Trainwreck of the Week: The Crucifixion of Shirley Sherrod

This issue with Dept. of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod has put into focus just how fucked up modern media really is.

It breaks down like this:

  • Douchebag right-wing blogger Andrew Brietbart posts on his blog an edited video showing Shirley, an official with the Dept of Agriculture giving a speech at an NAACP meeting where it appears she is a big, scary racist and not helping a poor white farmer because he's white.
  • Brietbart calls it "proof" that "the NAACP awards racism.
  • re-posts the video with the headline "Caught on Tape: Obama Official Discriminates Against White Farmer."
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shits a brick and fires her.
  • The White House puts their foot in their mouth by backing the firing. 
  • Shepherd Smith says he doesn't trust the source ...but never mind that, Bill O'Riley triumphantly gloats in his broadcast that she was fired before he even got on the air.
And then.. WHOOPS! Hey guys, the farmer just said that she actually helped them enough to save his farm. He thinks she's pretty wonderful, actually.  She even visited the folks and helped pick tomatoes for fuck sake.
"Ha ha. Silly us."

...And as it turns out, she's pretty goddamn awesome in her efforts to help the poor and fight for civil rights
and she's been doing that for the past twenty five years. Willie Nelson calls her a great friend to him and to Farm Aid. Willie fucking Nelson.

"Oh...My bad! hehe, uh...nothing to see here. Move along."

Beautiful job of yellow journalism, fellas. William Randolph Hurst would be proud.

So what does this say about Fox News? Im pretty sure "Fair and balanced" is not something that first comes to mind. Can we please stop calling these guys a legitimate news source and instead refer to them as right-wing propaganda machines?

And what does this say about assholes like Brietbart? Should he get away with this? Where's the line between freedom of speech and defamation of character?

And what does this say about Americans as a society? Are we so used to being spoon fed whatever the media shoves down our throats that we think shit tastes like tapioca because they say it does? Are we so paranoid about being thought of as racist that we'll resort to knee-jerk reactions without pulling our collective heads out of our asses first?

And what does this say about our government? Is it too much to ask that someone do some fucking fact checking before helping to ruin someone's life?

Without a doubt, the circus surrounding the crucifixion and exoneration of Shirley Sherrod should serve as a beautiful lesson to journalists. Whether you work for good or for evil, the world can be swayed by a soundbite.

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