In the unfortunate situation concerning Shirley Sherrod there are plenty of villains to share the responsibility of this woman losing her job at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); Andrew Breitbart, Ben Jealous/NAACP, FOX News, USDA/Tom Vilsack, and the Obama Administration.
If you’re not familiar with the Shirley Sherrod story here is a quick recap:
After the NAACP released a declaration calling for the Tea Party to denounce the racism that has been present at their events. Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart decided he wanted to show that the NAACP was just as guilty of having racism present at their events. Breitbart posted a video from on his blog showing Shirley Sherrod at a NAACP event telling a story about how she once dealt with a White farmer who was looking for help in saving his farm from foreclosure. In the video Sherrod talks about the White farmer talking down to her and how she took him to a White lawyer (one of his kind) to help him.
“You know, the first time I was faced with helping a white farmer save his farm. He took a long time talking but he was trying to show me he was superior to me. I know what he was doing. But he had come to me for help. What he didn’t know, while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him.”
“I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland. And here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land, so I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do.”
“So I took him to a white lawyer that had attended some of the training that we had provided because Chapter 12 bankruptcy had just been enacted for the family farm. So I figured if I take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him.”
The video spread like wildfire amongst Conservatives as FOX News pushed the story non-stop stating that a USDA official (Sherrod) was caught on tape using her power in the USDA to with-hold assistance to a farmer because he is White. With the video going viral the NAACP and Ben Jealous jumped in and decided they had to act quickly and denounce the statements on the video from Sherrod. Finally Tom Vilsack head of the USDA issued the state that Shirley Sherrod has submitted her resignation and that he has accepted it. He also expressed how the USDA could not tolerate Sherrod’s actions especially in light of the departments controversial past with Black farmers.
Pretty much a straight forward case of racism, right????
Not exactly, hours after Breitbart released the video the truth about the video started to come to light. Apparently the video that Breitbart release was on a partial video; what Brietbart failed to show was that the story Sherrod was telling was about a woman who had evolved. In the unedited version of the video Sherrod explains that she learned from the incident. She realized that it was not about race; not about Black or White but about poverty. She stated that she worked hard to save the White farmer’s land…
“Working with him made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who haven’t. They could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to help poor people – those who don’t have access the way others have.”
Of course when it was realized there was rush to judgment; everyone responsible for Sherrod losing her job issued statements of regrets and apologies.
- Andrew Breitbart said he never meant for Sherrod to lose her job, he was only trying to focus on the NAACP
- The NAACP/Ben Jealous apologized but offered a lame excuse as to why they would denounce Sherrod without having all the information. They stated at times they are forced to respond to situations like this faster than they would like and that they were ‘Snookered’ by the edited video. That is complete Bullshit as the NAACP waited an entire year before issuing a statement against racism in the Tea Party movement; they explained in that situation that they wanted to make sure they had all the evidence. If that was the case, what makes Sherrod situation any different? In my opinion the NAACP was feeling themselves as they had a successful week in calling out the Tea Party.
- Head of the USDA Tom Vilsack apologized and stated the decision to ask for Sherrod’s resignation was his decision and not the White House’s (YEAH RIGHT). He also offered Sherrod’s job back to hr if she wanted it (she is thinking about it), he also admitted that he made his initial decision based off of limited information.
- FOX News simply shifts the focus from Sherrod to the Obama Administration once they found the video was edited.
- Robert Gibbs issued an apology on behalf of the White House stating that everyone involved rushed to judgment without all the facts. Also stated the decision to ask for Sherrod’s resignation was done before the president was informed.
As I stated in the beginning, everyone shares the blame in Sherrod losing her job. In my opinion the majority of the blame belongs to President Obama and his administration; I say this because ultimately the captain is responsible for the ship. Say what you want about Breitbart, and FOX News; yes they pushed a false story but is that REALLY a shocker when it comes to fringe element of the Right-Wing? The reason why this situation became a story was because of the reaction by the USDA and Tom Vilsack. Sherrod stated that she was told that she had told resign quickly before this became a story for Glenn Beck to report on.
So now this administration is scared of a NUTBAG like Beck?? Some will say well Vilsack made the call to ask for Sherrod’s resignation and that is correct, but you best believe that the White House recent troubles with FOX News concerning the New Black Panther Party had something to do with his decision. Time and time again this year the White House has had confrontations with FOX News and ultimately at the end of the day the White House desire to go head to head with FOX lead to the USDA not wanting to give Beck the extra ammunition to attack a sensitive White House. It’s not like Tom Vilsack is not an experienced leader as he was the Governor of Iowa; there is no reason why a proper investigation wasn’t done before a decision was made. Vilsack’s handling of Sherrod is a reflection of the Obama Administration, the president has to step up and make sure the message is clear to everyone that behavior like this is not tolerated.
I remember back in 2009 when President Obama snapped at Ed Henry for criticizing how quickly he responded to an issue…
Where is that President Obama? Where is that patience in handling an issue and making sure you get it right? Shame on the Obama Administration for falling into the trap of FOX News and reacting based off of emotions; like Keith Olbermann I think President Obama owes Shirley Sherrod an apology. It’s not good enough that Press Secretary Robert Gibbs apologized,
Shirley Sherrod should be hearing the apology from the President!
If there is something to be said, “Its On Broadway” to step up and say it!!!