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Revising The Sherrod Timeline

Well, it looks like my carefully-constructed timeline of the events of Monday, July 19, had a few major flaws in it. For one, I confused Foxnews.com's first mentioning of the Sherrod story at 1:40/1:41 with the first announcement of her dismissal, which came much later. For another, I'm noticing that others are misstting when Andrew Breitbart released the video -- I've been saying 11:18, while others say 8:18. That one I was about to eat, too, until I realized that 11:18 a.m. on the East (where I am) is 8:18 in California (where Breitbart is).

So new we have some new details. And it's looking more and more like "Fox News got Sherrod fired" is complete and utter BS.

Let's see how things developed through the day:
(All times Eastern, because that's the time zone for DC, Georgia, and me)

11:18 a.m.: Breitbart releases video.

1:43 p.m.: Story first mentioned on Fox Nation (Fox's online community).

(Unknown time): WCBS-TV posts story on video. (Prior to 4:30 -- see below)

4:30: Drudge links to WCBS-TV story.

5:00: Glenn Beck show starts, no mention of Sherrod.

5:00 (approximately): Bill O'Reilly begins recording his show, near the end plays video and calls for Sherrod's removal.

5:58: Video hits foxnews.com

6:22: First comment posted on foxnews.com article.

6:30 (approximately): USDA announces Sherrod's resignation.

8:49: Bill O'Reilly's denunciation of Sherrod airs.

We also have Sherrod's own account of her dismissal. She doesn't give time stamps, but does cite several things that narrow down the window of time considerably.

She says that she got at least three calls from her bosses, all calling for her to resign. The last one finally took. It came in while she was driving home, and one of her bosses told her that she was going to be on Glenn Beck's show that night, the White House had repeatedly called and demanded she be dismissed, and Sherrod should pull over immediately and text in her resignation.

Three calls. Let's say each took five minutes, and were at least twenty minutes apart. (I think that's reasonable.) The reference to Glenn Beck's show puts it before 5:00, and Sherrod driving home puts it no sooner than mid-afternoon. If Sherrod either started work early that day or knocked off early, she could have been driving home between 4 and 5 to get those calls.

The big question remains: just what drove the Obama administration to fire her so quickly and decisively? They've admitted it was a mistake, but what was their thinking on the matter?

Likewise, why did the NAACP issue their condemnation so quickly? Why did both of these organizations rush to judgment here?

I see several explanations here, and not only do they not conflict, they complement each other quite nicely.

First up, it wasn't Fox News that drove the decision. It was their fear of Fox News. They didn't jump because Fox News said jump, they jumped because they expected Fox News to say jump and wanted to get ahead of the curve. They didn't want to seem to be doing Fox's bidding, they wanted to pre-empt Fox's message.

Next, there is the possibility that they knew that Sherrod held highly divisive racial beliefs. In her reaction to her dismissal, she said she wanted to talk with President Obama to help him understand the "black" experience and perspective, and said Breitbart wanted to return to the days of slavery.

Now, her anger at her treatment is understandable, and it is no surprise that she would lash out at Obama and Breitbart. But note that her immediate response is to accuse them of racism -- in Breitbart's, an extreme form of it that is utterly absurd on its face and almost legally actionable.

In that context, it is entirely conceivable that they knew she was a bomb-thrower on racial matters (her years fighting that billion-dollar lawsuit against the government that was finally settled, coincidentally, just before she was offered a job with the department she was suing) and were not surprised that she'd say and do the sort of things she admitted to in the video. The Obama administration, in this case, wasn't that invested in her in her position -- it could have been an unwritten quid pro quo for settling the lawsuit, and therefore her departure would be no great loss to them. Indeed, it might even help conceal why they gave her the job in the first place.

As for the NAACP... Breitbart says he asked them for the full video before posting his excerpt, and was rebuffed. They had the full speech in their possession, and didn't bother to review it before issuing their denunciation. It was almost if they knew she was that divisive a person, and wanted to distance themselves from her as quickly as they could -- even though she had been their honoree at the event she made that speech.

