A view on overreacting
July 30, 2010 - Jim Anderson
Barack Obama went on “The View.”
Missed that one.
But I did see the clips, and I’ve read the Associated Pess summary.
The president’s statement about the Shriley Sherrod fiasco was revealing.
According to the AP summary, Obama pinned much of the blame for Sherrod’s forced resignation on a media culture that he said seeks out conflict and doesn't always get the facts right.
“A lot of people overreacted,” he added, “including people in my administration.”
Maybe it’s a small detail, but why didn’t he say “especially people in my administration”?
If the administration had kept its powder dry, placed Sherrod on leave and given her a chance to explain herself, the controversy would have exploded in the faces of those fueling it.
As it stands, it went like this. Andrew Breitbart, a blogger with a reputation for misrepresentation (just ask Fox’s Shephard Smith), posted an edited video of Sherrod speaking about race and labeled it racism. Foxnews.com picked up on it. The NAACP rushed to judgment against Sherrod, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called upon her to resign.
Once the full context of Sherrod’s speech unfolded, Vilsack apologized and offered Sherrod a new job.
Yes, “a lot” of people overreacted. Especially people in the Obama administration.
No one else could have forced Sherrod to resign.
The incident didn’t reveal much about the media or the “new media.” We already knew — or should have known — not to trust Breitbart. We already knew that some Fox News people are intent on discrediting Obama.
What we didn’t know was that the administration would be so especially quick to fold.
It's one thing to overreact.
It's another to overreact to the likes of Breitbart and foxnews.com.