July 29th, 2010

Shirley Sherrod’s ill-fitting suit

Shirley Sherrod has now announced her intention of suing Andrew Breitbart for posting the edited video of her speech to the NAACP that caused so much commotion.

I’ve looked at a number of articles about the lawsuit, but none have stated what the charges would be. I’m assuming defamation, but if so I can’t see that she’s got much of a case at all—unless, of course, the court turns itself inside out trying to please her. If cutting off a video and not showing the whole speech and putting it online is now considered defamation, it would be the end of the news business and most of the liberal press.

As for her job loss, that would be something for her to sue the Obama administration about. But don’t hold your breath waiting to see that happen.

[NOTE: Here’s Andrew Breitbart’s original post on Sherrod. If you read the text, you’ll see that what he describes is actually exactly what happened on the tape:

In the first video, Sherrod describes how she racially discriminates against a white farmer. She describes how she is torn over how much she will choose to help him. And, she admits that she doesn’t do everything she can for him, because he is white. Eventually, her basic humanity informs that this white man is poor and needs help. But she decides that he should get help from “one of his own kind”. She refers him to a white lawyer.

Sherrod’s racist tale is received by the NAACP audience with nodding approval and murmurs of recognition and agreement. Hardly the behavior of the group now holding itself up as the supreme judge of another groups’ racial tolerance.]

40 Responses to “Shirley Sherrod’s ill-fitting suit”

  1. Baklava Says:

    Shirley should quit while she’s ahead.

    Mr. Sherrod’s racist comments and Shirley’s follow up comments about Fox News and Breitbart show her mindset to be based on color.

    Then again… I hope Shirley wins !

    Then Sarah Palin can win against Katie Couric’s hatchet job. The entire transcript was never published. All of Katie’s interview was never aired. It was pieced together and after Sarah was frustrated with Katie and then Katie asks Sarah what she reads – omg idiots on the left believe Sarah doesn’t read.

    Can the left just admit for once and for all they are liars and mentally ill?

    To actually submit the opinion that Sarah doesn’t read is quite an insult to a person who was a governor of a state and deserves the respect.

    Shirley deserves no respect at the moment until she goes to sensitivity training. Let’s call it the Martin Luther King school of judging people on their merit not their skin color.

  2. Baklava Says:

    Speaking of mentally ill….

    http://www.latimes.com/news/health/boostershots/la-heb-mentalhealth-20100728,0,2495137.story

    Shirley and the left need mental help.

  3. Bilwick Says:

    I think her kids should sue her for naming them “Kenyatta” and “Russia.”

  4. Richard Johnston Says:

    If she has any defamation claim at all I think it has to be based on this (from the linked Breitbart post):

    “We are in possession of a video from in which Shirley Sherrod, USDA Georgia Director of Rural Development, speaks at the NAACP Freedom Fund dinner in Georgia. In her meandering speech to what appears to be an all-black audience, this federally appointed executive bureaucrat lays out in stark detail, that her federal duties are managed through the prism of race and class distinctions.”

    As we now know, she did not say she managed her current federal duties through the prism of race and class distinctions. She said that with reference to a non-federal, non-profit agency position some 20 years in the past. Inasmuch as Mr. Breitbart attributes past prejudices to her current professional conduct, that’s at least potentially defamatory.

    Plus there’s an argument to be made Mr. Breitbart was reckless (an important consideration given Ms. Sherrod probably qualifies as a public figure, triggering heightened requirements to prove malice in connection with a defamation claim). Even in the edited, truncated video, she says the conduct in question occurred just after Chapter 12 bankruptcy protections were enacted, and that was back in 1986. So on the face of the video it is apparent she was not talking about her current conduct. Therefore, arguably Mr. Breitbart should have known better, and would have had he employed minimal due diligence, given the information available to him at the time.

    That said, I think the lawsuit is a bad idea and will (and should) cause more damage to Ms. Sherrod’s reputation than Mr. Breitbart’s original erroneous statements about her.

  5. Gringo Says:

    The more Shirley Sherrod speaks, the worse she comes off. Was it a Breitbart undercover agent who has encouraged her to sue?

  6. Baklava Says:

    Richard wrote, “Plus there’s an argument to be made Mr. Breitbart was reckless

    Was Katie Couric reckless?

    Was anybody who excerpted Katie’s interview reckless?

    Are you reckless?

    Has ABCCBSNBCCNN been reckless for repeating the claim about the tea party using the “N” word at the “Kill the Bill” rally?

    I’ll hand it to you on the reckless if you take responsibility for all of my examples being reckless. Liar.

