July 21st, 2010
08:28 AM ET
4 years ago

Former USDA official: Department's reconsideration is 'bittersweet'






(CNN) – A black former Agriculture Department official who resigned under pressure after a video clip surfaced of her discussing a white farmer said Wednesday the agency's decision to review her case is "bittersweet," but said she isn't sure she would accept her job back if it is offered.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday that he will review the case of Shirley Sherrod, who resigned Monday after the video clip first appeared on a conservative website and later on Fox News.

In the video, Sherrod, the former USDA director of rural development for Georgia, seems to tell an audience at an NAACP function in March that she did not do her utmost to help a white farmer avoid foreclosure.

However, Sherrod later said the clip only shows part of her comments, and that she tells the story of her experience - from nearly a quarter century ago when she was not a federal employee - to illustrate the importance of moving beyond race.

Full story


Filed under: Agriculture Department • Shirley Sherrod • Tom Vilsack • USDA
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Steve in North Carolina

    This is an example of a rush to judgement before all of the facts are known. I myself thought she deserved to be let go based upon the incomplete facts. Now that we have the rest of the story, it is apparant that this woman was not only wronged, but is an example of what we all should be about. This woman got over her preconceived notions about race and forged a helping relationship to those in need. They should do a movie about her!

    This is a sad commentary about politics in America today. They will throw anybody under the bus for power and forget that their power comes from the people. This is true on both sides of the aisle.

    July 21, 2010 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  2. Djinn

    This woman should sue the bejesus out of the person who altered and aired the tape!!

    July 21, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  3. Ken in NC

    Ms. Sherrod toa story of redemption, the story of a life changing event that showed her the right road through life in an effort to help others understand why they must be forgiving in life. For her speech telling this story, she is taken out back and "Hung out to dry". The Late Senator Byrd of West Virgina who had this same experience and changed his life for the better and he was proud of his redemption. Now why should we admire and accept redemption from one person and condem another. Senator Byrd's redemption took place while he was a member of Congress while Ms. Sherrod had her experience some 24 years ago long before she started work for the USDA in 2009. Actions against this woman were taken before giving considerations to the accusations and before investigating the News story forwhich she was asked to resign (fired). This is not the way to do business especially when the government that claims it protects the rights of workers.

    July 21, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  4. Splash in Illinois

    What I don't understand is why you give so little time to covering how this all started. CNN has gone over and over Ms. Sherrod, the NAACP and the Administration and only briefly covered the deceitful tactic used by Fox and their proxy that started all of this. Where are the questions and the investigation into the credibility of Fox for instigating this.
    If so called news orginizations such as Fox are going to engage in these tactics someone (CNN) should be taking them to task for it.
    Why don't you get on to the real story, Fox and a Tea Party activist colluding to mislead the public! Give that as much or more time as you have taking everyone else for it!

    July 21, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  5. SuperD

    Well, it would be descent of her not to accept the position back.

    But I have a hard time accepting anything she says after her uber stupid comments.

    July 21, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  6. RTB

    More power to Ms. Sherrod. A proud woman.

    She was bamboozled, the administration went along without fully investigating.

    Too bad the right wing dirty tricks have to hurt the innocent.

    July 21, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  7. bum

    Once again this administration acted without thinking. This is nothing that another beer party in the Rose garden can't mend.

    July 21, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  8. jp michigan

    USDA employee who was asked to resigned, do to others acting'STUPIDLY" should tell them to' take this job and shove it!'

    July 21, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  9. Jilli

    Unfortunately, the people that need to hear her story the most – people like Brietbart and fox viewers are the ones completely missing the point. Lies, distortion and race baiting. It's pathetic. Why is there not more condemnation for those that manipulated the tape and the message? They're hacks – they should be scorned, but the fox lemmings will clammor for more. Pathetic.

    July 21, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  10. Catrina Parker

    Good gosh but what a shoddy bunch in this administration. Mrs Sherrod would be well-advised not to go back to work for these people if she is offered her job back.

    July 21, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. NVa Native

    Sure the administartion should have reviewed this better.
    But we shouldn't lose sight of the reality that this was caused by manipulation of facts (spread lies) by a political operative and Fox TV. It proves without a doubt that Fox TV is an illegitimate "news source" and truely a fake reality show.

    The Fox media monopoly has been exposed and needs to be treated as the social and political parasite it is.

    July 21, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  12. Jay

    It's the Administration's fault for being spineless and Fox News' fault for being completely void of journalistic integrity. Nice work guys and dolls.

    July 21, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  13. Oy Vey Az

    Fox News is toxic. Maybe we should start calling them Ecoli News.

