When I was starting out in the news business, editors and mentors all said something like, "Get it first, kid. That's important. But even more important--get it right." No longer. Slimeballs are now apparently in vogue and some of them, of course, may stick. This comes to mind, of course, because a website run by conservative Andrew Breitbart published a heavily edited video of Shirley Sherrod, a black Department of Agriculture employee, apparently saying she had been prejudiced against a white farmer she was supposed to help. In fact, as everyone now knows, the full video shows that Sherrod did help the farmer and was talking about the need to avoid being prejudiced in jobs like hers. Mr. Breitbart's response, according to the New York Times, was to say that there is an election year strategy to "falsely malign opponents of the Democratic party as racist.,..It's warfare out there," he said. Hunh? Talk about standing the truth on its head! The Greek tragedian Aeschylus was the first to say, "In war, truth is the first casualty." That was some five hundred years before Christ. It probably applied to politics back then too. Certainly Mr. Breitbart is only the latest to prove it still does. Lying about the other guy is old stuff, of course. It shouldn't upset the rest of us much, but it should remind us that our democracy needs careful voters who try to read more than one side before they make up their minds about an issue or a candidate. But if they limit themselves to just one side, they should look for the truth, not swallow a lie.
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