Let's review this racism firing
Our Readers Who Comment are having a vigorous name-calling left-right discussion about race in politics after the firing of an Agriculture Department official -- a firing now under reconsideration -- for a videotaped speech she made that mentioned an experience that showed the role race could play in a decision-making process.
The article about U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack firing Shirley Sherrod had 365 comments before Vilsack said early this morning that he was reviewing his decision in light of the knowledge that the video segment posted Monday on the Web site of conservative activist Andrew Breitbart told only part of the story. The full video has been released by the NAACP. More than 300 comments have come in since then.
Reader comments both before and after Vilsack's decision to review show significant tensions along the left-right divide around questions of race. It is far too simplistic to call this a bout between Tea Party activists and the NAACP or the debate about whether all media except Fox News lean left.
As Karen Tumulty and Krissah Thompson write, "Suspicions on the right that [President] Obama has a hidden agenda -- theories stoked in part by conservative media and sometimes involving race -- have been a subplot of his rise, beginning almost as soon as he announced his campaign. They lie beneath many of the questions that conservatives on the political fringes have raised about his motives, his legitimacy and even his citizenship."
All of the comments chosen were filed after Vilsack announced he would review the firing.
We'll start with SierraJeff, who asked, "When is the "mainstream media" going to stop letting itself be duped by that right-wing nuts? What ever happened to objectivity, to investigating and reporting news - instead of reacting to what someone else says is news?"
FredinVicksburg noted that "President Obama, himself, has been a victim of right-wingers quoting out of context. The Administration needs a little more informed decision making, and a little less knee jerk reaction."
veloboldie wrote, "NAACP is circling the wagons and shooting their own because of the crackpot tea baggers. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is rolling in his grave."
thebump said, "With our supposedly watchdog media shamefully turned into a lapdog, who but Mr. Breitbart will dare speak truth to power? Thank God for his courageous service!..."
JUNGLEJIM123 wrote, "This Administration and the NAACP are the racists and ole Shirley is just another example of racism gone wild during Obamas reign. You can always count on Obama drama !!!!!!"
ecassel1 said, "What's an outrage is how quick Vilsack was to fire her before knowing the facts. Knee-jerk reactions to pressure from Fox of all places should not be governing policy. Yet, sadly, it is. Fox rules."
stevensp1 added, "Vilsack shot from the hip when he fired this fine public servant. That is embarrassing, but should be reversed. The speech was a fine statement about racial tolerance. The people who clipped and edited and posted it are the evil doers and liars in this matter. We all know it!"
Realist201 wrote, "Here we go again - if this woman were white, they would still be crucifying her, but since she is black, her racism is ignored and she will probably get a promotion.....this is what liberal America brought to America, hatred for anything corporate white, or with money....just like Hugo Chavez."
DCguyme1 suggested that "Shirley should sue FOX for so much money that she put them out of business. She would do a great service to our country. I'll contribute to her legal fund."
To which ahashburn replied, "Why? Because she admitted on tape that she didn't help a farmer as much as she could because he was white? Also, don't you mean that she should sue so that she never ever has to work again?"
ponderer wrote, "Democrats are reflexive cowards. Say "boo" and they jump . . . or retract whatever they've said or waffle on what they believe. Grow a spine!"
luzazul said, "SHAME ON YOU LIBERALS~ I hope this serves as a lesson to all of you that race baiting is wrong. You, the NAACP and the WhiteHouse were caught with your pants down. You have been doing the EXACT same thing to the Tea Party Movement and now you are tasting your own medicine. It is time for all Conservatives and Liberals to stop the race charges against one another. The Tea Party is no more of a racist organization than the NAACP. Are there elements that go to the extreme? YES, but that goes for everyone..."
demtse wrote, "This story is an aberration, than the accepted rule, where white farmers are concerned. The USDA has been considered one of the most racist federal agencies in the US government. It had a long and storied history of denying access to black farmers. As recently as last year, the government settled a long pending suit with black farmers who were systematically denied access to agency assistance. Now if the Teabaggers want to cherry-pick this as an instance of "reverse racism", they must not be disingenuous that institutional racism against black farmers, was routine with USDA.
drjcarlucci said, "For the first post-racial president, all he and his supporters do is talk about race. They can't talk about how great 16% unemployment is, obviously. So use distraction and personal attacks instead."
kstack wrote, "This should be the end of any media credibility whatsoever for Andrew Breitbart and his cooked videos. (See ACORN)But it probably won't be, because much of the media is lazy, sensationalist, shallow and, yes, scared to death of Republicans. That includes you, Washington Post, despite the occasional fine work by some of your reporters."
And robin5956 said, "I think the Post is missing the point entirely. Someone purposely smeared this woman. Someone is going through all the videos they can find of NAACP meetings and speeches to find ways to make the organization look bad. Can we not discuss the smear merchants here? The spineless and pathetic response by the White House and its administration is disgraceful. But these smear merchants are the story. They destroyed ACORN with lies and heavily and purposely edited video. Clearly they are trying to do the same with the NAACP."
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