NAACP Backtracks

Good for them:

“The NAACP has a zero tolerance policy against racial discrimination, whether practiced by blacks, whites, or any other group.

The NAACP also has long championed and embraced transformation by people who have moved beyond racial bias. Most notably, we have done so for late Alabama Governor George Wallace and late US Senator Robert Byrd — each a man who had associated with and supported white supremacists and their cause before embracing civil rights for all.

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.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

***

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.

I’m not sure what exactly it will take before everyone realizes what they are dealing with every time these guys release a tape. Will the media learn a lesson as the NAACP did? Or, more likely, are we just a few days away from Clark Hoyt and Andrew Alexander apologizing to the wingnuts for not coming out against Sherrod in a more timely manner.

And for all of you who have given into fits of angst over my comments earlier saying no one in the administration or “the left” came to her defense, I include myself in that. I just meant that no one defended the poor woman, no one said “slow down, these guys did the same thing with ACORN.” Myself included.

*** Update ***

This sort of speaks for itself:

Meanwhile, the farmer referenced in the clip told CNN he credits Sherrod with helping his family save their farm.

“I don’t know what brought up the racist mess,” Roger Spooner told CNN’s “Rick’s List.” “They just want to stir up some trouble, it sounds to me in my opinion.”

Spooner says Sherrod accompanied him and his wife to a lawyer in Americus, Georgia, who was able to help them file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which ultimately saved their farm.

“If it hadn’t been for her, we would’ve never known who to see or what to do,” he said. “She led us right to our success.”

Spooner’s wife, Eloise, remembered Sherrod as “nice-mannered, thoughtful, friendly; a good person.”

She said that when she saw the story of the tape and Sherrod’s resignation on television, “I said, ‘That ain’t right. They have not treated her right.’ “

The administration has an opportunity to do the right thing here, and they should.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

115 replies
  1. 1
    bushworstpresidentever says:

    So when does she get rehired with an apology, and the $#%holes in the administration who forced her out get to submit their resignations?

  2. 2
    Jay B. says:

    And for all of you who have given into fits of angst over my comments earlier saying no one in the administration or “the left” came to her defense, I include myself in that. I just meant that no one defended the poor woman, no one said “slow down, these guys did the same thing with ACORN.” Myself included.

    Because no one fucking knew about it! Now that we’re properly pissed off and it’s turned on the Administration, our anger will be turned against us as short-sighted and fruitless by many of the same people.

  3. 3
    Svensker says:

    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.

    Good for the NAACP — they worded that extremely well. I hope the administration follows their lead.

  4. 4
    Pete says:

    Isn’t it always the way – one assumes that the sociopaths might have some compunctions or shame, but no. Not an ounce.

    “The left”, such as it is, is so used to feeling demoralised that when things like this or ACORN rear their supposed heads, the instinctive response is for us to say “that’s just what we needed” rather than subject it to immediate scrutiny. The sky is always falling, even when it isn’t.

  5. 5
    bkny says:

    good on the naacp; and i like that they actually used the word ‘snookered’.

    tweety actually spent some time on this tonight and had some righteous anger at how the right is deliberately stoking the fires; he also laid out the whole story of sherrod and how breitbart had edited the video and this woman had given assistance to white families who credited her with saving their farms. he was clearly pissed about this. gene robinson flat out called brietbart a liar.

  6. 6
    You Don't Say says:

    I don’t know how the administration backtracks on this, but they better damn well find a way.

    This whole thing makes me sick.

  7. 7
    Zifnab says:

    There’s an old saying in Tennessee – I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can’t get fooled again.

  8. 8
    cyntax says:

    Breitbartapocalypse: 2

    Sanity: 0

    Let’s hope this one goes into overtime.

  9. 9

    Clearly the Spooners are racists.

  10. 10
    Midnight Marauder says:

    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.

    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.

    This is all I was really looking to hear from the NAACP. Some kind of acknowledgment that they were played like cheap fiddles from start to finish, and more importantly, that they will be hyper-vigilant from here on out to make sure they see these asinine setups coming from miles away. Because they will keep coming and they will only be looking for more prominent scalps to claim.

    It would do the White House a helluva lot of damned good to follow suit with similar statements and actions.

  11. 11
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Every time one of these doctored videos claims another innocent victim, the very concept of objective evidence dies the death of a thousand cuts.

    Soon half of the population will no longer believe even their own lying eyes, and the other half will be living a conspiracy theorist’s paradise where nothing can ever be proven either true or false, and of course cops with itchy trigger fingers will have reason to celebrate, because who cares if it all got caught on tape? The tape lies.

  12. 12
    freelancer says:

    @cyntax:

    Clearly, the institutional left is within its last fortnight.

  13. 13
    c u n d gulag says:

    Maybe now no one will take another one of his rancid, BS videos.
    HA!
    Who am I kidding.
    “What, Mr. Breitbart, you have video evidence that it wasn’t James Earl Ray who killed MLK, but James Earl Jones? Oh, we simply MUST have that. We’ll jump ahead of our competition!”

  14. 14
    You Don't Say says:

    And I find it odd that I can’t find a word of this being reported on the NYTimes web site. It must be somewhere …

  15. 15
    demo woman says:

    Earlier I read that the NAACP called Sherrod about the incident. Good for them. The first time I heard about this incident was this morning on the AJC and I have been promoting calling the Sec’y of Agriculture and writing and/or writing an email the the Sec’y. It appears that Vilsack thinks it’s okay for someone that has been defamed to lose their job. In his opinion she is not longer effective.
    Vilsack does eat babies right.

