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« Chewing the scenery | Main | On to Raleigh »

Jul 21, 2010


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I'm waiting for the official BP narrative before i make any judgements.


Is it a shame that charges of racism have diminished to nothing more than a political attack?


Yes it is. Whether the current topic falls under that category will apparently require watching a 43 minute video. I doubt that I'm up to it.


I think it's time to put this little episode into its proper perspective.

Key points:

"Here are just a few questions about Ms. Sherrod that deserve answers:

* Was Ms. Sherrod's USDA appointment an unspoken condition of her organization's settlement?

* How much 'debt forgiveness' is involved in USDA's settlement with New Communities?

* Why were the Sherrods so deserving of a combined $300,000 in 'pain and suffering' payments -- amounts that far exceed the average payout thus far to everyone else? ($1.15 billion divided by 16,000 is about $72,000)?

* Given that New Communities wound down its operations so long ago (it appears that this occurred sometime during the late 1980s), what is really being done with that $13 million in settlement money?

Here are a few bigger-picture questions:

* Did Shirley Sherrod resign so quickly because the circumstances of her hiring and the lawsuit settlement with her organization that preceded it might expose some unpleasant truths about her possible and possibly sanctioned conflicts of interest?

* Is USDA worried about the exposure of possible waste, fraud, and abuse in its handling of Pigford?

* Did USDA also dispatch Sherrod hastily because her continued presence, even for another day, might have gotten in the way of settling Pigford matters quickly?"


The Anchoress has more.


Everyone’s credibility is now strained, and perhaps that is a good thing. Perhaps the left should finally leave behind the smug instinct to sniff, 'racism, straight up' over sincere disagreements on policy. If they can manage that, then perhaps the right can stop feeling so defensive.

There is absolutely nothing simple about the matter of race in America; there is a ways to go before content of character will finally overcome color of skin.But I am not sure if further progress toward a truly color-blind society can be made until the manufactured cry of 'raaaaacism'–by people who know that their are merely fanning flames or manipulating movements–has finally been rejected by both the right and the left. Race-baiters must be made to understand that their cheap tactic will no longer bear weight among fair-minded people, who are horrified by genuine racism but tired of its weaponized unreasonable facsimile."

Andrew Brod

I'm glad that Bubba is placing the blame on "race-baiters." I never expected him to attack Breitbart and Fox News in such an intellectually honest fashion. Kudos to him.


That last paragraph of Bubba's: I don't know how many threads I've tried to say the same thing, but to some that just confirms my insensitivity and insularity of being "born into privilege".


"I never expected him to attack Breitbart and Fox News>"

Even for you, that statement is a stretch, Ace.

Ed Cone

So sad:

There will be no apology or statement of regret for distributing a doctored tape to defame and destroy someone. There will be not even a flutter of interest among conservatives in discussing Breitbart’s role. By the morning of July 21, the Fox & Friends morning show could devote a segment to the Sherrod case without so much as a mention of Breitbart’s role. The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself.


"The central fact of the Sherrod story has been edited out of the conservative narrative, just as it was edited out of the tape itself."

Unless you're content to ignore the background or you have some other intent in mind,, that's not what the main focus of the story should be.

Don Moore

The sad part in this was that the NAACP had the complete video and failed to review it until after the damage was done. I suspect that their assumptions that Breitbart got them in a "ah ha" moment was too much to handle.

sean coon

don, you're probably right about a knee-jerk reaction from the naacp and the white house, but isn't that the exact problem with a journalist passing off an edited down, fixed narrative, "gotcha" speech as a real time event?

then we have bubs passing off next step narrative (from scheming conservatives -- bubs couldn't write something of his own if his life depended on it), pretending like this never even happened.

politics is brutal and inhumane. period.


It does appear that the USDA jumped the gun on this, and the tape does not illustrate what Breitbart claims it does- even his excuse about the "laughter" and "cheering" of the crowd is not supported by what I saw. I understand what he was trying to do, but this tape wasn't going to get him there.

