Welcome to the smackdown that was Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief of Salon.com, going all tag-team with Jane Hall, associate professor at American University, against the racism of Breitbart and Fox News.
Appearing opposite of Joan and Jane was Matt Lewis, conservative blogger and all around Republican mouth piece.
As a bonus there is also Howard Dean, 50-State Progressive, appearing on Fox News Sunday to call out Fox for race baiting.
I have to say, I was impressed by their bold directness. It was very refreshing to see progressives not holding back.
I WANT MORE! NOW AND ALWAYS!
First up, Joan Walsh on CNN's Reliable Sources with Howard Kurtz.
She was absolutely fabulous. Top the point and never wavering or equivocating, and not one bit shy, she gave it and refused to back down in the face of outright bullshit!
While the toady Lewis refused to even say Breitbart or Fox had done anything wrong, needless that they had anything to apologize for, and in fact laid ALL the blame at the feet of Obama, of all people, Joan, with an assist from Jane, pounded the point home over and over.
Breitbart are Fox are racist and entirely intolerable!
CNN's Reliable Sources - 25/7/10 - Part One
CNN's Reliable Sources - 25/7/10 - Part Two
Here are exerpts of the transcript, highlight mine, which is available here in full.
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST: Let's face it. Nobody looked good in the firing of Shirley Sherrod. Not Andrew Breitbart. Not the Obama administration. Not the NAACP. And certainly not the media outlets that ran with a misleading story.
A conservative activist posts a video snippet of an Agriculture Department official edited to make her look like a racist, and everyone plays the tape?
The number two Agriculture Department official telling Sherrod this week that she had to quit because her story, or, more precisely, a maliciously edited tape of her speech to the NAACP, would wind up on Beck's show. That tape snippet posted online by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart.
Once the administration fired Sherrod, much of the media pounced on an absurdly incomplete story. That is, before learning that the full videotape showed that Sherrod was not talking about discriminating against a white farmer, but rising above such racial prejudice.
KURTZ: Joining us now to sort out the media's role in this tangled and racially-charged tale, Matt Lewis, blogger and political analyst for politicsdaily.com; Jane Hall, an associate professor at American University and a former Fox News contributor; and in San Francisco, Joan Walsh, the editor-in-chief of salon.com.
And Joan, obviously the abrupt firing of Shirley Sherrod was a story. But how much responsibility did the TV networks bear for running that misleading video snippet before knowing the full story?
JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM: I think they bear a lot of responsibility.
How Fox News or anybody else could run a story and not seek comment from a person that they were calling a racist, it's quite extraordinary. And, you know, a lot has been made about Fox didn't do -- Fox isn't the cause of her firing. I'm going to stipulate that. Let's say that that's true, but Fox played a much bigger role than people want to admit.
That story, the Breitbart version of the story, ran on FoxNews.com all day Monday. O'Reilly mentioned it. Sean Hannity went on to mention it. Sean Hannity and Newt Gingrich had a lovely conversation about what a racist this woman was after she had resigned. "Fox & Friends" went crazy the next morning.
It doesn't matter that merely the Obama administration overreacted. It matters that's terrible that they did that. But there was this pouncing on Shirley Sherrod without getting her reaction or her response that I think is unconscionable.
KURTZ: Well, the story did not --
WALSH: She was easy to find.
KURTZ: The story did not run on the Fox Web site until shortly before the firing.
Matt Lewis, you've heard Joan's take on it. I still want to know, because lots of people, including CNN, initially ran that tape, how do you run the tape when it's a two-minute snippet and you don't have the whole tape, you don't have the whole story, Matt?
MATT LEWIS, BLOGGER, POLITICSDAILY.COM: Right. Well, look, I think -- and I thank Joan for actually saying what we know to be true, that Fox News did not air it until after she was fired. Once Shirley Sherrod is --
WALSH: That's not true. That's not what I said, by the way.
LEWIS: I think that is what you said.
WALSH: And it's not true. No. I said --
LEWIS: You disagree with the fact that Fox News did not run the tape until after she was fired?
WALSH: Bill O'Reilly ran the tape before she was fired.
LEWIS: That is not true.
WALSH: The story was on --
JANE HALL, PROFESSOR OF MEDIA AND POLITICS, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think there's a larger point. I mean, I think Howie has written a story that says that the timeline is such that Fox -- Bill O'Reilly taped at 5:00 and it aired at 8:00.
KURTZ: Right. So, just to clarify, when he taped his call for her resignation, no one knew that she'd resigned. By the time it aired at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, she had been fired and that was being reported.
HALL: I think the larger point -- I mean, I'm glad you checked the facts. The larger point, I agree with Joan Walsh.
The larger point is this was what we used to call in journalism too good to check. It was an incomplete video that actually -- I think this is almost like a virtual world McCarthyism where someone is hung out there to dry without the facts, and in fact made to say the opposite of what she said.
And the Obama administration couldn't last through one news cycle, but Fox ran with this without checking. From what I've read, they checked with the USDA.
They ran with it because it fit their narrative of a very anti- Obama situation. Breitbart was trying to prove, while you said that the NAACP said the Tea Party people had racist elements, I'm going to find a racist on the Obama side.
KURTZ: I was trying to make the point that a lot of networks ran with it. And MSNBC found those tapes of "Fox & Friends." Keith Olbermann blaming his own network, as well as others, in what he called the cowering media.
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.
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.
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 you don't hold 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..
KURTZ: Let me just talk about Shirley Sherrod -- 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 is 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.
SMACK! BAM! BOOM! You go girl!
Joan, awesome is your middle name and you should teach other 'journalists'!
Now on to Howard Dean appearing on Fox News Sunday:
Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and this Sotomayor and all this other stuff.
The Tea Party called out their racist fringe and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe. And Fox News is what did that. You put that on. Continuing to cater to this theme of minority racism and stressing comments like this -- some of which are taken out of context -- does not help the country knit itself together.
We need much, much more of this and we need it now and constantly until November!
Thanks for taking the time to read my Diary :¬)
Comments, TIPs and RECs are accepted gladly