  16. 16
    Rick Taylor says:

    So when does she get rehired with an apology, and the $#%holes in the administration who forced her out get to submit their resignations?

    __
    I know I said otherwise earlier, but if the NAACP can admit a mistake and be forgiven, so can the officials in the administration who were fooled. Of course that’s contingent on them admitting they made a mistake. . .

  17. 17
    Comrade Mary says:

    Fuck this response. Seriously, fuck it.

    A White House official told me just now that the White House backs Vilsack’s decision — but that it was Vilsack’s alone. The official said the White House — contrary to the Sherrod’s charge — did not pressure the Department to fire her.

    That is the damn near WORST of all possible responses. They didn’t pressure Vilsack to make the original decision, but they support him nonetheless.

    Fuck this. Fuck fuck fuck.

  18. 18
    Brachiator says:

    And, so, where is the Fox apology?

    Maybe Sarah Palin can tweet about this.

  19. 19
    bobbo says:

    This is some weak-ass bullshit:

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told CNN on Tuesday that he “didn’t speak to anyone at the White House. … I made this decision, it’s my decision. Nobody from the White House contacted me about this at all.”

    A White House official also told CNN that “the White House did not pressure her or the USDA over the resignation. It was the secretary’s decision, as he has said.”

    Apologize and restore her to her position? No, point to Vilsack and say, “He did it!”

  20. 20
    Matt says:

    @Zifnab: that never gets old. seriously.

  21. 21
    Jager says:

    From the winger point of view:

    If the Spooners were hard working, thrifty, belt tighteners instead of the lazy, slacker farmers they obviously are they wouldn’t have needed the help they got and from Sherrod and certainly wouldn’t have to have filed Chapter 11 to save their farm. The Spooners are just disgusting people and Orrin Hatch thinks they need to drug tested!

  22. 22
    cyntax says:

    @freelancer:

    At a minimum, having trouble telling its ass from that hole in the ground it keeps falling into.

  23. 23
    Paula says:

    @bobbo:

    After seeing that other thread become a “to blame/not blame Obama” free-for-all, this is pretty hilarious.

    Oh, and this story is bullshit. Fool me once, and all that …

  24. 24
    flounder says:

    I have been thinking of Dennis Green and the whole “they are who we thought they were” rant.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDAq5tyfk9E
    I blame Breitbart like I blame a lion who bites someones hand when they stick it in the cage.
    Anyone who reacts to anything he does with anything but skepticism and contempt deserves what they get. Obama should gives this woman who was railroaded another job, anywhre, if narcissistic f-ing Vilsack needs to save his smug little face.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    I didn’t know the source of the tape. But the person who fired her should have.

  26. 26
    Rick Taylor says:

    @demo woman:

    Vilsack does eat babies right.

    __
    Well I don’t know, but so long as that’s an open question, we should find someone else. The controversy surrounding such rumors would create situations where his decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult to perform his job.

  27. 27
    Zifnab says:

    @Comrade Mary: This is dumb, but it’s the default stance. They have to back Vilsack or fire him, and they don’t want to fire him. So they’re going to do this kabuki dance until they can figure out exactly what they want to do here.

    Honestly, I’d love to see Sherrod sue to get her job back. If she puts the administration between a rock and a hard place, they’ll be less likely to pull the trigger so fast in the future. Vilsack wants to get rolled by Breitbart? That’s fine. But don’t let him worm away from his mistake easily.

  28. 28
    Joshua Norton says:

    Wingnut news is like their bible and their Constitution. Take a small iota of truth then manipulate it, distort it and then just plain lie when the facts don’t support your current victimhood fantasy.

  29. 29
    Keith G says:

    @You Don’t Say: I noticed that too.

  30. 30
    Jager says:

    wouldn’t have needed the help they got from Sherrod and certainly wouldn’t have to have filed Chapter 11 to save their farm.

    Fixed!

  31. 31
    Jay B. says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    The official said the White House—contrary to the Sherrod’s charge—did not pressure the Department to fire her.

    “Sherrod’s charge” was that the person who fired her said it was due to pressure from the White House.

    It’s amateur hour today. They look completely inept and they are completely in the wrong.

  32. 32
    Comrade Mary says:

    Zifnab, isn’t there a third option, like successfully pressuring Vilsack to act like a vertebrate with some integrity?

  33. 33
    lamh32 says:

    the NAACP comes in my mind as looking the worse off than any other in this story for at the very least, for either believing this fool without first verifiying, and they I’m sure had a big hand in the lead up to this woman’s “resignation”, even though, the final “forcing” was at the hand of the WH.

    As to certain people being upset with the Wh handling of this, first I ask, how is this admin handling different from how the Clinton admin would have handled, or does Obama being Afr Am make this handling somehow worse?

    Secondly, it sure would be nice to here all these “angry” voices in reference to the Afr American farmers who were discriminated against by the usda, and recently won a court decision awarding this compensation for the effects of the discrimination, and still have not received their money.

    How many blogs post, diaries, news stories, etc have I heard about the plight of the Af Am farmers? That’s the problem with selective outrage

  34. 34
    Zifnab says:

    @flounder:

    I blame Breitbart like I blame a lion who bites someones hand when they stick it in the cage.

    This is more like a guy getting mauled by a lion that escaped its cage. And then that person being fired for getting mauled, because it has come to our attention that people mauled by lions may be unable to adequately perform their jobs.

    Sherrod was slandered and then sacked. As far as I can tell, she is the only person suffering for the Brietbart smear.

  35. 35
    Irony Abounds says:

    I’m a firm believer that Obama was dealt a completely crappy hand and he’s played it about as well as anyone can reasonably expect, but I may jump on the he’s not up to the job bandwagon if this situation isn’t corrected. It is unforgivable for Vilsack to jump to a conclusion based upon a clearly edited video, and even more so when the truth becomes clear. It will be be equally unforgivable if Obama doesn’t fix this. Even without the equities involved, this is a perfect opportunity to absolutely stick it to Breibart and Fox, and show them to be the fucking asshat cowards and cheats that they are.

  36. 36
    Jay B. says:

    @Zifnab:

    They have to back Vilsack or fire him, and they don’t want to fire him.

    They don’t have to fire Vilsack. Why would they?

  37. 37
    Scott says:

    I did send Vilsack an e-mail earlier today saying he should rehire Sherrod and publicly apologize to her, and that he should warn the rest of the Cabinet to take anything Breitbart says with a colossal chunk of salt.

    I’m assuming it got round-filed immediately, to be honest.

  38. 38
    danimal says:

    It looks like the cheap propaganda tactics that have worked for the right are starting to get scrutinized. The media powers-that-be don’t like to get embarrassed and used by Fox/Breitbart more than 75 times a year, and it looks like they’ve reached the limit. The times, they are a-changin’.

  39. 39
    cyntax says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Well, if you figure out how to do that, we need to bottle it and get it to Congress ASAP.

  40. 40
    burnspbesq says:

    @You Don’t Say:

    I don’t know how the administration backtracks on this, but they better damn well find a way.

    I’m guessing that if you asked her, reinstatement with back pay would work just fine.

  41. 41
    Derelict says:

    Cole was right in his assessment that none came to Sherrod’s defense save the very farmers she supposedly harmed.

    Shame on the White House for NOT doing even a cursory investigation before demanding her resignation. Now, will they do the right thing and re-instate her with as much of a public show?

    As for AssBart, I hope Sherrod sues him and Big Hosewood for every fucking dime he and it has.

  42. 42
    MoeLarryAndJesus says:

    Vilsack can redeem himself here. He made the same mistake the NAACP did initially, and as they have reversed course, so can he.

  43. 43
    cat48 says:

    Whatever the Admin does, it won’t be quick because this does involve race. Obama was attacked by his white staff members immediately after the infamous press conference where he took Gates side instead of the white cop, WH press reports of the event. The whites up there are all wringing their hands wondering how the fuck to handle this “reverse racism” (as repugs call a black’s alleged discrimination against whites.)

    Again, a large number of whites cannot treat a black president the way they treat a white one. The ultimate act of racism.

  44. 44
    Jay B. says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    I’m a firm believer that Obama was dealt a completely crappy hand and he’s played it about as well as anyone can reasonably expect,

    How’s that? I can’t imagine anyone playing it any worse.

    The Administration acted too quickly, didn’t have any plan for the backlash, was entirely too credulous to a right wing attack, didn’t think it through, then, after the damage was done to an innocent (and actually VERY ADMIRABLE) woman, they doubled down and said it was the right thing to do because of the agency’s poor record on civil rights (despite the fact that she is a highlight of civil rights). Then the White House both “backed” Vilsack and “didn’t take responsibility” for his actions.

  45. 45
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Zifnab:

    This is dumb, but it’s the default stance. They have to back Vilsack or fire him, and they don’t want to fire him.

    That my friends is what is known as being in a Vilsack Pickle. It’s what happens when you have too much vinegar, not enough cucumber, and you lose the fucking jar completely.

  46. 46
    Comrade Mary says:

    @lamh32:

    As to certain people being upset with the Wh handling of this, first I ask, how is this admin handling different from how the Clinton admin would have handled, or does Obama being Afr Am make this handling somehow worse?

    This story has left me infuriated all day over the injustice done to Sherrod. Finding out this unattributed WH response at the end of it has been like stepping on what you expect to be the landing in the staircase and finding that there’s another stair there. I just want the current President, no matter who he is, to own up and do right.

    Secondly, it sure would be nice to here all these “angry” voices in reference to the Afr American farmers who were discriminated against by the usda, and recently won a court decision awarding this compensation for the effects of the discrimination, and still have not received their money.

    That is something I only found out about in the last hour or so. It damn well should get an airing, too. I can’t beleive that there have been other successful (but as yet unpaid) claims on behalf of Native, Hispanic and female farmers, too. WTF USDA?

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    I’m not a First Amendment litigator, but I’m guessing that she would have a pretty easy libel case against Breitbart. She wasn’t a public figure before Breitbart made her one.

    Maybe Greenwald would take her case on contingency – if he’s still admitted anywhere.

  48. 48
    Violet says:

    @Irony Abounds:
    I agree. I’m struggling with how angry this situation makes me. It’s small potatoes, really, and doesn’t affect me personally. Yet somehow it completely undermines my confidence in Obama administration to do the right thing. I keep thinking that Obama is better than this. At least I thought he was.

    Poor Sherrod has been completely railroaded by this. She’s just an average person doing a good job and she’s been tossed under the bus because someone slandered her and the administration believed the slander. I feel bereft of hope if this is how the administration wants to treat average folks.

    It’s wrong. It’s unjust. They need to fix it.

  49. 49
    burnspbesq says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    That my friends is what is known as being in a Vilsack Pickle. It’s what happens when you have too much vinegar, not enough cucumber, and you lose the fucking jar completely.

    Two quarts of win in a one-quart container. Well said, sir or madam.

  50. 50
    ronin122 says:

    Fuck that, when are we gonna see the “Whitey tape”?

