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Watch: Rachel Maddow on the Fabricated Racial Controversy and Resignation of Shirley Sherrod


Rachel Maddow takes apart the fabricated racial controversy that forced the resignation of Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the USDA Shirley Sherrod, after the White House bought into conservative spin surrounding an edited video tape posted by Andrew Breitbart which FOX News pushed to the public.

The White House has now asked for a review of the firing: "The White House intervened late Tuesday night in a racially-tinged dispute that prompted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to fire a black civil servant, and Mr. Vilsack is now reconsidering his decision. 'I am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,' Mr. Vilsack said in an e-mail statement sent at about 2 a.m. Wednesday. A White House official confirmed that advisers to President Obama spoke to officials at the Department of Agriculture 'and we agreed that the issue should be reviewed.' The official, speaking anonymously to reveal internal discussions, said Mr. Vilsack was amenable."


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  1. OK, this Democratic administration trusts "news" posted online by (huge Obama supporter) Andrew Breitbart and aired on the (ultra-liberal) FOX (FAUX) News channel because....? What a complete and utter farce. The Department of Agriculture should offer to reinstate Ms. Sherrod immediately and, if she were able, Ms. Sherrod should refuse to work for this bunch of knee-jerk alarmists! Disgusting!!

    Posted by: Rob | Jul 21, 2010 11:26:50 AM

  2. do you think all this hoopla about the USDA will stop the massive agriculture subsidies given to ADM like what happened to ACORN?

    Posted by: Gus | Jul 21, 2010 11:27:23 AM

  3. Her problem was that she admitted to a room of people that she did basically the bare minimum to help the white farmer who was condescending to her because she was black and that she only brought up that there were black farmers that needed help to when compared to the white farmer.

    She would have been fine if she hadn't brought up race and kept the example as' here's this man talking to me like im an idiot when I have other farmers who need just as much help'.

    Alas her downfall was telling anyone that she didn't do all she could have. So I think she should def. be in trouble for admitting that. You cant take that statement out of context correct? Sure there may be a bigger picture when explaining the story, but it doesn't negate the fact that now everyone knows she didn't do everything in her power.

    Posted by: B | Jul 21, 2010 11:43:12 AM

  4. Rachel says that the video isn't incriminating at all but I think it is.

    When Shirley Sherrod tells an audience of NAACP members that she didn't help out a white farmer, they laughed and applauded. They didn't know a lesson in redemption was coming at the end and they showed approbation for the act of discrimination. Sherrod went on to condemn herself and her actions but the audience had already revealed that they shared her bias from 25 years ago or whenever of it was...

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 21, 2010 11:53:14 AM

  5. @B: She did everything in her power. Did you watch the Maddow segment, or read any other articles about the story? AT FIRST, she was reluctant to help the white farmer, because of her history with white people, such as the one who murdered her father. But after reevaluating, she realized that it wasn't about an issue of race, it about helping poor people. At first she sent the family to a white lawyer who didn't help them. Then, when the family came back to her, she went above and beyond to save their farm. She and the couple became very good friends.

    Her story was about racial reconciliation, not racism. Please do some research next time before you say something incorrect.

    Posted by: Amber | Jul 21, 2010 11:53:24 AM

  6. ...and also Rachel edits the tape to end just before the audience applauses the act of discrimination. Or what appears to be discrimination at that point in the speech.

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 21, 2010 12:04:17 PM

  7. is very sad, when not even your own family and kind don't believe you anymore and believe what other people are saying about you?, what are you left out with?

    what is this game people are playing ?

    i think is enough

    because i'm down and bitter

    Posted by: josepe | Jul 21, 2010 12:04:33 PM

  8. Vilsack should be fired or at least disciplined for firing her without conducting a thorough investigation.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 21, 2010 12:04:44 PM

  9. I can only assume "B" didn't watch this full story, you complete and utter moron, because they later reveal that she changed her mind and DID help the white farmer to the fullest extent in the end. they even INTERVIEWED THE WHITE COUPLE SHE WAS TALKING ABOUT AND THEY SAID SHE HELPED HER! what part are you not getting about this?

    Posted by: OakDan | Jul 21, 2010 12:08:32 PM

  10. "B" your comments are a prime example of the "lazy thinking" that's been present in the handling of this situation (and in American society in general). At it's core, her story was NOT about race but rather about class. Additionally, if you viewed Rachel's video above (or better yet, the full video now available on the NAACP's web site) you'd have understood that she did in fact go above and beyond for this farmer and his family.

    When did critical thinking (and investigative journalism) die in this country?

    Posted by: Rick G | Jul 21, 2010 12:11:58 PM

  11. @amber...Her story is about reconciliation but the audience applauds when she tells them she discriminated against someone. They didn't know what was coming next, that she was going to denounce that. And Maddow edits that out of her coverage!!!

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 21, 2010 12:16:42 PM

  12. B - Did you watch the video? She DID do everything in her power to help; the point of the story was that she initially wondered if she SHOULD, then realised how wrong that was. It was a story from decades ago about her coming to a realisation, which by definition required her to admit to having some unkind or unfair thoughts so she could explain why those thoughts were so wrong. The interview with the farmer in question surely proves that her actual conduct in that particular case isn't in question?

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 21, 2010 12:18:13 PM

  13. Uh, I just want to point out I'm not the same Chris as the one talking about the audience applauding. My reply to B is my only other comment in here, thanks.

    Posted by: Chris | Jul 21, 2010 12:20:50 PM

  14. Fox and Breibart suck for pushing this story..but the White House and others in admin look beyond pathetic on this.

    Posted by: chriss | Jul 21, 2010 12:26:12 PM

  15. What's the matter B? Your attention span not long enough to spend a full 13 minutes learning the truth about something?

    Posted by: ben | Jul 21, 2010 12:31:01 PM

  16. Obama, no more outreach and bridge get it now?

    Posted by: TANK | Jul 21, 2010 12:32:08 PM

  17. Way to go Rachel. Expose those motherfuckers for the dishonest knuckle draggers they are.

    Ms Sherrod deserves an apology and reinstatement if she still wants to return to her job.

    Posted by: Bobby | Jul 21, 2010 12:41:12 PM

  18. Can we please take away Fox's license to report the news?

    Posted by: Todd Obolsky | Jul 21, 2010 12:41:14 PM

  19. Lesson #1: Andrew Breitbart has now demonstrated that he's nothing more than a professional new media racist liar. Is it a coincidence that he was also behind the fake ACORN scandal? Any news media that fails to independently verify any further lies he spews should in turn be regarded as untrustworthy. Fox News of course takes Breitbart at his word. But CNN deserves more contempt.

    Lesson #2: Vilsack needs to be re-named Shitsack for now for ruining Shirley Sherrod's career. And this man thought he deserved to be POTUS?

    Lesson #3: If the White House eventually has Sherrod re-hired, maybe it should stop taking its future employment decisions cues from right wing media anti-Democrat hit pieces. Having their appointees' backs in the future would be nice too.

    Lesson #4: Re-hiring or re-nominating great White House appointees who've been the targets of right wing media attacks and standing by them in the future would be a great thing.

    Lesson #5: Rachel Maddow is a journalistic treasure. Thank you, Rachel, for hopefully saving Sherrod's career.

    Posted by: Peter | Jul 21, 2010 12:45:28 PM

  20. The comments here are almost as disturbing as the story itself. The right wing radio crew, like a few of the people commenting here,is all over the fact that there was laughter at the beginning of her story. The fact that there was laughter underscores the importance of her telling the whole story and the wisdom of her sharing it to that particular audience. The White House's reaction to this is horrifying to me.

    Posted by: Arthur | Jul 21, 2010 12:51:56 PM

  21. Fox News is bullshit. Breibart is a tinfoil hat wearing miscreant with a blog. Those are givens. If you watch or read these people and media organizations, then you know this as fact.

    The Obama administration officials who ran around like scared little chicks during a thunderstorm during this half-a-story (and that's being generous) should all be fired. Not just because they forced the resignation of a person under false pretenses but because they are clearly too stupid and reactionary to have their jobs.

    And to Chris and B...have you two every given a speech? Told a story? How about a joke? There's a set up which sets context. Then there is the meat of the story, often with examples, and finally usually, if you're a good story teller, a twist or a moral. Ms. Sherrod did that pretty well and with humor in her words and style (that's why the audience laughs)...IF YOU WATCH THE WHOLE THING. Also, the audience DID know there was going to be a big twist coming because she set it with the line, "you know God puts things in your path" (I'm paraphrasing...but the gist is there.) Point is, the audience may not have known what she was going to say but they knew there was to be a big turnaround in the story. Listen. Watch.

    I think the thing about this story that is most disgusting is that she was relaying a story that occurred in 1986. She wasn't working for the federal government. Yet these pompous, short-sighted ass-clowns fire her without even looking into the situation to see if it's true. Lame and lazy. Time for these guys to be working a shift at 7-11 rather than sucking on the government's tit.

    Posted by: Bart | Jul 21, 2010 1:14:54 PM

  22. Vilsack should really have done his homework before consenting to the termination of an Afican-American female civil servant from a federal job. He's from Iowa and should know enough not to trust his instincts on this sort of thing.

    I sincerely hope that this wrongfully terminated employee is appropriately compensated for the government's wrongdoing.

    Posted by: Roland | Jul 21, 2010 1:40:43 PM

  23. grrr


    Posted by: neverstops | Jul 21, 2010 1:51:10 PM

  24. Fox News and other conservative pundits are now positioning themselves as having nothing to do with her firing, calling for her to be rehired, and blaming the firing totally on a gutless Obama administration. ("How dare they believe what we put on our channel.")

    Next, Fox will go on to fool people again with something else.

    Posted by: Philo | Jul 21, 2010 2:01:56 PM

  25. I love how people who were 1.) not there and 2.) have no background in the subject matter are such experts in everything! And she gets her own show. God help us.

    Posted by: Shane | Jul 21, 2010 2:02:54 PM

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