So said the U.S. Supreme Court.
(Page 2 of 5)
In other words, the Supreme Court of the United States, with the basic facts of the case agreed to by all nine Justices in Screws vs. the U.S. Government, says not one word about Bobby Hall being lynched. Why? Because it never happened.
So why in the world would Ms. Sherrod say something like this?
No idea. It’s possible that Ms. Sherrod simply doesn’t know the truth. As with any family, stories from generations past can get handed down and over time the truth gets rubbed away and fantasy or fiction replaces it, younger generations none the wiser. This event took place before Ms. Sherrod was born, so that is certainly possible.
It’s also possible that she knew the truth and chose to embellish it, changing a brutal and fatal beating to a lynching. Anyone who has lived in the American South (as my family once did) and is familiar with American history knows well the dread behind stories of lynch mobs and the Klan. What difference is there between a savage murder by fist and blackjack — and by dangling rope? Obviously, in the practical sense, none. But in the heyday — a very long time — of the Klan, there were frequent (and failed) attempts to pass federal anti-lynching laws. None to pass federal “anti-black jack” or “anti-fisticuffs” laws. Lynching had a peculiar, one is tempted to say grotesque, solitary status as part of the romantic image of the Klan, of the crazed racist. The image stirred by the image of the noosed rope in the hands of a racist lynch mob was, to say the least, frighteningly chilling. Did Ms. Sherrod deliberately concoct this story in search of a piece of that ugly romance to add “glamour” to a family story that is gut-wrenchingly horrendous already?
Again, I have no idea.
There is also a third possibility for what appears to be a straight-out fabrication. Having watched Ms. Sherrod’s speech and read the transcript, I think it’s abundantly clear that she is a liberal or progressive political activist.
She is clearly enamored of President Obama and the progressive ideas that once fueled the New Deal and is the rock upon which progressives would build their Utopia. Her fierce devotion to the idea that government programs are the source of all good is not to be missed, whether she is championing the idea of working in the federal government or the idea that a particular program where she doles out millions is a source of agricultural nirvana. Here’s how you get an “automatic job” in the Agriculture Department she enthuses. Come to the Farm Service Agency. Or the Rural Development Agency. How about the Natural Resource and Conservation Agency. This line of thinking about government in general, here seen with a focus on agriculture, is the age-old progressive liberal view in giddy excitement mode.
She is far and away not the first to speak this way — and we will come back to two notables in this area shortly.
God bless America for her use of her freedom. Elections have consequences, and her side won. She had a right to hold the job. As she accurately says at one point, this kind of activism once upon a time in the not far-distance past would simply not have been possible. She herself would surely have been under threat of death for daring to speak at all about anything.
But much has been made of Andrew Breitbart’s selectively edited tape — with all manner of people using this as an opportunity to question his credibility. There is no proof — none — that Breitbart deliberately edited this tape to fashion the image of Ms. Sherrod as a government racist. Say again, not a shred of evidence. Whatever else, Mr. Breitbart is no fool. To know that chances were high an unedited version of this tape existed is what he is in the business of knowing. To think he would willfully put out a selectively edited tape — knowing full well someone somewhere would surely appear to make him look like a lying idiot — is idiocy on its face.
Be that as it may, that’s the charge. And as the saying goes, if one lives by the sword, one can die by the sword. Having now insisted that the slightest deviation from the truth can only be deliberate falsehood that ruins credibility rather than a mistake, Sherrod’s defenders are staring at the cold, hard text of a 65-year old Supreme Court case in which nine Supreme Court Justices, eight of them FDR appointees, have unanimously agreed to the facts in the Bobby Hall murder. Facts that make Sherrod appear, to put it mildly, prone to exaggeration if not worse.
Will Anderson Cooper of CNN, who angrily snapped of Breitbart that “we think the truth matters,” be investigating this untruth of Sherrod’s? Rick Sanchez of CNN asked of Ann Coulter: “Doesn’t Breitbart deserve to lose his credibility for this? …What matters is he published this stuff. Something that turned out to be wrong.” Ms. Sherrod stood up in front of the NAACP and said “something that turned out to be wrong.” Will Sanchez ponder this if Sherrod gets her job back in the Obama Administration? Frank Rich at the New York Times, who blasted Fox News on Sunday for allowing Breitbart to be “hustling skewed partisan videos” (as opposed, I guess, to hustling skewed partisan newspapers), never even mentioned a word of Sherrod’s considerable untruth. Not a word. MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, according to his Media Matters friends, barked that “I think [Breitbart] has lost his standing to present videos to the country at any time.” By the O’Donnell standards apparently Ms. Sherrod must now sit down and shut up. And speaking of Media Matters, Eric Hananoki chimed in that “The way to avoid another ACORN or Sherrod debacle is simple: Don’t trust Andrew Breitbart.” To which, of course, the obvious question is whether Media Matters or any of the rest of the media will and should ever again trust Shirley Sherrod after the debacle of her lynching untruth.
Again, I have no idea what Sherrod’s motivation in saying something so factually untrue could be. Is she simply ignorant of the facts? A serial exaggerator who got caught? A political activist hard at work spinning for credibility? No idea. I simply know she said something —indeed made a big deal of it — that is factually, provably untrue.
And her new liberal media buddies, predictably, are unwilling to call her on it.
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