The Big Implosion of Big Breitbart's Big Story


By now you may have seen this video, which Andrew Breitbart's Big Government promoted with great fanfare yesterday:

For those of you who didn't watch it, the clip begins with title cards that declare that Shirley Sherrod, until this week the Georgia director of rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, "admits that in her federally appointed position, overseeing over a billion dollars…She discriminates against people due to their race." The footage that follows supposedly supports that narrative.

It turns out that the story Sherrod tells in the clip actually took place 24 years ago, and that she was working for a private organization at the time, not the USDA. Also, in context it's clear that her anecdote was about overcoming prejudice, not celebrating it; the tale ends with Sherrod recognizing that she wants to help poor people of all colors, not just blacks. It's equally clear that her audience understood that this was the point of the story.

Nonetheless, after the video went viral Sherrod's bosses quickly ousted her from her job. Breitbart's site now wants to focus on why the USDA and/or the White House pushed her out the door with so little evidence. Not a bad topic, but first you might want to acknowledge the fact that your entire story has fallen apart.

The punchline: The first three words in Breitbart's original post were "Context is everything."

Update: The fallback position for Breitbart's die-hard defenders is that the point of the story isn't Shirley Sherrod; it's the NAACP audience that responds with "laughter and cheers" when she describes her attitude toward the white farmer she was initially reluctant to help.

Even if that summary were true, it wouldn't change the fact that the edited clip falsely claims that Sherrod "discriminates against people due to their race" while "in her federally appointed position, overseeing over a billion dollars." But it isn't true. In the full video, her story begins with this statement: "When I made that commitment, I was making that commitment to black people and to black people only. But you know God will show you things, and he'll put things in your paths, so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people." So the audience knows going in that it's a redemption story, and it knows what the moral will be.

Anyway, the church-style affirmations that you hear clearly mean I understand, not Hooray. If she was testifying about overcoming a cocaine addiction, you'd hear the same sounds, complete with laughter at the appropriate junctures. But only a fool would think the audience is enthusiastic about drug abuse.

NEXT: Recently at All Charges Dismissed! John Stagliano Reacts Outside the Courthouse

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  1. It doesn’t matter if the story “fell apart”. This was all about portraying the NAACP and Obama administration as racist. Mission accomplished. Who the fuck cares about “context”?

    1. What the hell is the matter with you?

    2. This has to be a spoof.

    3. Actually, this is the perfect story to move the dialog forward. Not that I think it actually will, but it is the only story that has that opportunity.

      The left-wing political hacks have spent the better part of a year trying to smear the “tea party” as racist. They’ve combed through crowds looking for lone racist nuts to chain the entire group to. This has been a time-honored political tactic on the left: race baiting and demanding penance from their political opponents for any comment that could even theoretically be construed as racially insensitive.

      Now that we have a narrative where the tea party folks have moved to denounce one of the nutters pointed out by the NAACP, they felt compelled to do likewise when similar accusations were leveled at them. They did no investigation and just reacted. Exactly as they have demanded others do. Ooops. Looks like they may have acted too quickly.

      Now we have lots of hand-wringing about how wrong it is to take someone’s comments out of context and accuse them of racism. Just as only Nixon could go to China, only the NAACP and the left-media could find a problem with race-baiting and insist on calm discourse in racial matters.

      This morning NPR had a long, long discussion about this very issue. About how the hostile climate created a too-swift reaction. About how sad it was that this innocent bureaucrat was caught up in this political spitball contest.

      Of course there was no discussion of the previous year of specious charges of racism. No mention of sitting congressmen (rather than some internet bloggist) hurling false accusations of racism against protesters. No mention of the incessant hunt for a random hanger-on at a tea party rally who has a Nazi tattoo. For that matter; no mention of the long history of professional race baiters running to any incident that might get them on TV to claim racism. One of my favorites was when Sharpton and Jackson showed up to protest the racism of the state during a big flood in Georgia. They claimed that the state intentionally flooded poor black areas by opening the floodgates on a particular dam. Later pictures showed the entire dam completely under water in the flood. Did we get a national dialog about false accusations of racism or taking things out of context or the ethics of race-baiting? No, not so much. But it is different now, because we have gotten a little sauce on the goose. Maybe that’s a good thing.

      1. Trent Lott must be laughing his ass off.

      2. Amen, Cyto, amen.

  2. rational people should care about context.

  3. I don’t think Breitbart asked that the WH fire her. But the AA community is gonna get pissed that after the Van Jones incident, the WH seem to roll quickly when it comes to black people in the administration.

    1. Too bad they can’t roll over on the big guy.

  4. It was obviously bogus. Everybody knows that only white males are racist.

  5. I thought the issue was not that Sherrod was racist but that the NAACP heard her apparently racist comments and did not react in horror and disgust to them. Even if her story was ultimately one of discarding racism, if the attendees did not mind the “racist” comments before they know about the redemption at the end it does go to support Breitbart’s assertion that the NAACP is not without its own institutional racism issues.

    1. Watch the full video. The lead-in to the story makes it clear where she’s going.

      1. I heard the intro and I agree with you. I have to say I am disappointed in Breitbart, though maybe I shouldn’t be. It really does seem exculpatory and I am surprised that Breitbart would apparently resort to a Michael Moore-esque edit/hatchet job.

        1. I guess I should be angry…but it is not as if Breitbart’s opponents don’t do the same thing.

          Note: I realize this is exactly the ploy MNG uses when Dems fuck up. In fact that it why i am writing it.

          Note note: It is good Breitbart got caught. (in Weigel’s words he hugged Shirley Sherrod) It would be even better if Media Matters and other media organizations were as quick to out bullshit from the lefties as they were in outing him.

          1. I realize this is exactly the ploy MNG uses when Dems fuck up. In fact that it why i am writing it.

            I thought it was because you, like MNG, are a partisan shill.

            1. I thought it was because you, like MNG, are a partisan shill.

              I voted for Barr and fully realize Breitbart made up a story.

