The Lynching of Shirley Sherrod

Hunted and skinned by the right-wing propaganda machine

Now this is what a hi-tech lynching for uppity Blacks looks like!

Shirley Sherrod, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) state director of rural development in Georgia became a viral sensation when a video of her speaking to the NAACP in March making bigoted remarks about a White farmer whom had come to her for help 24 years earlier.   The video which depicted about two minutes from a 30-minute speech spread through the right-wing blogosphere, talk radio and Fox News.   Sherrod was forced by USDA officials to submit her resignation.

Does this latest obvious, and failed attempt at moral equivalency and media manipulation by Andrew Breitbart and Fox News means the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation “outrage” is starting to lose steam?

All this drama from an obviously heavily edited video that’s not even time-stamped? Where’s the full video and why hasn’t Breitbart released it?

No credit to Cheryl Cook, the USDA undersecretary who demand Sherrod’s resignation or Tom  Vilsack, the cowardly Obama Administration officials whom ousted Sherrod without so much as a hearing.  The NAACP didn’t cover themselves in glory either by issuing a late apology for an incident that occurred in March.  Both parties rushed to judgment no doubt heightened by the highly charged political season looming even nearer and cravenly threw Sherrod to the yelping right-wing wolves.

The NAACP later backtracked from their condemnation of Sherrod saying they had been “snookered” by Breitbart.

“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.”

But Agriculture Secretary Vilsack refused to reconsider Sherrod’s dismissal.

“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,” Vilsack said. “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.”

Real profile in courage there, Secretary Vilsack. The President should step up and overrule Vilsack by reinstating Sherrod.   News reports indicate Vilsack is “reconsidering” reinstating Sherrod.

It hardly absolves the obvious media manipulation by Andy Brieitbart or those who perpetuate his propaganda.  He appears to be far more skilled in slicing up videotape to serve a partisan agenda than presenting a honest retelling of events.

Andrew Breitbart: An Unreasonable Man

Just to be clear here, the proper term for what Brietbart has done is not “editing,” but “doctoring”  the video.   “Editing” is the proper term when footage is trimmed for time restraints, to cut extraneous material or to get to the point faster.

This was a “doctored” video and Breitbart deliberately cut it at the point where Sherrod says she had realized the error of her ways and needed to see the farmer as a person in need of help and not a White man.   The wall between news and newspeak has been breached. Mr. Orwell would be very proud of Mr. Breitbart.

Poor Shirley Sherrod. Sacrificed on the altar of the right-wing media machine’s clumsy and overt effort to scrub the Tea Party’s tolerance for racism by attempting to smear the NAACP as hypocrites.

What’s the long-term lesson to be learned from this relatively trivial story that will be a one or two-day “controversy” with no long-term impact except for the damage to Sherrod’s career?

That the Right will dig up and blow up any minor incident into a national disgrace and if that includes doctoring a video tape to eliminate the bureaucrat nobody’s heard of before following up her “controversial” and “racist” remarks that’s okay even though she said she had seen the error of her ways and not only helped the farmer, but is now regarded as a friend?

…or that like birds carrying off bread crumbs there will always be those eager to take a deliberately doctored video, falsely pronounce someone a “racist” when there is no proof of it, and preen hypocritically how they absolutely abhor racism except when it serves their own interests.

…or that the Obama Administration is so hyper-sensitive to even a whiff of “reverse-racism” that they will swiftly and with extreme prejudice force the offending bureaucrat out of a job without so much as a “don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out” thus reinforcing the “Obama throws another under the bus” meme?

…or that when all is said and done at the end of the day the plight of the farmer is a subject nobody really gives a damn about. Except for Shirley Sherrod and all the other previously faceless bureaucrats being slimed by a slick operator like Andrew Breitbart?

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8 thoughts on “The Lynching of Shirley Sherrod

  1. Is she going to sue FOX or not? I hope so. When you search on her name all you see is that she is the bad guy and one link that tells the truth. Isn’t this called Slander?

  2. She is married to Charles Sherrod. He was a vital member of the Civil Rights Movement. Every chain is linked.

  3. I find it interesting that so many conservatives use religious (mainly Christian) arguments. Yet they conveniently ignore that Ms. Sherrod is atoning for a past misdeed and that the family she wronged has forgiven her. And, of course, said conservatives look the other way at someone like Breibart bearing false witness.

