President Obama said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack erred in pushing out Shirley Sherrod over allegations of racism that later proved unsubstantiated, but the real culprit, he told ABC News, was the media.
"He jumped the gun," Obama said of Vilsack, "partly because we now live in this media culture where something goes up on YouTube or a blog and everybody scrambles."
Obama's charge was broadcast by ABC News Thursday night, excerpted from a longer interview scheduled to run Friday on "Good Morning America."
"I've told my team and I told my agencies that we have to make sure that we're focusing on doing the right thing instead of what looks to be politically necessary at that very moment. We have to take our time and, and think these issues through," Obama said.
"If there's a lesson to be drawn from this episode," the President continued, it's to avoid "jumping to conclusions and pointing fingers at each other."
For her part, Sherrod blamed the White House for overreacting to criticism, whether that criticism is honest or not. "This administration is definitely too sensitive to what the right is saying," she told CBS News Thursday morning. "I definitely think the right has actually edited speeches that have been made to try and get their point over, when they know it's a lie."
The tone is set by the man at the top, of course.
So when people in any organization react a certain way, it is because the people running that organization - or the top guy running that organization - have set up a culture that encourages that.
The person running the Obama administration is Barack Obama, not Tom Vilsack.
He is responsible for Sherrod's firing.
He has people in his administration freaked out enough over race baiting that they fire people without even getting the whole truth.
The same thing happened to Van Jones.
So Barack Obama is full of shit when he blames the media culture or the people under him for causing this problem.
He caused the problem.
The wingnut media bullshit existed long before he was elected.
The response to it is not to cave to Andrew Breitbart, Glenn Beck or Matt Drudge.
The response is to say: THESE "JOURNALISTS" ROUTINELY PUBLISH HORSESHIT AND CALL IT NEWS, SO WE WILL NOT OVERREACT TO STORIES THAT COME FROM THEM. WE WILL LOOK INTO EACH INCIDENT AND JUDGE IT ACCORDINGLY. AND WHEN IT BECOMES CLEAR BREITBART, BECK, DRUDGE OR SOME OTHER WINGNUT CHOWHEAD HAS PUBLISHED LIES, PROPAGANDA OR HORSESHIT, WE WILL EXPOSE IT AS SUCH.
That was the proper response to the Shirley Sherrod story.
Since Secretary of Monsanto, er, Agriculture, Tom Ballsack responded instead with panic and fright and fired the woman without even getting the full story, we must assume that that is the culture that Barack Obama, has set up for his administration.
Judging by his arrogant refusal to take responsibility after the case for the mistakes, I think that assumption is dead right.