The up and coming Fox news audience are college students in the middle of the country who never grew up around black people, and whose notions of black people derive from television (i.e., blacks are criminals, musicians, actors, athletes, or agitators).

The problem is not these people. These people will always be around. Forever and ever. White uppermiddleclass parents tell racial jokes to their kids. When a black guy is on the sidewalk alongside the car, they urgently tell their kids to lock the door. White parents reinforce the idea that there is always someone below them, and caution them not to sink down to that level. I know this because I've seen them do it.

The problem is that what you are all doing in attacking Fox News is enabling it. Fox does not want the story to be that white people are under attack. Fox wants the story to be that they are under attack. They want to establish themselves as the counterculture, the underground, etc., and reinforce the idea that "traditional values" are under attack from the great unwashed. How does Fox do this? BY ENSURING THAT LIBERAL VIEWERS LIKE YOU KEEP WATCHING AND READING STORIES IN OTHER OUTLETS CRITICAL OF FOX. As long as Rachel Maddow has its audience, Fox keeps theirs. And vice versa.

These other more liberal outlets need you to believe that Fox News is some dangerous force in the world, and the only place to hear about it is on MSNBC or wherever. They depend on the Fox News stories to keep you watching them just as much as Fox News needs this kind of coverage to keep their audience watching.

In other words, MSNBC, liberal blogs etc, need you thinking that "Fox News is coming for you" to keep you watching them.

But the real story is that none of these networks or blogs run stories. You need to get a bit more postmodern in how you consume news, because news outlets have certainly become very postmodern in how they produce it. If you are liberal, you can immediately distrust all reporting from Breitbart. He has a grand narrative that is opposed to yours, and everything he says is within that frame an in service of it. Same with Fox. Likewise, if you are liberal, you aren't going to get anything from Rachel Maddow, because your narrative is the same as the one underlying everything she says. For that reason, you should trust what she says, simply because she is telling you what you want to hear.

Every story is edited and packaged. None of them are placed within the correct or true context. All of these stories exist--born, live, and die-- solely within the context of commercial television, which inherently has no context.

STOP WATCHING THIS GARBAGE--ALL OF IT.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:25 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


The commercials on Fox news are "sell your gold jewelry" (older women, divorced women, widows), "buy some gold for investment" (older white men)

These sorts of campaigns are basically aspirational scams aimed at the poor using the trappings of the wealthy. The wealthy don't buy and sell gold by calling 800 numbers from TV ads.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:29 AM on July 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


Pastabagel, about 75% of what you said is just flat out wrong, including the supposed ease of social mobility for poor whites and the concept that Fox News appeals only to rich people (it is always on when I go to get my oil changed and nobody that works at Constan Car Wash is rich). But the real question I have is how such a strong advocate for stopping watching all television knows so much about what ads they run on Fox News?
posted by ND¢ at 7:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not surprisingly, Howard Kurtz, a media critic for the Washington Post and CNN, totally exonerated Fox in his article about Sherrod's firing today. Pathetic.

Agreed. Kurtz seemed to forgive everyone in the story who would have actually been empowered to make a difference about it - Fox and Vilsack.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:06 AM on July 22, 2010


sebastienbailard: ""An Exclusive Fox News Report: Militant Feminazis and armed Socialists in league with the Black Panther Movement ..""

Where can I sign up? I'll bring cookies.
posted by QIbHom at 8:13 AM on July 22, 2010


including the supposed ease of social mobility for poor whites and the concept that Fox News appeals only to rich people (it is always on when I go to get my oil changed and nobody that works at Constan Car Wash is rich).

I never said easy, I said it was possible. And it is. And I never said it appeals only to rich people. It appeals to middle class people and rich older people.

But the real question I have is how such a strong advocate for stopping watching all television knows so much about what ads they run on Fox News?

I said stop watching TV news. Not TV. There's nothing inherently wrong with TV. I love watching Frontline, for example. And some of the drama on TV in the last few years has been very compelling. But commercial TV news in the US is without exception propaganda and garbage.

The reason I know what ads fox runs is because ad-watching something of a hobby of mine since I was a kid. I was at a restaurant once waiting for someone, and I took notes. I don't have cable, and Fox news is not carried OTA where I live.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:15 AM on July 22, 2010


XQUZYPHYR: "I've long held that the easiest way to get gun control in this country is a comprehensive, systematic, nationwide drive to put firearms in the hands of as many black people as possible."

