Thursday, July 22, 2010

Race, Partisan Politics, Shirley Sherrod and Barack Obama (with video)

Greg Sargent:
* Is "race" the problem? The emerging media consensus this morning on the Shirley Sherrod mess is that it proves race remains a "stumbling block" for Obama. Few, however, seem willing to explain why this is the case, or who it is that's trying to ensure that race continues to trip up the president.

But Eugene Robinson cuts through the B.S. and spells out what's really going on here, arguing that the Sherrod tale "has fully exposed the right-wing campaign to use racial fear to destroy Obama's presidency."

"A cynical right-wing propaganda machine is peddling the poisonous fiction that when African Americans or other minorities reach positions of power, they seek some kind of revenge against whites," Robinson writes.


* Is "partisan media" the problem? Also: You'll be hearing a lot of people blaming "partisan" media on both sides for the current state of affairs. Here, for instance, is Politico's Jim VandeHei:

"It speaks to a much broader problem in the media-activist industrial complex, if you will, and I think it's a problem that's going to get worse: There's been this proliferation of partisan media -- whether it's MSNBC and Fox at night, or it's Breitbart on the right or Huffington Post on the left -- there's just a huge incentive for people to engage in real tough combat, and to overreact."

This strikes me as a false equivalence. I think it's fair to ask folks wringing their hands about "partisan media" to take a stand on whether MSNBC and HuffPo are even remotely comparable to Breitbart and Fox in their willingness to cook the facts and engage in full blown political crusades. The problem is not "partisan media." It's Breitbart and Fox. Period. MORE...

Shirley Sherrod: 'I Can't Say That the President Is Fully Behind Me' (George Stephanopoulos):
In my interview coming up on "GMA," Shirley Sherrod says that she’s not ready to accept Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s job offer. She wants to hear more from the Secretary and his boss – President Obama.

“I can’t say that the President is fully behind me,” Sherrod told me. “I would hope that he is…I would love to talk to him.”

Sherrod wants to be convinced that the President and his whole team are fully committed to fighting discrimination against African American farmers.
"Scaring white people for fun and profit" (MaddowBlog, with video-12:15):
Fox News has run with a few different stories this year that they really pushed all on their own. They weren't mainstream news stories -- they weren't even news, really. They were Fox agenda items, all following a very, very similar narrative. There was the Van Jones controversy, with Fox morphing the president's renewable-energy policy expert into an ex-con who served time after the Rodney King race riots -- not true. The other great Fox News crusade of the past year was against ACORN, an almost all-minority community organizing group which Fox characterized as stealing taxpayer money and an election. More recently, Fox News has crusaded against the New Black Panther Party, after video surfaced of two wackjob blacks at a polling station during the 2008 election. The Bush Justice Department investigated and found that the wackjobs hadn't intimidated voters that day, and Fox News has continued running the same footage over and over and over again.

The message? They're coming for you, white people. They're coming for you. Black people are coming for you, to take what's yours. MORE...

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