Howard Kurtz: It's 'Debatable' Whether Sherrod Can Call Breitbart A Racist

[media id=17631] (h/t Heather at VideoCafe) Aren't we all so very grateful for privileged white men who have never known what it's like to be an o

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(h/t Heather at VideoCafe)

Aren't we all so very grateful for privileged white men who have never known what it's like to be an oppressed minority to inform us what is or is not racism? It's so nice not to have to worry my pretty little mind about things like this, but just let those smart white guys tell me when to worry.

On Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz is charged with looking at the way the media covers news events of the day. Since it was the major story of the week, it was no surprise that the Shirley Sherrod case came up from discussion.

But, as with David Brooks on Meet the Press, the discussion really wasn't about the failures of the media in covering the case. Both Joan Walsh and Jane Hall try to make that point and get interrupted by Kurtz and Matt Lewis, eager to keep pointing the finger at the White House. In fact, they push even further the same false equivalency theme, with Lewis (who writes for Breitbart's BigGovernment.com) claiming that the real victims are Andrew Breitbart and the Tea Party.

They even go so far to ask if Shirley Sherrod had the right to call Andrew Breitbart a racist and is the media giving her "a pass" for using that kind of language.

WALSH: The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses. And the white justice system never found the murderer guilty. She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to.

LEWIS: Any way she wants to?

WALSH: That's not giving her a pass.

LEWIS: So if you've had a bad experience in your background, you can say just anything you want?

WALSH: Yes, any way she wants to. A bad experience in your background? I'm talking about murder. Murder, Matt.

And the fact of the matter is, the woman turned out to be the antithesis of Andrew Breitbart, who told a story of racial reconciliation and healing and forgiving white people, and going on to help white people --

LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get --

WALSH: -- and going on to -- the issue in this country --

LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get a pass to talk about --

WALSH: -- is class as much as race. I'm not giving her a pass. But I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because from her vantage point it's especially true.

KURTZ: Well, in fairness, it's certainly debatable.

Excuse me, but WTF, Howie? There is nothing fair about that statement. This is a woman who has endured INSTITUTIONALIZED racism her whole life--watching the murderer of her father go free by a white grand jury, who organized and was then denied the ability to create a cooperative for black farmers, who ultimately lost her family farm because of Lester Maddox denying loans to black farmers, who was part of the largest successful civil rights violation lawsuit in the US, whose husband was a leading member of non-violent coordination in Georgia during the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, as the visibly seething Joan Walsh points out. Shirley Sherrod has lived with and tried to rise above the oppression and bigotry that you can't even contemplate, taking responsibility to make the world better for those who come after her.

But privileged Caucasian Howie Kurtz, sitting comfortably in his DC digs with his Republican fundraiser wife, can decide that it's "debatable" whether Shirley Sherrod, who has spent her life trying to help those who are poor and oppressed (rather than navel-gazing on the role of the media), knows racism when she sees it.

Howie Kurtz is earning scorn from both the right and the left for his grasp of the Sherrod firestorm. I'm sure he'll say that it proves he's right, since he's angered both sides of the aisle.

But Howie, it just proves that you're wrong, and EVERYONE can see it. Except you.

Transcripts below the fold:

Let's turn to Andrew Breitbart of biggovernment.com, well-known conservative activist. We invited him on this program, he could not do it. He said he had scheduling problems.

Here's what he had to say with Fox's Sean Hannity about Shirley Sherrod.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW BREITBART, BIGGOVERNMENT.COM: I have not asked that she get fired. I have not asked for an investigation into her.

The whole point was to show that for the NAACP to spend five days on national TV saying that the Tea Party is racist without any evidence, when we can prove that the central argument didn't happen, and the mainstream media won't play it --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: As you know, Joan Walsh, Breitbart kind of fancies himself as a new media guy taking on the liberal press.

How badly has he been damaged by this whole episode?

WALSH: You know, that depends on how the media treats his garbage in the future, Howie. He should have already been discredited because he did the exact -- or not exact same thing. He did a similar thing to ACORN.

You know, when law enforcement looked into what he did -- he tried to prove that ACORN helped a pimp and a prostitute evade taxes and God knows what else. When law enforcement officials actually looked at what he did, they said he selectively edited, he left out things that would have exonerated the ACORN employees. And, you know, Rupert Murdoch's "New York Post" actually said that he set those people up. You know, the California attorney general said the same thing.

So Breitbart has a history, and yet Fox runs with this crap, and some other news organizations ran with this crap. This is what he does.

KURTZ: OK.

Matt Lewis --

WALSH: This is what he does, and he shouldn't get away with it.

KURTZ: You've written for Breitbart's biggovernment.com. You interviewed him about this whole thing the other day.

LEWIS: I did.

KURTZ: He is refusing to apologize. Should he apologize?

LEWIS: Well, look, I think that Andrew -- everybody here is right that Andrew Breitbart really felt like the Tea Party was given a raw deal, that --

KURTZ: OK. That's his motivation.

