So, conservative extremists in the Tea Party made a calculation. They edited a tape of Ms. S's speech at the NAACP so it only included the parts where she talked about her racist behavior towards a Georgia farmer, in her capacity as a USDA official. This "racist" version of the speech got extensive play on all the hate radio shows and Faux News, stirring up a tempest about black racism towards whites.
What those conservative extremists did NOT show in that clip was the REST of the story - where Ms. S talks about realizing her own prejudice, how she changed her behavior, and ended up treating that Georgia farmer fairly. In fact, that particular farmer has gone on the TV news and radio to say her treatment of him WAS fair, and in fact her actions, through the USDA, saved his farm.
All it took to find this out was a viewing of the whole 40-minute speech. It's not like 100's of researchers had to dig through tons of material for days on end - it was right there in the same speech!!
Which makes the actions of the USDA in firing Ms. S even stupider. This was purposeful, calculated, deliberate lying on the part of those responsible for the edited "racist" clip of the speech. It's impossible to believe they did not know what she says later on. They simply chose to leave it out, with the intention of making the Obama Administration flinch. The disappointing thing is, the Administration DID flinch.
Seems to me the President's folks need to set up some kind of Surgical Strike team. A bunch of staffers that specialize in quickly looking into these childish attempts by fear-mongers at riling up their base and making the Obama folks look bad, and then discrediting them with the actual facts! How much better it would have looked, how much more statesmanlike, self-assured, measured and UNAFRAID, if someone on the President's staff had just taken one hour to look into this particular incident.
Then the Administration's response could have instead focused on exposing this blatant attempt by opposition extremists at twisting the truth for their own purposes. If only supporters of the President could do that often enough, in a way that dismisses these things as childish and calculated lies that aren't worth reacting to beyond exposing them. Then they might appear to be less defensive about the public's perception of them, and they'd have more time for all those major national problems we expect them to fix.