              MNG voted for Obama and has never admitted that a lefty ever made a mistake.

              1. I voted against Obama in the primary, and did not support the Dem presidebtial candidate in 96 and 00 (voted for Perot and Buchanan).

                I find the left to usually be wrong on many issues-from gun control to affirmative action to Obamacare to cap and trade.

                So nice try.

                1. MNG,
                  You don’t happen to live in Palm Beach, do you?

            2. Also the whole ACORN always struck me as a dirty trick. I think prostitution should be legal and they should be able to get tax deductions like everyone else.

              Hell in all honesty giving prostitutes tax advise is probably the only good thing ACORN has ever done.

              1. Not me.

                They were giving people advice on how to abuse a system of public subsidies.

                The prostitution angle just made it funny. I wouldn’t have cared if they had disguised themselves as ministers instead of pimps.

              2. They were 13- and 14-year-old prostitutes, Joshua. Not acceptable.

                1. They were 13- and 14-year-old prostitutes, Joshua. Not acceptable.

                  ANd then they called the police and reported them to the authorities

                  But keep pretending like ACORN did something wrong

    2. I’d say that’s an understatement. Forget recoiling in horror; at least some of the NAACP crowd chuckled and voiced agreement with what she was saying.
      There’s a small part of me that feels bad for this woman because she was intending to make a point against racism, but everyone knows damned well that if it were a white man making the same comments, he would be DONE, regardless of his point. Between the Black Panthe case, Robert Byrd being excused by Democrats, and this, I’m done with racism that would end the career of someone right of the Democratic party being acceptable if you have the approved connections. If Trent Lott doesn’t get to be a Senator because he praised a man who had run as a segregationist 40 years earlier, then sorry, she’s done too. Or maybe we could just put stuff like that in the past. That way long ago past where the Tea Party was in the news all week for being racists (aka politically disagreeing with a black man). But of course, it will only ever be put on our side to back off.

      1. Trent Lott kept his Senate seat he lost his leadership post. If you’re going to cry about double standards, at least get the facts right in your “Republicans are oppressed” story.

        1. Only temporarily. Later Lott became the Minority Whip, a post he held in the House as well.

          1. This is tasty:

            On November 26, 2007, Lott announced that he would resign his Senate seat by the end of 2007.[11] According to CNN, his resignation was at least partly due to the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, which forbids lawmakers from lobbying for two years after leaving office. Those who leave by the end of 2007 are covered by the previous law, which demands a wait of only one year.[12] In his resignation press conference, Lott said that the new law had no influence in his decision to resign.

            Lott’s resignation became effective at 11:30 p.m. on December 18, 2007.[13] On January 7, 2008 it was announced that Lott and former Senator John Breaux of Louisiana, a Democrat, opened their lobbying firm about a block from the White House.[14]

      2. everyone knows damned well that if it were a white man making the same comments, he would be DONE, regardless of his point.


  6. This was all win on so many levels.
    Kudos to the wonderful folk at Breitbart.

    1. Thanks for making it clear– there is something terribly wrong with you.

  7. It’s equally clear that her audience understood that this was the point of the story.

    They also seem to have enjoyed the racist parts (in a more-racist-than-laughing-at-Chris-Rock-jokes kind of way), and she still talks like a racist (not a dramatization of a past one), which seemed to me to be the Breitbart guys’ original point. It’s what the story says to watch for.

    And the moral-of-the-story part of her tale is in this shorter version, too. Only the personal-repentance denouement isn’t. If that’s a Breitbart edit (I don’t know that it is), that makes sense; their story wasn’t about her. She was just in it.
    And now I think they’re actually surprised she got canned, that the NAACP shit on her so hard and so fast, and that it turns out she has such a weird history?because she wasn’t what the bait was made to catch. It was a plain old “I know you are but what am I?” aimed at the NAACP.

    Weren’t you surprised she got tossed? It seems like a guilty (but of what?) overreaction.

    1. the moral-of-the-story part of her tale is in this shorter version, too.

      Well, sort of. I mean, I got where she was coming from when I saw the original clip, but I could see why people who watched it were confused; it cuts off in a weird place. I don’t think it’s possible to maintain that confusion while watching the longer version.

      If that’s a Breitbart edit (I don’t know that it is), that makes sense; their story wasn’t about her. She was just in it.

      This seems to be the fallback position, but it relies on a bad-faith reading of the audience’s reactions. It also ignores the part where the video claims she “admits that in her federally appointed position, overseeing over a billion dollars…She discriminates against people due to their race.” I don’t know who edited the clip either, but the clip was posted on YouTube by an arm of the Breitbart empire; if they didn’t want to stand by the intro, they could have cut it.

    2. In the Breitbart clip, you do hear her say that she later realized it was more about money than race. If his intention were to deceive, I don’t know why he would have left that part.

      1. Its obvious his intention was to deceive; her whole speech is available on the NAACP website. The anecdote in question begins around the 16 minute mark. There’s nothing “rascist” about it, which is what Breitbart wanted people to believe. If that isn’t deception then wtf is?

      2. So that you would make that argument?

        1. Well if her point was that it’s more about money than race, and the first time I saw the video I heard her say it’s more about money than race, I’d say her “real” point got in there.

  8. Form the Weigel story to this, there’s this weird thing going on that people don’t seem to understand that everything they say and do in an official capacity will be seen, read, digested and passed on by everyone who hates them.

    Why would anyone post something on JournoList and not think it would go public? Why would this lady talk about this kind of thing and not think it would go viral?

    There are people who stay up late at night trying to think of new ways to expose this kind of thing. Maybe the next generation will understand that better. In the meantime, for all those of you who haven’t noticed…

    There’s this thing called the “interwebs”, and they’re pre-installing it with Windows ’95 now. Seriously. You might want to watch what you write and anything that gets on video too.

