Thursday, July 22, 2010

On Breitbart and the Obama White House’s Rush to Judgment

A few years ago, at a pub to remain anonymous, I was walking through a crowd of people to order a drink. As I passed a group of men, I jumped, startled, when someone pinched my fanny; naturally, I turned around and smacked the guy behind me and to my right—the side of the affected cheek, as it were. The young man, sporting an imprint of my hand on the side of his face, pointed sheepishly to his friend, who guiltily admitted it had been he who pinched me. Oops. Naturally, I wound up and smacked the true perpetrator and apologized to his unwitting friend. Nonetheless, had I ascertained in advance just which slimebucket was the perpetrator of the pinch, I would have saved myself an apology and the cost of a frosty cold beverage.

The Shirley Sherrod video posted by Breitbart that led to a firestorm of media attention brought into crisp clarity two things: First, the NAACP is a racist, entitlement-promoting organization, and second, that Obama learned absolutely nothing from his vaunted “beer summit,” which was only necessary because he rushed to judgment without knowing all the facts, opened his pie hole, and called a police officer “stupid” for doing his job.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Fast forward a year, and Obama rushes to judgment once again, pushing Vilsack to fire Sherrod before anyone from the White House or the USDA actually bothered to speak to Ms. Sherrod or to watch the entire video, for that matter, to ascertain all the facts of the situation. Yet somehow, the left blames Andrew Breitbart and the Tea Party for the actions of Vilsack and the Obama White House.

Let me be clear: it was the Obama White House that chose to rush to judgment. It was Obama and Vilsack who took direct action against Sherrod. There is a huge disconnect between the true and actual circumstances of this case and the manner in which it is viewed by the left.

Breitbart comes from the right; his website is filled with right-leaning pundits and conservative commentary. If you work in the White House, or on Capitol Hill, for that matter, you already know that to be the case. If you are a responsible staffer, a good leader, you verify the facts before you spring into action. If the DailyKOS or Keith Olbermann or Alan Colmes posted a video of Rick Santorum speaking about a heretofore unknown racist past at a meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Caucasian People, you can bet that if it is my job to follow potential 2012 presidential candidates, I’m going to chase down the facts of the story—all the details—before I demand he ride off into the sunset.

Breitbart showcased not only a black woman speaking of her own racism and her recovery from it, but no less importantly, the behavior of NAACP members who rejoiced at the perceived manifestation of racial bigotry by one of their own. Despite the fact that the woman continued to explain how she overcame her own prejudice, the immediate response of the NAACP members at that meeting in March was very telling and is perhaps as significant a part of the story as the Obama Administration’s rush to judgment…again.

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