    Anyone who wants to judge another person for a long-ago mistake should read Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” first. While what Breibart and Fox did is reprehensible (though, sadly, not surprising), Obama, Cheryl Cook and Vilsack are looking like contemporary versions of Inspector Javert.

  4. Now that we’ve seen the “entire” video, it’s clear that Vilsack’s rehiring of this stupid woman was obviously premature. If the Obama people (and you) didn’t see everything, and I mean EVERYTHING through the lens of your own racism, you’d beg to ask the question; “how in the heck did stupid Shirley get this high level job in the first place”? She’s clearly biased. She clearly spends too much time and energy finding conspiracies (counting how many blacks work in her office and receive financial aid checks????). She’s clearly inarticulate. She’s clearly ineffective. The “spin” is that she found redemption… and then attacks the “racism” of the Tea Party, the Fox News channel and those who opposed Obama’s health care monstrosity??? This woman is a government employee for God’s sake and she’s out there giving racist speeches to the racist NAA-CCCP??? St. Shirley is obviously an affirmative action case and someone who the left is using to berate their political opponents. Well, boo effing hoo. This clown of a government official put herself out there on purpose and has denigrated the entire reputation of the USDA in a public forum. She should have been fired, period. And now? She’s a hero to you far left racist kooks who desire one-party rule, a dictatorship by Obama, and a whole raft of socialist programs desired to transfer wealth from the “doers” to the “do nothings”.

    Obama and his mis-administration blew this case too. Par for their course. The worst president in US history and it only took him a year and a half to set this mark. Congratulations!

    • Mike, you and Andy “Big Lie” Breitbart have your propaganda/talking points down, but neither one of you know a damn thing about truth. Then again, Breitbart has already shown he doesn’t give a shit about the truth. From all your blustering about Obama, the NAACP and Mrs. Sherrod, I’d guess he’s got a believer in his b.s.

      Sherrod is “clearly inarticulate” and “clearly ineffective?” You clearly don’t have a clue to how she realized her mistake, owned up to it and worked hard to correct it. So much so that the same farmer guys like you want to blast her as being racist against, now considers her a friend and she should get her job back. Kind of punches a truck-sized hole into your goofy babbling, doesn’t it?

      By the way Mike, if I’m such a “far left racist kook” why didn’t I just delete your “far-right racist kookiness” along with the other spam. Unlike your boy, Breitbart, I’m not afraid of the truth and I don’t have to doctor videotape so guys like you can figure out who you’re supposed to be pissed off at.

      Have an ordinary day and thanks for visiting. Tell all your friends.

      • Talking points? Wow, you sound just like the novice-in-chief who uses that attack line on any dissent from his own sacred opinions!

        Why do I need Breitbart to make up my own mind, Jeff? I watched St. Shirley on CNN. I also watched her entire presentation to the NAA-CCCP, not just the snippets that Breitbart, showed to indict her and later CNN (and Fox) showed to allegedly acquit her. The truth? Have YOU watched the tape? She’s clearly still obsessed with the concept of race and it clearly still influences the conduct of her job. She actually is spending taxpayer dollars to audit the USDA financial aid checks to determine how many “blacks” are receiving that money??? She actually counted heads in her office to determine how many “blacks” work there? Basic math seems to have escaped this stupid woman. She lamented the fact that out of 129 workers in her office, there were “only 20 blacks”. That’s 15%…. a greater representation that in the public at large. That SHE would make that an issue is a problem. It’s also a problem that the woman is speaking at the racist NAA-CCCP in the first place. There are laws against political activities while being a government employee and she’s clearly crossing the line from being a public servant to being a political activist. And her pot shots against George W. Bush and opponents of Obama’s horrible health care bill? Did she say they were misguided? Wrong about the health care bill and it’s impact to the system? No, St. Shirley called political opponents of Obama and the health care bill RACISTS. When you have a catch-all excuse and a political weapon that still makes most whites cower and retreat, and when it can conveniently explain all shortcomings….. I guess that catch-all weapon sees a lot of use. And St. Shirley’s casual racism charges are additional reasons she shouldn’t be in that position.
        And, I see you resorted to that line of attack too, Jeff. Why am I not surprised?

