Sunday, July 25, 2010

"The ABC does not have a policy regarding Murdoch press"

That's the response we received to our recent question about why negative stories about News Ltd. never mention it by name.

They are at it again, with the story about Shirley Sherrod ('World Today' 22/7/10):

... LISA MILLAR: But it was only the first part of that speech that was posted on a website by a conservative blogger. And it sent the right wing hosts and cable networks into a spin.

The agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack demanded her resignation....

The Fairfax press managed to name "Fox" as the culprit [23/7/10]:

A black public servant, whose father was murdered by a white man in 1965 and who has spent four decades working against injustice, has found herself at the centre of a storm exposing America's fragile race relations.

Shirley Sherrod was sacked on Monday as the Department of Agriculture's director of rural development in Georgia after a conservative website accused her of making racists remarks captured in a video.

The 2½-minute clip taken from a speech Ms Sherrod gave in March went viral, drawing the attention of the White House and department officials, who apparently feared an attack from a right-wing commentator.

Ms Sherrod had referred to an incident 24 years earlier when she had been working for a farm assistance group, admitting she had not done all that she could do to help a white farmer, whom she described as ''acting superior''. The website,, said this was ''evidence of racism coming from a federal employee''.

An Agriculture under-secretary ordered Ms Sherrod to resign and apparently referred to the prospect of the incident appearing on Fox News.

Even the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People condemned her comments.

With Fox News running the story ''Racism Caught on Tape'', Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak said he required ''zero tolerance'' on discrimination.

But the rush to judgment had overlooked one thing: Ms Sherrod's words had been taken out of context, plucked from her 43-minute speech in which she went on to say that meeting that white farmer in 1986 had actually changed her views.

''Working with him made me see that it's really about those who have versus those who don't,'' she told her audience. ''You know, and they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic.''

The white farmer and his wife also came forward. ''She's a good friend,'' said Eloise Spooner. ''She helped us save our farm.'' And by Wednesday evening, once the full speech had been reviewed, Ms Sherrod had received apologies from the White House and from Mr Vilsak, who immediately offered her a new job.

''This is a good woman,'' he said. ''She's been put through hell, and I could have done, and should have done, a better job … The decision should have been [taken] with more thought and with far less haste.''

Ms Sherrod's father was shot dead by a white farmer in 1965, but an all-white grand jury refused to charge the killer. ...
Maybe it's time the ABC got itself a policy about the Murdoch Press.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.