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The Breitbart problem

Andrew Breitbart used James O’Keefe’s fabricated “pimp videos” to kill off ACORN, the progressive organisation that worked to register low-income voters. That may be Breitbart’s most enduring legacy. I thought this blogpost would be called “the Thatcher” problem, but she is still alive; or the Rupert Murdoch problem, but he’s still alive too.

The problem:

What do you do when someone thoroughly detestable dies?

Unlike Thatcher, who will die well into her retirement (and well after her mind has retired), and unlike Rupert Murdoch, whose evil has generally been carried out through employees and subsidaries, Andrew Breitbart’s evil was active and personal.

On 19th July 2010, Andrew Breitbart posted two short videos showing excerpts of a speech by Shirley Sherrod, Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture, at an NAACP fundraising dinner in March 2010.

In the 1960s Shirley Sherrod established a land trust with her husband, for poor black farmers in Georgia: New Communities, Inc.

In his first post about the video, Breitbart wrote: “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.” He also strongly implied that Sherrod was describing recent actions as a USDA official unser President Obama, though since he had seen the full tape he knew that she was talking about an event in the 1960s. Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News picked up on this, and accused Shirley Sherrod and NAACP of “reverse racism”, and Sherrod was fired.

When NAACP put the full video up on their website, you can read the full transcript here. The bold section is the part that Andrew Breitbart exercpted for his video. NAACP had accused the Tea Party movement of racism. (This is shown to be true.) Breitbart took a videorecording of a black speaker to a majority-black audience, where the speaker was making an impassioned defense of the principle that it is not black or white but rich and poor that unite and divide Americans, and the audience was applauding her. And Breitbart edited it to make it look as if she were saying the exact opposite.
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Filed under In The Media, Racism