Wednesday, July 21, 2010

White House Does Quick 180 With Sherrod

I must admit that I was a little slow to this story surrounding Shirley Sherrod. Only last night did I tune in to Anderson Cooper of all people to watch the infamous video clip....and the entire video that gives us the real story that was parsed for the benefit of right wing hacks like Andrew Breitbart.

It wasn't upsetting that Breitbart manipulated the video of Sherrod's speech about the history of racism in our country and how her personal story led her to realize that people must be helped no matter what color their skin may be; what infuriated me is that Obama's Administration and the NAACP fell hook, line and sinker for this Fox News-driven story (Fox News' participation in this was so abhorrent, even their own Shep Smith went off on his network).

So Obama's U.S.D.A. man Tom Vilsack came out today and apologized, offering Ms. Sherrod her job back (NYT):

“Without a doubt, Ms. Sherrod is owed an apology,” the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said Wednesday in his daily briefing, referring to Shirley Sherrod, who until Monday was the rural development director for the Agriculture Department’s state office in Georgia. “I will do so certainly on behalf of this administration.”

The apology capped what had been a humiliating and fast-paced turn of events for the White House, the national media and the N.A.A.C.P., all of whom, Mr. Gibbs said, overreacted to a video that appeared to show Ms. Sherrod saying that she had discriminated against a white farmer. The remarks were taken out of context from a longer speech in which she said she learned to overcome her own biases.

Later, Mr. Vilsack held his own news briefing to say that he had called Ms. Sherrod to apologize and had offered her a new position with the agency.

"She was extraordinarily gracious," he said.

Sherrod was used here by Breitbart, as only people like Andrew Breitbart would do. Using the topic of race in America the way he did was atrocious. Breitbart will go down as one of the scummier right-wing smear merchants in the early 21st century. Unfortunately, that is what we expect from those who are involved in conservative politics these days. Ignoring the Breitbarts, Bachmanns and Palins is what we must do. Ignoring them will reduce their power in our country. What the NAACP and the Obama Administration did was exactly the opposite, and encourages these spiteful and nasty people to continue their dastardly acts.