Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 20, 2010

THE CIRCUMSTANCES BEHIND SHERROD'S OUSTER.... We talked earlier about the latest Breitbart/Big Government clip, which may have forced the resignation of a capable administration official who did nothing wrong. There's been some interesting discussion this afternoon about all the blame that can be spread around.

To quickly review, a video from the right-wing website shows USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who has been the director of regional development in Georgia, talking to the NAACP about an instance in which she didn't work as hard as she should have for a white farmer because she was "struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farm land." What the clip didn't show was that Sherrod was talking about an incident from 24 years ago -- long before she joined the USDA -- in which she eventually worked with that farmer to help ward off foreclosure of his farm.

While there's been ample criticism of Breitbart/Big Government for releasing the misleading video, in some circles, there's been nearly as much criticism of the Obama administration. After all, Sherrod said today that she was forced to step down from her post after receiving "at least three calls telling me the White House wanted me to resign."

The point, obviously, is that the administration shouldn't act too hastily in response to some right-wing hatchet job. It's understandable that officials would be concerned about some new media "scandal" -- one probably intended to generate racial tensions in advance of the midterm elections -- but it's preferable to get the facts first.

This afternoon, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, whose department oversees the USDA, said he's the one who made the decision -- the White House didn't pressure Vilsack or Sherrod. From the cabinet secretary's statement:

"Yesterday, I asked for and accepted Ms. Sherrod's resignation for two reasons. First, for the past 18 months, we have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at USDA and this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices. Second, state rural development directors make many decisions and are often called to use their discretion. The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia.

"Our policy is clear. There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA and we strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person. We have a duty to ensure that when we provide services to the American people we do so in an equitable manner. But equally important is our duty to instill confidence in the American people that we are fair service providers."

That's fine, but I'm left with two questions:

1. The next time a right-wing website releases a video like this, can skepticism please rule the day until all the facts are out?

2. Since Sherrod didn't do what she was accused of, can Vilsack re-hire her for the job?

Steve Benen 4:45 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (66)

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There has to be something illegal in what Breibart is doing, do we have a lawyer here?

Posted by: JS on July 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

2. Since Sherrod didn't do what she was accused of, can Vilsack re-hire her for the job?

Only if his next move is to turn in his own resignation.

Posted by: DJ on July 20, 2010 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

There has to be something illegal in what Breibart is doing, do we have a lawyer here?

Don't libel/slander laws cover posting misleadingly edited videos of a person with malicious intent? Of course, Breitbart says he got the video edited as is from a "source", so the "source" is the real slanderer, and he's somewhat protected by journalist shield laws.

So, maybe, no, nothing. But at the very least Breitbart should be shamed and black-balled until he issues a personal apology to Sherrod, and explains to the rest of us why we should ever trust what he says in the future. But, that's unlikely to happen either. Case in point: Fox News is still on the air.

Posted by: Tom Dibble on July 20, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

It's a frickin' disgrace--Breitbart post misleading bullshit hit piece, white house goes belly up. Unbelievable--yes the honorable thing here is for that dickhead Vilsak to resign--the only honorable thing. What a farce.

Posted by: HC Carey on July 20, 2010 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone yet to see the "whole" video?

Seems like lots of folks spouting off with not much to go on here.

Posted by: cr on July 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

The really sad thing about this is that it makes it harder for us to speak honestly about race. That's what this woman was doing in that speech (it seems, based on the reports), and for that, she lost her job. These are not easy issues to talk about, and it takes courageous people to stand up and discuss their own faults and struggles with racial issues. The fact that she was fired for doing that is really, really, REALLY disappointing to me, especially given Obama's speech after the Rev. Wright mess.

Posted by: anon on July 20, 2010 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'll bet you anything - anything! - this 'edited' tape came from the same knucklehead who torpedoed ACORN with his pimp/whore schtick, and attempted to sabotage a sitting senators phone system. Anything!

