NAACP Says It Was “Snookered” By Breitbart, Fox On Shirley Sherrod Story

One of the more surprising elements of the Shirley Sherrod story was the swiftness with which the NAACP condemned Sherrod and supported her firing by the Department of Agriculture. By the end of the day on Tuesday, though, the organization was singing a much different tune:

The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People apologized Tuesday to a black civil servant whose ouster the civil rights organization had originally cheered.

Last week, the N.A.A.C.P. garnered headlines when it accused parts of the Tea Party movement of being racist. Then, over the weekend, a video emerged of Shirley Sherrod, the head of the Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia, speaking at an N.A.A.C.P. event in Douglas, Ga., in March. In a two-and-a-half-minute clip, Ms. Sherrod seemed to explain that she discriminated against a white farmer 24 years ago.

Ms. Sherrod said she was pressed to resign after the video whipped around the Web. But she said the clip was misleading. According to Ms. Sherrod and people who have seen the full video, she went on to say in her speech that she had learned from working with the farmer that all people must overcome their prejudices.

After seeing the full video, the N.A.A.C.P. said Tuesday that it had been “snookered” into believing Ms. Sherrod had acted with bias.

“We are in a moment where there is heightened sensitivity and concern, including within the N.A.A.C.P., about discrimination against white people,” said Benjamin T. Jealous, the group’s president. He said the N.A.A.C.P. wanted “to be clear that there’s a single yardstick by which civil rights are judged.”

Here’s the full video (about 43 minutes long, so be warned):

After watching Sherrod’s remarks in their full context, and in light of all the other information that has come out, it seems fairly clear that she was the victim of a horrible misrepresentation on the part of Breitbart, and a fairly cowardly abandonment by the powers-that-be in the Obama Administration.

FILED UNDER: Barack Obama, Politicians, Quick Takes, Race and Politics, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook