Friday, July 23, 2010

Former USDA Employee Sherrod's Full Speech, Plus News Recaps of Today's Race Baiting Political Theater

I'm still on my blogging break, but ...

Update, July 23, 2010: President Obama was on Good Morning America to talk about financial reform, but he also answered a question about his telephone conversation with Shirley Sherrod and addressing race in America.

Update, July 22, 2010: President Obama calls Shirley Sherrod to express "sincere" regret.
"The president told Ms. Sherrod that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need," the White House said in a statement about a phone call that Obama had with her at midday. "He hopes that she will do so."
Update, July 21, 2010: CNN's running Shirley Sherrod's whole speech. Gibbs apologized for whole Obama administration. Vilsack is supposed to apologize personally. Andrew Breitbart is saying he was out to get the NAACP not Shirley Sherrod. That's his defense for inaccurate reporting.

The irony in the full video above is that former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod says before her talk to guests at the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet is that jobs with the federal government are secure. Then she goes on to tell a story about her father being murdered by white men who were never charged, and later she tells the story that got her into trouble after a right wing operative doctored it.

Her meaning is the exact opposite of what Andrew Breitbart's Big Government conservative website made it appear to be. She was telling the story of what she learned by helping a white farmer in the 1980s, who is now deceased. She said she realized that helping farmers was "about the poor versus those who have," not race. Her message is one of transformation and reconciliation. Still, she has no job due to the hasty reaction of her boss, Tom Vilsack.

The farmer's wife, Eloise Spooner, says Sherrod did everything she could to help them save their farm. As the truth's been revealed, people are calling for Sherrod to be reinstated in her post as the agriculture department's director of rural development in Georgia.

Even before the truth came out, anyone who'd been following the NAACP's dust-up with the Tea party and the Mark Williams drama with supposed satire, however, should have been suspicious of both the video and her firing. I was, and so was Eva Rodriguez.

I'm still on blogcation, but couldn't ignore the this story, and so, I'm posting a a link to a recap from the Washington Post, an NPR story, the NAACP's second statement admitting its error of condemning Sherrod, and a CNN video. My take is Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and undersecretary Cheryl Cook overreacted as did the NAACP, and if the WhiteHouse had a hand in forcing Sherrod to resign as she was told it did, then the WH is equally misguided. I mean really, to believe Breitbart and early Fox News reports and not check facts first is insane. Did they not follow the ACORN hit?

I said on Twitter via four tweets, "Ag. Sec. Tom Vilsack sounds like an idiot who's reached the waters of mediocrity. He should be yanked from his post. ... Is it possible WH did not push for Sherrod to resign but Tom Vilsack and Cheryl Cook told her that to scare her? ... Even if WH didn't specifically request it, the way the Agri Sec handled is indication of racial climate in Administration. ... I think the WH chant is "Don't make racial waves please. We can't swim."

NAACP's second statement saying it was "snookered."

WaPo story: "Firing of USDA official highlights larger political problems involving race"

HuffPo story: "'Racism' Video That Led To Firing USDA Official Shirley Sherrod Was Materially Altered"

Listen to a story about the Sherrod issue at NPR.

And no, I don't have much confidence in the Obama administration to address racial matters. I think as the first African-American POTUS, Barack Obama is consigned to compromise and walking a tight rope. I hope he can overcome that challenge, however. For those keeping score, count today's points for conservative pundits and right wing muckrakers. Eyes are not on Breitbart and Fox as they should be because of how the NAACP and the WH dealt with Shirley Sherrod after learning of the the edited video tape. They're on the Obama administration and the NAACP.

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