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.