The crux of the Shirley Sherrod controversy is what she said outside of the two-minute video clip posted by Big Government — whether she was, as she claims, telling a story about how she overcame racial prejudice while helping poor farmers in Georgia, or whether the clip is a good encapsulation of her views. So we asked Andrew Breitbart, the founder of Big Government, why he hasn’t posted the full video.
“I don’t have it,” Breitbart told TPMmuckraker in an interview. Breitbart said his source sent him just the edited clips at first, but is in the process of sending the full video.Breitbart said he’ll post the full video, if he can get permission from the video production company who filmed it for a local NAACP chapter. He also maintained that he didn’t edit the clip and that it was sent to him already edited.
Sherrod was the Georgia director of rural development for the USDA until yesterday, when Breitbart posted the video (below) in which she says that, in 1986, she didn’t help a farmer as much as she could have because he was white. Sherrod told CNN this morning she was forced to resign immediately by her superiors in Washington. She contends that, in the March speech to a Georgia chapter of the NAACP, she was telling a story of how she got past her own prejudices.
But even if the full video shows what Sherrod says it does, Breitbart said he’s seen enough.
“I think the video speaks for itself,” he said. “The way she’s talking about white people … is conveying a present tense racism in my opinion. But racism is in the eye of the beholder.”
He also takes issue with how the audience, many of them members of the NAACP, respond positively to her comments — proof, he says, of prevalent racism.
For Breitbart, it’s all a case of the pot calling the kettle black (no pun intended). Last week, the NAACP passed a resolution asking the Tea Party movement to repudiate racism in its ranks. According to Breitbart and other conservatives, that’s the same as labeling the tea party racist — an accusation he’s railed against for months. He claims that reports of racism at a tea party protest in the final days of the health care debate, for example, are completely fabricated.
The Sherrod video is, he said, “way more evidence of racism than anything that the mainstream media and TPM and all of the rest of you Spencer Ackerman friends provided to prove that the tea party was racist.”
The NAACP says it’s reviewing the entire video. The owner of the production company who filmed it has told TPMmuckraker he won’t release it to the public until he gets permission from the NAACP.
[Ed. note: By way of transparency, Spencer Ackerman, currently a writer on national security issues at Wired‘s Danger Room blog, wrote for Talking Points Memo in 2007 and generally covered national security issues. In referring to Ackerman, Breitbart was apparently referring to the Journolist controversy from today.]