NAACP and Glenn Beck agree: People rushed to judgment on Sherrod

Apparently Krauthammer agrees too. I haven’t seen it yet, but according to one of Ace’s co-bloggers, CK said on “Special Report” a few minutes ago that Sherrod deserves an apology and her job back. The NAACP’s statement:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA…

Next time we are confronted by a racial controversy broken by Fox News or their allies in the Tea Party like Mr. Breitbart, we will consider the source and be more deliberate in responding. The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed. This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.

They should release the tape to erase lingering doubt about the context, but as noted in my previous post, it’s true that the Spooners have been adamant that Sherrod worked tirelessly on their behalf. As for the reaction of some in the audience, which the NAACP itself described as “disturbing” in its initial statement yesterday, I’m not sure what the group’s current position on it is. Presumably that’s been washed away too in the point about wider context presciently made yesterday by the Anchoress. Here’s what she offers today:

You know what’s not singing to me, now? The argument that “the tape wasn’t about nailing Sherrod, it was about demonstrating the racism of the NAACP audience; it was a response to their wicked attempt to paint the Tea Party as racist.”

As I said yesterday, there was certainly a stones/glass houses note to it all, but Shirley Sherrod had a story to tell, and as far as I’m concerned, that story needed telling in full – that was the only way to be fair to Sherrod. After it was told, then, if you wanted to make the point about the audience’s reaction to her own tale–which is apparently one that indicts her own racist past–you could do that. Otherwise, all you’ve done is destroyed Sherrod in the same way that Trent Lott was ruined: by taking her remarks out of context.

Context matters.

“Context matters”: As you’ll see, Beck makes the same point verbatim. He was actually named by Sherrod today as someone whose reaction to the tape the White House was worried about, but instead of attacking them for hiring an alleged racist, he throws them a curveball by attacking them for firing an innocent woman before the full context of what she said could be determined. He also knocks the NAACP, quite correctly, for using Sherrod as a pawn in its war with the tea party: The only reason they moved to denounce her so quickly, of course, was to prove their own alleged saintliness on racial issues so that they could continue to lecture tea partiers on their sins. In fact, the only people who emerge basically unscathed here is conservative media like us, even though we made the same judgment about the tape. Maybe that came later in the show, which was after all devoted to this topic; I didn’t see it so I don’t have the full context, and like the man says, context matters.

Update: One of our dumber left-wing commenters misunderstood my point in the last paragraph so let me spell it out further. When I say that conservative media emerged unscathed, I mean in Beck’s segment; he let us off easy even though we made snap judgments about the clip too.

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