Sec. Vilsack will review firing of Ag official over charges of racial bias

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said early Wednesday morning that he will review the firing of department official Shirley Sherrod after the NAACP urged him to reconsider.

Sherrod, who is African-American, was forced to resign this week after a video of her surfaced on a conservative website appearing to show her saying that she had not done all she could to help a white farmer.

Sherrod’s firing was the result of a firestorm over the edited video from a Georgia NAACP event at which she spoke. Many groups, including the NAACP, initially blasted Sherrod before saying it had been “snookered” by video editing that took Sherrod’s comments wildly out of context.

Sherrod said she was ordered to resign by Deputy Under Secretary Cheryl Cook at the behest of the White House.

“I am of course willing and will conduct a thorough review and consider additional facts to ensure to the American people we are providing services in a fair and equitable manner,” Vilsack said in a statement released by the White House.

After the initially condemning Sherrod, NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said Tuesday afternoon that after a “careful investigation” and speaking with Sherrod, he urged Vilsack to reconsider.

“With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias,” Jealous said.

Jealous added that while the NAACP understands why Vilsack “believes this false controversy will impede her ability to function in the role, we urge him to reconsider and give everyday Americans a chance to surprise him.”