I recently finished reading Radio Free Dixie, and the story of Wilson's life shows that armed self-defense did work against the Klan and its cronies in the 40's and 50's.

I highly recommend it.
posted by QIbHom at 8:26 AM on July 22, 2010


delmoi : I think CNN was hammering this on it's other shows too. Going after Breitbart by name and calling him, essentially, a liar. They were even saying later that he was "evading questions" and "not saying anything" in an interview they gave him. Good stuff.

Good stuff indeed. I've been saying this for a while, but more and more I'm coming to realize that the only way to combat this kind of reporting is to prove that the people reporting it are simply not credible. That they lie, demonstrably and repeatedly.

It seems like all too often, the non-right wing media simply reports the news in a different way rather than reporting on the story itself and the manipulations that went into creating it.

Hopefully we're seeing this begin to change. Because I look forward to a time when someone puts out one of these bullshit stories, and the rest of the press immediately tears it apart, ridicules them for their efforts, and makes that the story they go with.
posted by quin at 8:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


a White House cabinet official who says the White House was informed of the firing as it happened on Monday

That's flatly not true. I don't want to call you a liar, because I don't think you are doing it intentionally, but there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. The USDS issued a statement earlier clarifying that the White House was not involved in the decision:

Since her forced resignation, Sherrod has claimed repeatedly that her boss in the USDA told her the White House wanted her to resign.

But an official with the USDA told TPMmuckraker that the White House wasn't involved, and that the decision was Vilsack's alone.


Since the only possible basis you could have for still holding a different view are initial reports that have since been proven to be grossly inaccurate on far more substantive points, how do you choose which reported accounts (all of which are second, third, or even fourth hand removed from the sources, unlike this direct statement) to believe? My guess is you go with the ones that confirm your biases. And that's what guys like Breitbart do for a living: they manufacture scandals designed to confirm people's negative biases in whatever way they can.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:52 AM on July 22, 2010


I thought Obama's strategy was supposed to be to ignore the news cycle. I'd be willing to bet he and his strategy people are pretty unhappy with Vilsack right now.
posted by immlass at 9:05 AM on July 22, 2010


I too wish we could stop blaming the President for what happened here. Here is who is clearly really to blame, in order: 1. Breitbart. Who should never, ever have any credibility again; 2. Fox, for leaping on this and pushing it without ever reviewing the source material; 3. The rest of the media for not reviewing the source material either and 4. Vilsack, for taking disciplinary action before finding out the facts.

Shirley Sherrod was used as a tool here by the Obama administration's enemies, many of whom are truly racist, and it would be the height of irony to fault the target for what happened to the tool.

I too hope the media and the administration's cabinet officers have all learned to check first, especially when the source of the story is so suspicious. ABC News, which has done a great job on this story, pointed out via George Stephanopoulos this morning that speed and lack of deliberation can really be the enemy of the good.
posted by bearwife at 9:13 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


2. Fox, for leaping on this and pushing it without ever reviewing the source material; 3. The rest of the media for not reviewing the source material either

I don't take it on faith that the people involved didn't review the source material.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:18 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd say 1. and 2. are easily ascribed to active malice and 3. down to systematic uselessness. 4. Is the point where someone has some active volition, and the guy did something dumb under the pressure of 1-3.
posted by Artw at 9:21 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you don't think that Fox is actually creating and driving the Tea Party movement, then this Media Matters page from April details the amount of promotion Fox was doing during that time, not to cover the Tea Party protests, but to actually promote and move them forward.

Maddow has also been great at digging up the background on many of the astroturf organizations (such as FreedomWorks) and what their real background is, as opposed to the "grassroots" front they put forward as a public face.

