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Shirley Sherrod Has Her Say About Obama, Fox News and Andrew Breitbart

3 years ago
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SAN DIEGO – Andrew Breitbart was invited to appear at the National Association of Black Journalists convention here on Thursday. Word was that he initially planned to attend. He didn't; Shirley Sherrod did. "I wish he had come here," the former USDA official said of the man who posted the video clip that triggered a week of political and personal turmoil. "I really would like to talk with him."

"He'll definitely hear from me," Sherrod said, adding that she "definitely" plans to sue the conservative blogger for circulating a small excerpt of her remarks to an NAACP event that purported to show her racism toward a white farmer. "He had to know that he was targeting me," she said of Breitbart.

In its unedited entirety, her speech told a different story, one of her father's murder in her native Georgia by a white man who was never brought to justice, her pledge to remain in the South to help blacks and her realization that "It's not about race. It's about those who have and those who do not." With Sherrod's help, the white farmer kept his land, and he came forward to defend Sherrod against the attacks that led to her firing.

Apologies, a new job offer from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and a phone call from President Barack Obama followed. Sherrod said on Thursday that she is still considering the position of deputy director of the office of advocacy and outreach at the USDA. She has questions. She said there are "real problems" of discrimination within the USDA, and not just with black farmers, many of whom are still awaiting the settlement awarded for decades of unfair treatment from the agency. (It won't be long, she said, before "we don't have any black people helping to produce the food we eat.")

But while she hasn't given USDA an answer, Sherrod has some advice, going all the way to President Obama. She wondered if those civil rights activists who were beaten and shot at -- such as her husband, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organizer Charles Sherrod, in the audience looking on -- "try too much to shield that hurt and pain from young people." She has invited the president to accompany her through southwest Georgia, so he can see the struggle is not over, whether it's over land or equity in the schools and justice system. There's progress as well, she said, adding, "He needs a little lesson." The president or any visitor will see, she said, that while we "don't get along the way we should, we get along better than we used to."

In an answer to a question about the continuing need for organizations such as the NAACP and NABJ, she said, "You don't know what it's like for people in remote areas of rural Georgia who continue to have things happen to them." She said all races need someone to turn to.

In a speech to the National Urban League on Thursday, President Obama talked about Sherrod, and the "bogus controversy" that led to her firing. He called her "an exemplary woman whose experiences mark both the challenges we have faced and the progress that we've made."

Speaking in front of this group of journalists, Sherrod spoke positively of efforts by CNN and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution to get the complete story. (CNN anchor Don Lemon was on a panel that questioned Sherrod from the stage; an excerpt from his report on her life was shown.) But she said Fox News will "never get an interview from me." She said, They had their chance to get the truth and "they were not interested."

After initial reports ran, Sherrod said she received lots of hate mail, including calls on her home and personal cell phone numbers. What sustained her, she said, was support from people she has worked with -- from every ethnic group -- throughout the country. Their e-mails that "made me proud." They were beginning to mobilize, she said, even before the complete videotape of her speech was released.

In their work, she said, she sees the progress the country can make if we treat each other the way we need to be treated. "I truly believe we can come together," she said.

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47 Comments

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bevbtook

Mrs. Sherrod should be commended for her efforts in behalf of the farmers who were losing their farms. I find it amazing that the NAACP did not look at their own footage on the speech Mrs. Sherrod gave, but relied on FOX, a station that has time and time again shown stories that are complete lies and distortions. Mr. Jealous should be ashamed for allowing a lie, by Andrew Breitbart, who has continually taken apart and pieced together information to fit his agenda, to speak out against one of his own. We have to think of FOX, not as a news channel, but as a propaganda channel for the far-right and it's agenda of hate and fear.

August 28 2010 at 11:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddcookson

Miss Sherrod,
If you are truly interested in the country coming together then you have no other choice than go on Fox. Any less then you are just like all the other political hacks on both the right and left. You have the high road in that you were wronged but two wrongs don't make a right as demonstrated in your threat to sue a pseudo journalist and making Fox the bad guy. After all they weren't the ones that fired you.

