Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shirley Sherrod, another victim of the right-wing noise machine

By now, unless you've been asleep for the last few days, I'm sure you have heard of Shirley Sherrod, the former head of the Department of Agriculture's rural development office in Georgia. She is the "former head" because a right-wing hack put together a highly edited video of her speaking to a group in which she talked about something that happened back in the 1980s when she worked for a non-profit group in Georgia. She was asked to help a white farmer who was about to go bankrupt and lose his farm. She reflected on all the times that black farmers had been in similar circumstances and had not received help and she considered whether she, an African-American woman, should do her best for this white farmer.

In the end, she did, and she helped him save his farm and his way of life. The right-wing operative edited the video to make it appear that Ms. Sherrod was saying that she did not help the farmer because he was white. Fox "News" (of course!) picked up the story and the video and ran it incessantly on their 24 hour propaganda network. Apparently, without even investigating to find out if the story was true or giving the woman a chance to respond, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asked for the woman's resignation and she gave it.

After the fact, investigative journalists (there are still a few) began to dig into the story further and found out that it was entirely manufactured, not unlike the same right-wing operative's successful campaign against ACORN last year. Just like the videos in the ACORN story, the Sherrod story also was a complete lie. Shouldn't the fact that the video was being promoted by that same right-wing operative, Andrew Breitbart, and Fox "News" have been a clue to Vilsack and the White House that there was something very smelly about the whole story? I guess they just never learn.

Well, now that the smelly stuff has hit the fan, the White House has asked for a review of the firing. Secretary Vilsack has said that "of course" he's open to such a review, but why in the name of common sense and fairness didn't he review the whole thing before he acted?

Sherrod's supporters around the Internet have suggested that Vilsack needs to offer her her job back, and that certainly seems to be appropriate. A clear-cut public apology might be in order as well. But I certainly wouldn't blame Ms. Sherrod if she chose not to return to the Department of Agriculture. I wouldn't blame her if she chose to talk to a lawyer specializing in torts instead. I think she's got a very good case.

2 comments:

  1. And to think I have friends who watch FOX News and other friends who watch CNN 24/7! It's no wonder anti-depressants are so widely used. Part of the things they're depressed about may not even be true. How many Shirley Sherrods do you suppose exist? We only know of one, but she's likely not alone.

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  2. It is infuriating that an innocent person's reputation and livelihood can be destroyed so casually and so easily by these execrable people, Anonymous. There have been others like her, most not so lucky as to have the truth revealed almost immediately. Sadly, there will probably still be other victims, unless the American public suddenly grows a brain to replace the mush between its ears. I'm not holding my breath.

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