Resigned USDA Official: Breitbart’s Video Was a Lie

Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official forced to resign after Andrew Breitbart posted a video of her giving a speech to the NAACP, is telling her story to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution — and Breitbart has, once again, railroaded an innocent person with an edited and highly misleading video: Resigned USDA official says racial story misconstrued.

In a phone interview from her home in Albany early Tuesday morning, Shirley Sherrod told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution that the video posted online Monday by biggovernment.com and reported on by foxnews.com and the AJC completely misconstrued the message she was trying to convey.

Sherrod, 62, insisted her statements in the video were not racist. “For Fox to take a spin on this like they have done, and know it’s not the truth … it’s very upsetting,” she said.

In the video Sherrod, who is black, admits to the crowd at the NAACP banquet she didn’t do everything she could to help a white farmer whom she said was condescending when he came to her for aid.

“What he didn’t know while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me was, I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him,” Sherrod said in the video recorded March 27 in Douglas in southeast Georgia.

“I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough.”

But Tuesday morning, Sherrod said what online viewers weren’t told in reports posted throughout the day Monday was that the tale she told at the banquet happened 24 years ago — before she got the USDA job — when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod said the short video clip excluded the breadth of the story about how she eventually worked with the man over a two-year period to help ward off foreclosure of his farm, and how she eventually became friends with him and his wife.

“And I went on to work with many more white farmers,” she said. “The story helped me realize that race is not the issue, it’s about the people who have and the people who don’t. When I speak to groups, I try to speak about getting beyond the issue of race.”

Andrew Breitbart: the heir to Joseph McCarthy, destroying people’s reputations and jobs based on deliberately distorted allegations, while the rest of the right wing blogs cheer. Disgusting. This is what has become of the right wing blogosphere — it’s now a debased tool that serves only to circulate partisan conspiracy theories and hit pieces.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 8:33:55 am:

Note that LGF reader “teh mantis” posted a comment last night at around 6:00 pm that made exactly these points about Breitbart’s deceptive video, in this post.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 9:00:01 am:

It’s disturbing that the USDA immediately caved in to cover their asses, and got Sherrod to resign without even hearing her side of the story; but also expected. That’s what government bureaucrats do. And they didn’t want the USDA to become the next ACORN.

But it’s even more disturbing that the NAACP also immediately caved in and denounced this woman, in a misguided attempt to be “fair.” The NAACP is supposed to defend people like this. They were played by a con man, and an innocent person paid the price.

UPDATE at 7/20/10 9:21:38 am:

CNN has a report on this disgusting incident now, with statements from the wife of the farmer to whom Sherrod referred in Breitbart’s dishonest video — she says that Sherrod saved their farm: Ex-worker: USDA ‘wasn’t interested in hearing the truth’

A Georgia woman who said she believes her husband is the white farmer referenced in the clip told CNN on Tuesday that Sherrod was helpful to her family and that the couple never felt she was being racist while trying to assist them in avoiding foreclosure.

“She treated us really good and got us all we could,” said Eloise Spooner of Iron City, Georgia. Spooner said she remembered that Sherrod helped find an attorney to help her husband, Roger.

She said she doesn’t believe Sherrod is being treated fairly.

Here’s the interview with Sherrod:

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