  51. 51
    cyntax says:

    @lamh32:

    As to certain people being upset with the Wh handling of this, first I ask, how is this admin handling different from how the Clinton admin would have handled, or does Obama being Afr Am make this handling somehow worse?

    Well, if you’re establishing the standard as “not worse than a previous sitting president,” why not compare everything Obama does to GWB? Or maybe Harding? Taft? And as long as it’s no worse than that, we’re good–right?

    The handling by the adminstration wasn’t good. No matter if the president was Clinton, Bush, or Obama. Obama’s race has nothing to do with that assessment.

  52. 52
    Elie says:

    @Irony Abounds:

    THIS THIS THIS…

    completely agree. And I have been a dutiful Obamot.

    This must be fixed and that means Ms Sherrod reinstated with apologies and a teachable moment quick response about this by the WH — perhaps even the great speechefier himself. There is not walking past this and no, it will not go away quietly. The WH was punked and cannot afford to prolong the state of punkedness any longer than tomorrow…

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Brachiator:

    And, so, where is the Fox apology?

    Glenn Beck is saying she should be reinstated. No, really.

    Breitbart really hit the jackpot with this stunt. No matter how the administration responds, they lose. Back Vilsack? Right wing gets to whine about the unfairness. Reinstate Sherrod? The president does the right wing’s bidding! We are all powerful! He listens to Glenn Beck!

  54. 54
    Quicksand says:

    Do “white farmers” grow whites, like “corn farmers” grow corn?

    Just askin’.

  55. 55
    Rick Taylor says:

    And for all of you who have given into fits of angst over my comments earlier saying no one in the administration or “the left” came to her defense, I include myself in that. I just meant that no one defended the poor woman, no one said “slow down, these guys did the same thing with ACORN.” Myself included.

    __
    Good on ya.
    __
    While I still think you’re being a bit hard on the left including yourself, I appreciate the attitude.

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:

    I am very relieved that the NAACP backed down. It gives us a lot more breathing room to demand some kind of justice for Sherrod since Beck and Breitbart won’t be able to talk about how Even The Liberal NAACP is upset about this.

  57. 57
    D.N. Nation says:

    I’m astounded at anyone- especially anyone with any political power whatsoever let alone the friggin White House- would take a buffoon like Breitblart seriously. What has he done to earn any cred?

    In a just society, bigoted bozos like Andiddily would be peddling their viewpoint on a crate in some rarely-used subway station.

  58. 58
    Dungheap says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Who gives a shit how it looks? The WH should do the right thing are get Sherrod her job back. Worrying about how it looked is what caused the fuck up in the first instance.

  59. 59
    WereBear says:

    This is why it is so foolish to comport oneself in ways designed to “not do anything the right wing can complain about.” It’s giant hubris to think anyone can control them; they are rabid dogs on PCP.

    Like Vilsack’s lame comment; oh, she’s a target, so she has to go? What kind of utter crap is that?

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    I’m going to hazard a completely evidence-free guess based on nothing more than suspicion that the NAACP leadership may have been reminded of two other things:

    1: Who Shirley Sherrod is and has been with regard to rural and agricultural matters in Georgia.

    2: Who her husband Charles is and has been.

  61. 61
    GregB says:

    Can we officially declare that Andrew Breitbart is leader of the Digital Lynch Mob intent on hunting down and destroying the careers of African-Americans?

  62. 62
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @Violet:

    I agree. I’m struggling with how angry this situation makes me. It’s small potatoes, really, and doesn’t affect me personally. Yet somehow it completely undermines my confidence in Obama administration to do the right thing. I keep thinking that Obama is better than this. At least I thought he was.

    The situation may be small potatoes, but the mentality it reflects is far from small. It shows us that the White House really does have a problem in how they respond to the attacks of the right wing noise machine, especially if it has anything to do with race. I really can’t get over how poorly the Obama Administration looks from all angles here, starting primarily with Vilsack. I sincerely hope someone is lighting a fire under his ass to release another statement, since his first one was outrageously moronic. But nowhere near as moronic as whoever this random USDA offical is:

    The official said Sherrod had a chance to explain herself. But her explanation — that her story is “about getting beyond the issue of race” — had little effect.
    __
    “The comments create a situation that make it really hard for her to do her job,” said the official, explaining as Vilsack did in an earlier statement that the agency is struggling to overcome a perception of racism. And it doesn’t matter that Sherrod apparently ended up helping the white farmer. “The issue is the comments that she made.”

    THE COMMENTS THAT SHE MADE WERE ABOUT HELPING THE WHITE FARMER, YOU GODDAMN INCOMPETENTS!

    EDIT: It’s a USDA official. I updated the post accordingly.

  63. 63
    Paula says:

    @El Cid:

    3. Or, did they learn NOTHING from the ACORN fiasco?!

  64. 64
    Jay B. says:

    @Midnight Marauder:

    said the official, explaining as Vilsack did in an earlier statement that the agency is struggling to overcome a perception of racism

    What better way of showing that the agency has overcome racism than to back a racial provocateur’s claims of “reverse racism” over a black woman and the white family she helped?

    Gutless chickenshit sell-outs.

  65. 65
    El Cid says:

    @Comrade Mary: That’s why I’ve been wondering if Sherrod and some other leaders behind that successful lawsuit forcing the USDA to settle for its history of discrimination against African American farmers wouldn’t always be on some sort of shit-list. Maybe the opposite, you know, took the organization on & beat it, but I’m thinking that a crew of poor black farmers and cooperatives and liberal lawyers who sued the Reagan-era USDA and won would be the target of many grudges at the organization.

  66. 66
    lamh32 says:

    @cyntax:

    let’s be clear here, yes the admin handling was bad, but let’s be honest here, the fact that Obama is an Af Am does color the water in this case…period.

    First of all, the admin quick judgement, while wrong, can be attributed in some part to the racially-tinged atmosphere that has permeated our politics since obama’s election. it’s always been there, but now people other than af am are actually noticing the air, rather than having to be told about the stench in the air by af am. Case in point, Skip Gates wasn’t the first and ain’t gonna be the last Af Am wrongly arrested by the police, but it’s def the first time I can remember that the President was asked directly by the MSM to comment on a story. how many questions about white on black racism did Bush get asked direct questions about? how often was Bush asked to comment on some rapper or some such who said whatever (i.e. kayne west).

    So yes, in situations involving race, this President reaction will ALWAYS been scrutinized and analyzed differently than any other President because of his race…period.

    Let’s not ignore that component, even if it makes for uncomfortable conversations.

    BTW, I agree that the admin response was bad.

  67. 67
    And Another Thing... says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: oh.my.gawd. That is just effing brilliant !! WIN

  68. 68
    cyntax says:

    the agency is struggling to overcome a perception of racism

    Not to parse their words to closely, but “a perception” of racism?

    It’s not that the USDA lost a giant court case because they were racist. They just need people not to percieve them as racist. Yep, that’s the problem.

  69. 69
    El Cid says:

    @Paula:

    3. Or, did they learn NOTHING from the ACORN fiasco?!

    Well, given that we’re discussing their reversal of their earlier position, you could use that point to discuss their actions earlier, but not now.

    I guess I was suggesting 2 reasons I thought the NAACP would and now didrelatively courageously and accurately, in my opinion, albeit ineffectually late — change its position.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    I feel like I’m the only person who remembers that Mark Williams got himself canned for his response to the NAACP just two days ago.

    How was this not an attempt by Breitbart to collect a scalp in return for Williams’ resignation? It’s not like this came out of nowhere, or was some kind of nebulous response in the air to Obama’s election.

    This was a deliberately engineered attempt to bring down someone on the Democratic side in response to the NAACP taking on the Tea Party.

  71. 71
    Tonal Crow says:

    Once again:

    1. You can’t believe anything teatards say;

    2. Appeasing them encourages them to hit you again;

    3. Fighting them (a ) is the right thing to do; (b ) educates the public; and (c ) encourages the Democratic base and progressive voters generally.

    Any questions, Democrats?

  72. 72
    KRK says:

    @El Cid:

    I can’t believe the NAACP at any point in this forgot who Charles Sherrod is, what he and Shirley have been through, or how much they are resented by powerful parties in Georgia and within USDA. Makes the “snookering” all the more troubling.

  73. 73
    mantis says:

    I just meant that no one defended the poor woman, no one said “slow down, these guys did the same thing with ACORN.”

    Well, I for one was on every wingnut blog I could find pointing out the bullshit, yesterday afternoon. I knew it had to be bullshit (it came from Brietbart), and I noticed her mention that the events in her story occurred just after chapter 12 was established for family farms. That put the story in 1986, and finding bio info on Ms. Sherrod I was able to place her as working with a farm coop in Georgia at the time, and not for the government. Took me about five minutes of searching. There is no doubt in my mind Brietbart saw the whole tape, knew the whole story, and deliberately edited it for this purpose.

    None on the left were writing about it, and the first person who did who I thought might pay attention was Charles Johnson. He did pay attention, and has been all over this today.

    The whole thing makes me sick. If the White House doesn’t make it right with Ms. Sherrod, they will be seriously pissing off this pretty tireless supporter.

    Anyone’s words can be used against them if you edit enough of them out. Never trust a Brietbart tape.

  74. 74
    lamh32 says:

    Speaking of the USDA, I’d be interested in learning how many of the employees who were implemented in the ACTUAL discrimination against Black farmers still have their jobs within the USDA.

    Actual acts of discrimination vs alleged acts later discovered not to be true…who should be the ones who lost their jobs!

  75. 75
    BombIranForChrist says:

    Man alive, I would give my left arm / leg / nut if all organizations in America would handle situations with similar honesty, left and right, all of us. So much that is wrong with our country derives from pig-headed idiocy.

  76. 76
    El Cid says:

    @KRK: I’m just guessing that in the part of the NAACP leadership that would engage in these quick sorts of official statement issuing and whatnot, that many leaders who were younger or not too familiar with the Georgia SNCC campaigns etc. might not have heard any bells ringing with the name “Sherrod”.

    I recommend the NAACP directorate immediately deploy the advanced technology known as “Google” to assist them in understanding these linkages, so as not to improperarily refudiate anyone.

  77. 77
    cyntax says:

    @lamh32:

    let’s be clear here, yes the admin handling was bad, but let’s be honest here, the fact that Obama is an Af Am does color the water in this case…period.

    Generally speaking some people might have said that they were defending her because she’s black, but what can you do about that? The administration should still do what’s right. Which in this case simply involved not going off half cocked.

    The corollary to your argument is that they have to take people’s perception of the president’s race into account in everything they do and that’s untennable. It’s not possible to govern a country that way. So at some point, the administration has to do the right thing, even if some people are going to ascribe negative motives to an action due to Obama’s race.

  78. 78
    Midnight Marauder says:

    @cyntax:

    Not to parse their words to closely, but “a perception” of racism?

    By all means, parse away. Why wouldn’t you parse the words of a imbecilic official sent out to cover for their boss’s initial clusterfuck of an “executive decision”? If this official really understands the history of the USDA, then they would know that there is indeed no perception of racism, just that cold hard fact that it was an everyday reality within the organization.

    But for someone to speak with a CNN reporter and decided to frame the issue as “struggling to overcome the perception of racism,” is not only intellectually dishonest, it an outright falsehood.

    They are struggling to overcome a history of institutionalized racism. No perceptions, just truth.

  79. 79
    KRK says:

    @El Cid:

    Well, actually the Pigford plaintiffs sued the Clinton-era USDA for discrimination dating back to the Reagan era and continuing to the Clinton era.

    But, yes, it’s certain that there are people within USDA both in Georgia and at the national level who would have seized any opportunity to force the resignation of a prominent advocate for farmers who had been appointed to a position of power in the department, let alone a successful Pigford claimant.

  80. 80
    El Cid says:

    @mantis: Good work. I didn’t even hear about this story until this morning, I don’t think, either that or I didn’t pay attention.

    This is the kind of worst propagandizing, the cheap kind, the sort which can be disproven by easily available evidence, without having to counter-investigate.

    It’s like — and I hesitate to assume that this will only be hypothetical — if the Republican Party accused Barack Obama of leading the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the major news media running with it and demanding a Democratic response and a statement from, I dunno, some sort of rights group or other.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    Everything is moving very fast, so I really can’t despair just yet. When you have Breitbart screeching on one show about how he was TOTALLY right and Glenn Beck saying that Sherrod should not have been fired on his show, that’s some prize cognitive dissonance right there.

    I’m very curious to see what the next development will be.

  82. 82
    lamh32 says:

    Okay,

    Ya’ll know how everytime a Af Am does anything that becomes a big story, then other Af Am gotta answer for all of us? Well it’s the majorities turn, seriously, is this dude for real? White people ya’ll need to explain ya boy (/snark):

    Breitbart: The White Farmers Who Praised Sherrod Were Planted

  83. 83
    cat48 says:

    Actually, the wingnuts were just getting started on Sherrod. They have further plans for her & lots of questions, per Washington Examiner:

    Here are just a few questions about Ms. Sherrod that deserve answers
    * Was Ms. Sherrod’s USDA appointment an unspoken condition of her organization’s settlement?
    * How much “debt forgiveness” is involved in USDA’s settlement with New Communities?
    * Why were the Sherrods so deserving of a combined $300,000 in “pain and suffering” payments — amounts that far exceed the average payout thus far to everyone else? ($1.15 billion divided by 16,000 is about $72,000)?
    * Given that New Communities wound down its operations so long ago (it appears that this occurred sometime during the late 1980s), what is really being done with that $13 million in settlement money?

    Here are just a few questions about Ms. Sherrod that deserve answers:
    * Was Ms. Sherrod’s USDA appointment an unspoken condition of her organization’s settlement?
    * How much “debt forgiveness” is involved in USDA’s settlement with New Communities?
    * Why were the Sherrods so deserving of a combined $300,000 in “pain and suffering” payments — amounts that far exceed the average payout thus far to everyone else? ($1.15 billion divided by 16,000 is about $72,000)?
    * Given that New Communities wound down its operations so long ago (it appears that this occurred sometime during the late 1980s), what is really being done with that $13 million in settlement money?

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer......z0uGm957gv

    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer......z0uGm957gv

  84. 84
    El Cid says:

    @KRK: That’s the proper way to frame it, but I wanted to emphasize how far back the lawsuit itself went and whose bell it would have rung on the right. Had they just sued for discrimination under Clinton-era USDA, the right might have been cheerleading the plaintiffs.

  85. 85
    lamh32 says:

    @cyntax:

    Every decision this President makes does not involve race (even though it seems that is how gop/rw always like to play it), but I said “In situations involving race, this President reaction will ALWAYS been scrutinized and analyzed differently than any other President because of his race…period.”

    Is that wrong?

  86. 86
    cat48 says:

    Here are a few bigger-picture questions:

    * Did Shirley Sherrod resign so quickly because the circumstances of her hiring and the lawsuit settlement with her organization that preceded it might expose some unpleasant truths about her possible and possibly sanctioned conflicts of interest?
    * Is USDA worried about the exposure of possible waste, fraud, and abuse in its handling of Pigford?
    * Did USDA also dispatch Sherrod hastily because her continued presence, even for another day, might have gotten in the way of settling Pigford matters quickly?

    The media and the blogosphere shouldn’t be so quick to forget about Shirley Sherrod.

    See, The Washington Exam. is just getting started.

  87. 87
    cyntax says:

    @lamh32:

    Oh-Oh! I know this one!

    He’s a racist creep who ricochets so dramtically between states of insecurity and self-aggrandizement that even people with biploar disorders think “Damn, I thought I had it bad.”*

    *Respect to anyone with said syndrome.

  88. 88
    Elie says:

    @cat48:

    So are you implying that she has this appointment through some suspicious political “payback” of some sort? How long has she been at the USDA? And if this issue goes back to the 80’s, why are they hunting her down now?

    Your comment leaves me with more questions than answers. Rather than links, can you clean up the fuzziness around what you are trying to say?

  89. 89
    cyntax says:

    @lamh32:

    No, I think that’s accurate but where does that leave us? I mean that’s pretty much what I thought would happen when I voted for him, and I gotta believe a sharp guy like him was expecting that too.

    Gotta run lamh32 but it’s some interesting stuff to think about.

  90. 90
    Elie says:

    @cat48:

    Also — who are you and what is your angle here… lay out what you are trying to say and less links to this or that. What are you accusing Ms Sherrod or the USDA of doing. Spit it out. NOW!