And they, too, were reacting not to actual events, but their own fears. Breitbart had put them on notice when he publicly proclaimed he was going to expose the racism within their own ranks, and when he released that video of an NAACP honoree (and, likely, member) admitting to practicing race-based discrimination, and the audience murmuring its approval, they took it at face value. Their reaction wasn't one of shock and disbelief, but of someone caught out.

In brief, they acted guilty.

In the end, Fox News gets a lot of credit. They didn't act irresponsibly -- or, at least, any more irresponsibly than did a lot of others whom the left holds with considerably more respect. And they were given a huge demonstration of the power they command over the powers that be on the left -- the mere fear that Fox News MIGHT say or do something is enough to drive those powers into making rash, stupid decisions.

It's a Change, but not the type anyone was Hoping for.


WCBS-TV Story (ignore date stamp at top of article; first comment is after 5:30 on July 19)

Allahpundit's supremely useful timeline

Fox News' own irrefutable rebuttal of accusations

Sherrod's own account of her removal


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Comments (16)

Sherrod and her husband are... (Below threshold)

Sherrod and her husband are both racists. Just read their comments and listen to their words.

Both are no different than Rev. Wright and Lee Ward, racists, all of them.

All I know is the Sherrod's... (Below threshold)

All I know is the Sherrod's would sit comfortably beside Barry or Rev Lee for that matter in the racist hall's of Jebidiah Wright's 'church'..

5:58: Video hits f... (Below threshold)
J Mcneely:
5:58: Video hits foxnews.com

6:22: First comment posted on foxnews.com article.

6:30 (approximately): USDA announces Sherrod's resignation.

That's the same timeline I've seen elsewhere and it fully supports the idea that Fox News contributed.

Actually, CBS reported this... (Below threshold)

Actually, CBS reported this first, so, they are the ones who really contributed, those racist bastards!

People on 'ludes should not... (Below threshold)

People on 'ludes should not write chronological time articles.

J Mcneely, did you READ the... (Below threshold)

J Mcneely, did you READ the part where Sherrod solidly sets her firing before Glenn Beck's 5:00 show started? She specifically used the future tense -- "I was going to be on Glenn Beck's show tonight."

The announcement came out AFTER Fox's piece, but the events being announced happened BEFORE.


That's the same timeline... (Below threshold)

That's the same timeline I've seen elsewhere and it fully supports the idea that Fox News contributed.

So the same administration that takes a couple of months to respond to a major disaster managed to meet, discuss, decide someone needed firing, and pass it down the command chain in less than six hours, but their decision was directly influenced only by the chance that Fox News was going to run the story Real Soon Now?

Not a chance in hell. What happened was that someone picked up on the Breitbart story early, panic ensued, someone decided she needed a good firing before the news actually hit the airwaves, and she got canned.

It certainly wasn't her immediate boss - someone with that level of political sensitivity wouldn't go so far out on a limb unless someone well above them was pushing hard.

At the very least, it was White House-level decision making. Someone wanted her out, fast, before the rest of the press got a shot at Sherrod - probably because they knew what a loose cannon she would turn out to be (even the fragmentary history available seems pretty bad, and her comments on the following day or so were really, REALLY bad).

For a 'not a valid news org... (Below threshold)

For a 'not a valid news organization', according the the White House and Bobby Gibbs, Fox certainly appears to be calling the tune there.

Just like the Democratic obsession with Sara Palin. She's a 'nothing', so we keep on talking about her.

Jay, you need more tweeking... (Below threshold)

Jay, you need more tweeking.

The three phone calls Sherrod talks about take course over 2.5 hours as she is driving. See CNN's transcript: http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1007/20/cnr.03.html

HARRIS: Are you willing to name names?

SHERROD: Oh, I can tell you, that was Cheryl Cook, the deputy undersecretary. She called me and said -- because she called me [#1], and I said, "Cheryl, I've got a three and a half hour ride to get into Athens." She called me a second time [#2], "Where are you now?" I said, "I'm just going through Atlanta."