    1. You ever wonder if the internet, and the resulting loss of privacy and the ability to forget will destroy human civilization? Our social structures were built with at least some assumption that if you screwed up you may be able to get to a point that the issue was forgotten or unknown. Nowadays all your mistakes can live forever to be called up at a moments notice.

      1. Yeah, if you’re a public figure. It’s friggin great! For every Bush gaffe, there’s an Obama, Biden, Reid, and pelosi gaffe.

        Just think, politicians might actually think before speaking from now on.

      2. You ever wonder if the internet, and the resulting loss of privacy and the ability to forget will destroy human civilization?

        Privacy is an emergent property of the industrial age; for 90+% of human history, everyone knew everyone else’s shit – it’s just the circles were a lot smaller

        Our social structures were built with at least some assumption that if you screwed up you may be able to get to a point that the issue was forgotten or unknown.

        It was always exile, either self or community opposed that enabled one to start over after a screw up. Look at Afghanistan if one thinks that one can’t have long memories without modernity. (arguably, just the opposite)

        1. s/b ‘imposed’ for ‘opposed’

          1. I agree up to a point, but in the past if you did something there was an inherent statute of limitations as memories faded/people died. And before cameras there was always a “he said – she said” element as it was one person’s word against another. Also, exile was an option, and depending on the era you could get by with moving not that far away to start over.

      3. We’ll have to learn that tolerance is about more than race or religion. Anyway, read The Transparent Society if you want thoughts from someone that predicted this trend a while back.

      4. “Our social structures were built with at least some assumption that if you screwed up you may be able to get to a point that the issue was forgotten or unknown. Nowadays all your mistakes can live forever to be called up at a moments notice.”

        My fallibilistic sensibilities make me think this is a good thing.

        More scrutiny is better–it’s that it’s not just for the CEO anymore.

        Stupidity in public has been a thorn in society’s side for thousands of years, and I think there being public consequences for that is a good thing.

        It’s okay with me so long as people can still say what they want to say–but I don’t have a problem with people having to take responsibility for what they say in public and there being public consequences.

        Freedom means reaping what you sow.

        It’s just like everything else.

    2. Ken Shultz,
      As I read your comment, you think everyone should keep their mouths shut lest anything they say could be taken out of context. Am I interpreting that correctly?

      1. No, I don’t think that. …and, hell, I’ve been using my real name around here for years.

        I am saying that it’s just like real life. I don’t say things in public that I’ll regret later if made public.

        And I think it’s ridiculous for people to feign surprise that what they said in public was publicized.

        You make a public speech in front of a camera about how you discriminated against people because of their race, and you’re surprised that was used against you? Why?

        You wrote some stupid shit to a room full of journalists, and you’re surprised someone published it?


      2. I saw something on TV once about vetting wanna-be porn stars, and one of the things they were talking about with these girls was that, hey, know what?

        Everybody you went to high school and junior high with? They’re all going to see everything you do on film.

        No, really. And so are your cousins and uncles and brother-in-laws. They’re definitely all going to see every film you make–the likelihood of them not finding out about it and not seeing it is zero.

        And if you have kids? When they get to Junior High? All their friends are going to see what their Mom did too. As sure as the sun will rise tomorrow. You get into that business, you have to understand that beforehand.

        Same thing applies here.

        There’s a reason you can’t get a straight answer out of a quarterback to a straight question like, “So, do you think you’ll win the game today?”

        Dumbass 22 year-old football players know better than that. Say what you want to say, but anything you say in public can and will be used against you in the court of public opinion.

    3. How many YouTube videos were you aware of in 1986? Had you even heard of the internet? I’m guessing 0 and No.

      1. This video was filmed in 1986? Doesn’t look like it.

    4. Those of you who think that individuals can protect their reputation by being circumspect seem to forget that people on the internet lie for fun and profit.

      We’ve got marketing hats gaming product reviews and political hacks with their latest kneecap, fictional profiles on singles sites and everyone’s a subject matter expert. That’s the positive reputation noise which nobody seems to notice (numb to advertising I ‘spose).

      The flip-side is much more exciting and pernicious. People will claim that you said or did things you didn’t say or do. Their friends will believe it, repeat it and make it true on the internet (your friends will ask “WTF?”). There is no legal recourse, there is no containment and there is no reasoning to correct an error: the duped are more likely to be offended that you’d doubt their word than that they’ve been lied to themselves. Search engines make the situation worse by creating echo chambers for falsehoods.

      This trend has been consolidating since email chains about Vince Foster and one dollar ponzi schemes but Web 2.0 brought about the post-4chan era. We don’t need USENET or message boards because on any given day *everyone* online is now a troll, a tool, a target or a mark. The net could have brought education and a better life to billions, but we used it to distribute porn and gossip like Heathers. The trolls won.

      To rip from John Donne: Ask not for whom the lolz troll, they troll for thee.

  9. It’s sloppy I think, but Brietbart accomplished exactly what he wanted. He stopped the momentum of the Tea-Party-is-racist bullshit that was starting to gain unwarranted traction. It worked.

    1. I think you’re right. Breitbart’s intention here was “shut the fuck up, NAACP”, and it will probably work. Maybe now they can go back to hearing imaginary things in audio greeting cards.

      1. Yep, in order to get to the top, you have to first race to the bottom. And the biggest asshole always wins! Enjoy the ride fellas.

        1. Or maybe we could keep playing nice, which seems to be defined as them putting everyone who disagrees with them in the news as “racists” while never being called out themselves.

          This way is better.

    2. Yup. He turned the tables on them, using their own tactics. Mission accomplished (as far as Breitbart is concerned).

  10. I can’t find it in myself to care about another TEAM RED TEAM BLUE “you’re racists no YOU’RE racists” slapfight.

    A government flunky got canned for political reasons. Another flunky will take her place. Who cares? Call me when the net result is smaller government, which it won’t be in this case.