When the dots are connected and the money is followed, the picture that emerges is pretty clear -- neoconservatives and big business are in collusion with Fox News to inflame lower-middle-class and lower-class white people into believing that their country is being taken over by blacks and communists, and are hoping to foment a revolution which puts them (the neoconservaties and big businesses) in power, either through the ballotbox, or even as some Tea Party candidates have suggested, through "2nd Amendment means".
posted by hippybear at 9:28 AM on July 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Or just to create the atmosphere of shittyness that makes it very hard to get things done, so they can complain that nothing is getting done.
posted by Artw at 9:30 AM on July 22, 2010


I can't say I believe that liberals ignoring FOX is going to solve anything. As they pretend to tout "real journalism", they should be called out, loudly and extensively, each and every time they prove otherwise. One story after the next gets exposed for being inaccurate or downright libelous, and the inevitable creeping doubt begins to seep in among their own viewers.

I don't think FOX viewers are that homogeneous. Far-right, teabagging racists will, of course, not be swayed by reason. They'd likely stick to their guns if FOX themselves told them they were wrong. But they're also not the only ones watching FOX. I know, because some of them are in my own family. They're the ones who think Beck is insane, but like the evening news coverage, for example.

These are the people who would respond to glaring inaccuracies pointed out about FOX stories. Provided other media outlets decided to stop taking FOX seriously and start treating them as they would any other news source who frequently makes inaccuracies and slander - with great skepticism and thorough checking.

Also, no evil was ever fought down by simply ignoring it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:06 AM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


This eye-opening piece on Breitbart's Sherrod frame-up suggests the timing of the attack seems likely to have been considerably more strategic and deliberate than has been widely acknowledged. In particular, the article discusses how the whole thing relates to a recent USDA settlement with black farmers who had been victims of systematic discrimination.
Conservatives Try To Bash USDA Anti-Racism Suit, Shirley Sherrod
The USDA settlements with African-American farmers are a longtime bête noire of the right, which they deem a giveaway to a core Democratic constituency. It's not clear whether Brietbart's release of the video was specifically intended to hurt the chances of other African-America farmers to receive recompense from decades of discrimination that caused them to lose their farms, but conservatives immediately used the video to attack the settlement.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


(And incidentally, Sherrod and her family were plaintiffs in the settlement.)
posted by saulgoodman at 10:48 AM on July 22, 2010


I am so excited that someone is making the connections between these incidents. Love Rachel Maddow!
posted by lunit at 10:57 AM on July 22, 2010


Shirley Sherrod received a personal apology from President Obama.
posted by ND¢ at 11:15 AM on July 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Meanwhile, despite all these revelations, McClatchy, among others, is still doing it's part, dutifully peddling softened versions of the same basic talking points that Breitbart's stunt was meant to get in circulation (bracketed clarifications and emphases my own):
Commentary: What has Shirley Sherrod incident taught us?
So far, it's hard to find anybody or any institution connected to this incident whose image has been enhanced by it.

Not Sherrod herself, who despite growing evidence that her intent was to publicly confess a past wrong in order to make a larger point, is still guilty of having let race affect her professional judgment and performance.

Commentary: A knee-jerk reaction to Shirley Sherrod
But that's not the outrageous part. We've come to expect such slimy shenanigans from certain quarters. [And yet, we still overlook the lack of credibility of the sources and report on the controversy surrounding the "slimy shenanigans" as if they were news.]

The outrageous part is that the Obama administration and even the NAACP immediately knuckled under to the political con artists who are trying to stir up anger among white voters by portraying the administration as anti-white.
Meanwhile, Breitbart himself has relented to pressure and offered a "correction" on his blog, noting only:
“While Ms. Sherrod made the remarks captured in the first video featured in this post while she held a federally appointed position, the story she tells refers to actions she took before she held that federal position,” the correction reads.
Unbelievably, Breitbart is still maintaining that this story has something to do with racial prejudice (other than his own race-baiting), and much of the media is continuing to help propagate that brazen lie.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:45 AM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Conservative Paradoxy

1) The media elite are all liberal ... but FOX is the most popular...and no one watches Maddow or Olberman

2) You can't trust the government to do anything efficiently -- except watch your every move and steal your bible gun

3) Government can't be trusted -- but we can build it from scratch in Afghanistan

4) This is the 'greatest country in the history of the world' but we are constantly losing it and it is under threat

5) Welfare Queen Minorities are lazy but organized the biggest election fraud with ACORN

6) We should 'refresh the tree of liberty' but ignore the guy that actually said that...

7) You have to treat Muslim extremism with force, but we should keep Bin Laden alive strategically

on and on...
posted by lslelel at 11:50 AM on July 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Unbelievably, Breitbart is still maintaining that this story has something to do with racial prejudice (other than his own race-baiting)

Well of course. What else is he going to say? Even his pissweak non-correction corrects what job she had at the time she made the remarks. The man's an idiot, and he's going to doggedly stick to his demonstrably false story for as long as he can.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:03 PM on July 22, 2010


"... corrects only what job she had ..."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:04 PM on July 22, 2010


The man's an idiot, and he's going to doggedly stick to his demonstrably false story for as long as he can.

He's not an idiot, he's a bomb-thrower. By the time his next "story" comes out, everyone will have forgotten about this, or will pretend to have forgotten about this, and he'll be given the same benefit of the doubt that actual journalists get.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:46 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Speaking of which, I'm thinking I might join AmeriCorps. According to YouTube, it's Obama's Hitler's Youth. Sounds like a great way to freak out my neoconservative, casually racist grandfather.

Of course, I'm seriously considering doing it because I feel like helping out my country and earning a scholarship at the same time. And to find some direction in my life.

But man, I also really like imagining the look on his face.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:00 PM on July 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pathetic. We have a Democratic president, a Democratic house and senate, and yet we have people on our side saying we need to arm ourselves.

I get that the Democrats tend to act like a minority party, even when they're the minority. But insurrection doesn't make any sense when you yourself are in control.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:03 PM on July 22, 2010


The left doesn't need to arm itself because the Democrats are or aren't in power. The left needs to arm itself because the currently most popular meme on the right is that Obama is a commie-nazi racist and that killing anybody to the right of Rush Limbaugh is not only justifiable but what George Washington would have wanted.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:08 PM on July 22, 2010


I don't mean to make fun of his misfortune, but it's gonna be hard for Glenn Beck to race bait if he has to ask what color a person is.

Oh who am I kidding? His base will just say "See! He transcends race now so he can see it as it truly is!" And then he'll go back to explaining how the blacks are coming to get you, and every time Jon Stewart explains that's not how it works, he'll start crying and say that he may not be able to read road signs anymore, but he can see more than she'll ever imagine.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:17 PM on July 22, 2010


Poor whites are not in the same boat as poor blacks. Poor whites can change clothes and haircuts and look exactly like privileged whites. A poor white child can become a privileged white adult.

By contrast, poor black children can only ever hope to become rich black adults. At which point they are marginalized anyway. Obama was a privileged black child of a white educated mother. He went to top schools, etc. He became president. He is nonetheless a black President, unlike say Bush, who was simply President.
-- Pastabagel
That's pretty rich from the guy who said "... I suppose that calling somebody a child is, like lying, racism, and hypocrisy, something that only children care about." which is only possible if you don't even consider minorities as people who's views merit any consideration, Or perhaps if you don't even consider them non-children.

---
I thought Obama's strategy was supposed to be to ignore the news cycle. I'd be willing to bet he and his strategy people are pretty unhappy with Vilsack right now. -- immlass
Hahaha. I'm sure they were in the loop. There was that politico article talking about how Jim Messina had actually congratulated. "The Whitehouse Staff" for their "handling" of the situation.
I too wish we could stop blaming the President for what happened here. Here is who is clearly really to blame, in order ... 4. Vilsack, for taking disciplinary action before finding out the facts. -- bearwife
Well look, Vilsack may be a tool here, but he's a cabinet secretary. That means he reports directly to Obama himself, at least in the formal org chart of the government. He's very much a part of the "obama administration". You can argue that it's not Obama's fault personally
posted by delmoi at 2:23 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, Rush Limbaugh was stricken deaf, Glenn Beck is going blind and Larry Craig was rendered mute, at least some of the time. hm.
posted by stavrogin at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2010


XQUZYPHYR: I've long held that the easiest way to get gun control in this country is a comprehensive, systematic, nationwide drive to put firearms in the hands of as many black people as possible.

Perhaps you weren't around, but the Black Panthers put this idea to the test back in the 60s. The police simply assassinated them.
posted by JackFlash at 3:22 PM on July 22, 2010


There was that politico article talking about how Jim Messina had actually congratulated. "The Whitehouse Staff" for their "handling" of the situation.