LEWIS: Right. KURTZ: But he put out to the media -- it seems to me he was either dishonest and knew that this was misleading or, in fairness, maybe he was duped by the source who provided it.

In your view, should Andrew Breitbart apologize for what he did?

LEWIS: I believe that he was provided with a tape that was edited inaccurately.

KURTZ: Does that --

LEWIS: I don't think it's his fault.

(CROSSTALK)

LEWIS: Look, I don't want to speak for him, but I'll say this -- I think the video mischaracterized her. I think it was wrong that -- but look --

KURTZ: So (INAUDIBLE) him accountable, the person who put the video out?

HALL: He's still saying there was racism in the room, for goodness sake. He's not apologizing.

LEWIS: If I said something today that was taken out of context, and somebody put it on a Web site, I would hope that my employer, before they fired me, would look at the video. I think it is the White House --

WALSH: Don't make this about the White House.

LEWIS: Breitbart cannot fire anybody, Howie. It is not Andrew Breitbart that can fire somebody.

KURTZ: But he could -- he can write something on his site and say, you know what? In this instance I screwed up, I should have checked it out more thoroughly. But he absolutely refuses --

LEWIS: If you actually go back and read, as I did -- I interviewed him on Friday -- if you go back and read his original post, it actually says that Shirley Sherrod -- that the larger context was about her having this revelation.

HALL: If you go with something, you know, in the olden days you were supposed to check it out. All the people who ran with this, who did not independently verify it, bear some responsibility. But he should say --

LEWIS: What about the people who fired her, the people who had the tape and fired her and didn't look at it?

HALL: Yes, but Fox and other people are trying to make this about the cowardice of the Obama administration. They should have stood up to Fox. They should have stepped up and said we'll check it out before we fire her. LEWIS: You shouldn't fire -- you should stand by your employees and not fire them before you look at the --

(CROSSTALK)

KURTZ: Let me get Joan in here.

WALSH: Matt, this is a media show. This is a media show. Let's talk about media culpability.

And if you can't say -- if you're going to sleep tonight after not saying that Breitbart should apologize, I don't know about your conscience. You ran -- you interviewed him and you let him run his mouth saying that this still shows racism in the NAACP.

You didn't challenge him one bit. You gave him --

LEWIS: Well, everybody should go read my PoliticsDaily story and let them --

WALSH: I did.

LEWIS: Because I think I did challenge him. I think you're wrong. But look, you're at Netroots Nation. I would expect you to possibly take that standpoint anyway.

WALSH: Excuse me? I'm not at Netroots Nation. Are you on this planet? I'm in San Francisco. I'm not at Netroots Nation.

LEWIS: OK. Oh, it's San Francisco. I'm sorry.

KURTZ: Let me just talk about Shirley Sherrod --

WALSH: Jesus.

KURTZ: -- who gave about 147 interviews this week. And look, it's impossible not to feel sorry for her.

On Monday, she's pulled over to the side of the road, told to resign. By the end of the week, she's getting a call from President Obama.

Here's what she had to say to Anderson Cooper about this whole matter and about Fox.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIRLEY SHERROD, FMR. GEORGIA DIRECTOR, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, USDA: I don't think he's interested in seeing anyone get past it, because I think he'd like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery. That's where I think he'd like to see all black people end up again. And that's why --

COOPER: You think he's a racist?

SHERROD: -- I think he's so vicious. Yes, I do. And I think that's why he's so vicious against a black president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KURTZ: So, Matt Lewis, she says Breitbart wants to take us back to the times of slavery.

Is that fair? And are the media giving her a pass now for using that kind of language?

LEWIS: I think it's unfair. Look, I don't think it's right.

I think that Andrew Breitbart is a conservative activist. I think he cares very deeply about liberal bias in the media and about attempts to portray -- we're going to talk later, but we know that there are attempts for liberals in journalism to portray conservatives as racists.

I think he's concerned about this. I think this was -- clearly, Shirley Sherrod was misrepresented in that video. We have no doubt about that.

KURTZ: She also talked about Fox News, in effect, being racist.

We're over time, but Joan Walsh, a brief response from you on this point?

WALSH: The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses. And the white justice system never found the murderer guilty. She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to.

LEWIS: Any way she wants to?

WALSH: That's not giving her a pass.

LEWIS: So if you've had a bad experience in your background, you can say just anything you want?

WALSH: Yes, any way she wants to. A bad experience in your background? I'm talking about murder. Murder, Matt.

And the fact of the matter is, the woman turned out to be the antithesis of Andrew Breitbart, who told a story of racial reconciliation and healing and forgiving white people, and going on to help white people --

LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get --

WALSH: -- and going on to -- the issue in this country --

LEWIS: I just don't think any of us should get a pass to talk about --

WALSH: -- is class as much as race. I'm not giving her a pass. But I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because from her vantage point it's especially true.

KURTZ: Well, in fairness, it's certainly debatable.

About Nicole Belle

Nicole Belle's picture
Mom, Wife, Media Critic/Political Analyst, Blogger, Austen Fanatic, Unapologetic Liberal NicoleBelle@crooksandliars.com

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