A few other observations:

1) The MSM (and liberal bloggers like Ed) completely ignored the story until there was a way to discredit it. That speaks for itself.
2) FOX News is already being blamed by the NAACP even though they had nothing to do with the story. So making up stuff for political gain is still in the NAACP playbook even if Breitbart fired blanks with this story.
3) Where is the outrage from people like Ed over the phony claims of racism leveled at the Tea Party by the NAACP, including the infamous "N-word" taunt at John Lewis that never happened?
4) If Sherrod gets her job back (which she probably should), shouldn't Lewis have to resign for lying about the Tea Party? Why not the head of the NAACP who made the same allegations of racism that aren't substantiated? Liberals in the media don't seem to care about the veracity of those individuals, but this Breitbart thing has them all bent out of shape. It's that kind of double standard that only makes the problem worse.


"The sad part in this was that the NAACP had the complete video and failed to review it until after the damage was done."

In addition, she acknowledges a "president" in her opening remarks. Since it doesn't seem that Obama was present, we can safely assume she means the President of the NAACP, who was obviously present throughout the speech.

I wonder why he didn't condemn the remarks when made, like he subsequently did Monday night?


Would someone in the know please condense from the 43 minute video the context that absolves this woman of her actions or renders her statement regarding them misleading? In other words, what is the "central fact"? I can't find any analysis of it anywhere mixed in with all the outrage, particularly from the enraged authors Ed linked to in the initial post. Sorry to be lazy but I don't have time to watch the video any time soon.


"then we have bubs passing off next step narrative (from scheming conservatives -- bubs couldn't write something of his own if his life depended on it), pretending like this never even happened."

Hey Krusty......how does the inclusion of the edited remarks absolve her from the charges against her, given the self-same attitude she clearly demonstrated throughout the entire clip?


Also noted for future reference is the standard that "using an edited, truth-bending, racially-charged attack video is despicable".

I fully expect a consistent application of that standard at this blog going forward.


"..There will be no apology or statement of regret for to defame and destroy someone..."

I agree, it's sad. There's some former Duke students that might appreciate an apology too.


Brett Baier spoke out against it last night. He was also a little perplexed how Fox News could have snookered the NAACP, if they did not do any reporting until AFTER Sherrod resigned.


"Where is the outrage from people like Ed..."-- Spag

Men? Fathers? Bearded? Into what simple-minded box are you trying to shove someone now?


Just heard on the radio that Vilsak is "reviewing" his decision.

CP - I believe the upshot is that, in the part of the story shown in the edited video, she was relating events which took place prior to her employment at USDA. Later, after going to work at USDA, she realized her attitude had been wrong and worked to help the family. She says her intent in relating the story was to show the possibilities of personal growth.

Ed Cone

Maybe "people like me" means "people who don't disseminate untruthfully edited racially charged videos, or justify same, or try to change the subject."


I fully expect a consistent application of that standard going forward, Ed, because it's, you know, so out there.


Actually, "people like Ed" are those who fake outrage over phony accusations of racism as evidenced by their selective application of said outrage. The head of the NAACP accused the Tea Party or racism without any evidence and Ed couldn't care less. A smart person might believe that false accusations of racism must not really bother Ed and "people like him" then.

Of course the old "we're not talking about THAT now so quit trying to change the subject" tactic is wheeled out so as to avoid ever having to talk about THAT.

Intellectual honesty is always relevant, particularly when one claims to be outraged about something.

Of course a Rain Man might try to say that there is some difference because Ed was referring specifically to "racially charged videos" and the NAACP statement about the Tea Party was either not "racially charged" or not on "video".

Andrew Brod

Occasionally when a new item is posted here, I think to myself, how will Spag twist this to fit it into his standard mode of playground umbrage? ("It's not fair!" "But you started it!" "Liberals did bad things too!") I'm rarely wrong about his need to do so.

