John Stossel -- who believes that private businesses should have the right to engage in racial discrimination -- devoted another segment of his Fox Business show to attacking the Pigford lawsuit that provided recompense to black farmers who were victims of systemic discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Stossel set the segment up as a debate between Al Pires, a lawyer who represented the black farmers, and serial liar Andrew Breitbart, who has attacked Pigford as part of his eight-month smear campaign against former USDA official Shirley Sherrod, who first came to prominence after Breitbart posted a deceptively-edited video of a speech she gave that falsely portrayed her as a racist.
Stossel and Breitbart didn't make any new claims about Pigford. Rather, they rehashed the same tired distortions that we've previously debunked -- that the case is a "scam" and the claimants don't deserve their money.
But the segment was notable for Stossel's refusal to acknowledge that there was real, systematic discrimination against black people by the USDA. Recall that back when Stossel argued that "private businesses ought to get to discriminate" on the basis of race and called for the repeal of part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he at least acknowledged that the government should not discriminate.
In this case, there is clear evidence that the government discriminated against black farmers. As the Congressional Research Service found, a report commissioned by USDA revealed that "from 1990 to 1995, ... minorities received less than their fair share of USDA money for crop payments, disaster payments, and loans." Furthermore, the federal judge overseeing the Pigford case also found that there was systemic discrimination against black farmers.
But just like the last time he did a segment on Pigford, Stossel refused to acknowledge that discrimination had occurred, preferring instead to attack the people claiming discrimination and their attorneys.
During the segment, Pires stated: "I caught [USDA] admitting that they had been unfair. That's all it's about. It's just about being fair. That's all. I don't know why that should bother you." Stossel responded by refusing to acknowledge that USDA had discriminated: "Well let me answer that. What bothers me is, let's say what you say is true. But I don't see why you should get 10 million of the taxpayer dollars."
In addition, at one point during the segment, Fox aired a caption claiming that it was just the allegations of the "Lawyer" that "USDA [Is] Often Racist":
Many of the other captions cast doubt on the veracity of the allegations -- and none of them acknowledged that there was actually discrimination:
Stossel's refusal to acknowledge the discrimination against the black farmers makes him even more dishonest than Breitbart on this issue (no small feat). During the segment, Breitbart admitted that there was discrimination by the USDA and said that the victims of discrimination "should have gotten their land back and gotten millions of dollars for what the USDA did to them."
Here's a snippet from the show: