The Breitbart Sherrod Tape – UPDATE

Glenn Reynolds linked to this piece at Hot Air where Ed Morrissey writes:

Andrew Breitbart announced that he would publish at least one video of the NAACP itself cheering racism. Breitbart delivers on that promise today at Big Government, showing USDA official Shirley Sherrod explain to an appreciative NAACP audience in July 2009 how she deliberately withheld information from a white farmer in Georgia trying to save his land and his business:

The Breitbart piece is here, and yes, the videos are rather stunning; it is unimaginable to me that any government representative could stand before an audience and say some of this stuff. As I asked here last week, “have people meant what they’ve been saying for the past 50 years, or has hit all been just words?”

Nevertheless I am uncomfortable with this “get” by Breitbart. He writes:

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.

All true. The “glass houses” axiom is certainly getting a workout here. But the video ends so abruptly!

Sherrod, who is not an impressive public speaker, says she did not do all she could for the “poor white farmer” who she perceived to be somehow both asking for her help and simultaneously “trying to show me he was superior to me; I knew what he was doing…” She admits that she did just “enough” for the farmer so as to cover her own sense of accountability and then: “I took him to a white lawyer . . . I figured if I took him to one of them, then his own kind would take care of him.”

Yes, there is a bit of paranoid projection, there, and some shocking language–language that has been rightly rejected by society–that seems to play well to the audience. But then Sherrod apparently has a revelation. She begins to understand that “it’s about poor versus those who have, and not so much about white–it is about white and black–but you know it opened my eyes, because I took him to one of his own.”

Yes? AND?

Ed Morrissey writes:

Actually, if Sherrod had a different ending for this story, it could have been a good tale of redemption. She almost grasps this by initially noting that poverty is the real issue, which should be the moral of the anecdote. Instead of having acted on this realization — and perhaps mindful of the audience — Sherrod then backtracks and says that it’s really an issue of race after all.

And that’s what is troubling me.

Doesn’t it seem like, after all of that sort of winking, “you and I know how they really are” racist crap wherein Sherrod–intentionally or not–indicts her own narrow focus, she was heading to a more edifying message? What did it open her eyes about? Was she about to say “I took him to one of his own, but it shouldn’t have mattered about that; my job was to serve all the farmers who needed help.”

Was she about to say, “I learned about myself and about how far we still have to go?”

Was she about to say “it’s not poor vs those who have, because we are not at war, we are just in the same human reality that ever was?”

Was she about to say, “poor is poor, hungry is hungry and the past is the past when a family can’t eat?”

I want to know. Because it seemed like Sherrod was heading somewhere with that story, and the edit does not let us get there. I want the rest of the story before I start passing judgment on it.

This damned, cancerous issue of race is never going to get behind us if game-playing such as Sherrod describes continues. But it also won’t get behind us if resentment is going to be sowed for any sort of expediency, by anyone – not by the NAACP, not by congressional theatrics and not by center-right conservatives, no matter how fed up they’re becoming with what seems, increasingly, to be a government that selects its constituency, rather than the other way around.

I want to see the rest of the tape. I cannot believe Sherrod ended on “I took him to one of his own.” Either she said something much worse after that (which we would have seen) or she said something much better.

If it was something “better” then we should have seen that, too.

There is a second video at Breitbart, btw, which shows Sherrod basically telling people that they should get government jobs, because they’re almost impervious to layoffs and firings. That offends me, by the way. No one should have a lock on a job, simply because it is the job they have. All that does is breed mediocrity and thick delusions.

UPDATE I: Ed Morrissey emails that he’ll be interviewing Andrew Breitbart on the Hugh Hewitt Show, at 6:20 ET, and should have him for 6-7 minutes.

UPDATE II: Sherrod resigns! That was fast. The story hadn’t even hit the mainstream media, yet. Why do I think we are not going to hear any more of that tape? Or will we? According to Allahpundit:

I assume Breitbart’s edit is fair to the spirit of her remarks; if it isn’t, rest assured that Media Matters or whoever will produce the full tape of the event and demand to know why essential context was bowdlerized. And speaking of Breitbart, didn’t he claim to have “tapes” — plural — of racism at NAACP events? Perhaps that explains his latest Tweet, written half an hour before I’m posting this: “Hey @ericboehlert & the mostly male Caucasian @mmfa ’senior fellows’: Get some rest. Tomorrow’s gonna be long day & first of many in a row.” Hmmmm.

I am super tied-up with the Future of Catholicism week, and so have been writing fast all day, but I should have also mentioned, as Allah said, and many here have commented, that I did not think Breitbart too clumsy to know what he was editing. It seems he is playing what the Edwardians used to call “a deep hand.” I’m not sure.

UPDATE III: Gay Patriot wonders about sour grapes:

Still, for many years, the NAACP was at the vanguard of a movement for positive social change in this country, pushing many reforms which were good for this country and fighting many laws (and attitudes) which represented some of the worst parts of this nation’s history. And now the Tea Party has become a vehicle for real change in this country.

