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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vilsack to Reconsider Sherrod's Resignation

First it was the NAACP that backtracked and now it may be Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he will reconsider the department's decision to oust a black employee over racially tinged remarks after learning more about what she said.

Vilsack issued a short statement early Wednesday morning after Shirley Sherrod, who until Tuesday was the Agriculture Department's director of rural development in Georgia, said she was pressured to resign because of her comments that she didn't give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago.

Sherrod said her remarks, delivered in March at a local NAACP banquet in Georgia, were part of a larger story about learning from her mistakes and racial reconciliation, not racism, and they were taken out of context by bloggers who posted only part of her speech.

This story continues to evolve and Sherrod canceled her appearance with Megyn Kelly yesterday afternoon. At some point, the attention will focus on Andrew Breitbart who first publicized the edited video.

Here's the full video.

Breitbart is holding firm.

The funny thing is, according to Tuesday’s statement issued by the NAACP’s Benjamin Jealous, it’s now all Fox News and Andrew Breitbart’s fault that the NAACP and the White House got ’snookered’ and Ms. Sherrod became an inconvenient speed bump:

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 NAACP’s after-the-fact back pedaling can’t hide the fact that they knew there was a contextual problem and they still condemned her (and the audience) anyway, making her the roadkill on their path to demonize average Americans.

Speaking of context, Big Government played two minutes of a nearly forty five minute speech and made someone look like a racist when they were telling a story of racial reconciliation. The white farmer in the story, Roger Spooner, has come to her aid.

Her husband told her, 'You're spending more time with the Spooners than you are with me,' " Spooner told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "She took probably two or three trips with us to Albany just to help us out."

She said she called Sherrod — "a friend for life" — this morning. "She's very sad about it," Spooner said. "She told me she was so glad we talked. I just can't believe this is happening to her."


1 comment:

AG said...

I'm interested in seeing if any legal repercussions arise out of this. If I recall correctly, disparaging a person's ability to do their job with factually inaccurate information is one of the categories of per se defamation. While normally a lawsuit for defamation requires malicious intent, if it fits within one of the categories of per se defamation, malice is presumed.

The other categories include false accusations about committing a crime, having a communicable disease, or committing adultery.