    1. Well, the government is technically smaller until tomorrow when her replacement is hired.

    2. Well, this person had her name dragged through pig shit. That’s something to care about. I agree that the job she holds shouldn’t really exist, but it’s okay to look at things on a more personal level sometimes (although I admit that’s difficult when so many people are fairly ejaculating confirmation bias).

      1. I just don’t care, dude. If you take a bullshit job paid with taxpayer money and you’re prominent enough to affect politics, and you get whacked because your political bosses feel they need to jettison you because of something you said, well, fuck you. Go get a real job.

        Live by the (political) sword, die by the sword.

      2. I agree with you on that. It is a little terrifying that we may be getting to the point where politics truly becomes a blood sport, even for people who did not choose to enter the arena.

        1. To clarify, I agree with Bulk, not Episiarch. Her job should probably not exist, and she works at the pleasure of the President, but to be collateral damage in this sorry business is unfortunate.

          1. She may not be racist, but she sure was wrong about government jobs being forever.

        2. It’s not a blood sport until there’s actual blood – and we’ve got a long ways to go yet. Is her nose going to be cut off to disqualify her from public office? Is she going to be tossed into the deepest darkest clink to languish until her execution for crimes against the state?

          No, she’s just getting booted from a job she maybe shouldn’t have had, in a department that damn sure shouldn’t exist. And in a couple of weeks, almost no-one will remember anything about this. Sure, she probably got screwed, but when a political appointee steps on their dick and pays the price (and for a political appointee, even the appearance of impropriety can count as a career-killing mistake), my sympathy is pretty limited.

      3. Babel eating Babel.

        There are real people dying unjustly all over the world and you are worried about one government crony getting her name drug through the mud?

        1. No, my heart isn’t exactly dripping with blood for this woman. I just meant it’s okay to pause and say, “Gee, that must suck to have that happen to you” before pressing on with your day.

      4. You feel bad for someone who only realized discrimination was wrong when she was near 40?

        She makes a strange hero for the left. Apparently you can be a former discriminator as long as you nominally repent. But if you have political beliefs shared by someone with racist views your ideas are tainted even though you are explicitly against discrimination.

        1. Is this the place to make a mandatory observation about the now-deceased Robert Byrd?

          1. It’s ok that Byrd was in the KKK, because he was a Democrat.

            Sones kind of ridiculous when you say it all straighforward like that, doesn’t it?

        2. I can’t be bothered to watch the video, but I vaguely recall that she claimed that white people killed her father. That could leave a negative impression with some people.

          1. Yeah, it’s safe to say she came by her dislike of whitey in an honest way.

            1. Because if a white official did this and said a black mugger killed his parent, the NAACP would care.

          2. All of us? Shit, do I have go on the lam in Canada?

  11. The underlying anxiety is justified.
    Is there no more objective truth anymore? Is all our social discourse reduced to just tactics and angles and soundbites and cheap shots? What Ayn Rand called ” the range of the moment”?

    1. Public discourse, at least, has been that way for a long time. You only have to look at stupid shit like this to understand why Congresscritters and government bureaucrats speak in canned soundbites and rehearsed platitudes. They prefer sounding (and, probably, being) phony to dealing with stuff like this.

  12. I was wondering why you guys waited to chime in on this. Was it prescience, or did you smell something fishy? For me, it was the latter. I wanted to see the full video before jumping to conclusions, because little snippets of people speaking have a peculiar way of not reflecting the totality of the speaker’s intended meaning.

    The hate fire flashed hot and fast with this one, though. The comments at HotAir were pretty funny (a lot of IT’S THE END OF THE FUCKING WORLD! posts). There was scorched earth before anyone had time to blink.

    Sherrod is claiming that the request to step down came directly from the White House. If that’s true, those are some brittle eggshells they’re walking on up there.

  13. Everyone in the USDA should be fired. The USDA is just a waste of taxpayer money. I agree firing her for those comments was dumb, but she had a job that should not exist. Fire them All.

    1. We agree!

      1. Your hamfisted attempts at humor are pathetic, bitchface.

        1. Bitchface? Take that back or I’ll nibble at your intestine some more.

          1. You would cause more harm if you stopped nibbling.

            A healthy flora of bacteria is good for the colon.

            1. We agree…all bacteria should have equal access to the colon.

    2. Fire them All.

      It really would not matter…even if it was legal i still could not find a job in Obama’s economy

      1. I love raw milk and young raw milk cheese. To bad both are illegal.

    3. Yeah

  14. RT from Nate Silver: The VERY SENTENCE before Brietbart’s video begins, Sherrod says God showed her that it was all about poor people, not about race after all.

    So this is who Andrew Breitbart is. No apology, just move on to the next thing as though it never happened. Good to know.

    1. Yeah, I think Breitbart’s takedown of ACORN has gone to his head. What you describe is the behavior of an inflated ego that desperately needs to encounter the business end of a pin.

    2. There’s no moving on, this woman was hired in 2009 after winning a $13 million lawsuit against….you guessed it, the USDA.


      What a coincidence that the person best suited for the job just happened to be someone who just won a huge lawsuit against the people giving out the job.

      Oh, and the lawsuit was for racial discrimination..

      1. Yeah. She’s no heroine.

      2. Thank you for bringing this up. That whole aspect deserves more investigation.

    3. I don’t know what you saw, but the clip that was first released on included her saying that it was more about money than race.

      1. Your distorting the content of the video. She said “it was about poor versus those who have.”

        1. In other words, more about money than her previously mentioned racial discrimination. I don know what everyonenis bitching about with Breitbart, it was crystal clear to me from the first time I saw the clip that she was trying to make that point.

  15. It’s interesting how Instapundut was all over Breitbart’s original story, lauhging about how “the truth hurts,” but he has been conspicuously silent about these latest developments.

    He complains about the Journolist people conspire to slant the news, but if you read him and the other right-wing blogs, it’s pretty much the same points on every one.

    1. So journalists conspiring in private to make crap up about people and act as the propaganda arm of the government is the same as people with similar views having similar public opinions on different blogs?

