Watching Ms. Sherrod’s unfair firing story unfold, there are several people who likely deserve to be fired in the Obama Administration today, possibly even in the White House. But so far, the only person to lose her job is Ms. Sherrod, who appears to be the lone honest public servant in this sorry episode.
After multiple investigations proved that Andrew Breitbart’s buddies misrepresented a video that resulted in the unfair takedown of ACORN, the media already knew that they could be conned by professional "ratfuckers," a Republican term from the Nixon era that describes someone who engages in dishonest dirty tricks to manipulate public opinion against Democrats.
So when Andrew Breitbart posted an incomplete, edited video purporting to show a government employee expressing bias against whites, everyone should have said, "you’ve been shown to be dishonest, so show us the full video." Instead, they just ran with the story as though it were true, and Fox News featured it yesterday as a proof of the Obama Administration’s hatred of whites.
The NAACP overreacted and now claims they were "snookered" by Breitbart/Fox News, as were senior officials at the Agriculture Department, which may or may not have consulted with the White House about what to do about the brewing scandal. The simple answer should have been, find out all the facts before you get conned again. But apparently no one in Secretary Vilsack’s Agriculture Department or the White House thought to do that.
Instead, they fired Ms. Sherrod first (hoping to get ahead of Glenn Beck’s show?) without seeing the unedited evidence, and then watched CNN today as it dismantled the Breitbart scam, one lie after another. Here’s what we’ve found out today:
1. Ms. Sherrod’s recent speech related an event that happened 24 years ago, before she was an employee of US DoA or the Obama Administration.
2. She says she used the speech to explain how she learned to think beyond race; she came to realize that the problem was between those who have and those who don’t have. That’s the speech’s message to her NAACP audience.
3. Although she felt conflicted at the time and could have done more, Ms. Sherrod wound up helping the white couple keep their farm.
4. CNN found and interviewed the elderly farming couple she helped. (h/t to Think Progress for the video) They praised her; they said she saved their farm; they were shocked to see the stories twisting the facts into some racist tale. "Someone is trying to stir up trouble" the elderly man repeated. They called Ms. Sherrod their "friend for life."
6. Secretary Vilsack is still justifying his decision to fire Ms. Sherrod, claiming that he doesn’t want people to suspect there might be bias on any decisions in the future. He ignores that the basis for such suspicions would be a thoroughly dishonest ratfuck con job by a known liar.
7. The White House is hiding and refusing to intervene to fix a mistake. No one will confirm or deny any WH involvement. Vilsack says only that the decision to fire Ms. Sherrod was his alone, while the WH says they did not "pressure" Vilsack to fire her. That suggests to me the issue was discussed with the WH either before or after the fact, but we don’t know.
Bottom line: Ms. Sherrod seems to be a good public servant. Based on her statements in several CNN phone interviews, she’s the last person you would call racist in this saga. She deserves her job back with an apology from everyone involved, up to and including anyone in the WH who had a role in the decision. If she sues them for wrongful termination, I hope she kicks their butts.
Everyone else involved should be fired, including the Agriculture Secretary and his Undersecretary who initially handled the matter, along with anyone in the WH involved in the discussions. These people don’t deserve to be in government.
Andrew Breitbart should be banned from all further media appearances, condemned by all, and sued for malicious slander. I hope there’s at least a preliminary criminal investigation.
Think Progress, Couple she helped: "no way she’s racist"
TPM, Breitbart denies he personally did the editing, but admits he never saw the complete video either. Add that one to the lawsuit.