Right Wing Racist Political Strategy And A Codependent Mainstream Media—The Real Message Of The Shirley Sherrod Scandal
I’m generally amused by ranting about how overplayed some story is, which (of course) only perpetuates the overplayed story. The latest “Story That Won’t Die And Has Hijacked Much More Impactful Stories” is, of course, the saga of Shirley Sherrod.
The aspect of the story that makes its continuing dominance of the news cycle legitimate, though, is the broader picture—a picture of a cowed mainstream media that legitimizes quackery and an overtly racist political strategy from the far right—as captured admirably in today’s Washington Post by E.J. Dionne, Jr.:
The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that “fairness” requires treating extremist rants as “one side of the story.” And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year’s election.
The Sherrod case should be the end of the line. If Obama hates the current media climate, he should stop overreacting to it. And the mainstream media should stop being afraid of insisting on the difference between news and propaganda.
For those who have slept through the controversy, or attempted to block it out but now wonder what all the fuss is about, today’s Politico has a superb reprisal of both the case and the fallout, arguing that if Obama was duped, well he wasn’t the only one.
Jesse Jackson blamed Andrew Breitbart… Howard Dean blamed Fox News… Newt Gingrich blamed the Obama administration… Chris Wallace blamed President Barack Obama… New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd blamed Obama… Anita Dunn, a member of Obama’s inner circle, blamed the media… [And] Frank Rich opined that “The White House, the N.A.A.C.P. and the news media were all soiled by this episode,” leaving most Americans “grappl[ing] with the poisonous residue left behind by the many powerful people of all stripes who served as accessories to a high-tech lynching.”
I would say that I hope we can all learn from this bizarre episode, but it’s just too similar to the ACORN non-scandal (that nevertheless sank the organization) for me to be especially optimistic.Click here for reuse options!
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