White House spokesman Robert Gibbs apologized on behalf of the Obama administration to former USDA official Shirley Sherrod for rushing to judgment in firing her after clips from one of her speeches were cast by Fox News commentators and blogger Andrew Breitbart as evidence of reverse racial bias.
“Members of the administration acted without all the facts,” Gibbs said.
Even though the story was pushed by Fox and Breitbart, it’s become an embarrassment for the Obama administration,and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack in particular, for buying into the Fox and Breitbart interpretation of the video without examining the context of the speech. In fact, the tone of coverage has gone from indignation at her remarks, to indignation at the White House and Vilsack for not reinstating her job.
But in a blog post today, conservative columnist David Frum noted how right wing media had shifted in their reaction to the story throughout the day on Tuesday.
He writes, “You’ll never guess who emerged as the villains of the story in this second-day conservative react. Not Andrew Breitbart, the distributor of a falsified tape. No, the villains were President Obama and the NAACP for believing Breitbart’s falsehood.
“Breitbart went almost universally unmentioned.”
He added, “When Dan Rather succumbed to the forged Bush war record hoax in 2004, CBS forced him into retirement. Breitbart is the conservative Dan Rather, but there will be no discredit, no resignation for him.”
Breitbart said he had “no second thoughts” on an appearance on “Good Morning America” this morning, although it was difficult to determine what he was addressing. He did say that the point of the posting was to address how the NAACP was using race as a way to discredit Tea Party supporters.
Here’s his appearance with Eric Boehlert of Media Matters for America. Boehlert called on him to apologize to Sherrod and accused him of “race bating.”