Hard to know which is stranger: a modern-era White House, with all the technology in the world at its disposal, assenting to (orchestrating, perhaps) the firing of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod before it knew all the pertinent facts, or the pundits at MSNBC wringing their hands over the ills of 24/7 punditry on stories like Sherrod’s. It’s a jump ball.
For whatever reason the Obama administration swallowed the initial, distorted view of video in which Sherrod, who is black, appeared to be telling an audience about discriminating against a white farmer 24 years ago. Sherrod was summarily cashiered, even as the administration stews over dwindling support from independents and whites. Turns out, the video (initially circulated by a conservative blogger) was badly edited. Sherrod actually told the story from her past to illustrate the need for equal treatment for all. Oops.
So that’s pretty crazy, but maybe not as crazy as a group of political gadflies talking about the risks inherent in round-the-clock gadfly-ery. In the midst of the Sherrod story there was considerable harrumphing from the furrowed brows on Joe Scarborough’s “Morning Joe” show. Which is ironic, since panels like that eat political scandal for breakfast, baked or half-baked. The moral of the story: Everyone should be more careful, especially those who hire and fire, as well as folks who covet ratings off juicy controversy.