Jul 21 2010

Pres. Obama, Rehire Shirley Sherrod

What is the Obama administration doing? I can’t believe that Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, demanded a resignation from Shirley Sherrod, an Agriculture Department appointee in Georgia,  based on a video from a statement made 25 years ago that was edited by Andrew Breitbart’s cronies to look like Ms, Sherrod is a racist. Now, even though the whole affair has been exposed as phony, Vilsack is refusing to rehire her, at least, according to the White House, who is saying it is totally his call.

What digby says:

“Her decision ‘rightly or wrongly” will be called into question” because some right wing hitman put out an edited tape that makes her sound as if her point is the opposite of what it is, so she had to be fired.

They are telling wingnuts everywhere that all they have to do is gin up a phony controversy (especially about a black person, apparently) and the administration will fire them so as not to shake confidence that they are “fair service providers.”

This is sheer cowardice.

Even the NAACP has admitted they were “Snookered”:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.


Next time we are confronted by a racial controversy broken by Fox News or their allies in the Tea Party like Mr. Breitbart, we will consider the source and be more deliberate in responding. The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed. This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.

According to the USDA, Sherrod’s statements prompted her dismissal. While we understand why Secretary Vilsack believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider.

Pres. Obama, tell Secretary Vilsak to immediately rehire Ms. Sherrod.



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  1. TMC

    Immediately and am apology from Vilsack wouldn’t hurt

  2. TMC

    As a commentator on the Ed show mused — if only the government had moved as quickly to remedy systemic discrimination against black farmers as they did when someone accused one African American woman of discriminating against white farmers.

    1. TMC

      was that if she is reinstated “it’s a solid case for liberal pressure on the White House”. That’ll be a first.

    2. valadon

      could be a federal crime??? Guess we’ll find out, but I bet they’d all like this to disappear including the WH.

  3. Cold Blue Steel


    A WH official says that Shirley Sharrod’s case is being reviewed at this hour….

    We’ll see. This isn’t the first time that Ambinder has attempted to cool everyone down (remember the Public Option?)

    1. Cold Blue Steel

      if the White House is even aware of liberals. It appears to me that it couldn’t care less. Any reinstatement of Sherrod will be due to MSM coverage that negatively puts Obama in the spotlight, with Axelrod calling the plays. If it dies down by tomorrow, no reinstatement.

  4. Edger
  5. valadon

    over this incident. I just can’t believe they could be so careless with Ms. Sherrod’s reputation. I am rapidly losing faith…

  6. davidseth

    New York Times article.  Jeepers.  None of the great stuff you saw and heard on Maddow last night made this.  Breitbart’s name does not appear.  Same about editing the tapes.  Same about the fact that she was talking in March 2010 about something that happened 26 years ago.  Same about the two farmers she actually helped to keep their farm from foreclosure.  And the Times story headline is about the NAACP being “snookered,” not about the rapidity of the Obama WH in demanding that Sherrod resign.

    Have we see the Obama WH react so swiftly to anything before?  I don’t think so.

    Sherrod should be rehired.  Vilsack should apologize and resign.  Obama should apologize.  Sherrod should sue Faux News and Breitbart for tortious interference with her contract of employment and anything else she can think of.

    And the Times?  The Times should print a correction.

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