Skunked

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Jul 21, 2010 4:41 PM
Below, Meredith recounts the denouement of the Shirley Sherrod tape story.  It seems to me that there's little doubt The White House was outwitted by Andrew Breitbart (albeit inadvertently; he says he received the video in edited form).

In fact, The White House's haste to push Sherrod out was actually defensible in some sense -- insofar as the administration was trying to prove that it was equally serious about condemning racism by blacks against whites as that by whites vs. blacks.  And surely we can all agree that racism in any of its forms is ugly and wrong.

The video really had The White House in a bind, whatever they did.  Had Sherrod not been fired immediately, no doubt many Americans would have been insisting, with some justification, that such remarks by whites against blacks wouldn't be tolerated for a minute.

By firing her immediately, however, without knowing all the facts, the administration has been put in a terrible position, and one that will surely undermine its standing with some in the African-American community, among the president's most fervent supporters.

Maybe the lesson for all of us is that we need to develop less of a hair-trigger when it comes to racial issues.  But that won't be easy in a country that routinely hears from people like Jeremiah Wright and Jesse Jackson.

And in the aftermath of this debacle, surely everyone involved --from The White House to the media -- has some obligation to explain what they knew, and when.