In the last fortnight: 1) The NAACP called the tea party racists; 2) Andrew Breitbart called the NAACP racist; 3) Shirley Sherrod called Republican opponents of Obamacare racists; 4) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack called Shirley Sherrod racist; 5) many in mainstream media called Andrew Breitbart racist; 6) Howard Dean called Fox racist; and, 7) it was revealed that liberal journalist Spencer Ackerman proposed calling Fred Barnes and Karl Rove racist.
Thus, through a confluence of bizarrely unlikely events, the vicious act of falsely accusing people of racism became a laughingstock. It went from being a career killer to a punch line; from villainy to vaudeville; from knife in the back to pie in the face.
It started at about noon Monday when Andrew Breitbart published on his website an edited video of Shirley Sherrod (giving a speech to an NAACP audience this spring), which he describes, in part thusly: "Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer.
"She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn't do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from 'one of his own kind'.
"She refers him to a white lawyer. Sherrod's racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement."
The week before, the NAACP, without evidence, had attacked the tea parties for alleged racism in its rank and file.
This is part of a running smear now about a year old, by prominent Democrats such as Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and legions of Democratic Party support groups that the tea party (now identified with by about a third of the country) is racist, Nazi, un-American, etc.
Breitbart strikes back, with evidence (in the form of the video of the audience reaction to the moment in Sherrod speech before she talks of racial reconciliation) demonstrating anti-white racism in a NAACP audience. The story of the week is thus launched.
Notice, by the way, that he alerts the viewer that "Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help." It's in the video and it is in the text of Breitbart's original post on the topic.
But the mainstream media selectively edits out this exonerating fact in virtually every story about Breitbart. So the subsequent charges against Breitbart by the mainstream media that his editing was misleading was itself misleading and wrong.
In a seemingly unrelated story just after midnight Tuesday morning (July 20) Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller reported on leaked e-mails from the liberal media cabal Journolist in which, when the Rev. Wright issue first emerged during the 2008 campaign, one of the participating liberal journalists, Spencer Ackerman, proposed defending Obama by using a racial smear tactic:
"If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us.
"Instead, take one of them — Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares — and call them racists. Ask: why do they have such a deep-seated problem with a black politician who unites the country? What lurks behind those problems? This makes them sputter with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."
At last, we have the smoking gun that proves to the American public that at least some liberal reporters are quite prepared to make false charges of racism to advance their liberal political agenda — and to conspire with other like-minded character-assassin journalists in so doing.
So far, there are just two website stories. But then the White House panics, and turns a couple of, until then, minor web stories into one of the worst political weeks for any White House since Nixon's many sad examples of terrible political weeks in 1974.
According to Mrs. Sherrod, she is forced to resign her post immediately at Department of Agriculture under pressure from the White House which was afraid that Glenn Beck was about to report the story of her NAACP speech. [In the Obama version of FDR, "The only thing we have to fear is the Glenn Beck Show itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance."]
The compliant NAACP then itself apologizes. The next day, more of Mrs. Sherrod's speech becomes available, where she describes how she overcomes that first instinct of racial bigotry three decades ago and helps out the white farmer. The white farmer's wife then goes on CNN and says what a nice and helpful lady Mrs. Sherrod is.
The White House panics again and instructs the secretary of Agriculture to apologize and offer her job back to her. The NAACP then withdraws its apology and says it was "snookered" by Breitbart (even though it was their event with a room full of their members available to the NAACP last week).
Then some more of her speech — after the reconciliation of the races section — is made available and includes the following sentences: "I haven't seen such a mean-spirited people as I've seen lately over this issue of healthcare. (Murmurs of agreement.)
"Some of the racism we thought was buried — (someone in the audience says, 'It surfaced!') Didn't it surface? Now, we endured eight years of the Bushes and we didn't do the stuff these Republicans are doing because you have a black president. (Applause)" (Text courtesy of National Review).
In other words, she is accusing up to 70 million Americans (registered Republican voters) of opposing Obamacare because the president is black — rather than because we disagree with the policy — as we did with Hillarycare in 1994.
That is a broad-brush bigoted attitude by Mrs. Sherrod against all of us who opposed the president's healthcare policy. She implicitly accuses all 70 million of us of being racist.
Then Mrs. Sherrod goes on CNN with Anderson Cooper and says she thinks that Andrew Breitbart wants America to return to slavery for the blacks. And that is the last mainstream television seems to want to present of Mrs. Sherrod live and unedited.
After dominating the news for the week, the eloquent Mrs. Sherrod is not invited to a single Sunday show.
And so did the rank cynicism of overplaying the race card turn that dreaded knave into a joker.
Tony Blankley is executive vice president of Edelman public relations in Washington. E-mail him at TonyBlankley@gmail.com.
© Creators Syndicate Inc.