Shirley Sherrod

Jena McGregor in the Washington Post:

There appears to have been little careful examination. In her telling, she was pushed to resign immediately–so immediate, she says, that she was told to pull off to the side of the road and do it because the story was going to be on Glenn Beck that evening. (Sherrod also says the White House was involved in her dismissal; Vilsack has said it wasn’t.)

If what she says is true, it’s an extraordinary rush to judgment that could tarnish not only the reputation of Vilsack’s leadership, but also of the NAACP, which was also quick to condemn Sherrod before later admitting it was “snookered.”

We pay our leaders to think clearly. To examine all the facts before they make decisions. To act quickly and decisively, but not so much that fairness goes out the window. In the Sherrod affair, Vilsack–and the NAACP–should have issued statements that they were investigating the matter, and only made a decision after gathering all information possible and considering the full weight of the issues. Instead, the review is coming now, when it may be too late.

The reporter takes a small slap at the blogosphere in her essay. She fails to note “conservative blogosphere.” I challenge her to find that kind of false reporting from the top liberal blogs.

Note from Joe: The full video and transcript of Sherrod’s speech can be found here. Read it. Watch it. It’s an amazing discussion about race in America. Here’s an excerpt:

But where am I going with this? You know, I couldn’t say 45 years ago — I couldn’t stand here and say what I’m saying — what I will say to you tonight. Like I told you, God helped me to see that it’s not just about black people — it’s about poor people. And I’ve come a long way. I knew that I couldn’t live with hate, you know. As my mother has said to so many, “If we had tried to live with hate in our hearts, we’d probably be dead now.”

But I’ve come to realize that we have to work together and — you know, it’s sad that we don’t have a room full of white and blacks here tonight, ’cause we have to overcome the divisions that we have. We have to get to the point where, as Tony Morrison said, “Race exists but it doesn’t matter.” We have to work just as hard. I know it’s — you know, that division is still here, but our communities are not going to thrive — you know, our children won’t have the — the communities that they need to be able to stay in and live in and — and have a good life if we can’t figure this out, you all. White people, black people, Hispanic people, we all have to do our part to make our communities a safe place, a healthy place, a good environment.

Sherrod did the rounds on the morning shows today. She’s got an amazing story. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of her. And, that’s a very good thing.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • I didn’t vote for him. The most hilarious quote was the whole “I’m a blank slate that people project their own political beliefs on”.

  • q

    hope springs eternal…

  • q

    You read his book… If I had read that thing before the election i would have never voted for him.

    Cried for hours at the tombstone of his father who he spent a grand total of about a week with? First black person he ever met was in High School?

  • NotTimothyGeithner

    -MoveOn condemned by Congress over an ad
    -ACORN more or less destroyed over another scam by Breibart
    -Sherrod resignation
    -Obama praising the mass firing of teachers
    -the DNC portraying criticism of the Afghanistan War as unpatriotic and attacking the troops
    -Obama declaring drilling safe and repeating GOP lies about oil wells during Katrina

    This is the Democratic Party. Maybe they aren’t as gleeful about killing people as the GOP, but they want the GOP’s approval more than my cat wants to eat at sunrise.

  • ezpz

    That’s funny (not ha ha exactly) – In replying to you just now on another thread, I used that expression too.

  • soundboyjeff

    I think nobody asked rahm.

  • soundboyjeff

    the most ironic thing here is how quickly the administration responded to this “new” from the RIGHT… when critique from the left has absolutely no pull at all.

    why do they pander to people who want them to fail and will do anything to make it happen?

    they didn’t examine FACTS… that’s really scary in leadership.

  • soundboyjeff

    This whole story reminds me of the fact that I’m actually a racist myself… I’m partial to members of the Human race. Which explains why I have this negative bias toward people like brietbart, limbaugh, beck et al.

    of course, now brietbart can clip the beginning of my statement and use it to show that people posting to Americablog are racists.

    see how that works?

  • PeteWa

    wonder how many internal polls they had to take before (finally) coming to that point?

  • Update:

    (CNN) — President Barack Obama spoke Thursday with Shirley Sherrod, the former Agriculture Department employee who was forced to resign from her job based on incomplete and misleading reports about a speech she gave in March.

    Sherrod received a text message telling her Obama had been trying to reach her since Wednesday night, said Julie O’Neill, a CNN Special Investigations Unit producer who was with her at the time. Sherrod called the White House and was asked to call back in 10 minutes, at which time she spoke to the president.

    Sherrod was “very, very pleased with the conversation,” O’Neill said, and told her Obama had said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was “very apologetic and very sincere.” Vilsack apologized to Sherrod on Wednesday and offered her a different position within the department.

    Obama compared some of the events this week surrounding Sherrod to things he has written about in his books, O’Neill said. Sherrod “invited him to South Georgia,” she added.

    During the seven-minute conversation, “The president told Ms. Sherrod that this misfortune can present an opportunity for her to continue her hard work on behalf of those in need, and he hopes that she will do so,” the White House said in a statement about the phone conversation.

