Shirley Sherrod was the Director of Rural Development in Georgia for the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2010, she was forced to resign after a video was featured on the internet with Sherrod appearing racist. In one of the speeches she gave in March to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Sherrod told a story which took place nearly a quarter of a century ago in which herself -- a black woman -- strived to save the farm of a white man. The commencement of the story tells how Sherrod was prejudiced and associated the white race with wealth and how she perceived her role in terms of assisting the blacks.
"He was trying to show me he was superior to me. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have lost their farm land, and here I was, faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. [I] took him to a white lawyer [because] I figured if I'd take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him" (Sherrod quoted by William Saletan, 2010).
This particular part of Sherrod's speech was selected and posted on the internet by blogger Andrew Breitbart and it was posted in such a manner that it accused Sherrod of racism as her refusal to help a white man. Additionally, it also accused the NAACP of promoting racism, not only the Director of Rural Development.
The immediate reaction was powerful and the video clip was quickly running on various media channels. Sherrod's employer -- the government, and especially the U.S. Department of Agriculture -- took an immediate action against her and forced her to resign. The logical fallacy was constituted by the immediate reaction of the government and even more so, by the rationale used in the reaction they generated. Specifically, it would appear that the U.S. government rushed to fire Sherrod as a quick and immediate response to an accusation of racism and bigotry. Such a response could have been caused by the realization of the need to satisfy public perception through quick action. In this order of ideas, the fallacy is represented by the failure of the U.S. government to document the circumstances of the speech and the reliability of the accusations.
The general reaction of the media was intense and reports about Sherrod's speech were increasingly popular within various channels. Enthusiasm broke out and accusations of racism erupted to create the much loved sensation in the media reports. Fox News for instance described the incident as one "showing an Agriculture Department official regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy -- video that now has forced the official to resign" (Fox News, 2010). Andrew Breitbart, the one who originally edited the video and launched it on the internet described it as "evidence of racism coming from a federal appointee and…