Perhaps NAACP President Ben Jealous resents the more prominent role his predecessors played in the debates of their day than he does today.

Do NAACP leaders resent the Tea Parties for representing the most dynamic grassroots political movement of the day, a role it once enjoyed?

Also, Instalanche! The sweetest word in blogdom, bar none! Thanks, Glenn!

Filing this under “Remaking America” and “Remaking Ourselves.” And “Socialism Doesn’t Work.”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://www.cadillacpilates.com Susan

    Is there a version of this video which actually shows what she was going to say about poverty, though?

  • Abadman

    I am not sure why the white farmer gets less consideration than Sherrod. Paranoid projection? Sherrod is justifying her actions describing the white farmer as acting superior. What if he was humble as pie? You insist on giving Sherrod the benefit of the doubt, but if you extend the same courtesy to the farmer I do not see anyway she makes this look good. It is the soft bigotry of low expectations. Whether or not she finds redemption or not she has proven herself a bigot. And abused the power of her position there is no excuse, no redemption from that. If she did realize she did something wrong she showed no contrition, did not resign until she really had no choice. You are trying so hard to be the voice of reason you are leaving reason behind.

    Finally, I do not think “it’s about poor versus those who have” is any less appaling than black vs white. At its heart it is the same sentiment.

    [What? Perhaps you should read me again? I was giving NO credence to her description of the farmer as condescending to her; quite the opposite. I'm not leaving reason. Read me again. Because you got me all wrong this time. Oh, and about the "vs" comment...did you not see that I said "there is no war." -admin]

  • Mykeuva

    I had a similar feeling as I watched the video, that maybe the speaker found some sort of redemption, but then I saw the end of the video.

    The story could have been a good one, where the speaker found out it was about the poor…but Ms. Sherrod again reiterates that “well, it is about black and white” in the middle of her so called redemption, stating in other words that race does play into it.

    Also, Ms. Sherrod continues to think in terms of race, at the end, when describing her actions, she mentions “I did send him to one of his own.” Ms. Sherrod obviously still thinks in terms of race. And if it was really about the poor, and not race, then why is Ms. Sherrod smiling/laughing when she proudly states that she “didn’t give him the full force of what [she] could do?”

    And if we really want the entire context, I wish there was a video of what that white farmer said to Ms. Sherrod, as she asserts that “he was trying to show he was superior to me.” I’d be curious to see that as well.

  • Rev Dr E Buzz

    You act as if what she said was OK…

    This tape shows a high ranking Federal Employee judging how much help to give to a farmer using his race as the sole criteria.

    I think that’s bad enough, I don’t need anymore tape and I am sure as hell that there is much, much more of this behavior occurring in the Federal government.

    [No. I don't act as if what she said is OK. I call what she said "shocking" and "language that has been rejected" and I ask if what people have said for the past 50 years were just words. Do not put words in my mouth. I only wanted to know if there was a "but" and a redemptive ending that we were not seeing. And I wasn't wrong to wonder. -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Wait a minute. I actually do think what we should concern ourselves with is class, not race. I’ve had some choice words for middle class students’ union types who tell me that as a white male I must be priviliged, by spelling out exactly the area I grew up in, the school I went to, & the other utterly obvious ways in which I’m not priviliged at all.

    But saying that, what if you’re going to focus on class? If this Shirley Sherrod decided to support working-class people of all races what would she do next? Something, I’ve no doubt, which right-wing bloggers would condemn.

    She would, in short, still be left-wing, as the majority of trade unionists etc. are. She would support things like workers’ rights, paid holidays, & the 1001 things brought about by left-wing activists that the Thatcherites have always condemned, but have bettered the lot of working-class people (They are, of course, also taken for granted by the majority of Conservative voters, not one in ten of whom would be without them). Even sanitation eventually required the evil state to involve itself.

    There’s no making friends with this person or anyone else along her lines for conservatives. I was never an open borders man or a supporter of people like Islamists, or people like the “English Defence League” who (inasmuch as they are coherent at all) are the mirror image.

    If you had working-class people of all races unite to seek an improvement of their lot, with unions as one ofthe main motors of this, then what? Something that Andrew Breitbart would whinge about, certainly.

  • Buster

    Quote : [I do not regret giving anyone the benefit of a doubt until they prove to me that I have misplaced my faith in them. I've tried living the other way. I didn't like it -admin]

    Then you are, in fact, confirming there are words Sherrod could have used which would have absolved her of her crimes instantly in your eyes. Madam, I do not want you to ever participate in the criminal justice system where you will be deciding the guilt or innocence of anyone. So blinded are you by raw emotion, you are simply not up to the task.

