You are hereTalking Points Memo: Breitbart Changes Tune On Why He Released Sherrod Video

Talking Points Memo: Breitbart Changes Tune On Why He Released Sherrod Video


By FZ - Posted on 15 February 2011

February 14, 2011- When TPM asked Andrew Breitbart last July if the release of an edited video of Shirley Sherrod was timed to impact a Senate vote on restitution for black farmers, he said no. Now that she's suing him for defamation, he's making that restitution the issue.

Sherrod made good on her threat to sue Breitbart over the video in a complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court on Friday. The lawsuit alleges that Breitbart was "angered by the NAACP's claims of racism against the Tea Party" and used Sherrod "to further his own agenda of counter-attacking the NAACP with claims of racism." It further states that the video ignited a "media firestorm" and resulted in her forced resignation from the USDA -- before the truth came out and prompted apologies from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

But the response to the defamation suit posted on Breitbart's Big Government website makes no mention of the edited video, the NAACP or the Tea Party. And it does not refer to Sherrod by name. Instead, the news release alludes to her as "a central figure in the Pigford 'back-door' reparations case," and frames Pigford as the central issue in the lawsuit.

The Pigford settlements paid black farmers who said they had been discriminated against by the USDA in the 1980s and 1990s. (The Pigford II settlement, worth $1.25 billion, was signed by Obama in December.) Sherrod and her husband, a civil rights activist, received a multi-million-dollar settlement as part of the first settlement.

"This new lawsuit will not stop the American public from finding out what is really going on, who is directly culpable, and the critical role of the Pigford claimant in all off this," Breitbart said in the Big Government release. The release calls Pigford "one of the biggest cases of corruption and politically-motivated fraud" in U.S. history.

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