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What the….?!

I have a confession to make.  I watch Fox News.  In fact I watch it most weekdays.  I watched it this Monday.   On Monday a funny thing happened.  They reported on a story about a black USDA official being fired for apparently racist comments captured on video (by the way I can’t remember what show I first heard of it on but it wasn’t Glenn Beck).  The reason I thought this was strange was because that was the first I had heard about it.  There had been no reporting about the video prior to that.  Usually these things build for several days or weeks before someone gets fired and this time the story was that someone got fired because of a scandal I had never heard about.  Apparently the woman, Shirley Sherrod’s resignation was demanded by the White House out of fear that she was going to be on Glenn Beck that night (Monday).  She resigned and Glenn Beck didn’t mention the story at all.

Of course by Tuesday, it was clear that the video had been edited maliciously to make her look racist and that this was not the case at all.  Upon realizing this, the NAACP, who had immediately come out condemning the woman, said they had been “snookered” by Fox News.  This is the story that many in the left-leaning media are running with. 

Motivated by an insidiously edited copy of a speech made to a local chapter of the NAACP by a Black USDA official from Georgia, a hurricane force of rightwing bloggers, salivating rightwing radio talk show hosts and of course the “usual suspects” from Fake News…err, I mean Fox News, broadcasted and simultaneously villainized an innocent woman in an attempt to hack President Obama’s reputation and his administration.

All day yesterday I couldn’t figure out what was going on here, but now I think it is becoming clear.  At this time, nobody seems to know where the video came from.  Apparently it originally surfaced on Andrew Breitbart’s biggovernment.com.  But Breitbart claimed he did not have the unedited video.  I can’t find any record of where he got the video which he did have.  The White House and NAACP acquired the full video shortly after Sherrod was forced to resign.  Indeed the NAACP had the full video the entire time since the video was of a speech given at an NAACP function.  I suspect that the video was edited and released by someone on the left although I have no proof of this.  But why would they want to make the White House look so incompetent?

The answer, I think, is that unless you watch Fox, the White House is the victim in all of this.  The villain is the unregulated right-wing smear campaign on the internet and Fox.  But Fox didn’t even report on the story until after Sherrod was fired.  Now maybe some obscure right-wing blogger manipulated the video and released it on the internet.  But if that’s the case, no real harm would have been done if the White House hadn’t seized it and acted on it with astonishing haste without looking into it even the slightest bit.  But I have a feeling they won’t just admit that, give her job back and move on. 

In fact I predict that the administration and their allies in the media will spin this in such a way that the administration looks like the victim of an out of control hostile media environment which is putting our whole country at risk.  This will be used as justification for sweeping new regulation governing the media and especially the internet, probably in the form of a 2000 page bill which will magically appear  out of nowhere as though some unknown person or persons had been working on it for years.  And since I’m feeling lucky today, let me parlay this bet with the prediction that this will get pushed through congress during a lame-duck session after the November elections.

Here is what Robert Gibbs said today:

Members of this administration, members of the media, (and) members of different political factions on both sides of this have all made determinations and judgments without a full set of facts.

Watch for Obama to make a speech about it in the next couple days which will focus even more on judgements made by “members of the media and different political factions.”  When this happens remember number 7.

*I had to edit this after the original posting due to some confusion on my part about the timeline, it should be right now.

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