One wonders why the Spags and Bubbas of the world can't just say, yes, this was wrong. Do they really think it undermines conservatism when honest conservatives admit that a fellow conservative did something wrong? It was wrong for Breitbart to purposefully disseminate untruths. It just was.

It was also wrong for Fox to publicize the "scandal" without investigating it. It was wrong (and stupid) for the NAACP to announce its position against Sherrod without doing some checking. And it was wrong for the USDA to press the woman to resign without confirming the facts.

Sometimes things are that simple.

Of course now Spag will whine in return, "But, but, the liberals don't admit it when liberals do wrong!" And so it goes.

Andrew Brod

I guess there's another possibility after all. Maybe Breitbart truly didn't understand why the video was effectively a lie. If so, then he's stupid. And given that he's a major flag-bearer for conservatives these days, the conservatives probably feel that his stupidity must be obscured and in effect defended.

So, Breitbart's a liar or a dummy. Which is it?


"Of course a Rain Man might try to say that there is some difference because Ed was referring specifically to 'racially charged videos' and the NAACP statement about the Tea Party was either not 'racially charged' or not on 'video'."

Cone: "97X, bam! The future of rock 'n' roll. 97X, bam! The future of rock 'n' roll. 97X, bam! The future of rock 'n' roll."

Spag: "Ed, enough already! Change the channel."

Cone: "97X, bam! The future of rock 'n' roll. 97X, bam! The future of rock 'n' roll."


I sometimes have a similar reaction. For instance, I noticed early yesterday that Ed had nothing to say about Sherrod's comments. Then as more information became available that made it apparent that Breitbart got it wrong, I wondered how long it would take for Ed to suddenly get interested in the story, and well, the rest is predictable history.

Funny thing is that Spag actually did say that Breitbart was wrong, because unlike Andrew, Spag is consistent.

And it occurs to me that the crime of the "Spags and the Bubbas of world" is trying to hold liberals like the Ed's and Andrews and Roch's of the world to the same standards they apply to everyone else. One has to question whether they really think it undermines liberalism when honest liberals admit that a fellow liberal did something wrong? Of course, their natural retort is likely to deny that they are liberals in the first place, because you know they don't like labels and aren't partisan hacks with an ideological agenda- that's something reserved for the Spags and Bubbas of the world.

Also missing in Andrew's litany of "it was wrongs" is any mention of whether it was wrong for the NAACP to attack the Tea Party as racists, or John Lewis' false allegations.

But speaking of simple things, one thing that I have learned over the years (and something that has become even more prevalent since Brod started hanging around more) is that whenever you can't refute what Spag says about hypocrisy and the lack of consistency among liberals when they display their phony self-righteousness and moral indignation, you can always take the mere fact that he made a comment on the thread and make him the subject of discussion going forward instead of his arguments. Works almost every time.

By the way, has Roch called Obama a bigot yet for supporting the Constitutionality of DOMA?


"Sometimes things are that simple."

Bubba: 'Andy, do you know how much a candy bar costs?"

Brod: "'Bout a hundred dollars."

Bubba: "Do you know how much one of those new compact cars costs?"

Brod: "'Bout a hundred dollars."

Andrew Brod

When Spag stops making himself the subject of discussion, via changing the subject, personalizing every argument, and now referring to himself in the third person, then sure, the rest of us will stop making note of it.

But I do agree with Spag that he's consistent, just not in the way he imagines himself.

At the risk of getting sucked into yet another Spag-vortex of pettiness and false equivalence (and yes, it probably would have been better to let his statements go unanswered), I don't agree that it was wrong for the NAACP to attack the Tea Party.

Conservatives have conveniently misinterpreted that attack to imply that each and every Tea Partier is a racist, but that's neither what the NAACP said nor what it meant. It said there are racist elements in the Tea Party movement, and that appears to be pretty accurate. That doesn't mean Spag or Sarah Palin is a racist. But given the evidence (e.g. signs at rallies), it's crazy to claim that no Tea Partiers are racists, or that only five or six are (or that infiltrators did it!).

