Monday, July 26, 2010

Frank Rich Distorts Sherrod Story

Gary Fouse

Frank Rich

New York Times writer Frank Rich is a liberal ideologue who never lets truth get in the way of his ideology when he writes his op-eds. In yesterday's column in the NY Times, he puts his own spin on the Shirley Sherrod fiasco.,%20july%2025,%202010&st=cse

Rich, of course, makes reference to the errors committed by the White House and the NAACP, but like all liberals, the real wrath is reserved for Andrew Breitbart and Fox News. Watch as Rich implies and leaves it to the reader to infer:

"The smear might well have stuck if the white octogenarian farmer saved by Sherrod
24 years ago was no longer alive and if he didn’t look like a Norman Rockwell archetype. Only his and his wife’s testimony to her good deeds on CNN could halt the lynching party. Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture who fired Sherrod without questioning the video’s patently spurious provenance, was far slower to reverse himself than the N.A.A.C.P. Good for him that he seemed genuinely chagrined once he did apologize. But an executive so easily bullied by Fox News has no more business running a government department than Ken Salazar, the secretary of interior who let oil companies run wild on deepwater drilling until disaster struck. That the White House sat back while Vilsack capitulated to a mob is a disgraceful commentary on both its guts and competence. This wasn’t a failure of due diligence — there was no diligence."

Excuse me, Mr Rich, but you are misleading the reader. You are trying to leave the impression that Fox News drove this firing. They did not. By the time Fox News ran the story on TV, Ms Sherrod had already been forced to resign. Bill O'Reilly, in running the excerpted tape, stated that Ms Sherodd "must resign immediately." (The next night after learning of the whole video, he apologized.) When Sean Hannity followed O'Reilly on the air Monday, he announced the firing, which was then breaking news. Glenn Beck urged caution without seeing the while tape for its full context. If anyone "bullied" Vilsack, it was the White House.

Secondly, the only mob that Tom Vilsack capitulated to was allegedly the mob at the White House who were (according to Sherrod's conversation with Cheryl Cook), demanding her immediate resignation "since it was going to be on (Glenn) Beck that evening". Finally, since the full tape came out, Fox News has reacted appropriately, conceding that Sherrod's description about helping the white farmers was not racist. Did they err in not waiting for the whole speech to emerge? Sure. Everybody did, myself included as a blogger. The NAACP's error was worse since all they had to do was review their own video.

Then Rich goes on to try and make the case that it is the Republican Party that is racist because of their association with the Tea Party. To support that argument, he drags in that Capitol Hill protest and repeats as fact that several people in the crowd were hurling racial slurs at black congressmen, though no tape can be found to substantiate it despite a $100,000 reward by (yes, the boogey man) Breitbart.

Rich, of course, is a skillful writer who can write sentences that leave a definite impression with the reader. Here he leaves the impression that Vilsack was bullied by Fox News to fire Sherrod when he clearly was not. In the same thought, a few lines down, he refers to "a mob" in such an artful way as to leave the reader with the impression that "the mob" was Fox News when it was really the White House.

Is this what they teach in journalism school?

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