Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2 Cents on Shirley Sherrod

In response to a request from a reader, here's my two cents on Shirley Sherrod (Google if you haven't heard it). (I've started a longer post which takes off from the episode, but it's not really on point.)
  • The subtitles added to the video, either by Breitbart or Fox, are clearly lies. The video excerpt dates the episode to the 1980's (right after Chapter 12 bankruptcy was passed for farmers), so Sherrod's talk is not describing her current work or attitudes.
  • There's no way in hell that Rural Development spends $1.2 billion in Georgia each year. They might possibly have that amount in outstanding loans made in Georgia, but that would represent several years worth. RD has three categories, which are mostly making loans and guaranteeing loans: Rural Business, Rural Utilities (the old Rural Electrification Agency), and Rural Housing. Here's a link to the USDA budget for 2011, RD begins on page 56. 
  • It's not that clear from the video clip, but Sherrod is not describing a federal job--as she says she assumed the farmer was referred to her from USDA or the Georgia Department of Agriculture. So she probably had no legal obligation to treat applicants equally. (In the mid 80's there were lots of farmers going  under.)
 Personally, I find her current explanation believable, as apparently do some conservatives--Glenn Beck right now looks (5:08 pm)  as if he's going to pivot to trashing Vilsack/Obama for pushing her out.  I guess miracles do happen.

Regardless of how the episode turns out,there's no way Fox News should have run the video with the obvious errors in the text.

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