    This may be a complete shock, but we are a nation of laws not emotions. That one assaults and robs another is not expunged merely because one falls to the ground sobbing in regret. The crime was committed, and one must be held to account for one’s actions according to law.

    But I wish to find out precisely where you draw the line, so let us make this personal to get to the truth : should we loose the rapists from prison if they shed a tear for their victims? How about murderers? Precisely where do you draw the line for instant absolution?

    And given that the NAACP has issued an unqualified condemnation – albeit very late – of Sherrod, why do you find it so very difficult to do so as well? We have a confession that was very freely given as to the crime committed. We know with 100% certainty this crime happened. That the person involved now completely regrets committing the crime has precisely zero bering on whether the crime was committed, and who is responsible for committing the crime.

    What will it take for you to condemn an obviously unrepentant racist besides overwhelming evidence? Or to put it another way, who are you going to believe : me, or your lying eyes and ears?

    [You clearly have no idea what I am talking about and are content to read into my remarks things I did not say or even imply. -admin]

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    It’s quite possible that Sherrod took a lesson away from that encounter, and became a better person for it. (We don’t have the rest of the story, as The Anchoress has pointed out.)

    The farmer may have simply been expressing pride in his life as a farmer, and not actually acting “superior.” He was clearly suffering, and under threat of losing his farm. Maybe he wanted to blame others. But even if he were a racist, he has family, a community and others that may depend on him. And he is a citizen deserving of equal protection under the law.

    Sherrod admitted that she didn’t give the same level of service to someone because of their race. It is entirely appropriate that she should lose her job.

    [No argument there. The resignation had to come. I wonder if she retains her great federal retirement benefits for life, now? -admin]

  • Lurknot

    But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

    Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife.

    “And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

    Sherrod said the farmer, Roger Spooner of Iron City, Ga., has since died.

    Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    link

  • expat

    One has to wonder who leaked this clip and why. If the Sherrod version reported by Lurknot is true, she has my respect. Racism will never be conquered by grand statements, legislation, and namecalling, but only by taking people one at a time as they are so you can experience your common humanity.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife.

    The Anchoress was entirely right to be concerned about context. And if Breitbart was aware of that context, then he committed an injustice.

  • JuliB

    I’ve read that she is saying that she was fired, and the the WH is very concerned with Fox News and the Tea Parties.

    On one hand, I wish she hadn’t resigned / been forced out. It makes her look forever guilty. We Americans are a forgiving people, and for her to come out with her story and do a ‘Look How I’ve Changed’.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    Yep. As a liberal, legitimate kudos to a prominent right-wing blog to not immediately lap up another one of Breitbart’s proven race-bait smear jobs.

    Jeez, even the wife of the farmer is now praising Sherrod’s work and openness: link

    This is embarrassing. I hope I can trust blogs like this that care about their respectability to join in demanding the Breitbart formally apologize for horrifically smearing this woman and destroying her career.

    [You'll excuse me if I don't glory and bask in your approval; it's rather meaningless if you were not also on the left blogs, demanding fair-mindedness of them, when ppl like Trent Lott had their careers ended for making statements taken out of context. You can't support race-baiting and absence of context or critical thought when it is directed left-to-right and then come pontificating on fair-mindedness when the attack is directed right-to-left. All that does is showcase hypocrisy. Abhor all race-baiting and demand contextual standards for everyone -- be consistent -- otherwise, your "embarrassment" is unconvincing. -admin]

  • Dustin

    JuliB,

    her resignation is on her. And really, even if she said she had changed, that’s some horrible behavior we actually see on the tape (And don’t have to speculate about). I don’t think she’s trustworthy enough for a senior office.

    We can forgive her, if this speculated repentance even or ever occurs, but that doesn’t mean she belongs in a field like this.

    Just imagine being one of the many white farmers who she encountered before this speculated redemption: wouldn’t it still be terrible to have to deal with the Dept of Ag with her in a senior role? It would be like putting a repentant thief in charge of bank security. The bank would see fewer deposits.

    So, why trust her? She can be redeemed without the job that I think she can blame herself for losing instead of Breitbart et al. And this is assuming the left spin is even the truth, which it probably isn’t.

    The WH should be concerned with the Tea Partiers. They have gone out of their way to play the race card relentlessly, knowing well that there is tremendous anti-white racism lurking at the NAACP and many democrat offices.

    It would be better to leave the hate in the past, but if one side is going to actually lie that the tea parties are racist, it’s obvious and inevitable that some tea partier will start pointing out the real racism of the left.

    If Sherrod became friends with this man, I want to hear more from him, and I want to see the rest of the video, but she still said some awful things, the crowd still was happy to hear awful things, and this woman shouldn’t be entrusted with any power.

    [Well, the man is dead, but besides the point, my goodness, pols the right have taken hit after hit for remarks that were taken out of context and labeled "racist" and careers ended b/c of it. It is wrong when it happens to the right, and it's wrong when it happens to the left. If this woman was going on to say that she'd learned something from her own racism, THAT was the message we needed to hear. Context matters when it's a pol on the right and it matters when its a bureaucrat on the left, or we're no better than them -admin.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    “And this is assuming the left spin is even the truth, which it probably isn’t.”