Of course, it's in Tea Partiers' interest to misinterpret the attack in that way, because it allows each of them to take offense at being called a racist, a tactic that somehow outnumbers actual charges of racism. Go figure.

As for John Lewis and the N-word, I'm afraid I'm not as vigilant as Spag is for things to be offended by. I'm not up on that one (though I recall the allegations months ago--is anything ever too long ago to be outraged by? Hey, what about the Panama Canal? And who lost China?). But if Lewis' claim has been shown to be untrue, then of course I have no problem saying it was inaccurate. I don't see what Lewis' status as a liberal has to do with that.

However, if Spag's command of the facts of that incident parallels that of the NAACP/Tea Party thing, I'd prefer to get confirmation from another source.

Andrew Brod

Having said that, the only thing that would make the Lewis incident equivalent to the Breitbart falsification is if Lewis purposefully lied about someone shouting the N-word at him in order to implicate the Tea Party movement as racist.

If Lewis truly thought he'd heard the N-word but it's been shown that he couldn't have, then a fair-minded person would have to see that as a different matter. It'd be inaccurate either way, and the inaccuracy should be publicized either way. But the meaning of the incident would be different. In that case, it'd be more equivalent to the scenario in which Breitbart's too stupid to know that his Sherrod video was a lie.

My view is that it's more likely that Breitbart is a liar than stupid, but I guess I can't rule out the latter.


"My view is that it's more likely that Breitbart is a liar than stupid, but I guess I can't rule out the latter."

I refer readers back to my previous post.

Andrew Brod

After a little searching online, I can see that it's hard to find strong evidence to support Lewis' claim of shouted N-words.

But that doesn't mean there's no evidence. Lewis claimed to have heard the N-word 15 times, which is different than if he said he'd heard it just once (it's also a curiously precise number). In addition, other witnesses heard the same word. And the claim by one Congressman of being spat upon was confirmed by video. So it was obviously an unruly crowd that day.

Does that prove the N-word was shouted? Definitely not. But it also doesn't prove that it wasn't. In contrast, we know precisely what was inaccurate in the Breitbart video. We know without any doubt that it was effectively a lie. So once again, we have an alleged equivalence that isn't.

By the way, it's amusing to see how conservative opinions on the Lewis incident can be fluid. Talk about articles of faith. Does admitting that Lewis' story might be right really disqualify one from being in the Tea Party?


How was the video a "lie"? Was there something on it that wasn't true (such as a voice edit, a laugh track added, etc)? Or was Breitbart simply inaccurate in his characterization of it?

The fact is that Breitbart himself has offered $100,000 to anyone who can substantiate Lewis' claim. So far, no takers because NONE of the FOUR major media cameras there captured what Lewis said he heard. In fact, the NAACP's attempt to brand the Tea Party as racist relied in part on the false Lewis allegation. Yet Andrew would give Lewis the benefit of the doubt of being merely "inaccurate" whereas Breitbart is either "stupid" or a "liar".

Also interesting is that Brod can say with such certainty what the NAACP said or meant when they labeled the Tea Party as racists but not allow for any context when it comes to what Breitbart said or meant.

Let's compare:

NAACP President Ben Jealous: "We felt the time had come to stand up and say, 'It's time for the tea party to be responsible members of this democracy and make sure they don't tolerate bigots or bigotry among their members. We don't have a problem with the tea party's existence. We have an issue with their acceptance and welcoming of white supremacists into their organizations...What we’re saying is that with their increasing power comes an increasing responsibility to act responsibly ... and to call out when they see those things on those signs.”

From the NAACP website: "The resolution came after a year of high-profile media coverage of attendees of Tea Party marches using vial, antagonistic racial slurs & images. In March, respected members of the Congressional Black Caucus reported that racial epithets were hurled at them as they passed by a Washington, DC health care protest. Civil rights legend John Lewis was called the “n-word” in the incident while others in the crowd used ugly anti-gay slurs to describe Congressman Barney Frank, a long-time NAACP supporter and the nation’s first openly gay member of Congress. Missouri Representative Emmanuel Cleaver was spat on during the incident, and so it was particularly appropriate that the resolution was passed as NAACP delegates gathered in Kansas City for our 101st Annual Convention."

