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Fox “News” Shows its True Colors

So much has been written about the Shirley Sherrod saga that it’s almost not worth it for me to put my two cents in, but here goes.

For those of you who don’t watch cable news, here’s the basic run-down of the story. Conservative activist Andrew Breitbart posted what he claimed was video evidence of reverse-racism in the Obama administration. It was from a speech given by Shirley Sherrod, who until yesterday worked in Obama’s department of agriculture, in which she talked about not wanting to help white farmers keep their property because she didn’t think any white people deserved her help.

At the drop of a hat, Fox News picked up this story and ran with it, hyperventilating all day long about this vile racism and what it says about Obama’s back-door reparations agenda—the completely bogus narrative the network sells to its viewers. Other networks followed suit and before you knew there was so much pressure that Shirley Sherrod was fired by the Obama administration before she even knew what hit her.

Later in the day, the entire video came out. It turns out that what was previously released had not only been taken out of context, but edited so heavily that the entire message of her story had been completely reversed. Sherrod was talking about how her first inclination upon seeing this white farmer was that she didn’t owe him any help, but upon delving deeper into his situation she realized that he was just as much of victim of the broken system as black people—that it’s not about black vs. white but rich vs. poor—and that from that day on she no longer judged people purely based on race. The whole point of the story was completely anti-racist—the exact opposite of what Brietbart and Fox News were saying it was.

Not only that, but upon contacting the supposed “victims” of her racism—the farmer and his wife—the news media learned that they are eternally grateful to Shirley Sherrod and consider her a friend for life.

This is not just a harmless mistake on the part of a news organization. This was a deliberate, calculated effort to add to the perception that Obama and his administration are racist and that they’re out to financially harm white people. There was a definite agenda behind this reporting, and that agenda was not to report the “fair and balanced” truth.

There used to be something called journalism in this country. It used to be that a news organization didn’t run with the story until they looked into it and made sure they knew the facts. When presented with an edited video clip, there are a number of steps that an actual journalist would take before jumping to conclusions and ranting about it on the air. For one thing, you could look for the entire video—it was available. You could contact Shirley Sherrod herself—she was available. You could contact the farmers who were the supposed victims of the racism—they were available too.

But instead of doing any of this, they leapt on the air and hammered home the “Obama is a racist” point as much as possible before real journalists could do their job and they’d have to quietly issue their corrections—but not until the damage was done. Shirley Sherrod, as of the time of this writing, is still without a job.

You can not consider Fox News a “news” organization. It just isn’t. It’s not a real news organization. Yes, other networks are blameworthy for picking up on the story before all the facts had come to light, but Fox News deliberately ran with it because it was exactly the kind of story they needed. Fox News is not news at all. It’s corporate-conservative propaganda. It’s a tool for the power-elites to keep the people under control by misdirecting their anger away from those truly responsible for their suffering—multi-national corporations—and towards fake boogeymen like a racist president hell-bent on taking money from white people and redistributing to black people. No such president exists—it’s a fictional character dreamt up in corporate think-tanks—but if all you watch is Fox News you’d have no way of knowing that. You’d really think some angry black politician is gunning for you.

ACORN, Van Jones, and now Shirley Sherrod have fallen victim to this despicable game. The Obama administration ought to be ashamed for just buckling at every turn and throwing these people and organizations under the Fox News bus before even checking to see what the actual facts are.

But it’s supposed to be the job of news organizations to check facts. They could have easily done it, but Fox News didn’t check the facts, and for that reason no serious, honest, objective person could possibly consider it a real news organization.

UPDATE: Living in Europe means I’m usually about 24 hours behind the news cycle. Since writing this I’ve heard some new insight, particularly from the Rachel Maddow show, that present this incident in a broader context than conservative perceptions of the Obama administration. This is primarily about the effectiveness of the southern strategy—the idea of the angry black man coming for the white man’s privilege—which has been used by politicians to win elections long before the world was controlled by multi-nationals. However, corporations no doubt recognize the benefits of this idea in terms of its divisiveness and power of misdirection, and they are consciously keeping it alive by using Fox News as their tool.

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