A number of high-profile conservatives are speaking out against the ousting of U.S. Department of Agriculture
official Shirley Sherrod. Sherrod's resignation was announced on
Tuesday after conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart posted an edited
video of her speaking at an NAACP banquet in 1986. In the video,
Sherrod, who is black, admits to not doing everything she could to help a
white farmer. The NAACP quickly denounced Sherrod's words, calling them
"shameful" and appalling. In a statement reporting her resignation, Agriculture Secretary Tom
Vilsack said, "There is zero tolerance
for discrimination at USDA."
However, the full video of Sherrod's speech has been released and it confirms what many speculated from the beginning: she was merely telling a heartfelt narrative about overcoming racial prejudices. While members of the mainstream media are criticizing themselves for giving the story play, conservatives are insisting Sherrod get her job back. They're also finding fault with fellow right-winger Andrew Breitbart for distorting Sherrod's words and the NAACP for rushing to accuse her:
"Something Is Definitely Wrong Here," says Glenn Beck on Fox News: "This woman deserves her job back. ... How and why would you force someone's resignation if they were relating a story of a 24-year-old incident to make a point. Sorry, I don't understand that. ... Context matters."
This Is Sad, writes Rich Lowry at National Review: "Her full speech is heartfelt and moving. It's the tale of someone overcoming hatred and rancor when she had every reason not to. Her saga over the last couple of days is a lesson in how the culture of offense often works in contemporary America—chewing people up and spitting them out before they even have a chance to defend themselves. Of course she should get her job back, although the Department of Agriculture is bizarrely standing by her firing so far. Here's hoping President Obama convenes a beer summit between Secretary Vilsack and Sherrod as soon as possible and sorts this thing out."
Breitbart Went Too Far, writes Erick Erickson at Redstate: "Andrew Breitbart promised he would do to the left what the left has been doing to the right for years. He is gathering quite the collection of leftwing scalps and will forever warm the hearts of the right for the ACORN takedown alone. I’m glad he is on our side. That said, I think Shirley Sherrod has been unfairly characterized as a racist."
The NAACP Bears Blame Too, says Charles Krauthammer appearing on Fox News: "They obviously reacted without evening knowing that this had happened a quarter century ago. ... They seemed to be under the impression that this had happened while she was at the USDA in the Obama administration. They didn't speak to her as she said herself...Nobody from the NAACP had spoken to her. She is owed an apology, a restitution, and the restoration of her job."
Give Her the Job Back, writes Stephen Spruiell at National Review: "The administration forced Sherrod to resign before all the facts were in hand. Secretary Vilsack should correct this mistake. Considering the new facts that have come to light, that shouldn't be too difficult."