Posted by: bcinaz on July 20, 2010 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone yet to see the "whole" video?
Posted by: cr

Have you?

Posted by: DJ on July 20, 2010 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

I ask the same question. Has anyone seen the entire video. If it is as Sherrod says, which I think it does having watched the edited clip, then the entire video will totally vindicate her. If it isn't then we can move on.

The NCAAP should have the entire thing. Where is it?

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

I would also like to see the entire video. Is there any attempt to get it out there?

I would also like to know what happened to the people in Breitbart's earlier Acorn tape editing hatchet job. Certainly those who lost jobs over it were exonerated...not...maybe...yes? What was the outcome of that? Certainly they could sue also. Any news on that front?

Posted by: whichwitch on July 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

No, it was an honest question.

Posted by: cr on July 20, 2010 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

No, it was an honest question.
Posted by: cr

Well, Ms. Sherrod claims that her entire speech recounted how she did what she could for the family, and that in the process she was able to move beyond whatever prejudices she might have had to see things in a more enlightened perspective. In other words, a variation on the "moving beyond bigotry and ignorance" story. The video cameraman who filmed the speech corroborated her claim. So it would be helpful for that full video to get out very soon.

Posted by: DJ on July 20, 2010 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR DISCRIMINATION: if this is the criteria for retaining a government position, the unemployment rate has just skyrocketed in the federal service. Let's start with the Pentagon and the military contractors, then move along to MMS, the CIA/FBI/NSA/ETC. Why just zero tolerance for discrimination? Why not for bigotry, misstatements on the floor of congress, Joe Biden's gaffes? This is really spiraling out of control. Wait til the Wikileaks opens it files.

Posted by: st john on July 20, 2010 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently Vilsach isn't overseeing anything. He's wearing a blindfold. Firing someone for being accused without bothering to find out if the accusation has any merit tells me the wrong person was fired.

So he's ended a life long career on a whim. What an asshole. That should answer your second question Mr. Benen. If he didn't have the guts to stand up for her in the first place then he doesn't have the guts to admit to his mistake.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 20, 2010 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Vilsack is a political hack, not a responsible Secretary of Agriculture. He won't recant and will not hire her back.

Bad enough that he's a political hack, but he's an inept one, handing the worst of the right-wing base a victory for deceptive smear politics.

Posted by: Algernon on July 20, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

This one is on Obama and the culture he's created at the White House and among his appointees. One that avoids all but sure bet fights and one that retreats from right-wing attacks.

I get the rope-a-dope strategy he used on McCain and to a lesser extrent Clinton during the campaign. But I'm starting to believe that was less a deliberate strategy and 'cool under pressure Obama' and more of a basic mindset. Obama just doesn't react with force when confronted. He's prefers to compromise or retreat rather than engage directly.

At some point Obama and his adminstration need to figure out that one needs to fight or be percieved as a fighter. That does not mean yelling or 'kicking ass'. It means taking a primcipled stand, even when it's hard, even when its a loosing fight and sticking to your guns. It means standing up for a wrongly accused employee and fighting for them. It means drawing a clear line in the sand on legislation and 'no more compromises' rather than letting everybody else compromise around you and claiming 'victory' at the end. It means putting contraceptive coverage into the new healthcare regulations rather than leaving it out to avoid a fight with the religious right.

Posted by: thorin-1 on July 20, 2010 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say Vilsak is the bigot and the zero tolerance should be applied to his career. I want to see him sharing a beer with Barack and Ms. Sherrod, ala the professor and the cop. Not going to happen. Fire Vilsak and let him work for the Tea Baggers. Those are his people.

Posted by: st john on July 20, 2010 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

It would be interesting to know who added the lead-in text to the video--no way that Rural Development spends $1.2 billion in Georgia and it's clear from the video she wasn't in USDA at the time and it occurred in the 1980's.