        What you don’t understand about the “right”, Jeff, is that we’re more independent minded than the collectivists on your side. We don’t need “Breitbart” or anyone else to tell us what to think. And frankly, that’s why the Republicans can’t get out of their own way much of the time. The left and the democrat party are very much like a union or a mafia family. In spite of the internal differences, the membership is more important than the individual and violating the party line usually results in severe punishment, banishment, and the loss of friends and colleagues. The right, me included, don’t give a sh*t what Breitbart, Beck, Limbaugh or any of the loudmouths say. We form our own opinions and aren’t swayed by the popularity or unpopularity of various views. We say what we think and mean what we say.

        What you also don’t understand is that much of the free-minded “right” strives toward being color blind. We’re tired of racism from all sides. We prefer to deal with people as individuals, not “group” members. Remember the “content of their character line” in the “I have a dream” speech, Jeff? That seems to have been totally lost by you and the rest of the chattering left who prefer to make excuses and blame others for the terrible behavior patterns that are unfortunately all too popular among those who “look like you”.

        And when I look at St. Shirley as an individual, I’m just not impressed. Sadly, she’s far too typical in the federal government; barely competent, focused on the wrong priorities, and hired/promoted for the wrong reasons (race for God’s sake, not merit!). Then again, “we” elected an unqualified and unprepared guy as POTUS and he’s not failed to live down to my low expectations. At least Jimmy Carter is breathing a sigh of relief these days since he’ll now longer be considered to be the worst modern day US president. Obama has already taken that crown and it only took a mere 18 months.

        Have a great day, Jeff. I hope your hatred toward those who don’t look or think like you subsides one day.

      • I don’t hate Republicans and I don’t hate those who don’t look or think like me. Hardly. When I was the editor of an African-American orieinted newspaper, I opened it up to individuals who had never been welcomed to the Op-Ed pages before. Conservatives, gays, and even a few libertarians. It didn’t always make my publisher happy, but I didn’t discriminate against people who had a different worldview than I. To this day, I am constantly harangued on Facebook by a young brutha who is so conservative he makes you look like Howard Dean. I gave him his first job in journalism and he did a great job. I never asked him if he believed the same way as I do before I hired him.

        You’ve run your rap about Shirley Sherrod and I’ve run mine. We just don’t see it the same way and our positions are so different I don’t think there’s a middle ground to be reached, so I have no comment on your remarks.

        As someone said, Barack Obama took on the job of being captain on the Titanic as it was going down. The fact that conservatives have dogged him without mercy is a simple refusal to recognize all that he’s accomplished in such a short time. Healthcare reform. The economy stabilized and no longer hemorrhaging. Winding down the war in Iraq and end the torture that Dick Cheney and George Bush approved. A Latina justice on the Supreme Court. Working to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” But to hear Faux News and the right-wing media machine tell it, Obama is “the worst president in modern day times.” Maybe that’s true, but only if you’re two years old and you forget how George W. Bush lied the country into one war, started another one and didn’t finish it, wrecked the economy, accomplished nothing on the domestic front and failed to connect the dots before America suffered the worst act of terrorism on our home soil. Yeah, that’s really a record of accomplishments to be proud of.

        Mike, I DO remember “the content of our character” in Dr. King’s, “I Have A Dream” speech. It’s one of the top two or three speeches given by an American leader. However, you fall in the same rut many conservatives do when you cherry-pick King’s speech. You forget some of the equally important parts of the speech such as this:

        Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

        But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

        In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the “unalienable Rights” of “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

        But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so, we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

        We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

        Dr. King was so much more than a doll with a string that says, “I have a dream” when pulled. He knew Black people had to struggle for their rights and guess what, Mike? The struggle continues. Much has been accomplished and ALL Americans, regardless of race and political affiliation should be proud this nation has advanced because we the people have decided racism and segregation has no place in our country.

        That doesn’t mean President Obama isn’t above being criticism. Think he’s a big-spending liberal who’s going to bankrupt the country? Fine. Give ’em hell, but do it on the issues and on something of substance. Not because White people want to believe he wasn’t born in this country or he’s a socialist or bullshit like that. I have no problem with differences based upon principled disagreement. When it descends into nothing but the petty politics of personal destruction then I get royally pissed off.

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