Except for the part where the article you're linking has Gibbs denying that's how it happened.
posted by immlass at 3:33 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Shorter Fox News: "Why are all these n***ers trying to start a race war?"
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 4:05 PM on July 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Well look, Vilsack may be a tool here, but he's a cabinet secretary. That means he reports directly to Obama himself

In general terms, sure. As to this personnel decision, he didn't. That's why Ms. Sherrod herself has said repeatedly that she sees no reason for him to apologize.

And the reason I am drawing this firm line is because the whole point of the distorted video and the way Fox pushed this story was to attack Obama as a racist. If you just conflate Vilsack's decision to fire without investigating at all with the fact that he is an officer of the executive branch, you play into the attacker's hands, by now blaming Obama for accepting a racist video edit as true.

The motivation here for the whole Sherrod incident was racist in my view . . . it's an effort to say that black people (like Obama and Sherrod and members of the NAACP) are mean to white people. Reality is that a black woman lost her job wrongfully because she was used as a weapon, and because her white superior didn't check his facts first.
posted by bearwife at 4:07 PM on July 22, 2010


meant to say -- That's why Ms. Sherrod herself has said repeatedly that she sees no reason for the President to apologize. (She sure thinks Vilsack should.)
posted by bearwife at 4:08 PM on July 22, 2010


Perhaps you weren't around, but the Black Panthers put this idea to the test back in the 60s. The police simply assassinated them.
The NRA has clearly become a rightwing nutbar group. As gun rights have become a popular cause on the democratic caucus, they haven't transitioned to being a 'mainstream' group like the sierra club or AARP and instead have doubled down on crazy.

But in the past they actually did advocate guns for African Americans in the south. In fact, the group was actually started by people who had been in the northern army during the Civil War.
posted by delmoi at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2010


President Obama Said Sec. Tom Vilsack 'Jumped the Gun' on Shirley Sherrod’s Ouster
posted by bearwife at 4:52 PM on July 22, 2010


In general terms, sure. As to this personnel decision, he didn't. That's why Ms. Sherrod herself has said repeatedly that she sees no reason for him to apologize.

I didn't say He (meaning Obama) did. But Vilsack is very much a part of the "Obama administration" And Vilsack has said that he was in contact with the whitehouse liaison while he was making the decision. So while "The Decision" may have officially been his the whitehouse absolutely was giving him input (Technically Vilsack said that he kept them informed, but I find it very hard to believe that they didn't give him any feedback themselves, especially since Messina actually praised the white house staff for the response)

Also, Just came in to mention that Rick Sanchez was actually hammering Fox news on CNN just a bit ago. I practically sounded like John Stewart. Although I wonder if the media hasn't reached the over-saturation point. Seems like they've pretty much hammered this story and are now getting into "meta-news"
posted by delmoi at 5:39 PM on July 22, 2010


Me: a White House cabinet official who says the White House was informed of the firing as it happened on Monday

saulgoodman: That's flatly not true. I don't want to call you a liar...

Well, I'm glad of that. My source was this TalkingPointsMemo article:

Vilsack denied there was any pressure from the White House to ask Sherrod to resign, and said it was his decision alone -- one that he regrets and which was made in haste. Vilsack said he made his decision after seeing a transcript of Breitbart's clipped video. In the midst of the chaos, he did say that the White House's liaison's office was inform [sic] but that the decision to request her resignation was his alone.

Again, here's what I wrote:

Even if you believe the White House that there was no directive to Vilsack to handle this immediately (me, I'm sure everything was done with the standard deniability, but if you don't go that far, ok) the idea that the White House countermanded the firing "the second it was brought to the White House's attention" is clearly denied by the facts as the White House and cabinet official themselves have reported them.

If you've seen that bit of reporting by TPM debunked somewhere, or have evidence that TPM's reporting on this mess has "since been proven to be grossly inaccurate on far more substantive points," please let me know. And thanks for not calling me a liar. But you're wrong on this.
posted by mediareport at 9:50 PM on July 22, 2010


Also, here's Politico's Ben Smith Monday afternoon:

A White House official told me just now that the White House backs Vilsack's decision -- but that it was Vilsack's alone.

