Breitbart: Why I did it

Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On Fox Business Tuesday night, Andrew Breitbart explained how he obtained his Shirley Sherrod smear tape and why he published it. The long and short of it is that he knew the tape existed for months, but waited until this week to effectively deploy it as a weapon.

According to Breitbart, he learned that the tape existed months ago, but didn't try to obtain it because he "didn't know what to do with this." But over the weekend, he finally determined that he did know what to do with it: use it to respond to what he believes is the NAACP's unfair statement that there are "racist elements" among tea party activists.

It was Breitbart's attempt to change the story and "send a message to these people that the tea party is going to fight back":

BREITBART: I received it as it was shown, and we had two videos that were sent to us over the internet and we asked them to send, because I wanted to get this out there as soon as humanly possible because this weekend was wall-to-wall mainstream media saying "tea party racist tea party racist, tea party racist." And I wanted to send a message to these people that the tea party is going to fight back. That if the mainstream media is not going to show exculpatory video - you know, in American, you're innocent until proven guilty? In America now, under this political correctness, under a Democratic Party that doesn't allow for the other side to get its point out, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent and you don't have the ability to go out there on the television to ABC, CBS or NBC or to CNN to say, "look at this video, they lied." This is to tell them we're going to fight back. We're going to show you, if you want to play this game in a summer when people have bad economic conditions everywhere, if you want to go the race route? Come on.

Apparently, Breitbart was in such a rush to smear Shirley Sherrod and send that message that he couldn't be troubled to get the full video before posting his clip. Why bother? He's just sending a message; why should it matter whether what he says is true? And if an innocent woman is smeared as a racist, well, tough.

And remember -- Andrew Breitbart runs a website that criticizes the ethics of the media.

Watch:

Transcript below the fold:

ASMAN: Just a couple of facts we've got to get out about the Sherrod affair. Where did you find the tape originally?

BREITBART: I got an e-mail from somebody back in either late March, I can't tell you exactly, I think it may have been Easter weekend, early April, late March, and the person told me about this thing, and so my ADD had it so I said I don't know what to do with this.

ASMAN: But you knew at some point -

BREITBART: I honestly, I knew that it existed, I never went to the trouble of actually getting the video, I just knew that it existed and when I saw the tea party was being slandered by the NAACP absent evidence, I warned --

ASMAN: Not absent evidence, contrary to evidence.

BREITBART: Right, that they keep trying to reassert it to negatively brand the Tea Party, I told Ben Jealous, I told him to go to hell.

ASMAN: The head of the NAACP.

BREITBART: Yeah, I said, "Do you really want to go down this route? Do you really want to set Americans up against each other on race?" This is about people who do not have the ability to throw stones in a glass house. These are people who on this tape - the NAACP, they could pit me against Shirley Sherrod all they want, but when they saw this video, they saw the audience and rebuked the audience for its reaction to it. The way she was speaking in a racist language talking about that she did not give the full effort to help this white farmer and that she sent him off to the other, these people were listening to this and embracing it.

ASMAN: They were cheering, even though - hold on a second, it is important to emphasize -- even though she was being very confessional about this.

BREITBART: And candid.

ASMAN: She was being candid and open and saying look, this is the way I was, she wasn't saying that's a good thing, she was setting it up as a bad example, something you don't do.

BREITBART: I am not even sure if that's necessarily...

ASMAN: Which brings me to an important point also to ask you about. Did you edit it to or did you receive it as it's shown?

BREITBART: I received it as it was shown, and we had two videos that were sent to us over the internet and we asked them to send, because I wanted to get this out there as soon as humanly possible because this weekend was wall-to-wall mainstream media saying "tea party racist tea party racist, tea party racist." And I wanted to send a message to these people that the tea party is going to fight back. That if the mainstream media is not going to show exculpatory video - you know, in American, you're innocent until proven guilty? In America now, under this political correctness, under a Democratic Party that doesn't allow for the other side to get its point out, you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent and you don't have the ability to go out there on the television to ABC, CBS or NBC or to CNN to say, "look at this video, they lied." This is to tell them we're going to fight back. We're going to show you, if you want to play this game in a summer when people have bad economic conditions everywhere, if you want to go the race route? Come on. It is so combustible, it is the wrong route to go and as Mary Frances Berry said this is all about November.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.