Posted by: Bill Harshaw on July 20, 2010 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

Question: does Briebart make money off of his 'reporting'? If so, if he creates or promotes inaccurate materials to make a profit from it doesn't that qualify as a scam or some other fraudulent act?

By the by, I do think slander or defamation laws might work here as Briebart's reporting falsely targeted a person who lost her job because of it. I think there's a few ACORN workers filing suit against him for what happened to them. The real problem is that A) the people defending themselves aren't wealthy enough to ensure the cases actually go to trial and that B) Briebart and his buddies have enough wealth to prolong any court cases and force his victims to settle quietly out of court.

Posted by: PaulW on July 20, 2010 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing. The USDA stands convicted of institutional racism against african-American farmers for over a century well into the 1990's that costs the US taxpayer over a Billion$ and no one is fired, loses their pension or is punished in any way.

Whereas a Black woman noting her ( apperently successfully since she did help save the white farmers farm) struggle to overcome an urge to vent her recognition of the that injustice is summarily fired.

This ignore that fact that her comments were about an incident that predate her employment by the USDA or any other government agency.

Lets see Vilsak and the USDA reopen the cases of Black farmers getting cheated and pursueing criminial and civil cases against those that implement that racist policy.

Oh No I forgot this group of Dem's just want to "move forward" where it comes to pursueing past administrations criminial behavior except when they can show their balance by throwing minorities, Civil Rights and the Rule of Law over the side to show their reactionary bona fides.

Coupled with the energy with which the D's joined in with the crucification of Acorn, comparing civil rights ( specifically as applied to Gay americans) to incest and bestiality in Court filings, Abondoning a womans right to choose, defending torture, continueing wars of conquest, ignoring criminail actions by the bush junta, etc, etc and then they wonder why their past supporters can't be bothered to turn out to reelect them.

Good luck as they reap what they have sown.

They sold out their constituents to appease those that cannot be appeased.


Posted by: Ken on July 20, 2010 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

What really bothers me also is that this administration can't
seem to find the time and energy to de Bushify the DoJ and the rest of government where these Regent University grads etc. were appointed for political reasons but they find time for this and making sure the "guilty as hell" senator from AK., Stevens gets freed while an innocent Don Siegleman and others are passed over without concern.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 20, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Vilsack: we'll fire anyone accused of anything that gets picked up by right wing news.

Sorry but his explanation isn't good enough.

Posted by: Jordan on July 20, 2010 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

Considering this administration's fear of FoxNews, it's amazing that they haven't rounded up and publicly executed the members of the NBPP. Yet.

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on July 20, 2010 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

@PaulW...Couldn't some kind of legal defense fund be created to help those who have lost their jobs then (Acorn people...I can't comment on Miss Sherrod until more info and video come out)? I certainly would help and I know many more who would also. Meanwhile, Briebart is willing helping our unemployment stats explode!

Posted by: whichwitch on July 20, 2010 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

I meant to say "willingly" helping our unemployment stats explode....

Posted by: whichwitch on July 20, 2010 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is the second time that sonofabitch has gotten people fired on the strength of misleading, edited videotapes.

He's been successful at it, and he's going to keep doing it. And why wouldn't he? It's working. It is his meal ticket.

Posted by: kc on July 20, 2010 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Did Vilsack have cause for the firing if she wasn't working for the USDA at the time of her actions (whatever they were)? I'm not sure she doesn't have grounds to get reinstated -- but probably depends on rules I don't know anything about.

Posted by: David in NY on July 20, 2010 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah that darn Vilsack. Who is his boss anyway?

Posted by: Dale on July 20, 2010 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Saying that it was Vilsack and not the White House is a distinction without a difference.

And basically, what thorin-1 said. Whether anyone WH staffer called her or not is beside the point. This whole folding up and caving into the latest right wing nonsense is completely typical of the Democratic party and the Obama administration.

Is this part of their effort to increase the enthusiasm of the base?