While I have the standard problems other folks have with Politico, I doubt Smith would just make something like that up. Bottom line, I saw multiple reports on Monday that the White House not only knew of Vilsack's move to fire Sherrod, but clearly stated it supported the firing, even as WH officials swore up and down they didn't influence events in the slightest. To me, the notion that Sherrod's firing "was countermanded the second it was brought to the White House's attention" has been convincingly shown to be wrong.
posted by mediareport at 10:02 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


The civil rights heroism of Charles Sherrod
posted by homunculus at 10:22 PM on July 22, 2010


If you just conflate Vilsack's decision to fire without investigating at all with the fact that he is an officer of the executive branch, you play into the attacker's hands, by now blaming Obama for accepting a racist video edit as true.

Breitbart : Al Queda :: Barack Obama : George W Bush
Bush Supporters : With us or with the terrorists :: Obama Supporters : With us or with the right wing fascists
posted by dirigibleman at 10:45 PM on July 22, 2010


The Institute for Southern Studies has a useful short summary of the politics behind the Sherrod affair: The real story of racism at the USDA. The final section is the bit to read if you're in a hurry.
posted by mediareport at 11:17 PM on July 22, 2010


The NRA has clearly become a rightwing nutbar group. As gun rights have become a popular cause on the democratic caucus, they haven't transitioned to being a 'mainstream' group like the sierra club or AARP and instead have doubled down on crazy.

This isn't a recent change. I used to work, back around 2001-2002, at this factory that had a lot of NRA members, and you'd find First Freedom lying around the break room or the john. I remember it being light on gun talk and heavy on pushing Republican candidates and talking points.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:16 AM on July 23, 2010



Mods, could we have fewer calls for armed insurrection in this thread?
posted by MarshallPoe


What are you, a hall monitor? FIAMO, dude.

I'm not calling for armed insurrection, any more than Michelle Bachmann or Sharon Angle is.

Or any less.

I just think liberals (and minorities) should take full advantage of our expanding second amendment rights.

And I refuse to feel a twinge of shame for hoping Glenn Beck goes blind.

And gets cancer.

And hit by a bus.

On his way to jail.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:05 AM on July 23, 2010


Mediareport: the reports you cite don't reflect the timeline of events very clearly. The first reports of the White House statements supporting Vilsack's decision came out after the news had already broken, after the fact. I can remember seeing the specific accounts you cited above, and they came after the story of Breitbart's frame-up was already beginning to gain traction. The White House's immediate response was to offer support for Vilsack, sure, but then would it have been honorable or constructive for the administration to back off immediately from Vilsack, who largely unaware had suddenly become the target of a smear campaign? If they had, they would have been criticized as craven and cowardly for throwing Vilsack under the bus.

The whole point of underhanded stunts like this is to set up politically unnavigable situations for their targets: i.e., to put them in situations that can only do political damage. And yes, it is possible if not easy to devise controversies that will necessarily have that effect, because there are so many different interests involved in how just about any set of events plays out.

As I've said before, in my view, the obvious point of this shameful exercise on Breitbart's part was to cause the administration political damage, so anyone in the media or otherwise helping to make this stunt politically damaging is encouraging the behavior, whether they feel they've got a reasonably plausible pretext for their criticism or not. Breitbart meant to use the media and the public reaction to do his dirty work of political assassination, and rewarding that behavior by letting him create a whole new story out of his work of political stagecraft only enables prevaricators like him.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:40 AM on July 23, 2010


and they came after the story of Breitbart's frame-up was already beginning to gain traction

That's not true in the Politico case.
posted by mediareport at 6:44 AM on July 23, 2010


You know how the White House could flip Fox news the finger in the most beautiful way:

Rehire Van Jones.
posted by Skygazer at 10:57 AM on July 23, 2010


That's not true in the Politico case.

I assume you mean the Politico article that explicitly says the White House played no part in the decision to fire Sherrod? The one that says:

The official said the White House -- contrary to the Sherrod's charge -- did not pressure the Department to fire her.

The whole point of that article is to confirm that no one in the White House above the level of Vilsack participated in the decision making process. Maybe Vilsack informed others in the White House about the decision immediately after the fact, but there's no evidence he consulted with any one else in advance, and even he claims he didn't. All of those are much more solid facts than can be gleaned by squinting really closely at the specific words used in a couple of the initial reports of the events.