    July 21, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. T

    CNN come one you are just as worst / FOX NEW, you are not giving the story. Lets be real this was a game , for some one to cut out some of the type for their own motives is wrong and FOX news took it and ran with it knowing it was a LIE., just like they did ACORN. What is this country coming to? And for the White House to job the gun without getting all the facts is a damn shame. For the NAACP to believe what rolls out of FOX NEWS is crazy. We know FOX NEWS is not news its bull shit……however this was wrong . CNN you are doing the same thing not reporting the whole story, last night MCNBC did? Just makes me wonder what are you doing…….what is your motive?

    July 21, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. Naqib

    Oh yea... that's a good one.
    I don't really care about Tom... the audience laughing and clapping was more disturbing I thought. Racism works both ways... the real problem lately is so many people thowing the word around (for political agendas) threatens to take the teeth out of it... which is sad if you have to address a real issue. Especially when it's mandated (or planned) to be used by main stream media outlets. Quite the 1984 novel feel,,, just a qtr decade late.

    July 21, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  16. Jimmy B.

    The spin on this story by the NAACP, Dems, and Shirley is ridiculous. It doesn't matter to me that the end of her story was about redemption and realizing that color doesn't matter. What sticks in my mind is that she admitted she didn't help the white farmer to her fullest and people in the crowd laughed. They didn't know what the point of the story would be when they laughed. A bunch of racists!

    July 21, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  17. Washington has failed us

    Those most responsible for this debacle are the politicians, a disingenuous and biased media (left and right), the so-called expert 'pundits' (left and right) whose diatribes fill the tv and radio, and the NAACP. Thanks to these groups, we are unable as a society to have serious and meaningful discussion or dialogue about race. And it is only getting worse. The sad and depressing fact is that thanks to these groups, even the most moderate are too scared to discuss race and race issues for fear of being branded a 'racist', a title which seems higer on the scale of social evil today than child murderer, thief or even cop killer. God help us, for we are moving in the wrong direction.

    July 21, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Josh

    I would press charge on Fox and Tea Party if I was her.

    July 21, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  19. New Age Independant

    Liberal damage control out in an attempt to vindicate, falling all over itself, tries to paint this racism as an innocent "story". Having seen the entire video, Sherod's comments and actions during the speech were not taken out of context. We know she was telling a story. However, even in the telling of her "story" her comments were racist. She admitted that it was, and evidently still IS about white and black. All along with the crown laughing it up. It's shameful. As a father of a mixed race family, I condemn her comments and actions. Sherrod's comments were racist plain and simple. You cant condemn other racism and maintain any credibility if you don't condemn Sherrod. People, listen now and listen good. Drop the "white vs black" rhetoric, it's a fools path; a racist path...

    July 21, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  20. kpinatl

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should resign and Mrs. Sherrod supervisor should be fired for this injustice. Maybe Mrs. Sherrod needs to be the new agriculture secretary. The problem is not the people in the field trying to do their job, but the those in administration elected or otherwise who are clueless! This is what the White House should do to rectify this nonsense and making them look like idiots!!!!!

    July 21, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  21. Liz the First

    This incident shows perfectly the moral bankruptcy of the 'party of God' and Faux Noise. The Obama white house needs to guard against falling for this kind of outright lie. i hope she does get her job back and the perpetrators of this libelous hoax are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, or at least i hope she sues the pants off them. if anyone still thinks there is any morality on the 'right,' this should dispel that myth.

    July 21, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  22. M-AZ

    People really jumped the gun on this one; that is why both blacks and whites who care to be united need to stop and breath on this racism thing.

    We will always have ignorant people in our society who don't want to see people get along; we need to step around these fools and unite against the ignorance that prevails out there. The Glen Becks of our society who do everything they can to exploit our social-ills for their financial gain. Honestly, if they really cared, they would SHUT-UP and SHOW-UP! Offer solutions and lead the way in implementation of these solutions instead of inciting the mob mentality and sitting back, watching and laughing at the commotions they create.

    People we can do better then this. The society you want to live in should be reflected in how you live your life and treat others...don't you want BETTER for EVERYONE?

    July 21, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  23. Old Farmboy

    Well, if she's not sure that she wants her job back then why waste the time and money of the USDA reviewing it...

    July 21, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  24. al in memphis

    Lesson learned– It like a person building a house to shelter their family. No one sits down to build a house with the intent of it falling down in the middle of the night while their family is sleeping.

    It's a shame that politics and what you can do with the web is mostly about how you can manipulate people to tear things down.
    So much of what we hear is biased by someone taking a clip here, a half-statement there and trying to manipulate some agenda. People who do things like that should be kept on an island, away from the next generations that need a fighting chance to get along like rationale thinking humans.

    July 21, 2010 10:59 am at 10:59 am |