Two weeks ago, who would've predicted that a U.S. Department of Agriculture bureaucrat would become the center of the race debate?
If you've tuned into the news in the past few days, you've undoubtedly heard the name Shirley Sherrod. It all started with the July 19 post "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism-2010" that conservative commentator Andrew Breitbart placed on his site BigGovernment.com. The embedded video supposedly showed Sherrod, the USDA Georgia director of rural development, explaining during an NAACP speech how she discriminated against a white farmer.
David Letterman sometimes runs a skit called the "Unfair Edit," which Breitbart must've consulted before posting the Sherrod video. Even if we give Breitbart the benefit of the doubt, he's, at the very least, at fault for not fully investigating the seemingly salacious remarks. If something's too good to be true, it probably is.
Malicious intent or not, the fact that this story has dominated the news cycle for nearly two weeks now means two things: First, some news organizations are desperate enough for the next big story that they're willing to neglect the larger picture for the sake of viewer/readership.
Second, BigGovernment.com's advertisers are probably jumping for joy right now.
The week on the Range
On the political beat: We let you know that John McCain has so far spent more than $15 million in his campaign to annihilate Republican challenger J.D. Hayworth; filled you in on Vice President Joe Biden's summer-vacation plans at the Grand Canyon to talk about the stimulus plan; and shared the results of a new Rasmussen poll that showed Republican Jan Brewer leading Democratic challenger Terry Goddard by 19 percentage points. That same poll reveals that 46 percent of voters believe that SB 1070 has hurt the state's image, while 40 percent believe it has helped the state's image.
We also were the first local news outfit to show you Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' new campaign ad; and the first to let you know that Republican Jesse Kelly, who hopes to unseat Giffords in November, made a big TV-ad buy one week before early voting starts in the Aug. 24 primary that pits Kelly against Jonathan Paton, Brian Miller and Jay Quick.
We shared photos from the New Pornographers show at the Rialto Theatre; a preview of what Janos Wilder plans to serve at his new downtown restaurant; an update on the new downtown Monkey Burger; and news that Empire Pizza and Pub has opened on Congress Street.
We also shared a very special bit of fan mail to editor Jimmy Boegle that raised these questions: "Can you see why so many of us are pissed at assholes like you? Can you understand why so many of us, good-hearted, intelligent individuals are annoyed when twisted Commies like you xxxx try to act like paragons of virtue—when you are the farthest thing from it?"
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
"As far as illegals taking all our jobs, I live in rural Arizona, and I've yet to see one white person working the farm fields, even in this recession. I'm not Hispanic, and I'm college-educated, and I'll be the first to admit that I have no interest in working in the hot desert sun for less than minimum wage. The agricultural industry has relied heavily on immigrant labor for generations, which is why you're not paying even more for groceries."
—TucsonWeekly.com user "JohnAZ," in a July 22 response to a post (The Range, May 11) regarding a poll showing that 71 percent of people believe SB 1070 will lead to Hispanics getting harassed.
BEST OF WWW
It's that time in the election cycle when newspapers issue endorsements. The problem is, in many races, we couldn't find anyone worth endorsing, so we're putting our support behind some former politicians—ZOMBIE politicians, that is. Check out the new campaign ad from Zombie Barry Goldwater; hearing him say "children are our future" suddenly takes on a whole new meaning. We're also taking a page from the Breitbart video controversy. On TucsonWeeklyTV.com, you can see our version of the "unfair edit." We're taking some speeches from local pols, and, boy, you won't believe what we're making them say.