    So you’re accusing the farmer’s wife of lying? Or that she’s smearing and lying about her late husband? Because she’s on CNN right now talking about this and that’s the only option you have to discount her.

    “So, why trust her? She can be redeemed without the job that I think she can blame herself for losing instead of Breitbart et al. ”

    If what she did regardless of when merited losing her job, then there would have been no problem with Breitbart not fabricating the framing of this story. But you know what he was trying to project here, on this woman, on the NAACP, and on the Obama administration, and you know it’s a lie.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    “otherwise, your “embarrassment” is unconvincing”

    I apologize if I can’t express more succinctly how embarrassed I think Breitbart should be about this, or anyone who continues to support him over this. Admittedly, I’m well aware Breitbart is well without shame at this point and I can only hope that some leading conservatives are.

    If you would like to play the “liberals do it toooooo!” card, that’s clearly your prerogative. But seriously, does Andrew Breitbart need to, what, blatantly and inarguably distort evidence a THIRD time before conservatives consider not taking him seriously anymore?

    [It's not about "playing the 'liberals do it toooooo' card" It's about being consistent. I abhor this destructive crap when it comes left-to-right, and right-to-left. I am asking you if YOU are consistent, if YOU manage to go to lefty sites that play the race-card indiscriminately and take them to task for it, or if left-to-right race-calling aggression is perfectly appropriate in your mind. I am hard pressed to even think of a left-wing site that calls for fairness toward conservatives before lives are ruined due to racial questions...but assuming such a blog exists, do you go to that blogger and say, "kudos, and I call on all lefty bloggers to denounce so-and-so" as you've done here? Were you "embarrased" when Think Progress clearly tamped tapes to make Tea Partiers look racist? Did you call for their denouncement? If you did, then I am pleased to know it, but still don't need your kudos. If you do not...well...why don't you? -admin]

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    “aren’t,” rather.

  • Dustin

    “. If this woman was going on to say that she’d learned something from her own racism, THAT was the message we needed to hear. Context matters when it’s a pol on the right and it matters when its a bureaucrat on the left, or we’re no better than them -admin.”

    To be sure, I’m not the kind of person who says ‘we’ are better than ‘them’ anyway. I’m saying ‘they’ should have seen this coming.

    If she spoke of redemption, that’s great. I have not seen this redemption speech or heard from this farmer’s wife yet. Perhaps I missed it, and it’s out there, but I haven’t seen it.

    Her job and power and money aren’t that important. We’re talking about a really nasty action trying to redeem themselves for vicious bigotry. They should focus on that redemption instead of being in high power.

    You act like I’d have a problem with a Republican white supremacist who kept ‘white people food’ from black kids, and later said he was sorry for that, resigning (under pressure) over the scandal. I’d be applying the pressure if I could. Such people ruin the public trust. There is a basic and practical matter here.

    And I’m not playing the liberals do it too card. My point was that, because racism from blacks is common at NAACP, this kind of reaction was inevitable when the NAACP and WH played the race card relentlessly.

    Another point: the redemption story, if it’s true, does not redeem the NAACP. Watch the video again and consider the audience of racists. These people were wrong to condemn the Tea Party’s imaginary racism. They have no authority on the subject and deserve ridicule until they clean their own home.

    Perhaps the problem is some people are trying ti focus on a narrow villain, and then seeing this as a battle of proofs. Really, the message from Breitbart, that the NAACP has no authority because it’s so racist, is proven regardless.

    Something is fundamentally wrong with those people, white or black racist, and while they can be morally redeemed, I applaud Barack Obama for making the right decision.

    I would love to see the video, and I suspect it doesn’t help her case very much.

  • Dustin

    “But seriously, does Andrew Breitbart need to, what, blatantly and inarguably distort evidence a THIRD time before conservatives consider not taking him seriously anymore?”

    BTW, you’re a liar.

    Breitbart gave all the video he had. Those who insist otherwise are making leaps of hate. He insisted that the sections that the Anchoress is relying on be kept in because they do have some value for exactly her concerns. The distortion did not occur.

    His case is simple: look at the NAACP’s reaction to racism. I challenge each of you to attend an NAACP meeting. I used to before I got fed up with this kind of attitude of ‘their kind, our kind’, which is pretty dang rampant.

    He told the truth in his other exposes too. The liars promised he was wrong, but he was right and this is another example of that ‘repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth’.

    Remember, everything the Anchoress is relying on came from Breitbart. It wasn’t cut because that would have been wrong. I’d like to see the rest of the speech, if a video of it exists.