    Obama “expressed to Ms. Sherrod his regret about the events of the last several days,” the statement said.

    “She’s feeling pretty good after talking to him,” O’Neill said.
    I guess Obama’s handlers finally got around to doing the right thing.

  • I think I have just found a reader comment that is the epitome of a cable news cycle comment.

    So sorry you may get bored by her. Really, I am. Gee, I hope somehow Ms. Sherrod can make it more interesting for you.

    I do not recall taking issue with you in the past, as we generally agree.

    However, this type of response, just one day after all this has gone down, strikes me as just as unfortunate. Give the lady a break…she nearly had her life and career utterly destroyed over right-wing propaganda. If anything, this incident will have a positive effect on how future right-wing attacks are handled.

    If any story is a teaching moment, it is this one. Hopefully, it has legs for one at least one more news cycle. Or soundbite.

  • ndtovent

    I hope she sues the sh*t out of faux news and breit(dumb)bart, and lightens their bank accounts a little. I think she has a case for character defamation.

  • If Breitbart put out an edited video that he knew did not represent what this woman was saying, to tarnish her as a racist, then there are grounds for a lawsuit. There are various posts online that speak to the justification for such a suit. Nobody is saying opposing viewpoints should be stifled. However, deliberately putting out distortions, in order to destroy people’s lives, is an entirely different matter, worthy of investigation. Intentional slander has its judicial consequences.I happen to be a Progressive and her response is exactly what I want to hear. Trashing this woman is exactly the response I do not want to hear.She does not deserve it.

  • Thanks for reducing Ms. Sherrod’s story to a soundbite.

    I totally disagree with you. Here is a woman who everyone sought to destroy, yet the story of that entire original speech is incredibly compelling…..

    Sherrod’s family has a cross burned on their lawn by the kkk…she has her dad murdered by 3 white men who never even got indicted…and was able to come full circle and recognize that the differences in our country are now more a matter of class than race…and you brush it off that she has ‘jumped the shark???’

    Jump the shark is a term used to define when tv shows have passed their prime…the term coming from an episode of Happy Days where Fonzie (on water skis) jumped over a shark in a tank.

    Applying that term to what this lady has been through is offensive.

    1) She should sue Breitbart for libel.
    2) She was prodded on Obama by a reporter and stated that she did not want an apology, but DID want a conversation. Actually, she deserves an apology. Kudos to her for not demanding one.

    Personally, Obama could use some schooling from those in the trenches, because he doesn’t seem to get it. The reaction by his administration over this, and all the other right-wing racially-tinged attacks, shows he has a lot of maturing to do.

  • TrappedinaRedState

    I’m assuming you refer to Lolo Soetoro who was a geologist for Mobil Oil Corporation. While geologists DO make a good living I’d hardly call it a ‘fortune’ or ‘filthy rich’. FAIL.

    If you’re going to try and spread crap like this around at least try and make it something that can’t easily be fact-checked.

  • The head of the NAACP needs to step down. Their behavior…not bothering to investigate what happened at THEIR OWN EVENT, before passing judgement, is unforgiveable.

    Until there is a change, there will be a severe erosion of trust and credibility.

  • NotTimothyGeithner

    I had wondered why Julian Bond stayed on as Chair for so long before retiring about a year ago, and now I think I know why.

  • Ding Ding Ding…we have a winner.

  • KarenMrsLloydRichards

    Also, she says she wants Breitbart’s site shut down. That is not a response a Progressive wants to hear. And censoring even the most egregious ratf***er in the Tea Party/GOP is not the answer to what ails us and what made her a victim.

  • PeteWa

    ah, okay, I get where you’re coming from.
    thanks for the clarification.

    and I agree, less would be more.

  • nicho

    I certainly hope she gets one — although I’m not sure she’s looking for one (despite your smear). She deserves one. After all, if a semi-literate, racist grifter like Sarah Palin can have a book deal, why can’t a woman who really has something to say?

  • KarenMrsLloydRichards

    No, I’m serious. I predict we are going to get tired of this woman within a week. She has a great story, and she is no doubt a wonderful person and valuable citizen, but she’s impressing me as a little too much in love with the attention she’s getting and she’s a little too focused on herself. Less of her would be more. She’s already overexposed on the morning chat shows.

    Just a feeling. And not a good feeling. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong . . .

  • I’m much more upset over the NAACP. We’ve known Obama is human garbage for quite some time, but I had much respect for the NAACP, and for them to turn on someone over some rightwinger’s doctored tape, ESPECIALLY a doctored tape from a speech given IN FRONT of the NAACP, well, it’s mind-boggling.

  • Roy

    Why is Obama scared of a pyschopath like Beck? Has he no courage at all?

  • PeteWa

    I don’t get your comment, is it snark?

    Obama does not know what it was like to grow up in the South that Sherrod grew up in, Hawaii is not the south.

