The Shirley Sherrod story has produced an endless bit of tale wagging. The list of those deserving criticism has been boundless. I find myself surprised but compelled to add the
New York Times to that list. The Times editorial page found it incumbent to throw a bouquet to Glenn Beck of Fox News for charging that the Obama administration was reckless in its handling and firing of Ms. Sherrod. This is like someone calling in a bomb scare and then complaining about the nature of the response and being praised for it.
The administration was reckless, and criticism is justified -- coming from anywhere but the creator of the edited tape and Fox News. In the law we call this standing. No one from Fox News has standing to charge the administration with recklessness in response to a story that it pushed, distorted and relished. In essence, Fox is claiming that the administration should not have believed it. This story did not appear on Fox News as an opinion piece or editorial; it appeared as "news." Although inaccurate, Fox News portrays itself as a news station. It is ironic that it can criticize the administration (the government) for not investigating a story more thoroughly, while, it (a so-called news organization) failed to do so. Not only did it fail to investigate further, but it intentionally distorted the already distorted version, by suggesting the events discussed on the video occurred recently while Ms Sherrod was employed in the Obama administration.
Then along comes the New York Times' accolade to Glenn Beck for being right about the government's recklessness. In the face of a day of lies and their widespread exposure, Beck had no choice, albeit a reluctant one, to deal with the truth. While everyone around was tripping over themselves to apologize, Fox responded by blaming the Obama administration for believing what they said. I suppose that concluding that Glenn Beck was right and truthful on this one occasion is worthy of comment, but even that unique moment does not justify praising the one who called in a false alarm.