The scandal around the firing of USDA staffer Shirley Sherrod began on Wednesday when Andrew Breitbart, the notorious tea-bagger propagandist, posted a deceptively edited video of a speech Sherrod gave on racism to his website, Big Government. Here’s part of what he wrote about the video then:
ANDREW BREITBART: We are in possession of a video from [sic] in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.
In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.
Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.
The second video affirms the real reason there is tension between the Democratic Party and a growing mass of middle Americans — and it’s not because of race.
The NAACP which has transformed from a civil rights group to a propaganda arm of the Democratic Party and social-justice politics, supports a new America that relies less on individualism, entrepreneurialism and American grit, but instead giddily embraces, the un-American notion of unaccountability and government dependence. Shirley Sherrod, a federal appointee who oversees over a billion dollars of federal funds, nearly begs black men and women into taking government jobs at USDA — because they won’t get fired.
This is why the Democratic Party is scared. This is why the NAACP is scared. This is why black conservatives, previously marginalized as “Uncle Toms” by these progressive bullies, and shamefully, the NAACP, are coming out of the woodwork to join and, in many cases, lead the Tea Party movement.
Of course, now the entire world knows that Sherrod’s speech, in its full context, was about how her father’s murder by white racists had damaged her, but how, through her work with with both black and white poor people in rural Georgia, she came to see her mission in life as helping the poor, regardless of race.
Breitbart later claimed he’d never seen the entire 45 minute tape from which the excerpts were selected — by someone; only Breitbart knows who did it, if indeed it was not him — specifically to deceive viewers into believing that Sherrod was racist.
But that was then. Yesterday, after news broke that the video had been deceptively edited before it was distributed to Fox News and the legitimate media, a blogger on Breitbart’s Big Government site posted another screed, via Mediaite — this time blaming everyone involved in the scandal but, of course, Andrew Breitbart:
BIG GOVERNMENT BLOGGER: If this story is true, and there is no reason to doubt her, it shows the extent that Breitbart, Fox,and the Tea Party have gotten under the skin of the White House. Rather then to think it through they overreacted and forced Sherrod to pull over on the side of the road and resign without telling her side of the story.
It is also hard to understand why the NAACP would instantly condemn Ms Sherrod, if the speech was indeed as she said, why wouldn’t they respond by releasing the entire speech? One explanation may be that she is lying, but if you listen closely to the end of the clip she does seem to be pivoting toward saying it was about income not race (and then seems to change her mind again).
Another explanation for the White House and the NAACP not releasing the entire tape is the possibility that Shirley Sherrod is their sacrificial lamb. Possibly they do not care about the truth. Perhaps they realized their resolution attacking the Tea Party as racist was such a political loser, especially coming right after disclosure of [equally bogus, race-baiting] DOJ Black Panther scandal, they see the condemnation of Sherrod as a way out of theses crises and seem racially balanced.
Yes, there’s plenty of blame to go around — the NAACP, USDA and just about every corporate media outlet got tripped up by Breitbart’s journalistic malpractice. But let’s not get snookered again. The bad guy in this drama is Andrew Breitbart. He released the video without bothering to follow the basic steps of Journalism 101 — to contact Shirley Sherrod to verify her statements. This shoddy reporting lends irony, to say the least, to the title of another Breitbart web property: Big Journalism
Of course, no serious person thinks Andrew Breitbart is a journalist. He is a tea-bagger activist and purveyor of right-wing disinformation. But what happened here was not just journalistic malpractice, it was incredibly slack and lazy lying.
If there is any justice in this world, this latest episode will finally destroy Breitbart’s credibility as a propagandist and he will become such an object of ridicule that he won’t even be welcome on Fox News.