    In addition, Sherrod is at least 12 years older than Obama, the difference there is substantial.
    Obama was only (about) four when Sherrod’s father was murdered, shot in the back.

  • captainfrogbert

    It seems unlikely. This same thing happens about once every six weeks: Fox lies, the lie gets published everywhere by the MSM. Fox gets proven to be a liar. And the MSM forgets immediately, only to be set up the next time so it all plays the same way again.

    As was observed many years ago, “Matt Drudge rules their world.” The MSM and the White House flacks are incapable of learning. They do nothing but run scared every time Fox tells them to. They will never grow a spine or develop the intelligence to stand up and fight. They are feckless losers one and all.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    of course i’m not talking about devoted fox viewers, who are certifiable idiots. i’m talking about how the rest of the media and punditry talk about fox news. time will tell.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    what i read was a reference to “people at the grassroot level, people who live out there in rural America, people who live in the South.” she said “I know he does not have that kind of experience”, and I suspect she’s right.

  • Sonofloud

    Perhaps she is referring to Obama’s filthy rich stepfather who just happened to make his fortune from oil……sound familiar?

  • LT

    She should sue Breitbart, he did go after her. As for the comment: “He is not someone who has experienced what I have experienced through life, being a person of color.”

    That is bizarre.

  • Sonofloud

    It wasn’t freakin’ “God” !!!!
    I immediately lose intellectual respect for anyone who thanks or blames “God”.

  • Golalxnd

    Hope she gets the book deal she’s looking

  • I don’t know how much of a “closet” homophobe Obama is, his bigotry has been pretty out in the open at least as early as the primary. His anti-black racism is creepier and more disturbing, but his obsessive need to be accepted by old rich white men in the establishment is one of the main characteristics of his life story.

  • KarenMrsLloydRichards

    As of noon today, Shirley Sherrod jumped the shark.Wants to sue Breitbart, because it was all only about her. She thinks POTUS owes her a conversation, and she’s going to school him on what it’s like to be black in the South.

  • LT

    John, the article says: “Sherrod also says the White House was involved in her dismissal; Vilsack has said it wasn’t.”

    Vilsack is a Cabinet member. He is “The White House.” I don’t get why you seem to be endorsing this.

  • Blogthis

    Why not? Desmond Tutu seems to think Obama hates blacks more than Bush.
    You have a better insight into blacks and who hates them than Tutu does?
    —-Today’s NY Times

  • NotTimothyGeithner

    This time the Bush supporters who watch Fox News will go, “oh now I get it. Fox News is lying.” This time its different. Watershed moments, like George Allen’s Macaca, only work when they confirm the rumor. Everyone had heard stories about Allen, but there was no hard evidence of his racism. The Fox News think everyone else lies, showing Fox News lying only proves everyone else is lying in their minds.

  • Blogthis

    Oh please….there is no watershed event.
    There is only the next abomination followed by faux outrage on blogs. You feel better but the country continues the long slow swirl down the bowl.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    i tend to agree. this is something of a watershed. one would have thought the madrassa smear would have been the tipping point in 2008.

  • NotTimothyGeithner

    Who exactly? The White House? Americans already distrust Fox News except for the kind of people who suspect Sherrod edited the tape so it looks like she isn’t a racist.

  • Driveby

    Why the hell don’t you expect it from the White House, USDA and Obama? Are you not paying attention?

  • caphillprof

    Shirley Sherrod was mistreated. You expect that of Breitbart and Fox, but not from the USDA and the White House, not that is until the OBAMA Administration.

    I wasn’t so surprised by Barack was a closet homophobe but a closet racist (meaning anti-black), well that’s a bit too far.

    The Postie does note that the video clip appeared on a “conservative” website and then bounced around the blogosphere. The WaPo has been internet hostile for several decades and particularly about the blogosphere. In the beginning they were deeply incensed that their readers would talk back to them, now they are reporting mostly on stories first reported by bloggers.

  • HereinDC

    Yes, The White House my have egg on it’s face…
    Fox TV will now be judged differently……by many more people.

  • NotTimothyGeithner

    Wow, the White House and Obama sure have a deft political touch. Who knows what Glen Beck might have said if Sherrod wasn’t pressured to resign right away? Beck might have called the President a reverse racist. Its true. Then Obama would be a failed President, and all the Republican voters and like 11ty bikllion Independent voters would vote Republican in the fall. All because Glen Beck said something.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    somebody should take excerpts from barack obama’s philadelphia speech on race and make him sound like a racist. then they should ask for his resignation. or maybe he should just resign anyway in order to please glenn beck and sean hannity. in fact all democrats should resign in a selfless gesture of post-partisanship.

  • Gridlock

    The author also naturally fails to mention how this will tarnish the Obama administration.. because, like every other media outlet, it’s not EVER his fault.. its his underlings, of whom he has zero control. They make Obama not act like Obama, or some such other lobotomized bullshit Keith Olbermann regrettably couches in what would otherwise be a lucid argument.

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