Shirley Sherrod with the "Family Farm Champion Award" from aglawllm.blogspot.com 2009
By now, you are probably familiar with the Shirley Sherrod situation. If not, go here. Up until yesterday, Ms. Sherrod served as USDA director of agriculture in the state of Georgia. She is African American. She was asked to resign by Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsak. She was also condemned by the NAACP.
The reason? A tape surfaced on the conservative web site BigGovernment.com showing Ms. Sherrod supposedly telling a story of how race played a part in her work with a white farmer 24 years ago who came to her seeking a loan. The tape is edited. It is only a segment of an entire speech she was giving at an NAACP dinner in which the point of the story was reconciliation through race. The web site's edit makes the speech look as though she was influenced by her feelings towards whites to not help the farmer. Interestingly enough, said farmer says he wouldn't have his farm today without her help back in the day.
This is all over the news. It's a big story about racism on both sides of our government. It's also about viral information, sound bytes, editing, spin. The mainstream media have expressed shock and surprise that the government and NAACP would punish her without vetting the tape, watching it in its entirety. The conservative media are using this as an example of the NAACP, who last week accused the tea party of being "rascist", as now on the receiving end of the same thing. One blogger whose writings incense alot of his readers feels she's been thrown under the "O Bus".
This is a fascinating debate and really points up the complex fast paced nature of news today. While I abhor the tactics used by conservative media, they are on the right side this time (no pun intended) by calling for Ms. Sherrods "re-instatement" and apologies from the Administration. The NAACP already issued their apology last night.