      You’re a bit of an moron aren’t you?

      As for these latest developments, Instapundit has plenty of mentions about them, but the point they are wilfully missing is that it was always about the explicit approval of her racism within the NAACP. Why go after one racist when you can get a roomful of them at a time.

      1. Ain’t it funny how this story confirms everything you already knew?

    2. It’s interesting that you didn’t check Instapundit before commenting.

      1. I checked. I saw a lot of links. But in Instapundit’s original link to the story he says “Breibart delivers: video evidence of NAACP racism.” Not once in any of his followup, does Instapundit personally acknowldge that Breibart presented a selectively edited version of the the speech and that what Breitbart descirbes as “mumurs of regognition and agreement” are, in context, not approval of racism but recogition of their own failings.

        What’s really interesting is that Instaundit’s first link wasn’t to Breibatr’s own article, but to a comment on it by Ed Morriseey who goes on to write “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.”

        Well, if Breibart had posted the whole video to being with….

        1. Damn my spelling sucks.

        2. It’s interesting that you didn’t check Instapundit before commenting, again.

          1. So Charles are you now going to retract your statement and admit the Conservative media is more honest when errors are made then the left?

            And are you now going to rail against the left wing media’s silence over the past 2 years of leftists screaming racist about tea pirates?

            1. I don’t like the blue/red bullshit, but it’s abundantly clear at this point that conservatives are better at the truth stuff than libs.

              1. Drudge does not have it up yet. The Daily Caller does though. Good for Tucker.

              2. Bullshit. How quickly we forget the behavior of the right-wing media during the Bush administration.

                Those of us who dislike overbearing government are definitely going to find more to dislike about the Democrats these days. But it was just the opposite not too long ago.

                1. “at this point”

                  1. Uh, you didn’t say it was only at this point that conservatives were better than liberals, you said that it’s at this point that that fact has become abundantly clear. Whatev.

                    I don’t even think the conservatives are better even in the present — it just looks that way because there’s so much legitimately damning information out there about the Dems and relatively little Republican dirty laundry that they have to cover up.

                2. Beck, Rush, Tucker, George will, Buchanan all criticized Bush. In the case of Rush he could have been louder then he was…still he did criticize him.

                  As to Breitbart he was not as big as he is now…so I really don’t know, but Drudge did not seem to have any trouble linking to negative stories about Bush.

                  But yeah Fox news was a cheer leader for 8 years so you have a big one there.

                  1. After 2006 when it was clear the writing was on the wall, a lot of conservatives turned on Bush, yes. I’m talking about the heady days of 2002-2005, when the GOP was going to have a permanent majority and freedom was on the march and stuff.

                    1. Planes flying into the world trade center with full blown HD video coverage did that to all wings of the media not just conservatives. It did it to the whole county.

                      Bush did not serve a second term because of teh conservative media. He served two terms because of Osama.

                    2. You’re conflating conservative politicos and journalists. Plenty of the former loved Bush*. The latter, not so much. NR was never big on the guy. Name a lefty pub with a similar position on Obama.

                      *I was behind the ropes on election night in 2000. The amount of sycophantic love haunted my dreams until 2008.

          2. Nope, I just checked again to see if I missed anything. Instapundit has still not admitted he was wrong. He has simply moved on, like much of the rest of the conservative media (love that groupthink) to talking about how quickly the NAACP and the Obama administration threw this woman under the bus without ackowleghing that they, too, accepted Breitbart’s claims without any skepticism.

  16. stint in the Guccisupplier and
    Cheap louis vuittonreplica gucci watchesCheap

  17. Well to be honest i don’t care why they fire a USDA employee….my problem is they will hire someone else to replace her.

  18. Even in the worst possible interpretation had proved to be true, she deserved a hearing before kicking her to the curb. Note how her boss justified his decision as one of ‘zero tolerance’, just another utilitarian means to an ends argument to justify thoughtlessness.

    1. After skimming through that —


      It may have been seen as an opportunity by Vilsack to get rid of someone who got their position by being a pain in the ass if not out right blackmail. Still I hate ‘zero tolerance’ language with a passion.

  19. Just a note

    between this, the “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, Who Cares? . . . Call Them Racists'” thing, Weigel and the coming “president should regulate Fox news thing it looks like a full blown war is breaking out between the two camps of journalists.

    I am kind of exited about it.

    Reason should hire someone to cover the massacre. I would recommend Weigel for irony sake but Matt is so fucking awesome at covering media i think he should get a co-editor and chief and dig into this at least part time.

  20. If her story about the white farmer was just a parable to set up that her eyes were “opened” then it’s unfortunate she’s been put in this position.

    However, if the story is true, then I have less significantly less sympathy. Regardless of context, she was treating a man poorly mostly (if not solely) based on the color of his skin. I think there’s a word for that.

  21. I don’t know, “one of his own kind” sounds like something a tobacco-spitting redneck would say in Easy Rider. Kind of stereotypically racist, so to speak.

    Breitbart’s tactic of rubbing the dog’s nose in his own shit works for me. From what I’ve observed of his temperament I expect he might blow a gasket one of these days but for now I’m happy to see a non-lefty fight against the left agressively and, so far, ethically.

    1. Nah, it’s more like what my grandma said when she disapproved of the race of the women I date.

      Well she’s gone now, so all I have to deal with is my mom.

  22. On the one hand, indulging in schadenfreude over an Obamaite getting sacked as a result of the kind of gotcha journalism the Left has been committing for years. There’s also how disloyal Obama is as he will jettison one of his supporters when they become possibly a political liability. lThe other side says that the story of how the NAACP and the JournaList people recklessly throwing accusations of racism around at the Tea Party and conservative figures will be lost in the media’s angsting about how poorly Sherrod has been treated.

  23. Jeez, the level people will stoop to excuse racism if it comes from the wrong side is hilarious. The people in the video are busting a gut over comments that, in the context that they are being told at that moment are clearly racist. Whatever the woman’s point in the end was, her audience was laughing at the idea that she treated a guy like crap because he was the wrong color.

