Shirley Sherrod

Arguing With Palin Supporters: The Quest for Intellectual Honesty

Does charisma create its own reality?

Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” But the loudest conservative voices in the current political landscape, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and their supporters are actively working to obliterate the concept of factual truth from our national discourse.

They seem to believe history can be rewritten and facts can be changed to support the “truth” they want when the truth that “is” does not suit their narrative.

The reaction to the Shirley Sherrod story has provided more evidence of the tendency by some Palin supporters to ignore or revise facts.  One Pro-Palin Facebook group has a thread about Sherrod. The initial post, written by a Palin detractor, described the manipulative manner in which Fox News reported the story. As the thread unfolded the Palin supporters attempted to revise the facts, and used these revised facts to defend their opinions about the reliability of the reporting on Fox News.

The initial post said: “A day after firing Shirley Sherrod for statements Fox News and Breitbart distorted and used to portray her as a racist, Tom Vilsack apologized and offered her a new job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.”

Palin Supporter #1 (Chris): Who on FOX ran the edited version of the story BEFORE Sherrod was fired ?

Response (with evidence): The better question is who didn’t?
See Fox News coverage of the Sherrod story here.

The original story has been removed. But in an article that is still up on Fox News, Fox stated that Sherrod’s resignation followed the original story.

But Chris stuck to his original false premise: FOX aired it AFTER Sherrod was fired. It was the Obama Administration that jumped the gun, not FOX.

Response: This is completely wrong. It is simply factually incorrect.

Breitbart posted the story on Big The linked to the “edited” video on and said, “ is seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA.

Chris was invited to visit a website that had a time line complete with screen shots and other photographic evidence.

At that point Chris disappeared, not to be heard from again in this thread. However, Palin Supporter #2, Kevin, chimed in to support Chris.

Kevin: Fox ran the video after Maobama had her fired. Then when the fecal matter hit the rotary cooling blades they had Vilsak fall on his sword for him. Nobody on the planet disputes that except Media Manipulators.

(Kevin is a regular poster to this group, and he adheres to the elementary school belief system that calling the other side stupid names lends weight to his argument.)

Palin Supporter #3 (Bill): Thanks, Kevin! I think Breitbart is a genius…although the discussion has shifted to Fox News practices, the fact remains that when the left handers don’t like something they attempt to shut you up by yelling “racist”. This is exactly why we need Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann active on our political scene.”

Bill later lamented the presence of intellectual dishonesty in politics today. Yet it is interesting that is exactly what he practiced when presented with evidence that disproved his assertion. Later in the thread he stated that Sarah Palin is our savior from intellectual dishonesty.

I think Bill is half right. Intellectual dishonesty is a problem. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne recently asked, “Can a nation remain a superpower if its internal politics are incorrigibly stupid?” And if we don’t all start paying attention we may very well end up living in a country where truth is determined by who shouts the loudest, Sarah Palin is President, and E.J. Dionne gets his answer.