July 31 2010 at 2:45 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ddcookson's comment
fnprty1

Although you do have a pointto some degree,what would be betterisher appearance at Fox News but for Fox News to meet her in public. Don't tellus that Fox News doesnot have the capability to go meet Miss Sherrod at her homeor in apublic setting in Georgia. True Fox News did not fire her,However Fox News did run the story and they used the blogger Andrew Brietbart and his stories many times in the past. Lastly, it looks better for Fox News if they reached out to herand not vice versa. So far to this moment the only person who has apologized is Bill O'Rielly. Sean Hannity,Glenn Beckand no one from Talk Radio has apologized for airing this story that was a lie from the start.So yes,I totally agree with Miss Sherrod's decision and hopefully Fox News or any other network news will finally realize that their job is to show stories that are in the best interest of the public service. Since when is lying purposely to hurt someone in the best interest of the public? Just thinkwhat happened to Miss Sherrod could happen to you or me.....

July 31 2010 at 10:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
sjpxmas

THE BIG PROBLEM IS SHE DID MENTION BLACK AND WHITE REFERRING TO PEOPLE. THERE
WAS NO NEED TO MENTION COLOR OF PEOPLE, SHE SHOULD JUST DO HER JOB. SHE CAN DO HER JOB WITHOUT MENTIONING THE COLOR OF PEOPLE. NO REASON TO GO BACK IN TIME ABOUT AN EVENT THAT HAPPENED. JUST DO THE JOB SHE WAS BEING PAID TO DO. SHE SHOULD BE REPRIMANDED.

July 30 2010 at 8:21 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sjpxmas's comment
fnprty1

sjpxmas,
Listen to what you are saying... She should be reprimanded for telling the story about her father being shot to death by someone of adifferent race whowasnever charged and thenthe time came to helpa farmer of that other race and she felt it better to put hate aside to help those who needed help no matter what race or gender a person may be... Miss Sherrod is an example of what an American should be. You on the other hand need to view things in anopenly manner had you done that then you probably wouldhave understood the grief and hurt this woman went through and yet Miss Sherrod put that aside to help an American Family in time of need...

July 31 2010 at 10:27 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Nanny

miss sherrod, you have come out of this witch hunt with your dignity intact. I apologize for being snookered by the fox network. please say a prayer of thanks that it ends favorably. with affecion, miss m.

July 30 2010 at 8:13 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
SandhillsRider

How is it that there is a National Association of Black Journalists and not a National Association of White Journalists?. Sounds like reverse racism to me. ..."Just Sayin"

July 30 2010 at 8:12 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Larry

Maybe she could really do some good now. She should move to Detroit and help the school system graduate some students instead of drop outs. Then that would help bring down the unemployment. She could also teach them personal responsibility for what they do and what they say! Then everybody wins, right! Lord knows nobody else in Detroit is trying to keep kids in school.

July 30 2010 at 7:28 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
vobox3343

Perhaps good will come out of this unfortunate situation. Not everyone is going to be as gracious and understanding as a Marian Anderson.

July 30 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Greekknight10

ALL OF YOU ARE SO FUNY BLAMING THE PRESIDENT FOR EVERYTHING LOL BLAME HIM FOR THE HEAT WAVE WE HAVE HERE IN CT. LOL GROW UP

July 30 2010 at 5:23 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
raytooo

Lots of people blaming Fox News for this fiasco when they should be blaming the Obama administration who fired her. Again blame anyone but myself for the mistakes.

July 30 2010 at 5:21 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to raytooo's comment
fnprty1

Ray, it appears the Obama administration has been blamed to some degree after all they fired her however it'smore to it than this. Bottomline here is that Fox News ran a story based on a lie which led to Miss Sherrod's firing. So yes I do blame Fox News as well the Obama administration. Here is the issue right now since the truth came out The Obama Administration has apoligized and offered Miss Sherrod another position. While at Fox News the only person that has apologized is Bill O'reilly. All the others,Glen Beck,Sean Hannity and many others have not apologized and they should.... Anyone who knows anything about the Media knows that their job is to report the news that is in the best interest of the Public. Since when did running a news story based purposely on a lie to hurt someonebecause of hate or political agendas? So untilFox News reaches out to Miss Sherrod as the White House has since this event occuredthey should share blame. Andrew Breitbart has been a Fox News Contributor more than once but this time someone got hurt.Miss Sherrod is suing Mr. Breitbart for his actions. Fox News needs to go to Georgia and meet with Miss Sherrod to show that they really are Fair & Balanced if not,the next victims could be you or me.

July 31 2010 at 11:36 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
andrc657

Purveyors of hate like Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and others need to really think about what they are doing to this great country. Perhaps Ms. Sherrods lawsuit will help them to think twice before peddling so much hatred and venom.

July 30 2010 at 5:07 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply

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