    Anybody that can’t see this obvious point is an idiot.

    1. Yeah. They were nodding and agreeing with and sanctioning her explanation as if they were in church, listening to a preacher reciting the same old dogma. It was almost like a setup. Tell a racist story to expose the racists who agree with you, then hit ’em with a contradictory ending and uplifting moral. Some of the audience members got caught–subconsciously?–affirming their own racism.

  24. USDA Rural Development spends over 1.2 billion in the State of Georgia each year

    …and we’re having a discussion on Racism? WTF? Out of 72 comments only two, Jake5456 and Epi, seem to get it. And I thought this was a Libertarian blog.

    1. Since it’s the Internet, you can’t see our Libertarian decoder rings, but yes, most of the people posting in the this thread also hate huge gubmint and want the USDA to be excised or at least severely reduced. It’s probably such an obvious point that most people who comment here don’t feel the need to point it out with every post.

    2. Wouldnt’ that be a topic for another post? This is a post about this topic.

      And btw, Hit and Run pretty much endorsed Obama for president so its libertarian credentials are indeed suspect.

  25. Seriously, who says something like, “I sent him to one of his own kind.”?

    In what context is that permissible? Dividing up kids in school districts? Seating arrangements at lunch counters?

    Until it’s clear that Breibart had the whole video and selectively edited any exculpatory comments, I’m content to see her get what she deserves.

    BTW, the NAACP had the whole video and issued a blanket condemnation of her comments before watching it, or releasing it. It’s hard to believe that they would be prejudiced against “their own kind” like that.

    1. Abdul,

      That’s the phrase that’s sticking in my head too. If a white USDA official said something along the lines of “I sent him to a black lawyer, one of his own kind…”, that official would be crucified, no matter what the context of the rest of the speech.

      1. That’s the bottom line here. It’s cliche to point it out, but if this were a white man, forget it.

  26. John|7.19.10 @ 2:22PM|#
    I was wrong.

  27. You mean we are now putting comments into CONTEXT? Great news!

    I assume that Don Imus’ jokes about “kinky haired ho’s” will likewise be put into context. And the lone nut at a Tea Party event who utters a racial comment out of anger, emotion or stupidity will no longer be deemed to indict millions of others as “racists.”

    I am right about this, aren’t I?

    1. I am right about this, aren’t I?

      Yep. Extreme right.

    2. As I recall, it was “nappy-headed hos” that got Imus railroaded. Bill Maher gets away with far worse every day but he’s an established lefty who attacks white people and Republicans and is therefore immune to criticism. Not that those entertainers weren’t hired because they are assholes. It’s the double standard that irks.

      1. Bill Maher is hardly a lefty, much less an established one.

        I agree with ya on Imus.

        1. Bill Maher isn’t an established lefty? Whoa. He has his own cable TV show and appears regularly on others’ lefty shows as a sympathetic guest. He was a pundit on one of the established Sunday news shows a few weeks ago wherein he remarked that not all conservatives are racists, but if you’re a racist, you’re probably a conservative. That’s some compelling lefty cred.

          1. How is Maher not a lefty? Supporting legal weed doesn’t necessarily make you a libertarian.

        2. If this was 10 years ago I would have agreed with you regarding Maher, but he’s taken a left turn over the last decade.

  28. “The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.”


  29. The most entertaining part of the story for me was watching Rachel Maddow coming (even more) unhinged last night, employing Mr. Squeaky Voice and heaping helpings of over-the-top sarcasm that must have made even her own devoted producers wince. The left are losing it. Some will surely go insane.

  30. I don’t get why there is hate for Breitbart coming from the “new generation” of Reason’s editorial team.
    But seeing it makes me glad I stopped renewing my subscription years ago.

    I never come to to read some youth bashing conservatives, especially when there is an much more interesting target for criticism in the White house.

    But if that is the direction Reason sees fit to take, I just mark it as a loss for libertarian adult as a whole.

  31. Breitbart was on fox business last night. He said he recieved the editted video as is. He heard about a few months ago, but did not get the video (he was busy). But, when the NAACP attacked the tea party, he re-contacted the source and got the already editted video from it. The un-edited video comes from the NAACP which presumably has better access to the video. He said the attack was dirceted to the crowd (NAACP) not her, and he did not ask for her resignation or care about it.

    1. So he’s not an ass but he’s not a journalist either. He’s a careless hack.

  32. This is almost as loathsome as the Dan Rather/CBSNews fable re. W. and the Texas Air National Guard “documents.”


  33. 1. How many times do you think Sherrod gave less than her best effort in helping rural white farmers prior to this eye-opener 24 years ago?

    2. Her main point is that it isn’t about white vs. black (exclusively) — because poor white’s struggle too (who’d have thought that??) — therefore her racIST actions (verb)were unnecessary. In the end her conclusion amounts to we need *more* government to help struggling farmers. The full context of this clip doesn’t make her any less contemptible. What was all the garbage about how the farmer felt superior to her while coming to her for help?? And what’s with the ‘so I took him to his *kind*’? She’s still a grown adult with racial prejudice in her heart.

    3. How else could Breitbart have presented this story if he didn’t have the full video?? If anything, it looks like someone was trying to sandbag Breitbart.

    1. You’re forgetting that she was talking about something that happened 24 years ago, and was describing how she felt THEN when she used the phrase “his own kind.”

      Breitbart tried to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. If you watched the whole video and still think she’s a racist, then your pulling the wool over your own eyes.

      1. How many years previous was Strom Thurmond’s run to Trent Lott’s comments? Ok then. Live by these rules, time to start dying by them. We’ve just spent months hearing how the Tea Party is racist over an incident that the taped specifiacally PROVED HAPPENED. Cry me a river if these comments about something that DID happen don’t get enough context. Who gives a shit anymore? Not the NAACP.

