Depressingly Familiar Tactic Watch

By now, you can predict right wing tactics almost to the letter. Whenever Fox News, a Tea Party group, or a Congressman from Texas is caught saying or doing something stupid, misogynist, racist, or kinky, the tactic is: pick out an irrelevant or minor point in the criticism that can be portrayed as inaccurate or wrong in some way, then relentlessly hammer away at it while ignoring any and all substantive issues. This minor point will often involve a deliberate misrepresentation of the criticism, as well.

You can see Fox News using this depressingly familiar tactic today, in their excuses for their role in the right wing lynching of Shirley Sherrod.

The talking point on which Fox settled very early was that they had not even mentioned the Sherrod story on air before she resigned from the USDA. And while this may be true, it’s a perfect example of the Minor Point Maneuver. Sherrod was forced to resign very quickly, so the events actually beat Fox News — but when Fox did begin covering the story, their reports were identical to Andrew Breitbart’s original post at Big Government, enthusiastically branding Sherrod and the NAACP as “obvious” racists as they showed the edited video over and over.

And this fraud was easily discovered, as LGF reader “teh mantis” pointed out on Monday, with a few seconds of Google searching. Apparently, no one at Fox News even considered the possibility that the video might not be showing the whole truth, despite its abrupt ending; they ran with the story and circulated Andrew Breitbart’s smears without fact-checking a single point.

Right wing blogs and websites, as usual, are even worse. If they’re not completely ignoring the fraud, they’re mindlessly parroting Breitbart’s excuses, desperately trying to flip the frame and shift the blame to President Obama, or continuing to insist that Shirley Sherrod is the real racist villain of this piece. Or all of the above, at the same time.

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Last updated: 2016-01-01 10:29 am PST
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