FLASHBACK: When Breitbart Accused Sherrod of "Speaking In Racist Language"

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

In light of the lawsuit Shirley Sherrod has filed against Andrew Breitbart, in which she's suing "for defamation, false light and intentional infliction of emotional distress," it might be helpful to return to last July and recall exactly what Breitbart was saying about Sherrod publicly as he made the round in the right-wing media.

It's especially useful to recall what Breitbart was saying about Sherrod before his smear campaign collapsed in public view and before it was clear that Breitbart had completely (purposefully?) misinterpreted the speech Sherrod had given at an NAACP dinner. (Breitbart spun it to mean Sherrod was a racist, when in fact the tale she told encouraged people not to discriminate on the basis of race.) Of course, Sherrod lost her job with the Department of Agriculture after Breitbart released selectively edited tapes and tried to suggest that Sherrod was racist and had discriminated against a white farmer.

The Sherrod story broke on July 19, when Breitbart posted the deceptively edited tapes. The next day, speaking with conservative radio host Dana Loesch (who now works for Breitbart), he attacked Sherrod again and again, portraying her as a racist. Those attacks are now the basis of Sherrod's defamation lawsuit.

Speaking with Loesch, Breitbart claimed Sherrod had "said racial things" on the tape, was "talking in racial terms," and that "she was skeptical of white people." He also accused her of seeing "things through a racial prism." Breitbart also emphasized that in her NAACP address, Sherrod "was speaking in the present tense," which was not true. The story she told about the white farmer was two decades old.

And Breitbart also made this claim [emphasis added]:

[The NAACP] was involved in a Freedom Dinner, on tape, in which the speaker is speaking in racist language and the audience is accepting it and laughing at it and applauding it. And that's deeply offensive and it's ten times more evidence, as a matter of fact it's a billion times more evidence than the mainstream media has been able to compile over a year-and-a-half of trying to falsely frame the Tea Party is racist.

To which host Loesch replied, "Absolutely."

So last July 20, Breitbart and Loesch were in heated agreement, and told the listeners, that Sherrod spoke in "racist language" and that her speech was proof of the NAACP's racist behavior.

Keep that in mind as the current lawsuit unfolds.

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Andrew Breitbart
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