Posted by: Vince on July 20, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think the call to fire her came specifically from Obama, but I do think Obama's staff is spooked at the midterms becoming about racial issues and a sense of victimhood from whites. I think if this was 2012 Obama's people wouldn't be so reactionary to right-wing complaints on racial issues, but in 2010 the last thing they want is for the median voter to buy into the Fox/Conservative narrative that the Obama administration is only looking after the interest of blacks.

Posted by: Archon on July 20, 2010 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Please don't hit me. I won't do it again, I promise.

This seems to work for so many progressive issues, not. Geez, when are the D's going to stop bending over? And why can't they figure out how to defend their own. Yeah, the right wingers are going to ignore or misconstrue anything we say so why not call them out on it. It's willful ignorance. The people who report these stories would rather lie and destroy peoples lives unless we march in lockstep with their pitiful views. The right wing is not stupid, they just act that way. They'll do whatever it takes to get their point across. And until we call them on it, and strongly, they'll just keep doing it. Maybe they'll continue even after we call them on it. But at least we can say we have a spine. Or we can just cower in the corner. I don't know about you but I'm getting pretty sick of cowering.

Posted by: lianne16 on July 20, 2010 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldn't be too hard on Vilsack. It's hard to be courageous after you've wet your pants.

Posted by: bluestatedon on July 20, 2010 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, this is pitiful. Team-O doing cartwheels in fear of The Great White Anger and crapping on poor souls just reminiscing about the former ways. It's like firing as "an alcoholic" a person you taped at an AA meeting (well, sort of.) At least some of the MSM are getting it, well enough - tonight's NBC NN had a story, showing the rest of the story, quoting that Republican voting official who poo-ppoed it, quick take from a guy warning of creative editing etc.

They also mentioned the NBPP story, doing well enough but not saying the officials signing off on reducing the case were mostly appointed by Bush. Of course they weren't going to "go there" about the deliberate White-wing attempt to tar (sorry, can't get off those metaphors) any Democrat or "fellow traveler" who seems to be out "to get whitey."

But the outrage too is, how could Team O, the NAACP etc. fall for any excerpted tape, unless the language itself was so inflammatory it left no recourse? Like Steve says, why oh why don't we have a better Presidential corps?

Posted by: neil b on July 20, 2010 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

cr, they showed the part of the tape where she says it taught her that race wasn't the issue after all. Her later comments exonerate her, unless there's more to warrant reversion. BTW the principle of accepting the excerpt as making the point, is *in itself* cowardly and unethical (like, conviction w/o trial) even in advance of knowing the final result (as would be with trials.)

Posted by: neil b' on July 20, 2010 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

The rest of this story is heartbreaking, this woman's father was murdered by the KKK, still she helped the white farmer, who with his wife were on TV saying that they thought someone was trying to make trouble and that they considered her to have been their best friend over the years.

Posted by: JS on July 20, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'm going to go all the way to Godwin here and say that Brietbart has shown himself to be the greatest liar and propogandist since Joseph Goebbels-and I hope he gets sued all the way to bankruptcy. There, I said it.

Posted by: stonetools on July 20, 2010 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

"...but in 2010 the last thing they want is for the median voter to buy into the Fox/Conservative narrative that the Obama administration is only looking after the interest of blacks." Archon @ 6:14 PM.

Any voter who "buys into" the crap spewed by the conservatives and the network that pimps for them certainly doesn't qualify as "median". This sewage is believable only to those who WANT to believe it. Unfortunately, there are quite a few such people in this country.
Vilsack should resign, but only after reinstating and apologizing to Sherrod. As for "telephone calls from the White House"; they most likely originated from Mr. Emanuel's office/staff. His only "contribution" to the Democratic Party has been the "Blue Dog" Democrats. Since the "Blue Dogs" basically represent Republican seats, they "prove" his ability to fashion a "bi-partisan" Democratic policy that appeals to Republican voters. Actually, they do no such thing and only make it harder to manage the Democratic caucus in the House. The important point, however, is: lose the "Blue Dogs" and Mr. Emanuel's influence declines as well.
An ego is a terrible thing to waste...

