Shirley Sherrod and Me
I UNDERSTAND how Shirley Sherrod, the Agriculture Department official who was forced to resign last week, must have felt.
Times Topic: Shirley Sherrod
Last year I, too, resigned from an administration job, after I uttered some ill-chosen words about the Republican Party and was accused — falsely — of signing my name to a petition being passed around by 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Partisan Web sites and pundits pounced, and I, too, saw my name go from obscurity to national infamy within hours.
Our situations aren’t exactly the same. Ms. Sherrod’s comments, in which she, a black woman, appeared to admit to racial discrimination against a white couple, were taken far out of context, while I truly did use a vulgarity.
But the way we were treated is strikingly similar, and it reveals a lot about the venal nature of Washington politics in the Internet era. In my case, the media rushed to judgment so quickly that I was never able to make clear that the group put my name on its Web site without my permission. The group finally admitted that it never had my signature, but by then it was too late.
Ooga, Booga!11! Run, it’s Van Jooones, the famous 9/11 commutroofer on the pages of the Liberal Prada!!11!!Elventyeleven!!