How many times is the Obama administration going to roll over for Glenn Beck?
That's the question once again, this time as Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture official, is forced out of her job following the airing of a selectively-edited video of her speech at an NAACP banquet in March. The video, cut to make it appear as if the African-American Sherrod was a "reverse racist," has since been released in full, clearing Sherrod.
But instead of even asking Sherrod to explain, the Agriculture Department pressed her to quit. She says that she received several phone calls from undersecretary Cheryl Cook, asking her to resign immediately because the video was "going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."
Of course, now Tom Vilsack, agriculture secretary, is "reconsidering." The NAACP has reversed its earlier condemnation. But what does it mean for our country when the administration is so terrified of a controversy on a show that courts it, on a network that is a mouthpiece for the opposition, that they shove out people of color at the first goading punch?
It wasn't just progressive indie media that stood up for Sherrod. CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution did the basic reporting required to clear Sherrod's name. You'd think the White House would by now be used to this misleading video stuff.
Imagine, as David Corn noted, any Bush official badgered to quit becasuse of something threatening to be on Rachel Maddow's show. Or on GRITtv, perhaps. As Corn said, "You don't allow ideological enemies -- who want you to fail -- to define the terms."
But that's been Obama's M.O. The lesson needs learning and needs learning fast. The party of No and its loud-mouthed cable and blog counterparts are not going to work with you. They are going to try to destroy you.
As Yosi Sargent, another victim of Glenn Beck's red-and-race-baiting, tweeted this morning: "Grow a pair. Stand up for Shirley Sherrod." We'd add -- a pair of eyes and ears. Fast.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Support us by signing up for our podcast, and follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.