Anyway, doesn't it seem almost pathological how much meaning we invest in these back and forth, he-said-she-said second and third hand press accounts anyway? It's not like reporters bother with accuracy anymore. Sloppy generalizations and rhetorical fallacies are practically the meat and potatos of modern press accounts.
posted by saulgoodman at 2:11 PM on July 23, 2010


Maybe Vilsack informed others in the White House about the decision immediately after the fact, but there's no evidence he consulted with any one else in advance, and even he claims he didn't.

This is bizarre. What do you think we disagree on? My point here was very clear and very specific: the notion that Sherrod's firing "was countermanded the second it was brought to the White House's attention" is clearly wrong, and that's the *only* thing I've engaged Slap*Happy on. Go back and read it. I clearly state that what I'm objecting to is the notion that the White House didn't know about the firing as it was happening.

And yet you keep on insisting that what I'm saying is "The White House had a hand in the firing." I definitely believe that (and think it's naive to think otherwise) but that's never been what I've called Slap*Happy out on in this thread.

Seriously. You're stuck on this.
posted by mediareport at 5:40 PM on July 23, 2010


The whole point of underhanded stunts like this is to set up politically unnavigable situations for their targets: i.e., to put them in situations that can only do political damage. And yes, it is possible if not easy to devise controversies that will necessarily have that effect, because there are so many different interests involved in how just about any set of events plays out.
Well duh, it's called politics. Surely the Obama administration should be prepared to deal with it.
The whole point of that article is to confirm that no one in the White House above the level of Vilsack participated in the decision making process. Maybe Vilsack informed others in the White House about the decision immediately after the fact, but there's no evidence he consulted with any one else in advance
You mean aside from the various news articles that indicate they were, and the fact the whitehouse has said that they were "informed" (which obviously would have involved them speaking as well as listening). The idea that Tom Vilsack did this all on his own with no involvement from the whitehouse is absurd. (these people would not be "above" Vilsack in any org chart, btw, he's a cabinet secritary right below Obama.)
posted by delmoi at 9:14 PM on July 23, 2010


The left doesn't need to arm itself because the Democrats are or aren't in power. The left needs to arm itself because the currently most popular meme on the right is that Obama is a commie-nazi racist and that killing anybody to the right of Rush Limbaugh is not only justifiable but what George Washington would have wanted.

Yep, maybe the Dems need to start taking a "don't start none, won't be none" stance. I'm not in favor of gun control but I'm not in favor of provoking another civil war either, especially with a Black president in power. The historical significance alone could very well destroy this country and nobody except maybe some of the wingnut teabaggers is looking for that.
posted by fuse theorem at 7:18 AM on July 24, 2010


Rachel Maddow has a degree in public policy from Stanford University, was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, and has a PhD in politics from Oxford University.

...and is probably about fifteen minutes away from being disowned by Reasonable Liberals who feel she's a little too smug and therefore, out of fairness, should be categorized with Beck and Hannity.

Ain't no one can hamstring Progressives more than actual Progressives!
posted by Legomancer at 6:39 AM on July 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, either way, now you can add another "left-wing base" and media facilitated presidential failure to your list of proof Obama's heart isn't really in it:

Senate Strips Funding For Legal Settlement To Black Farmers From War Bill

Mission accomplished, boys. Nice work.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:17 AM on July 26, 2010


You mean aside from the various news articles that indicate they were, and the fact the whitehouse has said that they were "informed" (which obviously would have involved them speaking as well as listening).

Delmoi: that's crap. I read nearly every major article on this story as it broke (there were none, as even media report acknowledged above, and the only two he could cite didn't support his assertion), and your impression is just plain wrong.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:19 AM on July 26, 2010


Well, either way, now you can add another "left-wing base" and media facilitated presidential failure to your list of proof Obama's heart isn't really in it

"Everything bad is the Liberals' fault!" You sound like Rush Limbaugh at this point.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:34 AM on July 27, 2010


Shirley Sherrod To Sue Blogger Andrew Breitbart Over Doctored Video
posted by homunculus at 12:05 PM on July 29, 2010


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