  • Dustin

    Here’s what the NAACP’s Ben Jealous had to say:

    “her actions were shameful. While she went on to explain in the story, she ultimately realized her mistake as well as the common predicament of working people of all races. She gave no indication she’d attempted to right the wrong she had done to this man. And the reaction from many in the audience is disturbing”

    He’s not a right wing nutcase kook teabagger like me.

    Anyone who doesn’t understand that the audience was extremely disturbing and hateful needs to try to watch the video again, for their own sake.

    And even if she made this right, she made right a major wrong that no one should attempt to defend.

    Put yourself in the shoes of someone who could help a neighbor of a different race, but thinks your help is only for your own race. If you can, you should just take the word of people who cannot: we don’t trust you people with anything of value.

    [Jealous is correct. You seem, however, to think that I am somehow making excuses for what Sherrod did. I'm not. My only point, from the start, was to know whether that particular talk went somewhere besides hating on the white farmer. -admin]

  • Crust

    I don’t get it. If, as is being reported, this happened before she worked for the USDA, why was she fired?

  • Doc

    This reminds me that federal bureaucracies wind up liberal no matter what the initial department goal may be. We need to elect congressmen with the courage to eliminate entire departments that do more harm than good. Government corruption will never be reduced unless the size of government greatly reduced. A huge money trough will always produce waste and corruption.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    “BTW, you’re a liar.

    Breitbart gave all the video he had. Those who insist otherwise are making leaps of hate. He insisted that the sections that the Anchoress is relying on be kept in because they do have some value for exactly her concerns. The distortion did not occur.”

    1. Link to this claim? Would have assumed evidence would be a unprompted courtesy when accusing someone of lying. If this claim is merely from Breitbart himself, then I’m very sorry but he’s a proven liar, in fact proven on exactly such claims in the past, and so it has little to no merit.

    2. If you’re seriously claiming that this is the full extent of video Breitbart had- a clip that just happens to be clipped perfectly to distort the entire point of Sherrod’s statement by 180 degrees- then at a very minimum you’d attest that Breitbart has failed to offer any professionalism in verifying his “evidence.” If your excuse for Breitbart is that he’s not a lying hack- just the source he didn’t check- you haven’t done a very good job defending his credibility.

    “He told the truth in his other exposes too. ”

    Well, other than evidence to the contrary, confirmed by the California Attorney General’s office, yeah. I wonder what level lawsuit will require him to reveal the truth in his shoddy editing this time.

    Oh, and since we’re on BTWs, here’s my BTW. BTW, I love these two single comments of yours:

    “Anyone who doesn’t understand that the audience was extremely disturbing and hateful needs to try to watch the video again, for their own sake.”

    “this is another example of that ‘repeat a lie enough and it becomes truth’.”

    Heh. Indeed.

  • Dustin

    “Government corruption will never be reduced unless the size of government greatly reduced. A huge money trough will always produce waste and corruption.”

    I think that idea explains the tags on this post. We may never be rid of hate, so why rely on the state so much when it’s so easily made corrupt?

    She turned aid away because of racism. I know it was 20+ years ago, but I didn’t do this 20+ years ago. Only a really warped person can say they did. Forgiving them is a religious and moral issue, forgiving them based on something we haven’t even seen is kinda crazy, but trusting them with power is a breach of common sense leadership no matter what.

    It’s a great lesson for all the racists at lower levels who might aspire to senior roles, too. You’re going to have to turn to God for forgiveness, because society and politicians will tell you to find a different job.

  • Crust

    Dustin, it looks like NAACP President Ben Jealous has retracted that statement as more of the story is coming to light; in any event the statement has been pulled from the NAACP website.

    August J. Pollak, it’s perhaps a bit much to ask conservatives to stop taking Breitbart seriously, when both the NAACP and the Agriculture Secretary apparently take him very seriously (or at least did in this case).

    [If I may ask, how seriously did you take Think Progress to task, last week, for tampering with tapes to create a "Tea Partiers Racist" narrative? Were you as offended by them, then, as you are by Breitbart, now? If you were not, then your comment here is meaningless -admin]

  • Dustin

    Crust, she worked for ““Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund since 1985 as the organization’s Director of the Georgia State Office.””

    No organization that practices racism is eligible for tax exemption, but she wasn’t even working for the ‘black’ org some spinners say she was. She was explicitly working for the state government, turning away people based on race.

    That’s why she lost her job. She can’t be trusted with it. Trustworthy people don’t have to explain why they did this stuff 20 years ago.

    August, I apologize that I have a hard time reading into comments, but it seems like you’re claiming the video isn’t showing an audience of disturbing acceptance of racism.

    Is that your claim? Watch the video again. The NAACP is right that the audience’s reaction is disturbingly happy.

  • Dustin

    btw, August, you’re the one pretending to have established we can’t trust Breitbart, not me.

    And the way you did so is extremely dishonest, likely relying on Media Matters’s obvious and long debunked smears.

