<rant>Let me get this straight.
USDA official Shirley Sherrod basically says, “Because this farmer was white, I didn’t do all I could to help him. But then I realized that was racist, and that all racism is bad, so I helped him save his farm.”
White farmer says, “Yup, she saved our farm. She rocks.”
Andrew Breitbart edits that down to just this: “Because this farmer was white, I didn’t do all I could to help him.” He calls her a racist. White House (or Tom Vilsack) fires her.
This actually pissed me off a lot more than I thought it would — both at Breitbart and at the administration. First, Breitbart is basically outright lying here (or at the very least, being grossly negligent with regards to the truth). This isn’t creative interpretation (“I support the war but have grave doubts about its execution” = “flip-flopper”) or illogical extrapolation (“government doctors may have to do triage” = “Uncle Sam’s death panels”). This is taking one thing and arguing it says the exact opposite — sometimes referred to as lying.
This is the equivalent of taking a video of someone saying, “I am not a dog,” and removing the “not.” We joke about that sometimes, usually in the context of whether or not a video can “prove” something, but that’s basically what happened here. So yeah, that’s why I’m pissed at Breitbart. He is a dick.
Now for the White House. Seriously? You fired this lady based on a YouTube video without taking the time to fact-check? And for what? Because she’s a political liability?
I have news for you: Once your opponents realize that a lie can render anyone a political liability, your government’s going to be paralyzed in no time flat (assuming it isn’t already). The only way to fight that is to expose the liars. Call them out on it. Have some semblance of due process (even though legally, it’s not really required for political appointees).
In other words, grow a spine. They tend to be useful. </rant>
Update (7/22/2010): Better.