Now here is what Breitbart wrote when he posted the Sherrod video:

"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."

That's it.

What Brod wants you to forget is that I did say from the outset that Breitbart didn't make his case with this video . I have stayed completely on subject from the beginning. So yeah, at this point having nothing else to really dispute, he intends to make the thread about me.


Thanks Sam, you might have just saved me 43 minutes of presumably boring video tonight. I was beginning to wonder whether the actual content and context of what the woman said was considered off-topic or otherwise irrelevant to this discussion.


I don't see this as legitimately being about race. It's about a deliberate liar -- Breitbart -- and media institutions -- Fox, et al -- who have decided that there is political advantage to be had by building the meme that people and organizations who fight racism and support its victims, whether that's the national NAACP, those folks in Wake County fighting the GOP-funded school board majority's efforts to trash the school system, or anyone in between.

Someone at the Ag Department and the White House was asleep at the switch for blandly accepting the truth of anything published by Breitbart. So, shame on them. But, the greatest burden of shame goes to Brietbart, Fox, and all the others (including some in this thread) for running with and standing behind a lie and a liar.

If there is an upside, it's that this provides more confirmation of the right's corrupt ethics.


She admitted to her own prejudices in the video, so Breitbart is entirely correct about that. Where he misses is that he seems to argue to some degree that the evidence is proof that the NAACP is harboring racists- not necessarily Sherrod herself, but the crowd whom he claims took some delight in her story of screwing the white man before they knew how the story ended.

What he (Breitbart) tried to do was to hold the NAACP to their own standards. Just as they say the Tea Party must call out those who are racists within their ranks, so to must the NAACP. The problem is that viewing the full tape explains why Sherrod isn't the best example to point to and expect the NAACP to condemn and the I didn't hear the same applauding that Breitbart did when she recounted her unfair treatment of the white folks.

What's going on in this thread is another matter. That the story was going to be ignored was a given until there was a Right Wing villain to condemn. That the phony allegations of racism against the Tea Party have been ignored rather than condemned is/was also a given. That Lewis' lies would be ignored, ditto. That any questioning of whether the host's (and others "like him") claimed outrage over this incident ("despicable") was sincere given the deliberate ignorance of the aforementioned highly intertwined topics would be considered a "diversion" despite having taken on the subject directly and even finding fault with Breitbart, was also entirely predictable.

But enough about all of that crap about sincerity, consistency, and questioning of motives. Let's talk about what a jerk Spag is. That should divert attention away from the points he raised.


BTW, did Roch ever answer that question about whether or not Obama was a bigot for arguing that the DOMA was Constitutional? He seems to always disappear before giving an answer...

Ed Cone

White House apologizes to Sherrod.

The lie was making it look like she had admitted that her prejudices led her to stiff the farmer, when in fact she said she had overcome her prejudices and helped the farmer, and that others should overcome their prejudices, too.

sean coon

spag - "I didn't hear the same applauding that Breitbart did when she recounted her unfair treatment of the white folks."

give me a break. sherrod told a story with a point, going from one extreme to another (it's how good stories are often told). the "delight" in the audience is people moving along with the story (i guess you've never sat in the pews of a black church) and silence in the audience means that the story was well taken. are you really comparing those subjective reactions to these objective expressions of hate?

that's not even the point. the point is that the edited version of the video was done so with an agenda, which was more than fulfilled. who edited the clip, sam? who shined a light on it?

Andrew Brod

If Breitbart were here, he'd excerpt Spag's comment thusly:

Spag said: "Let's talk about what a jerk Spag is." Clearly, this implies that Spag realizes what a jerk he is.

