Robert Gibbs apologized to fired USDA worker Shirley Sherrod and said they are now "reviewing" the facts. Is it that the White House "bungled" this case, as Gibbs said this morning, or is this a case of firing someone for political reasons and getting caught?
Robert Gibbs said this morning that the White House and others in the government “bungled” the firing of Shirley Sherrod because of “incomplete information.”
It appears that once again the White House rushed to judgment before knowing all the facts. It also appears that this might have been a case of unfairly firing someone, for perhaps political reasons, and getting caught.
Shirley Sherrod, who worked for the USDA, was fired because of a video taken out of context. In March, Sherrod was speaking at a NAACP dinner about how she overcame her racial prejudices in her own past. Apparently the White House and Department of Agriculture listened to only part of the video, which had been edited on a website which is not credible. They made the decision to fire her immediately without hearing her side or reviewing the entire video which was in the hands of the NAACP.
In fact, Ms. Sherrod was driving when the ag secretary’s office called her and told her to “pull over to the side of the road” because she was being immediately terminated on White House orders because the White House feared she was going to appear on FOX News’ Glenn Beck program.
“A disservice was done for which we apologize,” Gibbs said in this morning’s press conference. He also said that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was “trying to reach her” but that they didn’t know where she was. A reporter in the press conference then told Gibbs that Ms. Sherrod was in the CNN studios and was watching Gibbs at that moment.
“Do you have anything to say to her?” the reporter asked Gibbs.
Gibbs blushed and said again how sorry he and the White House are over this. But he wouldn’t affirm that Ms. Sherrod will get her job back. He just said that Secretary Vilsack will again try to contact her and that the President is “reviewing” the case.
The problem with this whole thing is that while Obama reviews this case, a hard-working woman is out of work, fired for no fault of her own. My take on this is that if Shirley Sherrod had not been so strong in fighting back against these allegations against her, this whole case would have just gone away, unnoticed by the press or the public.
Here’s another thing: why hasn’t Obama personally tried to reach out to her?
This is not the first time the Obama Administration has rushed to judgment only to be caught without the facts. And that they’re doing this is of great concern to us all.
The president and those working for the president – including departmental secretaries – should never rush into a decision without making sure they have the facts, and that those facts have been verified as credible and reliable.
It seems to me that there was something else going on here that we don’t know. There is some reason that someone high up, either in the Obama Administration or the Department of Agriculture, wanted to get rid of this 62-year-old woman, and whatever it is, it stinks!