Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Update on Sherrod and Breitbart

So I have looked a little further into this whole Shirley Sherrod issue. Andrew Breitbart claims the edited videos were delivered to him in their edited form (or so I have read). Assuming that is true (which I have trouble with), should he have investigated further? The videos made their way to Fox News (and I guess from there to CNN), should either one of those organizations have investigated the video further? Actually, apparently the NAACP at first agreed Ms Sherrod was a racist, then later released the full tape that showed that she was not (not their finest moment).

But I want to step back and look at how this whole thing was presented in the first place. Andrew Breitbart says that he posted the Sherrod videos in response to the NAACP's assertion that the Tea Party has racist elements (as proof there is racism on the other side).

Now when you think about racism in America. you realize it did not start 18 months ago, or even 50 years ago. In fact it is fair to say that racism in the United States predates the United States as a nation (since there were slaves in colonial America). Then there is the question of who might be best equipped to judge what is racism, the NAACP or Andrew Breitbart? I mean, to be fair the NAACP got it wrong on Shirely Sherrod for a time (as did the mainstream media, the White House and the Secretary of Agriculture). But my sense is, in regard to the charges the NAACP leveled at the Tea Party, the NAACP may have more experience in looking at these things than Breitbart. At this point, we don't know exactly what the NAACP has in mind. For my part, I would look that the policies the Tea Party advocates, but there is some indication the NAACP may look at the appearance of Tea Party crowds at rallies.

Breitbart, for his part, besides the business with Sherood, has two responses to the NAACP that I know of. First, there was the incident during the health care reform (HCR) debate where three black congressmen, walking through a crowd of ralliers at the Capitol, claim to have heard the "N" word 15 times. Breitbart has posted 4 videos (actually combined into one) where he says you do not hear the "N" word. Could the congressmen have said that just to (as Mr Breitbart claimed on an ABC morning news show) distract from the problems HCR was having. Of course. On the other hand, this is Andrew Breitbart, who has now released two edited video collections (the one of Sherrod and the one of the ACORN sting) where the raw footage significantly changed the message from what you saw in the edited videos. Could someone on Breitbart's staff have edited or simply replaced the audio of the these videos taken from the Capitol's steps? You tell me.

Breitbart's other response is that the pictures of people in crowds at Tea Party rallies carrying racist signs are obviously progressive plants to discredit the Tea Party. His proof thus far is to make such pictures available (I assume we are to believe they were taken from other "progressive" websites) and simply say this person does not look like a Tea Partier, he (or she) looks like a progressive (perhaps a hippie). I don't know if anyone has considered locating the people themselves, or perhaps looking on a Tea Party website.

I don't want to go much further with this,, except to say that Breitbart is taking two or three instances and saying that they prove that the Tea Party is not racist, or that blacks are as or more racist. That is a little like saying if one woman in Gary, Indiana and one man in Memphis Tennesse are cheating the welfare system, then all welfare should be cut off. Yes, there is that old adage that where there is smoke there is fire (and that if you see one or two cockroaches, you have a thousand). But in this case, disputes over a few anecdotes are being held up as proof that at best a handful of individuals out of five hundred thousand Tea Party members might be thinking bad thoughts.

I swear I read or heard somewhere that Donna Brazille, the long time Democratic strategist, stated that she thought the Tea Party did not have any larger of a percentage of racists than the Republican party, or the public at large. I'm not sure, but I wonder if that is not still pretty damning. She went on to say that Obama should be worrying about jobs. Well, there's no arguing that.


Heir to the Throne said...

Breitbart is taking two or three instances and saying that they prove that the Tea Party is not racist
No, it proves that Rep. Carson claim "that while he left the Cannon office building on March 20 with Rep. John Lewis, they were verbally assaulted by health care protesters hurling the “N-word” at them. He said the scene was so hostile he “expected rocks to come” when he was coming out of Cannon." was false/a lie

EdHeath said...

Ack, I have a real coment!

Well, I raise (reasonable) questions whether Breitbart "proves" Carson's claim is a lie, based on two other video's released under Breitbart's auspices, but OK, I'll bite. Does this mean that Breitbart agrees with the NAACP that the Tea Party is racist?