    Richard wrote, “Therefore, arguably Mr. Breitbart should have known better, and would have had he employed minimal due diligence, given the information available to him at the time.

    In all of my examples above people should’ve given minimal due diligence… I mean come on – Sarah doesn’t read??? You are mental ! CBSABCNBCCNN and your leaders are mental !

  7. gs Says:

    Per GayPatriot, I withdraw my equivocation about Sherrod.

    This little drama might have fostered political civility and national unity; instead it’s having the opposite effect. None of the actors has behaved well, but it’s looking like Sherrod has managed to displace Breitbart as the villain of the piece.

  8. Richard Johnston Says:

    Baklava asked me:

    “Was Katie Couric reckless?”

    Yes I think she was.

    “Was anybody who excerpted Katie’s interview reckless?”

    Depends on how they excerpted it, but if you’re referring to what I think you are, then yes they were IMO.

    “Are you reckless?”

    On occasion.

    “Has ABCCBSNBCCNN been reckless for repeating the claim about the tea party using the “N” word at the “Kill the Bill” rally?”

    Yes, IMO.

    “Richard wrote, ‘Therefore, arguably Mr. Breitbart should have known better, and would have had he employed minimal due diligence, given the information available to him at the time.’

    In all of my examples above people should’ve given minimal due diligence… I mean come on – Sarah doesn’t read??? You are mental ! CBSABCNBCCNN and your leaders are mental !”

    I agree the examples you cite are examples of failing to use due diligence. However I am not aware of anyone saying Sarah Palin “doesn’t read.” I do recall indications she didn’t read substantive and serious publications, based on her inability to describe to Katy Kouric what her favorite periodicals were. I don’t think she received fair treatment from the press in any case.

  9. Shouting Thomas Says:

    Sherrod probably ranks as a public figure, so she’s got a tough nut to crack in suing for defamation.

    My understanding is that it’s almost impossible to win a defamation suit if you’re a public figure. In that role, you are subject to just about any type of criticism.

    The standard for defamation and libel of a public figure is much higher.

    So, I think Sherrod has no chance here. This is a nuisance lawsuit that she cannot win.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    You go, Shirley.

    Wait until the Bamster – legal genius of the first water – finally figures out his Administration might be subject to discovery re her firing.

    And the NAACP, collectively not being excessively bright, won’t figure that out until they’re served.

    Big Popcorn is behind all this, I keep tellin’ ya.

  11. pablo panadero Says:

    This is interesting.

    One of the basic precepts of modern liberalism is that results don’t matter, but rather the intention is important. So while poverty programs have the result of keeping folks in poverty rather than helping them out, it is the intention of doing something good that is important.

    It is clear that Breitbart’s intention was not to bring down Ms. Sharrod, but to instead embarrass the NAACP. But the result was that Ms. Sharrod lost her job. Here she is claiming that it is not the intention but rather the results that are important, which is not only contrary to modern Liberalism, but also contrary to libel and slander laws.

  12. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    I still think that Ms. Sherrod wasn’t the target here at all. The target was the NAACP, which had just branded the Tea Party movement as racist, based on nothing.

    Mr. Breitbart wanted to show that the NAACP is more racist than anything they’ve accused the Tea Party of… and sure enough, the (abridged) video shows just that — NAACP members nodding thoughtfully at Ms. Sherrod’s description of her own racism.

    The point was not whether or not the NAACP occasionally has racist speakers; the point is that NAACP members, apparently, are just fine with racist speakers, if it’s the right kind of racism! Keep in mind, please, that the audience members in the video didn’t know what was coming next, any more than viewers of the abridged video did. They apparently approved of the message anyway.

    And Mr. Breitbart got the reaction he wanted — for a change, it was African-Americans who were falling all over themselves to denounce racism in their ranks. That it was short-lived doesn’t matter; I, and I suspect many other Americans, will never see the NAACP in quite the same way again.

    I do feel bad for Ms. Sherrod, who was basically a pawn in this whole story. Although frankly, I don’t see that she endured any serious harm, financially or otherwise. She’s had a moment in the sun she wouldn’t have had otherwise, and if she wanted to quit her job and go around the country giving ten-thousand-dollar speeches on race, she now has the name recognition to do so.

    As for the lawsuit — well, perhaps now Mr. Breitbart will finally have a good use for the $100,000 reward nobody claimed. He can use it in his trial, demonstrating the inherent racism this case reveals at the highest levels in our Administration of Amateurs.

