Sherrod firing & journalism

I missed this controversy when it broke so I've been playing catch-up but the basics are that blogger Andrew Breibart, having vowed to provide proof that the NAACP is racist put a clip from Shirley Sherrod's speech to the NAACP up. In the clip she describes in her early career her ambivalence helping a white farmer when she was working for a rural co-op.

The clip hit the news, she was immediately denounce for her "racism" by both the NAACP and the administration and fired by Sec of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Now it appears that her comments were taken out of context & that Ms Sherrod actually did quite a bit to help the farmer in question. The NAACP has reversed its previous condemnation, claiming to have been "snookered."
The Administration has not budged. Ms Sherrod apparently blames the NAACP for being fired.

Leaving aside the merits of whether the NAACP or the Tea Party is racist or which is more racist it occurs that:

1.) without our 24-hour instant news cycle journalists, the Admin, the NAACP would have had a chance to dig a little deeper before going off the deep end. And I think that professional journalists owe it to us to try to apply the brakes rather than fanning the flames*.

I'd also have more respect for politicians and organisations if they said, "We're going to check into this and issue a statement later rather than issuing totally predictable, boilerplate, politically correct (for whichever side) statements.

2.) provenance: Blogs are not news. Bloggers are not journalists. When a video is shown on Fox or CNN one assumes that it is theirs, i.e. that they or another network shot it.
Viewers could form a more "fair and balanced" judgment if they had been informed that it came from the website of a man who had promised a week ahead of time that he would "provide video proof of the NAACP's racism".

/rant

*metaphors mixed absolutely free :)
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I saw the news story this morning. In her original speech Sherrod states, "I struggled" with having to help a white couple because so many Black families were also losing their farms. Like most of us, she learned through experience. In this case, she learned that poverty can effect individuals of all ethnicities and races. The couple she helped consider her a friend.

Now it appears that her comments were taken out of context & that Ms Sherrod actually did quite a bit to help the farmer in question.

If you want to get technical, this was already evident in the initial article ("Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help"). For better or for worse, Breitbart's main criticism seems to be directed towards the chuckling from the NAACP audience members during Sherrod's speech. It's still a bit of a stretch, though.

I'd also have more respect for politicians and organisations if they said, "We're going to check into this and issue a statement later rather than issuing totally predictable, boilerplate, politically correct (for whichever side) statements.

I wish. That would be nice.

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