She called me again [#3] and I said, "I'm at least 45 minutes to an hour from Athens." She said, "Well, Shirley, they want you to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you're going to be on Glenn Beck tonight."

So, if UDAG made the announcment at 6:30, the decision to fire her had been made at least as far back as 4:00pm, which is before Drudge posted, before Beck, and before O'Reilly began taping.

But if one figures AG took time to yack it up, laywer it up, and type up the press release...an hour plus 1/2?... then the decision to fire her came around 3:00pm or earlier.

I'm tired of this woman. R... (Below threshold)

I'm tired of this woman. Really, really tired.

I'm also tired of so many stories I've read about this where the author blithely and without any evidence whatsoever claims that Breitbart edited or "doctored" the video.

" -- the mere fear that Fox... (Below threshold)

" -- the mere fear that Fox News MIGHT say or do something is enough to drive those powers into making rash, stupid decisions"

Well...I think fear of Fox News is just one of a plethora of reasons the Obama (Ocarter) admin makes rash, stupid decisions. Other reasons:
1. Inexperience
2. Rash, stupid people think rashly and stupidly
3. Immaturity

I could go on...

Still thinking...A... (Below threshold)

Still thinking...

Actually, if you simply take these three Sherrod comments...

"Cheryl, I've got a three and a half hour ride to get into Athens."

"She called me again and I said, "I'm at least 45 minutes to an hour from Athens."

"She said, 'Well, Shirley, they want you to pull over to the side of the road and do it because you're going to be on Glenn Beck tonight.'"

... the decision to fire her would have been made around 2:30 p.m. EST., given Beck at 5:00pm minus 2.5 hours of Sherrod's drive time.

That's assuming the "Pull Over" call came right at 5:00m.

Now mix in an hour of White House/USDA beaureacratic hop-scotch, you are lookng at 1:30 p.m., which puts the decision even before FoxNation's link to Breibart.

There is NOTHING complicate... (Below threshold)

There is NOTHING complicated about this story. Both the NAACP and the White House immediately figured Sherrod had to go. Reviewing the facts and context or asking Sherrod for an explanation were absolutely unnecessary as far as they were concerned. WHY?? Because the NAACP and the White House are just as racist an Sherrod--and it seems, her husband. Obama and Ben Jealous know how they think, what their beliefs are, how much contempt they have for "whitey" and Shirley Sherrod represented little more than a MIRROR for both of them. The only difference...she was dumb enough and mouthy enough to get CAUGHT. And even the media could not bail her out. The White House could not afford to surrender its credibility on the most important weapon in its arsenal--the race card! So Hussein had to pretend outrage at Sherrod's "contemptible" display of racism and demand her removal from his regime. Now Hussein and the rest of the race baiting left are trying to blame their precipitous actions on FOX, Rush, Breitbart...anything and anyone other than their recognition that a fellow racist got caught and therefore had to be thrown under the bus for the good of the regime. But it won't do them any good. The facts are out, thanks to the internet and talk radio.

Agree with Oyster - I keep ... (Below threshold)
bobby b:

Agree with Oyster - I keep seeing this video referred to as having been edited by Breitbart. To me, "edit" implies things cut out selectively, maybe even moved around.

My understanding is that Breitbart was given an excerpt of the speech - one contiguous section, with no interruptions - and that he asked the NAACP for the entire speech before he ran the excerpt.

So, the video was completely accurate within its own context, Breitbart changed nothing, and when libs call it "edited", it's just like when they claim that Breitbart's ACORN stories were "discredited."

It's a lie.

Nobody claims Breitbart edi... (Below threshold)
Raphael M:

Nobody claims Breitbart edited the video. That's a strawman argument.

It's obvious watching it that it's been edited, and since Breitbart makes his own videos it's obvious he knows it was edited.

Obvious to anyone with a brain. That leaves out half the wingnuts commenting on this thread.

Its obvious watching the vi... (Below threshold)

Its obvious watching the video. The Sherrod's are racist. More power to Brietbart for exposing the NAALCP and Barry for the frauds they are.






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