        1. Oops, that was supposed to say the tapes proved NEVER HAPPENED

        2. If you think two wrongs make a right, that’s your perogative. Go ahead and stay the gutter. Some people actually still care about the truth.

          1. It’s not about two wrongs making a right. It’s about the time for their bullshit to be over, and whatever we were doing before sure as hell wasn’t stopping it. From now on, they are going to be very careful about what they say, thanks to a taste of their own tactics. That’s not a wrong, that’s justice.

  34. the “context is everything” part makes it seem like one big joke by Breitbart. Its like he is saying, “look i can make your group racist too with some pictures and video.”

    1. Agreed! It was pretty clever, actually.

  35. This episode exposes the racism and hypocrisy of…FOX News!

  36. The real story is the unanimous applause of the NAACP audience when she admitted to intentionally withholding help from the white farmer.

    1. Liar! There was NO “unanimous applause”!

      She said, “I was trying to decide about just how much help I was going to give [the white farmer].” Some people in the crowd chuckled. Only some however. Later when she said, “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do” there was silence. No applause. No chuckles.

      But again, it was an anecdote about how she came to realize that it wasn’t just about helping black people, but about helping the poor, white or black. And again, it took place 24 years ago. Lest you forget!

      1. 1) The applause was not unanimous, but there was “uh-huh” approval and laughing from many, with no sound of disapproval

        2) The approval came at the racist part of the story. She was not talking at that point about how she WASN’T being racist anymore, she was describing a situation where she was. The fact that she threw in a twist doesn’t change what these people were praising.

        1. Your still in a state of willful ignorance. AGAIN, the context was that since she thought the farmer was being arrogant, it made her think about how much help she was going to give the man. NOT because he was white, but because of his attitude. This was the part that drew chuckles. Later when she said she actually didn’t do as much as she could have, the actual act of supposed racism, the audience was SILENT. There was no indication of approval, and by that time they knew where she was going with the story, that she would go on to do everything she could do to help him.

          No matter how you slice it, there is nothing in the video that implicates anyone of racism. Imagine whatever you want about the video, its just not there.

          1. She is a white man. A black farmer comes to the white government official. White government official says “this black farmer wanted to show me he was better than me. With all the white men out their losing their farms, I didn’t care about helping this black man, so I sent him to one of his own people. Later on I decided that money played a bigger role than race. ”

            Everyone everywhere calls this racism, and the discussion is over.

            1. No matter how you try to twist and mangle her words, the women’s anecdote is still about overcoming a racist attitude. “Everyone, everywhere” seems to get that, expect for a few that are still in denial.

              You try to make it like she still feels that way. If she did, that would be an issue. But she doesn’t.

              You try to make it like she thinks its about “money.” (You’re words, not her’s.) She uses the word the “poor” If you want to take exception to then and call her a communist or whatever, then do so. Just don’t call her a racist.

              You’re not doing anything productive, not making the world a better place, just perpetuating the same old delusional nonsense that you think is a justification for being a jerk. Oh, but the NAACP does it too, blah, blah, blah…

              She’s actually been offered a different position in the department of agriculture, so perhaps “justice” might actually be served. But don’t think the “discussion” will be over anytime soon.

  37. Regardless of how well the video makes Breitbart’s point about the NAACP, the NAACP certainly made his point for him in their response to the video.

    How seriously can you take the NAACP’s claims of racism, when they falsely accused someone of racism for a speech she gave in front of their President and membership, and of which they had the full tape?

    And I’m sure the administration didn’t make any friends by forcing her out. She’s already scored one multi-million dollar judgment from the USDA, so she knows how its done, and is probably talking to her lawyers right now. So we can expect the agony to continue. Which is a good thing.

    Really, this whole thing has descended to the level of self-parody.

  38. So at least you’re admitting that Breitbart was being misleading with the video when you say that “they [the NAACP] falsely accused someone of racism.”

    Yet trying to frame Breitbart’s actions as something that was being done to just make a “point” is trying to cover up the fact that he attempted to deceive and drag things down to his level. Systemic dishonesty is nothing to gloss over.

    I don’t think the NAACP needed to condemn the entire Tea Party for being rascist because some of its members are. And face it, some of them are. But this tit-for-tat business isn’t anything good, unless you enjoy the flith, and like to lie like a pig in the mud.

    1. Gay Communist-

      What do you think of the NAACP and the “Black Whores” greeting card incident?
      Are they really that stupid, or were they lying for attention? You have to pick one.

      1. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, 2 weeks ago the NAACP held a press conference to denounce Hallmark for an audio greeting card. It was a card for graduates, and the theme was jokes about astronomical objects. The cartoon characters were saying “Look out universe, here we come”, “Hey Saturn, we’re going to run rings around you”, “Hey asteroids”, etc. They also said “Look out black holes!”
        Well the NAACP was furious that they insulted black women. Huh? Oh yeah, see according to the NAACP, it said “Black whores”. Well, you can listen on line, and it clearly doesn’t. But that’s not the point, unless they are too dumb to fucking live, they had to have realized that IN CONTEXT, it MUST have said black holes, since everything else in the card was about space! They made a fake racist incident up for attention, because that’s what you do if you’re the NAACP.


        1. I’ll repeat again: what I posted above. If you think two wrongs make a right, that’s your perogative. Go ahead and stay the gutter. Some people actually still care about the truth.

          And speaking of taking your own medicine: go suck your momma’s dick. AND CHOKE ON IT!!!


          1. No, you’re right. They should be allowed to do that forever, and libertarians should sit here and be called racists, because to throw the charge back would be two wrongs. Sorry, this woman DID do something racist, and perhaps has changed her mind since, but as the Strom Thurmond incident shows, that doesn’t matter. That’s the rule. The only way to change that rule is to start applying it to them until they call it off. Even if there are two wrongs here, they are still two rights by the standards the NAACP has been using.