    So when you demand links, for example to Breitbart’s claim he gave all the video he had, I’m just laughing. That claim is well documented, and you’re denying its accuracy whether you see a link or not. Why jump through hoops if you promise to deny any proof anyway?

    My argument was established on the facts we all see: the legit complain Anchoress brings up is based on aspects left in this video that easily could have been cut but were not. Sorry, you lose.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    “So when you demand links, for example to Breitbart’s claim he gave all the video he had, I’m just laughing. That claim is well documented, and you’re denying its accuracy whether you see a link or not”

    It wasn’t a demand. But I think you’ve answered my question though.

  • Dustin

    Oh, August, it’s no surprise that you’re going to conclude exactly what you wanted.

    And yeah, you demanded a link. why deny that? It’s awfully strange behavior.

    My case is simple: look at how Breitbart left in the material the Anchoress is basing her criticism on. He obviously knew this was coming (his comments show as much), so he clearly wasn’t trying to hide this aspect of the story. That’s just proven. You say it wasn’t, but you’re just shilling. It’s right there, black and white.

    Your case is that we can’t trust Breitbart because he’s a liar. You don’t demonstrate it, and I’ve heard those claims debunked 100 times.

    You also suggest that the audience wasn’t disturbingly tolerant of racism. You are obviously denying what’s plain, that the NAACP, Barack Obama, and of course the right all agree on. Why are you such an outlier? Your bizarre take on the world can best be explained if you’re just an unreasonable shill. So I’m not exactly wounded that you’re announcing I’ve answered all your questions and I’m also some horrible demon of lies.

  • http://www.someguywithawebsite.com August J. Pollak

    ” I am asking you if YOU are consistent, if YOU manage to go to lefty sites that play the race-card indiscriminately and take them to task for it, or if left-to-right race-calling aggression is perfectly appropriate in your mind.”

    And I am asking if that has anything to do with whether or not this video was distorted. It doesn’t, which is why I said you’re ducking this.

    I came here to legitimately commend a right-wing blog for not joining in a dogpile. Your response, apparently, has been to condemn me for not joining in one. Believe me or don’t, but I’m honestly not even aware of this ThinkProgess story you keep insisting I comment on, and yet apparently not commenting on it makes me a hypocrite.

    If you’re mad at ThinkProgress for something, fine. I haven’t linked to them so I don’t really feel a need to defend my association with them right now. Alright, if I’m a hypocrite, I’m a hypocrite. I’m very sorry for you all, but that doesn’t stop Andrew Breitbart from being a disgrace and a fraud. Good luck.

    [You have understand, I'm not looking for your kudos. They're meaningless unless you're also going, here, for instance and condemning the "call someone a racist" mentality -admin]

  • Abadman

    I may have read you wrong. It is just her What What she said and did was bigoted and racist not paranoid projections. Naming something has power and while you eventually get around to saying “racist crap” is aimed more at an overall attitude and not Sherrod herself. You stretch probability to the limit to put good words and intentions in her mouth racist and bigoted not “paranoid projections”, so why use this euphamism? Whould you have used it if she were white? You condem her actions but seem hesitant to condem the character those actions represent. Where , in my opinion, were she white, her actions would immediately speak to her character.

    “But then Sherrod apparently has a revelation. She begins to understand that “it’s about poor versus those who have, and not so much about white–it is about white and black–…””. As epithanies go this is not much of one, and hoping she might have said something different is not much of a condemnation.

    By all means let’s see the rest of the tape and see if there is some silver lining to this, but at the same time let’s not start making excuses.

    I’m obviously reading you wrong, but it seems to me you are pretty close to doing that

    [You are reading me wrong. I'm not close to doing that. But take a look at the comments. A lot of people are assuming I am saying things I did not say. I am a pretty clear and simple writer. I say what I mean, and if I mean more I say more. Sherrod DID make a paranoid (and yes, racist) projection when she assumed that the farmer was being "superior" to her. I bet the projection comes from having had to endure that at some time in her life, but it doesn't excuse her. -admin]

  • Crust

    [If I may ask, how seriously did you take Think Progress to task, last week, for tampering with tapes to create a "Tea Partiers Racist" narrative? Were you as offended by them, then, as you are by Breitbart, now? If you were not, then your comment here is meaningless -admin]

    Thank you for the reply. In all honesty, I haven’t seen the Think Progress tape you reference. If you want me to establish cred or something, I did take Glenn Greenwald to task the other day for passing along the Vitter diaper story (which to his credit he corrected with an update to his post).

    I think perhaps you misunderstand a little the point I was trying to make to AJP, or in any event let me try to clarify it a bit. I think there is too much credulity — of Breitbart notably, but also more generally — when it comes to these hot button stories that fit the narrative du jour. That was my point about people taking the edited video as presented at face value even against interest (the point of the NAACP and Vilsack examples).