Posted by: Doug on July 20, 2010 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Surely there's an avenue for Federal employees to appeal discharges? I think she should try that, and Vile-sacker should get the hell out of the way. I hope O-Team some day appreciates that caving to bullies doesn't impress them anyway, makes your friends saddened and outraged, and leaves independents contemptuous. (Let's REM tho that Obama didn't call for the ouster, and his support is pretty boilerplate BUA even if not inspiring.)

Posted by: neil b'' on July 20, 2010 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

The White House administration has to come down hard against any hint of racial favoritism on their part - it is truly a kiss of death in today's climate. Therefore I don't entirely fault Vilsack for asking for the resignation (yes, not accepting Fox & Briebart at face value without double-checking the facts is dumb, but investigations can do more damage than a quick amputation). However, all accounts suggest that the woman was blameless, that we need these sorts of conversations and enlightened viewpoints, and that Briebart should be walked off a short plank. If that's correct, Obama should launch an investigation, complain loudly about lying rightwingers, start a legal defense fund for the lady to sue Briebart (doesn't matter what happens, just sic some lawyers on him publicly), and make a great fanfare out of hiring her back.

Posted by: N.Wells on July 20, 2010 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Surely there's an avenue for Federal employees to appeal discharges? -- neil b", @19:31

From Vilsack's blah-blah, I gather that she wasn't fired; she was "persuaded" to resign. Big difference. There's no recourse to a voluntary termination of employment.

Posted by: exlibra on July 20, 2010 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

That means, no recourse to directly rescinding the decision. But people who leave an agencies can apply to work for them again, it happens all the time as they move around careers. So Sherrod should reapply and in effect dare them to rehire her.

I have to admit, her saying "his own kind" grates, but it's secondary to the main theme of the pretense she was speaking present tense - the trickery by Breitbart, and the caving by the Administration while not at least waiting to see more.

Posted by: neil b on July 20, 2010 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

Is it too late to de-beatify Saint Paul?

I just checked the Bible, and it had him admitting to some really heinous shit before changing his name from "Saul" to "Paul" (presumably to escape justice).

In my New Abridged Breitbart Edition, the story abruptly ends just as Paul starts to describe a journey to someplace called "Damascus"...but I'm sure nothing really important happened after that, and anyway we've already got his confession.

Posted by: Lionel Hutz, Attorney at Law on July 20, 2010 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

EMAIL Tom Vilsack to reinstate her:


Posted by: jw456 on July 20, 2010 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

Do more than email VILSAK! Email your congresscritters and whitehouse.gov. Send it to EVERYONE you know. They care about JOBS, the 'little people', Christianity, etc. etc. Let alone JOURNALISM? They expect US to google but they CAN'T??? I am so furious.

Posted by: SYSPROG on July 20, 2010 at 9:10 PM | PERMALINK

Since Sherrod didn't do what she was accused of, can Vilsack re-hire her for the job?

That’s EXACTLY what should happen.

Call Tom Vilsack tomorrow and leave a message telling him how unfair he was to this woman:

Office of the Secretary


Posted by: Joe Friday on July 20, 2010 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

The whole video is up on the NAACP's website. The point of the speech is that white and black should work together, that she came up through the Civil Rights movement thinking she was in it to help just black people, and realized through the experience with this white farmer--who she ended up helping when the white lawyer didn't lift a finger for him--that she needed to recommit herself to helping all poor people regardless of race.

Posted by: rabbit on July 20, 2010 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

Bull! They could apologize and persuade her to reapply for her job and rehire her. she's the type of employee they should WANT -- someone who can honestly reflect on what they feel or have done and make mid-course corrections. Since no one is perfect, this is about the best one can hope for among humans. If they don't find a way to rehire her, they make themselves look like total FOOLS for falling for the faux news and look like bad politicians for firing someone for political reasons (to look good by firing someone for something they did long before they had the job -- how many people broke some law or did something not very ethical at some point in their lives -- are they then not eligible to hold any job from then on???) MESSAGE TO VILSAK: WAKE UP AND DO WHAT'S RIGHT, RIGHT NOW or go down in history as a total dupe!