          2. And I’m still curious as to what you think about the “Black Whores” card, and what that says to you about the NAACP.

            1. I mentioned before in this thread that I don’t think the NAACP needed to condemn the entire Tea Party because some of its members may be racist. I also think the whole “Black Whores” thing is silly. I’m not a member of the NAACP and I’m not defending them, I trying to defend someone who was innocent.

              And if this is really about the NAACP, then he should have gone after them explicitly and not needlessly attack a women who in fact had a positive message.

              I won’t make this into a thing about the NAACP, and say fuck it that’s just the way things are, and so what Breitbart did was alright. If that’s what you want to do then do it, but I in no way shape or form respect that.

              1. See I don’t look at the “Black Whores” card thing as silly, because to be called a racist is almost the worst thing someone can say about you in this day and age. The fact that the NAACP constantly throws the term around to A) get attention for itself and/or B) silence those it disagrees with politically is not silly, it is insidious.
                Sherrod is not “innocent”, as you say. Based on her own statements, it seems that she had a history of doing less to help white farmers than she did to help black, based on race. The fact that she later decided that economic class was more important doesn’t make her innocent. It makes her exactly guilty as a conservative white man would be had he done the same thing, and I’m merely supporting treating her as if she were part of a group not favored by the left. You can call this “two wrongs”,but think of it this way: Say Obama were to advocate and sign into law a taxation bill that you considered unjust. Now say that anyone with connections to the Democratic Party/ Obama administration or of African descent was able to get an exemption from that bill, leaving only non-Democrats and non-blacks to pay those taxes, taxes with which you don’t agree. Would forcing the well-connected exempted to pay those taxes which their party had passed be a case of “two wrongs” because you don’t support the taxes in the first place? Or would it be a case of forcing them to live by their own rules, in the hope of setting the rules right once and for all?

                1. You’re still trying to treat her as if she’s a racist, as if she’s currently practicing it in her everyday affairs, which was what Breitbart tried to prove, and which “imploded.” Trying to re-package the same accusation in other terms doesn’t make it true. But go ahead and keep on polishing that turd.

                  And go ahead and keep making up convoluted scenerios that attempt to equivocate two different things. If the Democrats passed a tax on everyone that wasn’t “in” with them, and someone overturned that, the latter action wouldn’t be a “wrong,” it would simply be righting a wrong, i.e. the tax based on nepotism. What would be “two” wrongs would be the Republicans later coming into power, and inacting their own tax but exempting their friends, saying, “There you go! You did it to us, now we did it to you.” That is the kind of thing Breitbart is doing, simple “tit-for-tat” and it isn’t going go set things right, its just going to continue what has been going on for a long time.

                  1. I agree with your point on “tit-for-tat” being unacceptable, especially when the counter is against a third party, but This Dave is correct about one thing; you’re treating the lady as though she is blameless in this. I would argue anyone who, at any point in their adult life, thought it was acceptable to treat someone poorly based on the color of his skin has a serious problem.

                    Furthermore, acting on that belief is something for which a person should pay a price. She’s paying that price. Is it too high? If what she described in her story actually happened, then I’m not so sure that it is.

                    1. I’m only asking she be treated the same as someone who is not black in that same situation. You know instinctively what would happen.

                      And I still don’t see the two wrongs. I see a set of rules that has been followed for years, and I’m calling for it to be applied on a colorblind basis. If that set of rules is to be changed, then ok, let’s change it. But It’s got to be the NAACP and company who call for the change, because they’re somehow the judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to accusations of racism.

  39. I’m a big fan of what Breitbart has done before. But there is simply no question in my mind that he has stepped in it majorly here. I refuse to gloss over the human consequences of his fuck-up — this poor woman having her name dragged through the mud, and YES IT MATTERS — and simply move on to the next battle so quickly.

    At a bare minimum he needs to apologize for his sloppiness and carelessness.

  40. It turns out that the story Sherrod tells in the clip actually took place 24 years ago, and that she was working for a private organization at the time,…

    The Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund, “Fighting To Save Black-Owned Land Since 1967 With Cooperatives”, not the slightest bit racist at all.

    1. Eh, twenty years ago blacks had property rights that were actually protected for how long? When a group of people are systematically deprived of rights for hundreds of years and band together to protect themselves I can’t get too mad. Discrimination based on race isn’t necessarily racism.

      1. Re: Zoltan,

        Discrimination based on race isn’t necessarily racism.

        You probably got that “definition” from The Political Expediency Dictionary.

        The meaning of words is not what used to be, it now depends on what group was historically oppressed, right?

  41. Anyway, the church-style affirmations that you hear clearly mean I understand, not Hooray. If she was testifying about overcoming a cocaine addiction, you’d hear the same sounds, complete with laughter at the appropriate junctures. But only a fool would think the audience is enthusiastic about drug abuse.

    Really STUPID post-game commentary of the week. That crowd was certainly NOT one of recovering racists. The drug users analogy holds no water, i.e. it is fallacious.

    If you want to argue that Breitbart jumped the gun on this story, you better back it up with better arguments than the above. He made his point clearly – it was the Obamanable that jumped the gun and threw this woman under the bus, not Breitbart.

  42. The NAACP angle is not a fallback position. Are we supposed to have believed that the USDA (or employee thereof) was the main target here, especially with the NAACP in the news so much lately?

  43. My question, since I haven’t really paid much attention, is would we have seen this story in the media (outside of the blogs and cable shows) had there been no question of context? Or is this now going to be a big deal in the NYT, WaPo, and on network news because it’s the righty Breitbart that screwed up?

  44. I didn’t read all the comments, but did anybody notice that Sharrod “learned a lesson” about racism, but endorsed classism?
    That is, because the farmer was poor, he was necessarily right and abused?
    Whether Sharrod was acting as a government agent or not, shouldn’t she be applying “equal justice” under the law, rather than special treatment for the poor or minorities?

    1. I’ve been waiting for someone on Reason to point out that she traded racism for class warfare.

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