The Shirley Sherrod fiasco has made the White House and the NAACP look foolish, and forced the Obama administration to waste two whole news days when they should have been leading the cheering section for finreg and unemployment insurance. But a darned good point was made by Robert Gibbs at his most recent press briefing, when he reminded the media that they were “snookered,” too. From Greg Sargent, who points to “a frustration inside the White House that it rarely voices publicly: White House officials are often forced to respond to stories ginned up by the right because other news orgs too readily give them credibility…”
“I had a lot of people asking for a response to the two and a half minutes,” Gibbs said. “My guess is you heard from a lot of your editors saying, Go get reaction to this story.”
Gibbs then described the media process. “You all see it, you all want reaction, we get reaction,” Gibbs said. He lamented that news orgs then aired the two-and-a-half minute snippet, as well as the White House reaction based on that snippet, without seeking fuller context themselves.
Gibbs then suggested that media orgs, too, should ask themselves if they handled this properly: “I don’t think there’s anybody involved in that chain that wouldn’t think, from start to finish, that this shouldn’t have been handled differently.”
Translation: Maybe you all should stop using Breitbart as your assignment editor.
Matt Drudge used to be the MSM’s assignment editor, including back when I worked for an NBC affiliate. Now, the media is so shaken by phony charges of “liberal bias,” they bend over backwards to give due consideration to “news” items from conservative sources, of which there are few that aren’t 1) Moonies 2) Insane people 3) Drudge or 4) Fox News. Since Fox’s cable competitors aren’t willing to give Fox the credit for writing their dayparts, you wind up with bizarre spectacles like RedState’s Eric Erickson being treated as a serious “news analyst” on CNN. With that kind of thing going on, who can blame Breitbart (who is a Drudge trainee after all) for setting up his carnie tent online and posing as a credible media entity, complete with “investigative journalists” who pose as 70s Blaxsploitation pimps? If the media is needy or dumb enough to go with it …
So yes, the administration screwed up (that’s actually the topic of my Herald column on Sunday.) But so did the MSM. Big time.
And this is the same media that has continued to do things like seek comment from racist “parody” writer Mark Williams on the Sherrod case, and which hangs on every twitterance of Sarah Palin. Houston, we definitely have a problem.
Cast in point: Politico lavishes attention on pseudo-journalists Tucker Carlson and … Andrew Breitbart … top of the netfold, today.