Posted by: pea on July 20, 2010 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

It would be tragic if the Obama administration fails to take advantage of this teachable moment. Clearly, Sec. Vilsack jumped the gun and, judging from his statement, still doesn't realize how wrong-headed his thinking was.

From all reports, the administration has now compounded the problem, evidently believing that backing the Secretary is more important than using common sense.

How refreshing it would be if both the Secretary and the Administration followed the NAACP's lead, admitted that they'd been precipitous, and promised that from now on they will reserve judgment until all the facts are known. Not only would this be the principled thing to do, but it would set an example for the rest of us that would be pretty hard to argue with. It might not impress the Breitbart/Fox News contingent, but there are a lot of people out there who would appreciate this kind of leadership. We can but hope.

Posted by: Barbara Chew on July 20, 2010 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

I think Sherrod would make a wonderful replacement for Vilsack.

Posted by: Memekiller on July 20, 2010 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Vilsack's resignation, tomorrow. Perhaps Obama's also, I'm pretty much ready to try Biden.

Posted by: Kris on July 20, 2010 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Having seen the whole story Sherrod's real story should be told as an example of how we should all act all the time. I watched CNN. The white couple count her as a best friend. She helped when know one else would.

If Obama doesn't make this right, and right away, shame on him. He doesn't deserve anybody's support. The Ag Sec should do the right thing tomorrow morning. A head should roll but I haven't figured out if it Vilsack or the guttless toadie in the White House political operation.

This was a Fox News hit job of the first order. The creep Breibart should be ashamed and unemployed.

As to the White House, this isn't the first time they have responded too quickly to a Fox News hit piece. You think they would learn to count to ten before acting. Never take anything reported on Fox News at face value. The only thing involving news at Fox News is the second word in their desceptive name.

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 20, 2010 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Vilsack the hack. Vilsack the sad sack.
Tom "I don't got your back" Vilsack.
Tom "It's Andrew Breitbart! Run for your lives!" Vilsack.

Posted by: Steve on July 20, 2010 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

Kris, yours is a ridiculous statement. The President cannot run the country and every department himself thus we have Secretaries of ...Agriculture to name one. I am certain the President is processing and planning a well thought out response to this incident.

Posted by: maggie on July 20, 2010 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Breitbart: Big Government, Big Journalism, Big Hollywood, Big Lie.

Posted by: Steve on July 21, 2010 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Vilsack the hack. Vilsack the sad sack.
Tom "I don't got your back" Vilsack.
Tom "It's Andrew Breitbart! Run for your lives!" Vilsack.
Posted by: Steve on July 20, 2010 at 10:58 PM

Yes, but vill Vilsack get the sack (as he deserves)? I doubt it.

Posted by: exlibra on July 21, 2010 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to point out that the NAACP also condemn Ms. Sherrod before all the facts were aired.

Apparently it isn't just the Obama administration that is scared of race charged issues.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on July 21, 2010 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

The word on the street tonight is Obama is going to stand behind Vilsack's firing of Sherrod.

I hope the White House political shop realizes that if Obama doesn't right the Sherrod injustice there will be a rebellion in Democratic ranks that will assure a Republican sweep this fall.

Vilsack is positioning himself to take one for the team, but the real guy who should be sacked is in the White House political shop. I wonder if his name is Axelrod or if it is Emmanual?

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 21, 2010 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think the point made by Dr. Morpheus about the NAACP is important, because its hasty outrage over this edited speech and the attention it drew may have been more of a driving force in Vilsack's over the top response than the clip simply airing on FOX. Since the leadership of the NAACP has been all over TV today admitting their mistake, I believe the Obama Admin will follow suit and apologize. Unfortunately, the controversy might really make it hard for this good woman to continue in her job, because of all the nut jobs that will hound her now.

