There is much to be learned from the sad Shirley Sherrod story that recently dominated the media nationally, regionally and locally. As I have written recently the race-card is a very dangerous one to play, and it has now hurt all sides of this issue. Shirley Sherrod, and the entire American civilized society, has been caught in the cross-fire at a time when many felt we had made real progress against racial name calling.
The first lesson we learned was that we cannot trust our media outlets to get the story right the first time because they think being on the air with a news item first is more important than checking the facts. Andrew Breitbart’s doctored tape started this mess, and then many news outlets and voices jumped to inaccurate conclusions ending up with smudged faces. Some have provided the appropriate apologies, but far too many have not and that is inexcusable.
The second lesson was that sadly, the Obama White House had egg on their faces too, because they came into office promising a color-less administration. By jumping to unsupported conclusions, they again played the race-card inaccurately for political advantage just as they did with the Harvard professor and the policeman incident last year.
Thirdly, as this story continued to develop I became very suspicious of the real story of Shirley Sherrod. Her skirt was not totally clean regarding this incident either, and her prior service at the Department of Agriculture is cloudy at best. I continue to give her the benefit of the doubt, but there is much more to be exposed, and learned before this issue is put to bed as a learning experience for all sides.
The real culprit here was the internet electronic systems that prevail today. The ability to alter Sherrod’s original speech, followed by the misuse of the material for political benefit was disgusting to say the least. Media must be aware of this situation and check and then double check the accuracy of material before going to air or press.
Your Commander was further troubled by the seven minute telephone call from Obama offering Sherrod another position in the USDA. Let me suggest that his actions represented a frantic desire to get the story behind him and out of the eye of the American public.
If the government’s action was so egregious, then a seven minutes call was an insult to all parties. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack clearly made the initial mistake, but he has fallen on his sword for the Administration. I cannot believe for one minute that someone in the White House did not know of the dismissal decision before the deed was done.
The biggest insult to me and the American people was the comment from that sock-puppet Press Secretary Robert Gibbs when he said that the President offered Sherrod her job back, because she possessed “A UNIQUE SKILL SET OF EXPERIENCES.” That was pure Washington-speak! Hell, Obama has never called me or any other citizen for that reason. We all have “A UNIQUE SKILL SET OF EXPERIENCES.”
Maybe this was just the first step in the Administration’s ultimate plan to hire or have on welfare every single American, so we all will feel obligated to vote for their devious game plans.
Personally I suggest the phone call and job offer was an effort to buy Sherrod off ASAP. One must wonder, too, how much that new job of hers will pay. I’ll bet she received a raise that you and I will ultimately pay.
You may be interested in reading a reflective article by Walter Shapiro of Politics Daily titled “The Shirley Sherrod Saga: Lessons From Bureaucratic Blunders,” which you can find at:
It is time for this entire unfortunate mess to be thoroughly investigated by a totally honest study group, and then have an objective non-political report delivered to the public. That would make for a sensible “teachable moment” that we all could benefit from. It will be very interesting to see if we ever get the full story, or if this incident will be buried in the tons of political spin and deflection emanating from Washington these days.