    [Let me help you come up to speed, then. It is worth noting that the impetus for Breitbart's actions was that kind of crap, and the NAACP's unnecessary move to play an extremely weak race card by making a big show of condemning "racist elements in the Tea Parties." So, this mess was begun on movement begun left-to-right. To my mind that doesn't justify anything, but it's worth remembering how this began. There is little glory here, for anyone. I understood your point, entirely, btw. I also understand that because I am a perceived center-right blogger daring to question Breitbart, I am being visited by people from the left, now, and thought "useful" as some attempt to sustain an attack against conservatives in general as "stupid" or "racist" or "gullible" or whatever. Come in praising me and then commence the sneers. I'm not having any. I deplore this sort of stuff, whatever its origins, and I also have no intention as being used by the left as some sort of token "good" conservative (I am not even a conservative, I'm a classical liberal formed in Catholic consciousness) whose comments thread can be commandeered for spiteful purposes. I'm all for dialogue and debate, but I have no liking for the typical internet-comments crap that folks can engage in anywhere. I don't indulge it for very long, here. -admin]

  • Ben Frank

    Any wonder why the tape seemed to end abruptly now that the full context has been revealed?

    [Meanwhile, what are your thoughts on this and this? Consistent, much? -admin]

  • palmtree

    If Brietbart did not have the whole tape, then it was totally irresponsible journalism to post an clip without knowing the whole context. Of course he knows most of his audience , Fox News etc doesn’t care about accuracy , this is just another race baiting hit piece to rev up the republican base.

    If wonder if conservatives understand just how insane it sounds to others when they portray southern black people as power mad racists ,after the last several hundred years of America history. This kind of odd reversal , where the majority whites need to “protected” from the minority blacks has been at the heart of racism in this country for a long time.

    [And of course, you also were concerned about Think Progress editing tapes to make Tea Partiers appear racist, right? You reject all race-flaming, no? You also condemn this do you not? -admin]

  • Ben Frank

    Another fake Breitbart tape…Who knew?

    [And of course this is equally offensive to you, too, isn't it?- admin]

  • palmtree

    I don’t condone “smearing” anyone as racist.I agree that the term is thrown around too loosely. I do however think many prominent conservatives are racists , or at least are willing to push racial buttons and ignore lessons of history, so we might not agree about who is being smeared.
    Breitbart is perhaps the top “smearer” in the country at the moment, having learned at the feet of Matt Drudge.
    I haven’t followed the “Think Progress ” story you referenced so I would have to read about it first.
    If they edited tapes in a dishonest way then I am against that.
    The larger point is that this is part of a conservative narrative saying that Obama is out to get white people , that he wants “reparations” as Limbaugh puts it , that the angry blacks are on the warpath. It’s a disgusting stew cooked up to scare and motivate older white voters. It’s the same old ‘Southern strategy” again.

    [I take exception to your premise that "many prominent conservatives are racists, or at least are willing to push racial buttons, etc..." My goodness, just take a look at some of the links I've posted here in comments; there appear to be PLENTY of people on the left who are "willing to push racial buttons," and as far as I'm concerned, if you're willing to do that, then you've got a race problem your own. I am speaking those folks, btw, not you personally. I think it's time to stop fighting among people of good faith; lets get rid of the race baiters on both sides. It's time. -admin]

  • Dave (in MA)

    #83 – We have a government official admitting that she denied services to a citizen solely because of the citizen’s race and palmtree is worried about context?

  • David2010

    The real questions here are: (i) What on earth makes Mr. Breitbart tick — what is it that gets him to put these stories out? (ii) Has there been a conscious tactical decision taken by conservatives to conduct this fall’s election campaign based on a subtext of racial animosity, or is it a marketing/rating/economic phenomenon led by talk radio and Fox, or both.

    Nobody would ever have heard or cared about the handful of knuckleheads who call themselves the New Black Panther Party if it hadn’t been for Fox amplifying their loathsome, idiotic hate speech and giving them a platform. It is fair to ask why Fox would do that, in my opinion. I have my views on that question, but unlike Fox would not presume to speak for the network. Somebody ought to ask for an answer, though.

    [You don't think it was fair for FOX to ask the DOJ why they set aside their own victory? -admin]

  • palmtree

    Well according to her, the point of the story ( which was edited out) was that she learned to see beyond race. I think that’s pretty important context. Not to mention the fact that she in fact did help the white farmer, who considered her a friend. This also happened 24 years ago before she worked for the USDA.

  • http://zachriel.blogspot.com/2005/07/liberal-v-conservative.html Zachriel

    the wife of the white farmer in question, 82-year-old Eloise Spooner, confirmed the story and called Sherrod a “friend for life.” She told CNN that Sherrod “treated us really good and got us all we could.” “She’s the one I give credit to with helping us save our farm”.