Posted by: DC on July 21, 2010 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, the NAACP condemned her at first, but when the full facts came out, they apologized and urged the USDA to hire her back. They've admitted their mistake. Vilsack should do the same.

Posted by: Joe Buck on July 21, 2010 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Does this smell of Rahm Emanuel or what?

Posted by: urban legend on July 21, 2010 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

I agree completely that Obama should follow NAACP's lead here.

I just wanted to point out that the Administration's hasty actions were not alone.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on July 21, 2010 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Uh, what evidence do we have that Emanuel has ANYTHING to do with this?

Frankly I think there's some anti-semiticism lurking behind this knee-jerk reaction to blame Rahm Emanuel for everything.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on July 21, 2010 at 1:43 AM | PERMALINK

"Fool me once,...," well, you how it goes.

ACORN. Now Shirley Sherrod. Targets of doctored right-wing videos, taken out of context, spliced to make innocent people look like they were doing and saying something that they weren't.

ACORN gets it's funding summarily yanked by Congress, which a court later decided was unconstitutional, but bye-bye ACORN.

An exemplary American citizen, Shirley Sherrod, has a short moment-of-truth segment of a 43 minute-long speech taken out of context by right-wing hatchet goons, and she gets fired, because Vilsack, who obviously hadn't seen the entire speech before canning Sherrod, doesn't want to give people the wrong "impression" about policy at Agriculture regarding discrimination.

So, Vilsack, how's that "impression" thingie working out for you? Because it is my "impression" that you at least, if not also someone in the Obama White House, got fooled again with a slanderous right-wing video-doctoring job, and another innocent, laudable instead of villifiable American citizen (unlike Breitbart) gets run over with your help.

And whichwitch, one of the ACORN employees who got fired because of the video fraud committed by O'Keefe and Breitbart has filed a civil lawsuit against them out in California, asking for $75,000 and punitive damages. This was the ACORN worker who played along with the non-pimp-attired O'keefe and his supposed hooker girlfriend, the ACORN worker who immediately after O'keefe and "his girl" left called his brother-in-law who worked at the police department, reporting on a possible human smuggling operation, which his brother-in-law then passed on to someone in the police task force handling human smuggling cases. And this ACORN worker was fired for doing the right thing.

Incredible. But it obvious that the insanity and rascism in conservative Republican circles is reaching critical mass...as in critical mass stupidity...fueled by the worst right-wing smear organization in American history, Fox News, with Roger Ailes being the warped right-wing ringleader behind this corrupt ?news? organization, with presumably Rupert Murdoch green-lighting everything done by and said on Fox News, no matter how scurrilous, deceitful and ultimately dangerous for our democracy.

Posted by: The Oracle on July 21, 2010 at 4:27 AM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus, shame on you. People despise Rahm for perfectly good rational reasons of theirs, altho I wonder if he's as band as many say. In any case, hiding behind "anti-Semitism" or "anti-black" because of someone's identity is a trick to improperly immunize them from criticism. You don't want Rahm to be babied like Steels, do you?

Posted by: neil b on July 21, 2010 at 7:21 AM | PERMALINK

it used to be that this sort of 'journalism' was only seen at the supermarket check-out line. . .

Posted by: DAY on July 21, 2010 at 7:23 AM | PERMALINK

Seems Brietbart got exactly what he wanted. The story about the TEA baggers being racist is dead and gone. The MSM is scrambling to blame the White House again without knowing the whole story or having facts behind them yet again, most employers blame the higher ups when letting an employee go.

Justice would be to fire Vilsack and appoint Sherrod to Sec. of the USDA or appoint her to head up the FCC.

More then likely she will sue the government instead of the FOX channel or Brietbart.

Posted by: Fed Up and Tired on July 21, 2010 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK



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