ISC Topic 2   Leave a comment

Somehow this one slipped through the cracks… well I suppose that it is better late than never.  Anyways, Shirley Sherrod was a government official working for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  As an African American, Sherrod was asked to help many farmers who were on the brink of bankruptcy.  At a later date, Sherrod was filmed addressing an audience at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and telling a story about how she did not provide the full assistance to a specific farmer because he was white. 

 

Sherrod

 

The details on the story are somewhat vague, my guess is because the story is over a year old, and that a great number of politcal groups were involved with the ordeal.  However, both Fox News and MSNBC agree that Sherrod was not providing full assistance to the poor white farmer.  The video was posted on a number of blogs, and like a wildfire her ‘racism’ was ringing throughout the blogosphere.  The government asked her to step down, but upon further examination of the full video appologized to her and offered her her old position back.

It is important to know as a strategic communicator that you need to have all of the facts.  Seitel says in his book many different times that the cardinal rule of public relations is to remain honest.  I think that it was unfortunate that she was forced to resign, but it really shows the full power of the blogosphere.  By spreading information at an instantaneous rate, (even if the information is false), public opinion can be influenced faster than ever.  That is why it is critical to keep healthy relations with the press, which now includes those who maintain popular blogs.  While it seems silly that people that are not actually employed to be journalists can bolster such influence, but that is the reality of our world today and it is the job of strategic communicators to monitor these relationships.

 

References:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41589161/ns/us_news/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/19/clip-shows-usda-official-admitting-withheld-help-white-farmer/

http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/02/14/sherrod.lawsuit/index.html

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Posted June 29, 2011 by Big Man in ISC Topics

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