  91. 91
    Mnemosyne says:

    @cat48:

    There is going to be a major split in the right wing noise machine here, and very quickly. When you have Breitbart and the Examiner on one side and Erickson and Beck on the other, things are going to get very ugly very fast.

    Though this whole thing sucked ass for poor Mrs. Sherrod, it’s starting to get extremely interesting. It would be so awesome if a woman with her long civil rights history ended up taking Breitbart down.

  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Elie:

    cat48 blockquoted very badly — she was quoting the right-wing Washington Examiner, which seems to be doubling down on the “scandal” while Beck and Erickson are backing off. So they’re not her questions, but quotes from the Examiner.

    Gonna be an interesting night.

  93. 93
    WereBear says:

    @Mnemosyne: This was a deliberately engineered attempt to bring down someone on the Democratic side in response to the NAACP taking on the Tea Party.

    Right on target. They should have expected this.

  94. 94
    El Cid says:

    @cat48: Oh, it’s not just Sherrod and the New Communities Inc. — they’re going to gin this whole Pigford suit & settlement into a giant race pimp scheme by black thugs with greedy liberal lawyers stealing money from good white American taxpayers because of white guilt, and this from shiftless negroes who probably never were farmers any way, hell, they probably were bused in from Chicago by Obama and ACORN and dressed up to look like poor Southern farmers.

  95. 95
    Keith G says:

    Since I like to follow through, I went to this site:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

    and left this message:

    I have been following the media coverage of the forced resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod.

    I feel that a brave, truth-telling woman and dedicated public servant has been wronged.

    I strongly urge the President to show the strength and wisdom I have believed he has possessed and ask Ms Sherrod to rejoin his administration with apologies.

    Mr Obama has often spoken about justice. I will be watching to see if his actions match his words. Short of that, I will be wondering how I may be able to trust other things he says.

    With Respects

  96. 96
    Elie says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    Thanks for the help in interpreting

    sorry Cat48

  97. 97
    Mike B says:

    If you ask me, Tom Vilsack needs to be forced to resign.

    The only way the Obama administration will start to stand up to this crap and push back is when those of us who are sick of it are the ones taking scalps.

  98. 98
    lamh32 says:

    Tim Wise has another great diary up on DKOS, that dovetails on this story, and the Black panther party story….

    Faux-pression: Racism and the Cult of White Victimhood
    by tim wise

    what follows is an excerpt from tim’s diary

    “..Once again, a case of individual racism–which turned out to be phony anyway–gets the attention, while the institutionalized mistreatment of people of color goes ignored.
    The pattern is familiar. In every generation whites have hyped fears of black anger, black bigotry and the supposed desire of African Americans to exact revenge on whites. From fears about slave rebellions, to claims that integration would lead black children to knife white children in the hallways and rape white girls, to paranoia about Obama’s secret plan for “white slavery,” the cult of white victimhood has long had its charter members. Sadly, nowadays the cult has the attention of the media and a white public already anxious about changing demographics, the presence of a black president and economic insecurity. Unless the targets of their race-baiting (including the President) show the courage to push back and expose them for the venal fear-pimps they are, their methods will only get more extreme, their lies more bold, and their ability to inflict lasting damage on the nation more definitive.”

  99. 99
    WereBear says:

    @Keith G: Thanks, I left one too:

    I understand that USDA Official Shirley Sherrod was forced to resign over a video which had been edited to create a completely false impression of her words and intentions.

    The source of this video was Andrew Breitbart, a journalist who had previously been involved in another misleading video which tarnished the innocent.

    As upset as I am over someone not being given a hearing, I am even more upset that Secretary Vilsack does not intend to correct his mistake.

    This is not justice.

    As a loyal supporter and contributor of Democrats in general, and President Obama in particular; I really wish to express my hope that Ms. Sherrod will be reinstated and given an apology.

    What happened to her was no different than what happened to Candidate Obama the entire time he was running. And he got the job.

  100. 100
    Irony Abounds says:

    @Jay B.:

    The Administration acted too quickly, didn’t have any plan for the backlash, was entirely too credulous to a right wing attack, didn’t think it through, then, after the damage was done to an innocent (and actually VERY ADMIRABLE) woman, they doubled down and said it was the right thing to do because of the agency’s poor record on civil rights (despite the fact that she is a highlight of civil rights). Then the White House both “backed” Vilsack and “didn’t take responsibility” for his actions.

    I was referring to the economy, the wars, etc. Clearly this particular matter has been handled in a horrible fashion.

    Breitbart: The White Farmers Who Praised Sherrod Were Planted

    Actually, I think they were planters, but I could be wrong.

  101. 101
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Keith G:
    @WereBear:

    Good idea. I don’t necessarily think that the administration caused the problem from the top, but they sure could fix it if they chose.

  102. 102
    You Don't Say says:

    @Keith G: Just checked again. Still no story that I can find. Very odd since they could easily post an AP version until they report their own.

  103. 103
    dms says:

    “given into fits of angst over my comments”

    Yeah, can’t apologize without denigrating someone else’s valid concern.

    I do hope you include yourself among the “assholes” tag you attached to this entry.

  104. 104
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Mike B:

    If you ask me, Tom Vilsack needs to be forced to resign Andrew Breitbart needs to lose his funding sources.

    Let’s start where the rot started — Andrew Breitbart, Danegeld Kitty, gets paid to spew crap and tell lies. The “respectable” Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer organizations that pay Breitbart to perform his gated-community version of a minstrel show should be named and shamed, assuming ‘shame’ is a word they can even recognize.

  105. 105
    Malron aka eclecticbrotha says:

    Welcome to the Balloon Boy era, ladies and gentleman: a place where you’re fed a completely phony story that’s whipped up by a media feeding frenzy, only to be thoroughly debunked as a hoax less than 24 hours later.

