It certainly looks as though the White House is having second thoughts about pushing Shirley Sherrod out of the USDA after Andrew Breitbart’s video clip of her speech at an NAACP banquet last year. Multiple media outlets are reporting that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is “reconsidering” her resignation after the full video showed a different context for her remarks:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that he will reconsider the abrupt firing of Shirley Sherrod, a Georgia-based Agriculture Department official who was the victim of a media frenzy over comments that turned out to have been distorted by video editing.
“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,” Vilsack said in a statement e-mailed by USDA at 2:07 a.m.
A White House official said: “Not sure what the ultimate result will be, but it’s clear that with new information through the full speech, a longer look needed to be taken. The White House contacted the Department last night about the case and agreed, based on new evidence, that it should be reviewed.”
Not that Sherrod is anxious to return:
The woman at the center of a racially tinged firestorm involving the Obama administration and the NAACP said Wednesday she doesn’t know if she’d return to her job at the Agriculture Department, even if asked.
“I am just not sure how I would be treated there,” Shirley Sherrod said in a nationally broadcast interview. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday he would reconsider the department’s decision to oust Sherrod over her comments that she didn’t give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago.
She said later in a broadcast interview that she might consider returning if she had the chance, saying she’s received encouraging calls, including one from the NAACP.
Sherrod increasingly looks like the person caught in the middle as everyone, well, acted stupidly. The NAACP started this rockfight by loudly proclaiming its intent to declare the Tea Party movement racist on the basis of fringe elements that have been repeatedly and loudly repudiated by Tea Party activists. They eventually retreated somewhat from that position, but set into motion the natural rebuttals that flow from such inflammatory accusations.