Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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21 July 2010

If Falsely Accused of Racism You Had Better Not Work for Obama

A short video of Shirley Sherrod, the Georgia Director of Rural Development, made the rounds on YouTube on Monday and seemed to imply she was a racist.  She was forced to resign from the Agricultural Department on Monday as the result of three phone calls made by Cheryl Cook, the USDA's deputy undersecretary, who stated that the White House demanded her immediate resignation.  In the video, Sherrod had stated that she made less than her full effort to save the farm of a white farmer in Georgia from foreclosure.  The video was a snippet of a talk she gave to a local Georgia chapter of the NAACP back in 1986.  In the rest of the talk, she had told the story of how she had come to realize while helping the white farmer that race was not the issue.  The farmer's wife came out on Tuesday with the dismayed statement that Sherrod had played a critical role in saving their farm from foreclosure and was forever her friend.

On Monday, the President of the national NAACP, Benjamin Todd Jealous, called for Sherrod's resignation because the NAACP has a zero tolerance policy for racism.  This followed closely on the heels of Jealous calling the Tea Party movement racist.  On Tuesday, the NAACP changed its mind, when someone finally checked on the testimony of Eloise Spooner, the farmer's wife.  The NAACP blamed Fox News and Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart for their error, despite the fact that the NAACP had the complete speech given by Sherrod in their possession and could have reviewed it before calling for her resignation.  Fox News did not have that complete video.  Finally, the media also talked to Sherrod, which the White House was unwilling to do.  But, on Tuesday, the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, defended his demands for Sherrod's immediate resignation.  He made it clear he is afraid of rumors of racism.

Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, that maven of careful fact-checking of the left, laughed that Fox News had covered the Sherrod incident and had not early picked up on the problem with the out-of-context video clip.  Neither had the other news outlets who covered the story on Monday.  Yet, according to Maddow, Fox News alone caused Sherrod to be "fired."  Fox News was only one of many to initially get the story wrong.  This is not good, but neither is it good for Maddow to follow up an out-of-context story by trying to turn it into another out-of-context story.  This just makes her a laughingstock.  It is not the first time.

More damning yet, how could the White House call upon a federal employee to resign without even listening to her side of the story first?  What kind of jerk employer would call for a resignation and never bother to check into the context of an accusation?  If Fox News was at fault, at least it might have been alerting people about a matter that needed further looking into.  The White House and the Secretary of Agriculture should have done that looking into it before asking for a resignation.  And having made a colossal mistake, they should be prepared to admit it now.

Who does Shirley Sherrod blame for her "firing?"  She blames the White House and the NAACP.  Strangely enough, she is not blaming Fox News.  She says the NAACP's high profile claims that the Tea Party movement is racist caused them to prematurely call for her resignation.  One might expect that opposition to racism should be based on a concept of justice, but it is now clear that both the NAACP and the White House are sadly deficient in the concept of justice.

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