    I applaud the NAACP for their leadership on this matter. I only hope Tom Vilsack, the USDA and the president follow their example.

    In reality, I suspect the White House will begin to distance themselves from the whole affair and force Vilsack to issue some mea culpa while rehiring Ms. Sherrod in order to save face.

    At least I hope they will. But then, earlier today I wasn’t expecting the NAACP to be so forthcoming with their apology.

  106. 106
    Comrade Mary says:

    I actually wrote my first damn message to the White House EVER. And I didn’t swear once. Do I get a cookie?

  107. 107
    AhabTRuler says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Do I get a cookie?

    Yes, and probably one from the NSA, too!

    ETA: Or rather, a contractor will be in touch with your hard-drive shortly.

  108. 108
    Paul Nelson says:

    “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” The sad, unacceptable, pathetic thing is there shouldn’t have been a second time. We’re living in the La-Z-Boy era of commentary and reportage. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Doesn’t anybody fact-check anymore?!! Oh, sorry, I guess I’m living in another age.

  109. 109
    Loneoak says:

    The White House should hire Sherrod to run Michelle’s school gardening program, give her a big salary, and publicly apologize. And then audit the hell out of Breitbart’s taxes. That sounds like the most just option to me.

  110. 110
    Tom Betz says:

    Word from Marc Ambinder is that the WH is reconsidering Sherrod’s firing at this hour.

    Lets hope they pull their collective heads out of their asses and do the right thing.

  111. 111
    Elisabeth says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    FWIW, my effort:

    I trust that the issue of Ms. Sherrod’s forced resignation will be dealt with appropriatiately in the coming days, sooner rather than later. The NAACP’s statement issued Tuesday afternoon/evening seems like a great starting place. Secretary Vilsack can admit his department got played by a known liar, apologize for the knee-jerk reaction, and reinstate Ms. Sherrod with no disruption of salary and/or benefits.

    I look forward to such announcement in the next few days.

  112. 112
    Jilli says:

    You know, the saddest part of all this is that the people that need to hear the point of the story Ms. Sherrod is telling in the complete video – the real story she’s telling – are the ones like Mr. Breitbart and his cheerleaders. They need the lesson more than most, yet they remain deaf, dumb and blind. I feel pity and shame for them and their miserable souls.

  113. 113
    Sgt. Jrod and his Howling Commandos says:

    God dammit.

    We all are racist, by default. That is the way evolution has wired the human brain. Humans are naturally inclined to distrust and despise the other: anyone who’s not a part of your tribe.

    Some people seem to think racism is simply a trait picked up by people who just want to be evil, something you pick up from the same place you get your pencil-thin mustache to twirl and your maniacal laugh. No. Racism is a fucking curse that humans have to overcome, in both the way our society is structured, and within each and every individual.

    The only way to ever defeat racism is for every single damned person to take a hard look inside themselves, and choose to be different than our flawed evolution demands. Every person must choose for themselves to be better. And this is why this story is so enraging.

    Shirley Sherrod made that choice. She chose to be better than her base urges. She was canned for telling the story of her struggle, the struggle that we all have to get through if we’re going to have a society that’s worth more than a pile of shit. She is a fucking hero, a role model for any person who desires a society that’s not ruled by racism, and she was fired for it. What. The. FUCK.

    Some people will contest this. Some people haven’t, and don’t want to do the work that’s required to actually not be a racist. These assholes think they can’t possibly be racist, because they never joined the Klan, avoid the n-word, and besides they totally have that one black friend. They are, in short, lazy. They don’t want to do the work. This story is comforting to them, because it allows them to pretend that racism is just something that bad people feel. Sherrod said she had racist thoughts, therefore she’s a racist, now and forever. If such feelings can’t change, if such feelings are an immutable part of a person’s soul, then there’s no point looking at your own thoughts in any meaningful way. Because you’re a good person, and you know this because you just do.

    I’d say more about the idiocy of falling into Breitbart’s trap AGAIN but plenty has already been said. But yeah, holy shit. As it sits right now, any government employee who’s ever spoken in public or been recorded talking anywhere is subject to firing, if Breitbart demands it. We already know that the tape was blatantly edited. If the firing stands even though the tape was edited to convey the exact opposite of what Sherrod actually was saying, then we’ve handed Obama admin HR over to a known right-wing lying smear-monger. I can’t imagine a more stupid thing to do.

  114. 114
    4jkb4ia says:

    It is absolutely wrong that I am grateful to have missed the whole thing because of Tisha B’Av, although the Temple was destroyed in part because of this kind of behavior.

  115. 115
    Phoebe says:

    @Keith G: Thanks for the link!

    Did you say it was a policy or non-policy comment? I selected “policy comment” and said this:
    ************************************
    It’s a “policy comment” about Shirley Sherrod.

    I would like your administration to employ the policy of admitting when you did something wrong, and then making it better.

    You may think this is a small thing. You may think you made a p.r. mistake in having a beer with the professor and the cop, that that was too small for you to mess with. That might have been. This is not. This is a huge thing.

    I’m not saying you have to give another speech about it, just get Vilsack to apologize and give her her job back.

    Oh: And the whole idea that firing an innocent woman was okay to avoid the appearance of racism? He needs to backtrack on that too. That’s disgusting.

    Like prosecutors saying they don’t want to reopen cases [with new DNA evidence that exculpates the people they got convicted] because of “closure”, how that’s the important thing here. The excuse-making is actually more nauseating than the mistake.

    Fix this.

Comments are closed.