I realize that the hot topic today is racism and that both liberals and conservatives are falling all over themselves to prove how non-racist they are and, in the process, throwing anyone and everyone under the bus just to prove their bona fides.
I think it's sad, especially when the people who are emerging unscathed from this are far from blameless and those accused of the dastardly deeds of reporting this incompletely aren't quite the villains they're being portrayed as. It bothers me how little courage people have to stand up for what is right on the issue of race, mainly for fear they'll be stigmatized with charges of insensitivity toward race or, worse, racism.
It seems to me that President Obama's unchecked liberalism is in such disfavor among the electorate that supporters of his agenda often invoke the race card against opponents of his agenda both to distract attention from substantive issues and to demonize conservatives.
I truly don't believe this Shirley Sherrod story is primarily about sloppy, negligent or even malicious reporting. Obviously, fairness dictates that quotes should be reported in context. And it is indefensible for a reporter to misrepresent a person's meaning intentionally, whether from failing to provide the context or otherwise. Having met Andrew Breitbart, I sincerely doubt he reported this story with any intent to mislead.
But even if we are willing to assume, for purposes of discussion, the worst about Breitbart and condemn him for whatever reason -- e.g., because it makes us feel superior, makes us appear above racism ourselves, or serves a political cause to demonize him (and thus tea partiers and conservatives) -- where does that leave us?
Let's just say Breitbart is the worst human being on the planet (though I reject that he's even a bad guy). Are we going to allow ourselves to be distracted from the rest of the back story and from all the other vitally important issues facing us today?
Have all those who are patting themselves on the back for pointing out how badly Shirley Sherrod was mistreated studied her views? Do they automatically give her a pass for some of the other things she did say that at least bear on her class warfare mindset or, even more to the point, her willingness to imply -- unfairly -- others are racists?
My friend Andy McCarthy at National Review Online highlighted certain statements of Sherrod's in that same speech.