  • http://theornithophobe.blogspot.com/ Nmissi

    The real story here should be the audience for the speech. She was relating with them, joking along. “I… didn’t give him the full measure of what I could do.” sly grin, audience laughter… THAT is really where racism lives today- not in overt action against other people, but in generalized assumptions and attitudes that leak in all over our lives. Like you, I suspect that’s where she was heading when the speech cuts off- that she had her own prejudices challenged by this man, and learned from the experience. Framed properly, this speech may have been her “come to Jesus” story- we just never made it to the impact point. Considering Mrs. Spooner is defending her, I am sorry to see Sherrod out of a job.

    The audience members though? Bah. Every last person who laughed at that farmer’s misfortune should reap exactly as they have sewn. May Karma Claus come bearing exactly what they deserve.

  • Ann Landell

    Ms Sherrod seemed to think that the Marxist view that rich oppress poor was a step up from the racist view that white oppress black. There is no way out of this group or en masse thinking. Moral responsibility is individual; goodness or evil exists in individuals. This is so opposed to martin Luther King’s “by the content of their character” standard. I remember being shocked during the campaign when Obama said that his grandmother was a “typical white woman.” This is racist, bigoted speech betraying a racist attitude.

    I was a teacher for 30 some years and I taught
    students of incredibly diverse backgrounds. What if I had Ms. Sherrod’s attitude in the classroom? Obama’s? It’s unthinkable to me.

  • palmtree

    Ok right , southern black folks who may have some lingering resentments against whites(I wonder why?) and chuckle at her story ( perhaps because they recognise their own shortcomings ) are the real racists. But the 90 something percent white republican party , which has publicly apologized in the past for the “southern strategy” is totally color blind.
    Ridiculous.

  • JJM

    Gay Patriot: “Perhaps NAACP President Ben Jealous resents the more prominent role his predecessors played in the debates of their day than he does today.”

    Hey, I’m just a know-nothing foreigner and loyal subject of the Queen who lives up here over your northern border but I do have a question:

    Why do “colored people” still need an “advancement association” when the highest and most important position any American can ever hope to attain – President of the United States – is now not only accessible to African Americans but currently occupied by one?

    Just exactly what “advancement” in US society is still barred to African Americans?

    I think that is the existential problem for the NAACP.

  • Dustin

    From AJC

    “A production company, DCTV3 in Douglas, recorded the event at the local NAACP chapter’s request and is waiting for permission to release the full speech.””

    Anchoress’s interest in the whole tape is understandable and legitimate. Anyone blaming Breitbart for the lack of the whole tape should reconsider, though. It’s the NAACP that has embargoed the tape.

  • Dustin

    A comment I left seems to have been filtered out (I am sure because I left the link wrong, though I used aref correctly I think).

    Anyway, the Atlanta Journal Constitution indicates that the full tape exists, but the NAACP has control over it and has not yet agreed to release it.

    Breitbart does not have the full speech. I think it’s informative that he did not cut out the aspects that the Anchoress found potentially exculpatory. At any rate, the full tape is currently held by the NAACP, and if the crowd on this video is any indication, they don’t mind helping a corrupt racist.

    Let’s hope I’m proven wrong on that last sentence.

    [I have not touched any of the contents of any comment, except to embed naked url's which mess up my spam filter. If I screwed up the url I'll fix it. But you'll have to tell me which one you're talking about b/c you've had a lot of comments here -admin]

  • Dustin

    “Jealous is correct. You seem, however, to think that I am somehow making excuses for what Sherrod did. I’m not. My only point, from the start, was to know whether that particular talk went somewhere besides hating on the white farmer. -admin]”

    I was just being unclear.

    I think you’re just asking for the whole video. It can’t hurt us to see it.

  • Pingback: The Anchoress | A First Things Blog

  • Robby Gonzalez

    Are the Libs seriously defending this vile, racist woman? Seriously??? Edited tape, taken out of context? Seriously??? Liberalism truly is a mental disorder.

  • Azygos

    “expat
    July 20th, 2010 | 11:12 am | #59

    One has to wonder who leaked this clip and why. If the Sherrod version reported by Lurknot is true, she has my respect. Racism will never be conquered by grand statements, legislation, and name calling, but only by taking people one at a time as they are so you can experience your common humanity.”

    I get the sense that this poor lady was thrown under the racial bus without knowing all the facts or context and that bothers me. I will pray for her and her family.

  • Dustin

    Azgos, maybe they saw the whole video, realized that she is an unrepentant bigot, and took offense to the NAACP’s ridiculously hypcritical condemnation of imaginary racism from the Tea Party.

    On this full video, you even get a taste of it. The Tea Party is racist. Why? Because Obama is black. And then she goes on and on about free money we should thank Obama for, ignoring the obvious implication that her program is bloated and wasteful, and opposing that just plain isn’t racist.

    You have a problem with jerks who throw racism accusations for no reason? Then you have a problem with Shirley Sherrod.

    and … she’s racist to boot.


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