Last week, the NAACP looked to deflate the influence of the tea party movement by calling it racist, a charge echoed and kept alive by lawmakers on Capitol Hill even if it was through denials. The easy counter was to condemn the NAACP’s own sordid record of race-baiting. But Andrew Breitbart went one step further.
When Breitbart releasing a video of an Obama Administration official making what appeared to be racist comments at an NAACP event, the NAACP denounced Shirley Sherrod and she lost her job in the progressive administration in which she served.
Now comes the rest of the story, which shows Sherrod is actually making a larger point about racial harmony. The USDA is trying to give Sherrod her job back and the NAACP repudiating their repudiation. (If I were Sherrod, I’d forego the job in favor of the eventual lawsuit settlement.)
The NAACP blamed Fox News, but really this is a bait and switch executed by Breitbart. By releasing the bad part of the video before the context, he coaxed the NAACP to do exactly what it did to the tea party movement – make a wild accusation without examining the whole context of the comments. (Breitbart may lose some cache for doing the same thing, but his reputation will be restored with the next sensational video he releases.)
Lest one think this gives Breitbart too much credit, remember that he, James O’Keefe, and Hannah Giles used a similar strategy with their series of videos exposing ACORN, releasing the videos one at a time to build momentum.
The desired result of Breitbart’s masterstroke are two-fold: first, the NAACP is exposed for jumping on any charge of racism without evaluation. Second (and, with campaign season around the corner, possibly more importantly) media outlets may be more guarded when looking at videos that show comments which appear, out of context, to be racist.