Shirley Sherrod has a book coming out next week and she’s doing a promotional tour for it. She spoke to the Associated Press and reiterated one of the least covered aspects of the Sherrod saga — the fact that she told the USDA about the supposedly ‘heavily edited videotape’ nearly a week before it came out.
When blogger Andrew Breitbart published in 2010 an edited clip from a speech Shirley Sherrod made before an NAACP gathering and accused her of anti-white racism, the resulting outcry reached all the way to the White House. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack initially asked Sherrod to resign, then rescinded his request after it became clear Breitbart had broadcast an edited clip whose content made it appear racist.
Sherrod refused to return to her position with USDA and eventually sued Breitbart.
“I think back on that time, and I was just doing my job to try and help rural communities, staying under the radar,” she said. “Then, out of the blue, I’m being vilified. I don’t know why they were targeting me. I tried to tell (officials at) USDA that the story I was telling was about helping white farmers, but no one would listen to me. I found out that the clip was going to be released five days before it went national and told them, but no one listened.
This is not widely known, but it should be. For one thing, I wrote about it back in May, 2011. Back when I was guest blogging at Patterico, I wrote a piece called Untangling Sherrod: When Was The USDA Told? and said:
Here’s what really happened. Shirley Sherrod knew about the video excerpt on Thursday, July 14th – five days before Breitbart published it on BigGovernment. She immediately let the USDA know about the video. And she also thought she knew where to get the entire video, five days before the clips went public.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this lawsuit comes just as things are starting to heat up in thePigford investigation. Mrs. Sherrod is connected to Pigford. She’s the largest recipient of a Pigfordclaim; she, her husband Charles Sherrod and the New Communities farm won over thirteen million dollars while most other farmers only got $50,000. Mrs. Sherrod was hired by the USDA after this award. Prior to being hired, she worked to help keep angry black farmers from pulling out of the lawsuit after they objected to the terms of the consent decree. And despite her hero status with many, the farmers I have personally interviewed about Mrs. Sherrod have decidedly mixed feelings about her.
So, why now? What I know for sure is that a couple of days ago Andrew Breitbart and I put on a press conference at CPAC that released a two-hour, unedited audio clip that showed how easy it was to commit fraud in Pigford and that people are coached on exactly how to do it. A week ago Friday, theNational Review released a 4,000+ word article detailing the Pigford scandal. Other major media outlets have pieces in the works and politicians are looking seriously at investigating Pigford. The USDA has been stonewalling me for weeks. And after Media Matters published a deceptive piececalling the Pigford investigation a ‘smear’ against Mrs. Sherrod, this lawsuit comes. I have a number of questions I’d like to ask Mrs. Sherrod about Pigford but now that seems highly unlikely as she’s sure to lawyer up on the issue.
And trust me; things about to heat up in the Pigford investigation again…