Snookered by Fox again

Elinor Tatum | 4/12/2011, 5:29 p.m.

"When I made that commitment, I wasn't making that commitment to Black people, and to Black people only. But, you know God will show you things and He'll put things in your path so that, that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people, you know."--Shirley Sherrod, in part of her speech not aired by Fox News

For as long as I can remember, I have seen the media take incidents and statements out of context. The "mainstream media" has created racism where there is none and tried to shield racism when it was absolutely blatant. But now it has gone to another level, and the continued distortion of the facts is repulsive and destructive. This week, Fox News Channel, under the parent company of News Corp, which also indecently owns the New York Post, all of which is owned by Rupert Murdock, has once again reared their ugly head at the center of a controversy they created by only including some of what was said and taking statements completely out of context.

Shirley Sherrod, a life-long activist and someone who has been instrumental in helping farmers for well over two decades and served as the head of the Department of Agriculture's rural development office in Georgia, made a speech at an NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner in March. In that 45-minute speech, she talked about her life and her experiences and what made her the woman that she is today. She talked about the incidents in her life that transformed her and the lessons she learned about rich vs. poor.

In that speech, she singled out an incident that occurred with a white farmer in 1986, 24 years ago. She talked about how he came to her for help and how she dealt with the situation.

In the beginning of the story, it appears as if this woman did little to nothing to help this white man who was losing his farm--or at least that is what Andrew Breitbart, a conservative blogger would like you to think. He put up the following segment of her speech on his website. Fox News picked it up as breaking news, and the tale spun like wild fire, leading to the condemnation of Sherrod by the NAACP and her forced resignation. The transcript of the Breitbart clip follows:

"The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm, he, he took a long time talking, but he was trying to show me he was superior to me. I know what he was doing. But he had come to me for help. What he didn't know while he was taking all that time, trying to show me he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him.

"I was struggling with the fact that so many Black people have lost their farmland, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So, I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough so that when he--I...I assumed the Department of Agriculture had sent him to me, either that or the...or the Georgia Department of Agriculture. And he needed to go back and report that I did try to help him.