Thursday, July 22, 2010

Lunchtime spin

Two things worth noting on a very busy day:

1. Howard Kurtz clears one thing up on the Sherrod matter:

But for all the chatter -- some of it from Sherrod herself -- that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn't touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the exception of brief comments by O'Reilly. After a news meeting Monday afternoon, an e-mail directive was sent to the news staff in which Fox Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."

Sherrod may be the only official ever dismissed because of the fear that Fox host Glenn Beck might go after her. As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to pressure her into resigning, Sherrod says Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook called her Monday to say "do it, because you're going to be on 'Glenn Beck' tonight." And for all the focus on Fox, much of the mainstream media ran with a fragmentary story that painted an obscure 62-year-old Georgian as an unrepentant racist.
Fox News only has as much power over the Obama administration as the Obama administration grants it.

2. The AP (via MSNBC) reports on very bad Bush administration behavior:

The Freedom of Information Act, the main tool forcing the government to be more open, is designed to be insulated from political considerations. Anyone who seeks information through the law is supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose confidential decision-making in certain areas.

But in July 2009, Homeland Security introduced a directive requiring a wide range of information to be vetted by political appointees for "awareness purposes," no matter who requested it.

Career employees were ordered to provide Secretary Janet Napolitano's political staff with information about the people who asked for records — such as where they lived, whether they were private citizens or reporters — and about the organizations where they worked.

If a member of Congress sought such documents, employees were told to specify Democrat or Republican.
Oops, I'm sorry. I got that wrong. The Bush administration had already left office when this directive came down.


Gino said...

this whole sherod affair i think will be a historical marker.

never before have democrat administrations feared a news outlet. the shoe was always on the other foot.

a GOP version of Van Jones would never get out of his precinct office, politically, let alone given a cool gig in DC.
the sams, cokies and would be all over it... and they usually were over far lesser stuff. all that was needed was an accusation, and the person was considered a cancer.

now, i think, political historians will mark that this was the moment when the shoe fit both feet.

this is the real story that is being missed here. not sherod.

i will now await for amanda to check in and imply that i am racist for downplaying the sherod story, because sherod is black and i'm just trying to take away her credit or something like that...

...and i wouldnt even care.

Anonymous said...

The one thing that I will take away from the Sherod story is how the audience reacted to the first part of her story. They basically cheered. Sherod is not the problem, but I can't help but wonder about the members of the audience. I sure hope that they listened to the entire message.

W.B. Picklesworth said...

Anon, I can't agree with you that Sherrod isn't the problem. She's been "vindicated" by events, but really shouldn't have been. In the longer video she's perfectly happy to ascribe racism to health care opponents and critics of the president. She may have learned something from her experience with the farmer, but it certainly didn't eradicate racialist thinking from her mindset.

And now she is busy lashing out and labeling conservatives racists. Either she has little self-awareness or she cynically believes she now has sympathetic cover to smear her opponents with the racist brush. I think she's misunderstood the message of the past few days.

Gino said...

picklesworth: its racist to assume a black women dont understand the message.