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Despite being defended by the white farmer she allegedly discriminated against, former U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod will not get her job back.
Sherrod “kept us out of bankruptcy,” said Eloise Spooner, 82. She and her husband Roger Sooner, who own a farm in Iron City, located in southwest Georgia, approached Sherrod in 1986 — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund — seeking assistance.
Sherrod, who is black, was asked to resign Monday night by USDA Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook after videotaped comments she made in March at a local NAACP banquet surfaced on the web indicating that she did not work as hard as she could on behalf of white farmers.
“The comments, taken out of context or not, hinder her ability to be an effective rural development director for Georgia,” said a U.S. Agriculture spokesperson who wished not to be identified. “Because of that videotape, it would be very hard for her to to be an effective messenger.”
The NAACP, which released a statement Monday critical of Sherrod, backtracked Tuesday, saying they were “snookered” by Andrew Breitbart, whose website biggovernment.com released the edited video. Breitbart did not respond to a request seeking comment.
“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,” NAACP President Ben Jealous said in a statement. “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.”
Jealous asked the USDA to reconsider Sherrod’s dismissal but, in a statement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stood by his decision.
Sherrod and others can complain about Fox News and the editing of the tape, but two points should be remembered. First, Andrew Breitbart made it clear to me last night that this was the entirety of the speech he had in his possession. He also wants to find the whole speech and is trying to get it. Second, this has a lot more substantiation and evidence of racism than what the Journolist attempted to cook up against Fred Barnes and Karl Rove, among others — or for that matter, what the NAACP has to accuse the Tea Party movement as a whole of being racist.
In the overall scheme of things, it’s really not really so much about Sherrod, but more about the NAACP, the reaction to what she said, etc. If it ends up that there’s more on tape where she talks about how she “changed,” I’m sure AB will issue an apology and will take his licks from The Usual Suspects. But what will be bad, in addition to the damage to both Sherrod’s and AB’s respective reputations, will be that people will be even more suspicious of cries of racism from the right, even though there are numerous verifiable true stories of left wing racism out there, particuarly as it relates to agenda-driven interest groups like the NAACP, Rainbow PUSH, National Action Network, etc.
The more I am reading about it the more it sounds like whoever gave the tapes to Breitbart heavily edited them first. As I said before, though, the reaction of the crowd was what was most disturbing to me and helped to reaffirm what I already believed about the NAACP. Also, I’d like to hear more about the “context” of the “government job” remarks. Not as inflammatory, of course, but worth a listen nevertheless.
If Jealous has this tape on hand, then he ought to give the media permission to release it in full, both for Sherrod’s benefit as well as others who are interested in this story. What I want to hear explained more than Sherrod’s comments, though, was the NAACP’s reaction to her (edited?) remarks. Didn’t hear a lot of gasps but it certainly did sound like the crowd liked what she was saying before the allegedly edited part …
Update 1: The Anchoress has a must-read on the fall out from the publishing of the Sherrod tapes.
Update 2 – 7:28 PM: Some great points are being made at Twitter by Tammy Bruce, Cubachi, and others about how quick the media was to make sure to put Sherrod’s comments “in context.” Where’s all this effort when it comes to the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, etc?
Update 3 – 7:56 PM: The NAACP has released the full video:
Update 4 – 8:28 PM: Just got done watching the full video. The farmer story was taken out of context so whoever sent Breitbart the edited version was a snake. The story she told about overcoming certain racist elements of her own behavior was a good one in context of the farmer story. The government jobs comments as reported by Breitbart were accurate and don’t appear to have been taken out of context.
But towards the end she started talking about the “racist” Tea Party and insinuated they were using the healthcare debate as a ‘code’ of sorts to indicate their racism against BO. These were her worst comments, IMO, bc apparently she believes just as Ben Jealous and the rest of the NAACP does that the Tea Party is a “racist organization.”
Video would have been great had she not gone there.
In any event, a lot of us got this wrong, and for suggesting that Sherrod was “racist” in retrospect now seeing the comments in context, I apologize. But her
Tea Party Republican “racism” comments suggest she’s just like Jealous and the rest when it comes to any criticism of President Obama. And that’s just flat out wrong.