Absolute moral authority

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on July 26, 2010

Heard anything about Cindy Sheehan lately? Wonder why?

The last person to have “absolute moral authority” (AMA) granted to her by the mainstream media, Sheehan is no longer a useful tool now that the target of her ire would be a Democratic president.

Sunday, on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Salon.com (does anyone actually read that site?) editor-in-chief Joan Walsh bestowed AMA on Shirley Sherrod, the speaker at an NAACP event who was fired by the Obama administration over the fear that she might become a regular staple of the Fox News Channel.

Walsh (who is now claiming she didn’t say what she really did say) said that Sherrod can say whatever she likes because her father was murdered by a white man who was never charged in the Jim Crow South.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, SALON.COM: The woman's father was murdered by a white farmer, and there were witnesses. And the white justice system never found the murderer guilty. She's entitled to talk about race any way she wants to. That's not giving her a pass. Yes, any way she wants to. A bad experience in your background? I'm talking about murder. Murder, Matt. And the fact of the matter is, the woman turned out to be the antithesis of Andrew Breitbart, who told a story of racial reconciliation and healing and forgiving white people, and going on to help white people and going on to -- the issue in this country -- is class as much as race. I'm not giving her a pass. But I think the idea that she shouldn't be able to say Fox or Breitbart is racist preposterous. She gets to say that because it's true, and because from her vantage point it's especially true. 

Walsh is less of a journalist than even Breitbart purports to be – and Breitbart doesn’t purport to do journalism. Beware if Walsh ever decides that Spencer “who cares – call them racists” Ackerman should have AMA because he was picked last to play soccer on the playground as a child.

For the record: Having listened to Sherrod’s entire speech, I still think she’s a class warrior and a based on the charges she’s since hurled at Andrew Breitbart – specifically her outlandish claim that he wants blacks to be slaves again – that Breitbart’s original charge turned out to be more accurate than the original, truncated video would lead one to believe. During the original video, Sherrod also claimed that the right opposes Obama because he’s black – a typical, but dishonest and unwarranted portrayal of the race card. The right opposes Obama’s policies because of his policies, not because of his skin color.

2 comments on “Absolute moral authority”

  1. I'd like to comment on Andrew Breitbart. Breitbart was responding to the charge, made by the NAACP and many others, that the Tea Party's argument against the stimulus and state-run health care was not based on small government principles, but on racism. Breitbart produced a video showing the NAACP clapping and cheering when their invited speaker said she treated a client shabbily because he was white. The clapping and cheering was not taken out of context, it revealed that the NAACP was a very small minded audience, and it proved Breitbart's point -- the only point he was trying to make.

    Whether or not the invited speaker went on to discuss her "Road to Damascus" moment was not relevant to Breitbart, since the video was not about her but her audience. It was her own agency, or the White House, that over-reacted. Breitbart never called for her dismissal.

    And I certainly don't know why Michael Kinsley would start an opinion piece with the words: "Andrew Breitbart is a sh*t".


    1. I seldom agreed with Michael Kinsley, but I respected him. That he would start a column out with such a statement is disappointing.

      It's one thing coming from a Daily Kos diarist; it's something else coming from him.


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