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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words letters@seattletimes.com.

July 25, 2010 at 4:01 PM

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The shameful treatment of Shirley Sherrod

Posted by Letters editor

Who are the ‘hacks,’ really?

Editor, The Times:

Friday’s “Shameful Treatment” editorial was shameful [Opinion, July 23]. The Times got the story right in the first paragraph, saying all the shame lies with the Obama administration, and yet it gratuitously uses the occasion to bash Fox News.

But in the same edition, there’s the headline saying Fox News showed restraint [“Fox news blamed for firing but showed restraint,” News, July 23]. And in that article by nonconservatives, The Washington Post conducted investigative reporting and explains that the Obama administration fired Shirley Sherrod before O’Reilly’s show even aired on Fox News.

If the Fox News people are “hacks” as The Times call them, then that just proves that the Obama administration is run by a bunch of amateurs that can’t even handle so-called hacks. Besides, the Post story demonstrates that O’Reilly’s staff tried to get answers for the Monday night show, but no one at the Obama administration had a response.

And, what about the NAACP? Like the so-called hacks at Fox News, the NAACP called for Sherrod’s ouster based on the partial tape, but The Times doesn’t call the NAACP hacks.

— Charlie Klinge, Bellevue

Legitimate views should be discussed truthfully in public forum

What is it about the extreme political right wing that they are so good at deception and dirty tricks? That Andrew Breitbart, an otherwise seemingly educated man, would deliberately misuse free speech, as he did with his manipulation of the recording of the Shirley Sherrod speech, is just despicable.

Both the political left and right have legitimate views that should be presented and discussed in the public forum, with those views supported by the truth.

— Bruce Northey, Bellevue

Timing is everything

I have heard it said that “timing is everything.” According to “How the case caught fire,” Fox News is the problem again [“White House apologizes for ouster, bias mix-up,” page one, July 22]. Yet when I read through the complete story, Shirley Sherrod was asked to resign well before any of the Fox News programs aired on Monday.

Shame on Fox News for not doing a thorough job of researching the video before broadcasting the story. However, Fox News did not fire Shirley Sherrod, the current administration (Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack) did.

It seems to me the administration is more culpable than Fox News for this error in judgment. I also find it interesting that the NAACP was “snookered” by the same video that Fox News based their story on. Maybe everyone involved should spend more time getting the facts before rushing to judgment. I am amazed that any news organization would rely on the Internet blogosphere for factual content but I am even more appalled that the administration would take action based on a report on the Internet.

How can the Obama administration lead this nation if it is “sensitive to criticism that it is beholden to liberal interests” as stated in The Times article? I believe dealing with criticism is part of the job description for being president of the United States of America.

— Gerry Bowlby, Lake Forest Park

Andrew Breitbart had a reason for posting the Shirley Sherrod excerpt

In the rush to vilify Fox News, The Times ignored Andrew Breitbart’s statement that he ran the Shirley Sherrod speech on his blog because the NAACP audience cheered Sherrod when she said, early in her talk, that she did not put forth her best efforts to help the white farmers.

Racism in America is two-sided but the black-on-white side of it is hidden in political correctness.

The Times, like Fox, should present the whole story. Fox apologized for their mistake, will The Times?

— Michael Morrell, La Conner

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