Category Archive 'Shady Journalism'

20 Jul 2010

Reporting Racism

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Shirley Sherrod

Andrew Breitbart seemingly catches the black audience at the NAACP nodding approvingly as Shirley Sherrod describes discriminating against a white farmer, deliberately doing as little as possible for him while avoiding getting into trouble and shuffling him along to be assisted by “one of his own kind.”

The 2:36 video seems shocking evidence of cynical, calculating racism and discrimination, until one watches it again and notices how craftily it is edited.

Watching it the second time, it seemed clear to me that Sherrod was not, in fact, presenting a tutorial to black NAACP members, advising them to take federal jobs and then covertly take out racial resentments on white applicants for federal services. She was telling a story, I think, of personal repentance and enlightenment, in which she was ultimately going to describe how, in the course of grudgingly providing the minimum help she could get away with to a white farmer, she suddenly realized that racial divisions didn’t matter, and it was helping people in economic distress that mattered.

Sherrod is cut off very abruptly. I don’t think she had reached her punch line, but I suspect I can guess where she must have been going.

If I’m right, Andrew Breitbart manipulatively edited her morally uplifting and inspirational speech and turned it around 180 degrees into a boastful account of successful discrimination. If I’m correct about this, I fear that it demonstrates that Breitbart is unethical and is an unreliable source.

Fox News reports that Sherrod was forced to resign as the result of the Breitbart video.


One of (now leftwing) Little Green Football’s commenters argues that the Chapter 12 bankruptcy reference can be taken to establish the time of the incident as 1986, at which time Sherrod was managing a black farm cooperative in Georgia. If so, she would not have been a government employee at all, and her discriminatory impulses would have been perfectly reasonable. This theory is, of course, unproven.

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