Rachel Maddow hit the nail on the head in this segment with her commentary on the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod after Andrew Brieibart did his hit piece on her and the NAACP with another highly edited video tape. I don't know who made the decision to fire Sherrod, but they need to be listening to what Rachel had to say here.
Maddow: Though we begin tonight with something we knew was coming, something we knew was inevitable after right wing activists and Fox News destroyed the community organizing group ACORN last year with supposedly incriminating video tapes that really weren't all that incriminating at all; that weren't really incriminating at all.
Maddow: This is not meant to excuse what ACORN has done wrong in the past but the huge tide of negative publicity that followed these video tapes and the coverage they got on Fox, wall to wall for months was bull pucky. It was a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism and no resemblance to the actual facts of what happened in those offices. But it worked.
The organization has been shut down. Means be damned, it worked. Who do you think is next on that list?
Maddow: Today we got an answer to that question which I hoped at the time was just a rhetorical one. The same attack that helped take down ACORN last fall was supposedly incriminating video tapes has now claimed a new victim.
The White House is denying that they had anything to do with the forced resignation of Shirley Sherrod, but I don’t buy it. As Rachel points out here, once they got their first scalp, it just emboldened them to go after more people. They’d better wise up to that fact and they need to be hiring this woman back with an apology. Rachel ended her segment with this.
Maddow: What is not really interesting about this whole situation is that Fox News is doing this. This is what Fox News does. This is how they are different from other news organizations. This is why the White House argued months ago that Fox should be treated as a media organization, but not as a normal news organization because they don’t treat news the way a normal news organization treats news. Just like the fake ACORN controversy Fox News knows that it has a role in this game.
No kidding, like being a propaganda arm of the Republican Party which she falls just short of saying.
Maddow: What is interesting about this story is that the Obama administration inexplicably keeps falling for it. Today Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack acknowledged that he asked for and accepted Shirley Sherrod’s resignation after this supposed controversy came to light on Fox News. But apparently before anyone but Fox News and the conservative web site got their say about what actually happened here.
Dear White House, dear administration; believing conservative spin about what’s so wrong with you and then giving into that spin, is not an effective defense against that spin. Just buying it and apologizing for it and doing whatever they want you to do, doesn’t make the problem of them lying about you go away.
In fact, it makes it worse.
After Fox News set its sites on Obama administration Van Jones, Van Jones was very quickly booted out of his job. After Fox News went on this fake crusade against ACORN, the Obama administration cut all ties with the group, didn’t even bother to mount a defense or wait till they had been investigated properly; just let Fox News do it. They pushed an effort to de-fund ACORN.
And now after Fox News totally misrepresents an USDA employee Shirley Sherrod, she’s cut loose as well before the story can even make it into the mainstream media.
If you keep falling for this sort of stunt you are encouraging them. You are feeding a dog from the table and thereby encouraging that dog to beg at the table. After all the damage was already done today; after Fox News managed to force out Shirley Sherrod with a totally out of context smear that made white people feel aggrieved about racism in a way that helps Fox News’ politics, here’s now Fox News decides to cover the end of this story.
Fox Host: Did the White House essentially railroad an innocent woman in this because they’re on edge themselves about the Van Jones controversy, the Black Panthers Party case and other controversies.
Maddow: She was railroaded. Given how the Obama administration has reacted to previous cooked up campaigns by Fox News and conservative activists it was not impossible to see this coming. So I say again tonight as I said back in April, the huge tide of negative publicity that followed these video tapes and the coverage they got on Fox wall to wall was a dishonest political stunt that bears no resemblance to journalism and no resemblance to the actual facts of what happened, but it worked. Means be damned in the end it worked.
Like I said in April, who do you think is next on their list. I asked it months ago and I’m asking it again now. Who’s next?