Loyalty and the Shirley Sherrod affair
I’d like to fully endorse this post from Noah Millman. I was talking to my wife about the Shirley Sherrod affair and she basically said, who cares if a blog posted the video? Most of the stuff you read on blogs is total bullshit anyways. The real scandal is that Sherrod was fired because of what a blog posted.
Think about it. If Sherrod had been kept on, been interviewed, explained the situation to her supervisor, and that information made its way up the chain of command until Obama’s press secretary told everybody that her remarks were “taken out of context” – well, what do you think the trajectory of this news story would have been?
At best, the world would have just moved on – and the “Obama is a racist” meme would have gotten an additional push. Most likely the story would shift seamlessly to how Obama would have fired a white person accused of racism on the spot, so even though Sherrod was not guilty of the charges the Administration’s reaction would prove it was racist. It’s even possible that we’d be talking about two “versions” or “interpretations” of the event, and people would feel totally free to continue to believe that Breitbart’s original take on Sherrod was the correct “interpretation” of her speech. And she’d never be fully cleared of the taint of racism.
But because Vilsack fired her for no good reason, she’s an innocent victim, and the story is about Breitbart. Sherrod gets her job back and nobody thinks ill of her, and the Administration winds up being criticized from the center for not standing up to the right. Which, I suspect, is just where Obama would like to be.
Interesting incentive structure, that.
Quite frankly, I could care less what Andrew Breitbart posts. Dealing with Breitbart, I say caveat emptor! That the Obama administration, or Vilsack acting on his own, would actually force the resignation of one of its employees over something posted at Big Government is beyond the pale. That Breitbart posted it is, well, nothing new. Certainly nothing newsworthy. So why is Breitbart in the crosshairs? The Obama administration is the employer who fired an employee without cause.
Everyone is talking about racism in regards to this story. What I want to know is whatever happened to loyalty? Say what you will about the Bush administration, but at least the former president understood the meaning of that word if not the pronunciation of many others.
I think it would be very classy of Breitbart to apologize. Lord knows, I would if I were in his shoes (though I would not have published the video if I were in his shoes either!). He could even use it to his advantage. He could say: “I’m deeply sorry that the video we posted of Shirley Sherrod’s speech caused her employer, the Obama Administration, to force her resignation. That was certainly not our intention. We regret that posting the video had this effect and if we had to do it over, we would not have posted it.”