Your media losing respect and credibility

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A blogger with an actual name–Andrew Breitbart–posts an edited video that leads to the firing of an employee at the U.S. Department of Agriculture–Shirley Sherrod–due to the constant media pressure from Fox News and other mainstream television outfits.

When the full, unedited video came to light, Sherrod was vindicated. Despite this, Breitbart refused to apologize, constantly shifting his rationale for releasing the edited video. All of this happened and now CNN talking heads are calling for a “gatekeeper” to watch over anonymous bloggers. They want to regulate anonymous blogging:

“There are so many great things that the internet does and has to offer, but at the same time, Kyra, as you know, there is this dark side,” Roberts said. “Imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t taken a look at what happened with Shirley Sherrod and plumbed the depths further and found out that what had been posted on the internet was not in fact reflective of what she said.”

But Phillips replied that the mainstream media “can’t always do that.”

“There’s going to have be a point in time where these people have to be held accountable,” Phillips said. “How about all these bloggers that blog anonymously? They say rotten things about people and they’re actually given credibility, which is crazy. They’re a bunch of cowards, they’re just people seeking attention.”

Phillips wanted to go even further, asking if “there’s going to come a point where something’s going to have to be done legally” about anonymous bloggers.

“There has to be some point where there’s some accountability. And companies, especially in the media have to stop giving these anonymous bloggers credit,” she said.

So, first things first: Andrew Breitbart isn’t an anonymous blogger, he has a name and he’s on television all the time. If Phillips believes that the media should stop giving bloggers who commit factual errors credit, she has the power to do that.

Second, why can’t the media check out allegations posted to blogs, online news sites–anonymous or not–all the time. Aren’t they supposed to be checking the facts before reporting? Obviously they feel like they need to waste our time reporting on Lindsay Lohan and who was or wasn’t invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding instead of spending time fact-checking.

Third, we have a legal process called defamation. Sherrod could file a defamation suit against Breitbart, but, believe me, it is –ing impossible to win one of those in America. (BTW, I wonder how the media felt about this the last time this happened and wound up in court.)

So, let’s wrap this up:

No anonymous bloggers: check

CNN anchors attack anonymous blogger strawman: check

CNN anchors call for regulations to punish anonymous blogger strawman: check

CNN anchors ignore the fact that they gave credence and credibility to claims without checking them: check

Go back to sleep America, your media is in control.

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  • K Jones

    Sherrod was a fraud!

    Only now am I realizing the real purpose for Breitbart’s release of that tape snippet. It was to allow him to cunningly trick the media into exposing one of the most shocking examples of corruption in the federal government – a little known legal case called “Pigford v. Glickman”.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/zombie/2010/07/27/pigford-v-glickman-86000-claims-
    from-39697-total-farmers/?singlepage=true

    “In 1997, 400 African-American farmers sued the United States Department of
    Agriculture, alleging that they had been unfairly denied USDA loans due to racial
    discrimination during the period 1983 to 1997.” The case was entitled “Pigford v.
    Glickman” and in 1999, the black farmers won their case. The government agreed to pay
    each of them as much as $50,000 to settle their claims.

    But then on February 23 of this year, something shocking happened in
    relation to that original judgment. In total silence, the USDA agreed to releasemore
    funds to “Pigford”. The amount was a staggering $1.25 billion. This was because the
    original number of plaintiffs – 400 black farmers – had now swollen in a class action
    suit to include a total of 86,000 black farmers throughout America.

    There was only one teensy problem. The United States of America doesn’t
    have 86,000 black farmers. According to accurate and totally verified census data,
    the total number of black farmers throughout America is only 39,697. Oops.

    Well, gosh – how on earth did 39,697 explode into 86,000 claims? And how
    did $50,000 explode into $1.25 billion? Well, folks, you’ll just have to ask the
    woman who not only spearheaded this case because of her position in 1997 at the “Rural
    Development Leadership Network” but whose family received the highest single payout
    (approximately $13 million) from that action – Shirley Sherrod. Oops again.

    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/110/024/Is_There_More_to_Sherrods_Dismissal.html

    Yes, folks. It appears that Ms. Sherrod had just unwittingly exposed
    herself as the perpetrator of one of the biggest fraud claims in theUnited States – a
    fraud enabled solely because she screamed racism at the government and cowed them into
    submission. And it gets even more interesting. Ms. Sherrod has also exposed the
    person who aided and abetted her in this race fraud. As it turns out, the original
    judgment of “Pigford v. Glickman” in 1999 only applied to a total of 16,000 black
    farmers. But in 2008, a junior Senator got a law passed to reopen the case and allow
    more black farmers to sue for funds. The Senator was Barack Obama.

    Because this law was passed in dead silence and because the woman
    responsible for spearheading it was an obscure USDA official, American taxpayers did
    not realize that they had just been forced in the midst of a worldwide depression to
    pay out more than $1.25 billion to settle a race claim.

  • Pashovski

    Nexis giving more RW spin

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201007270047

  • After checking Nexis it appears that both CNN and Fox began reporting on this on Monday after her resignation.

    Bill O’Reilly’s show on Fox, however, was recorded before Sherrod was forced to resign, but did not air until afterwords. O’Reilly led the show with the video and a call for Sherrod to resign.

    Sean Hannity followed O’Reilly and led his program with the Sherrod story.

  • Mary Katharine Ham

    Paul, I agree with much of your thesis, here, but your first sentence is inaccurate. As Howard Kurtz noted and Fox News transcripts confirm, no one on Fox News mentioned Sherrod or played Breitbart’s tape of her remarks until after she was fired by the administration.

    I’m not sure then how the “constant media pressure from Fox News” could have “[led] to the firing” of Shirley Sherrod. O’Reilly ran the tape on Monday night, several hours after her firing had become public (and later apologized for it), and Beck didn’t mention the incident until Tuesday, when he defended her after the full tape had come out.

    You’re welcome to have your issues with Fox News, but it’s impossible for “constant media pressure” from the network to have done Sherrod in when it didn’t touch the story until after she was fired.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/22/AR2010072201265.html