Is this an accurate rendering of Spag's comment? Of course. In that hyper-narrow sense it's not a lie. But does it mean what this context-free excerpt implies it means? Of course not. Spag's blissfully unaware of his jerkiness.

Presenting that sentence as evidence that Spag knows he's a jerk would be a lie.

Ed Cone

Vilsack apologizes.


Sean, you have completely missed my point. Maybe you are too eager to play Brod's "Spag" game, but the comment of mine that you quoted was a criticism of Breitbart, not an endorsement of him. I didn't hear what Breitbart claims he heard- and what he claims supports his claim of racism in the audience.

Ed, did you read what Breitbart wrote in the original post on Monday? I quoted it above and it is an accurate description of what is on the tape:

"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."

All true. A "lie" is when you tell something that isn't true. Breitbart isn't guilty of lying; he's guilty of making a shitty case to support his argument because he didn't have all of the facts. But he must have had all of the facts and simply hid them, right? I mean he's a CONSERVATIVE and they all LIE! Forget that Obama and the NAACP also didn't have all of the facts before reacting.

Sherrod DID admit that her own prejudices affected her judgment at the time. The redemption came later.

Andrew Brod

I don't believe I said that Spag felt the Breitbart video presented a valid argument, though his clarifying remarks call even that into doubt. What I said was that Spag can't address even the simplest topic without invoking his usual array of false equivalences and playground complaints.

So on one hand we have a deliberate lie in the form of the Breitbart video. A normal person would say, wow, that's bad, note that lies are bad regardless of the political affiliation of the liar, and leave it at that. Spag's approach was instead to make bland statements like, "Breitbart didn't make his case with this video" and complain about everyone's liberal bias.

On the other hand, we have the NAACP statement that may or may not be objectionable, but is in any case not obviously wrong. We also have the Lewis N-word claim that may well be inaccurate, but so far the only "evidence" is divided along partisan lines, and so who knows? Neither rises to the level of the deliberate lie told by Breitbart and clarified so conveniently by Spag in his apparent defense of Breitbart.

Therefore, I've demonstrated that there really wasn't a horrid partisan omission in posting about Breitbart's video. Either Spag simply can't accept misbehavior by one of his own or he actually thinks Breitbart's video was hunky-dorey (even though it "didn't make his case").

Okay, now that this has been resolved, I'll resolve to keep my remarks on this thread to the actual topic, as indicated by the title: Weak Democrats. Boy, were they pathetic and weak.

Andrew Brod

I take it back. Based on Spag's understanding of "lie," we can confirm that he knows he's a jerk.

sean coon

sorry, i missed that in the awkward wording, spag. glad you don't agree with that BS.

i think the issue with breitbart is that he overzealously ran towards crafting a narrative around this video that fit his political agenda without ever once stopping to check up on it... but that might be more of a comment on the times and the ability of hacks of all shapes and sizes to make waves in the news pool.

there's no excuse for a news organization to do the same with an obviously edited together video pulled from youtube... except of course if it wants to push a similar agenda.

maybe breitbart and FOX aren't liars per se -- i mean hey, they were going on trusted sourcing from heretics crusade or similar -- but they sure as hell aren't proving to be truth tellers in this case.

Andrew Brod

"By 2013, Andrew Breitbart will be stuffing himself inside a trash bag, smearing himself with feces, and scrawling 'honky' on his body."


Sean, we agree on this, although I don't believe that FOX is more guilty on this story than any other media outlet. They didn't report the story until Sherrod was fired.

Andrew, I hope that your pathetic and logically challenged response provides you with some kind of personal satisfaction. I deeply regret that the rest of us are still paying for all of those wedgies you received in high school.


I don't see anyone here supporting Breitbart. Whether you think he accomplished his "mission" or not, the ends never justify the means. Sure Fox ran hard with the story, but the NAACP needs to grow up, they blame things on more people than my irresponsible teenager.


Sam, I have a new rule just for you: Be an adult towards me and I will respond to your questions, be a name-calling child and I will not. You have fouled out on this thread. Try again another time.

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