    Obamacare. The Deepwater oil in the Gulf. An economy that clearly isn’t getting better for anybody not at the public trough. And now this. It’s going to be a fun election season, folks! The people obsessed with controlling the narrative will find that they have no control over this one at all.

    Don’t forget to vote!

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Daniel in Brookline: after this, I don’t feel sorry for Sherrod.

  14. newton Says:

    “Shirley should quit while she’s ahead. ”

    I said it before here, and I’ll say it again: Were I her attorney, I would have told her to STHU already!

    Remember that tape. Those were HER WORDS. Not his.

  15. SteddieH Says:

    With the ubiquity of cell phones, cameras, and video recorders (to just name a few of the devices that can tie a person to a specific action, comment, or event) it dumbfounds me that public officials, in countless capacities, lack the common sense to realize they are targets.

    If you choose to go out in a lightning storm it doesn’t make any difference who you’re around…if you decide to grab hold of a lightning rod you’re likely to get burned. Blaming the lightning, the storm, or the lightning rod does not alter the fact that it was your choices that made you the target.

    Of course in the liberal mindset, the fact the lightning rod was there is sufficient cause for lawsuit because had it not been there the “victim” would not have grabbed it – therefore the owner of the lightning rod is obviously at fault and should be held accountable for the “victim’s” actions.

    Hmmmm…wonder if God or nature have ever been named defendants in a lawsuit anywhere? Seems I’ve heard of it somewhere….

  16. Artfldgr Says:

    When your digging, and it starts getting hot, and there are a few odd fellows in red suits around you, and one big one laughing, its time to stop digging.

  17. East Bay Jay Says:

    “her inability to describe to Katy Kouric what her favorite periodicals were”

    So you think she doesn’t know what she reads, Richard? Wow. That’s even worse than ‘she doesn’t read at all’. Of course an alternate explanation is that she perceived a ridiculous ‘gotcha’ question had been asked and she refused to play. We all know that the only answer acceptable to lefties/the MSM was the NY Times and Washington Post. Anything else was ‘wrong’ and would be used to embarass her. So she could have said NYT and WP, and lied (think Obama saying he didn’t know who Snooki was – of course he knows who Snooki is – I’ve never watched Jersey Shore nor read an entertainment magazine in years and I know who she is). Where Palin ‘failed’ is in her surprise that the interview was going to be a ‘gotcha’ effort. She should have been prepared for that and prepared to hit back. Hard, like she now does.

  18. Occam's Beard Says:

    Spot on, EBJ. She should have anticipated a hatchet job; imputing good will to leftist journalists (but I repeat myself) was incredibly naive.

    I thought that when that prissy Charles Gibson started looking over the tops of his glasses at her as a low IQ knockoff of Professor Kingsfield. She shouldn’t have stood for that; either walk out, or lightheartedly make fun of him.

    The latter would have endeared her to a lot of people. Just a quip about the dog eating her homework, or perhaps making a pointed reply with a question in it, and then looking over her glasses at him, probably would have worked wonders.

  19. Richard Johnston Says:

    East Bay Jay said:

    ““her inability to describe to Katy Kouric what her favorite periodicals were”

    So you think she doesn’t know what she reads, Richard? Wow. That’s even worse than ’she doesn’t read at all’.”

    I do not believe she doesn’t know what she reads. I do not believe she is unintelligent.

    All I said was that she was unable to answer that particular question and that is what led to the talk about her not reading serious and substantive periodicals. I don’t endorse that view, at all.

    All I said was that I was unaware of anyone saying she “didn’t read,” and then described what I was aware of people saying.

  20. expat Says:

    I still respect that she was trying to overcome the horrible experiences of her youth; however, she jumped back into the victim camp. She is probably surrounded by people who don’t want anyone to leave that camp. This John McWhorter piece (HT Instapundit)

    http://www.theroot.com/views/antidote-acting-white-phenomenon-segregated-schools

    and the enclosed link to a Blogging Heads video are examples of talking about race that have real meaning. Sherrrod’s law suit isn’t going to help anyone.

  21. Ilíon Says:

    GS:… None of the actors has behaved well, but it’s looking like Sherrod has managed to displace Breitbart as the villain of the piece.

    But then, Breitbart never was the villain.

    It’s time, and past time, to stop playing this split-the-difference game with the leftists. You can’t split-the-difference between ‘Yes’ and ‘No;’ you can’t split-the-difference between ‘True’ and ‘False.’

  22. Ilíon Says:

    Big Popcorn is behind all this, I keep tellin’ ya.

    *grin*

  23. butch Says:

    Yumping Yiminee, people!

    Read what Breitbart wrote when he first posted the excerpt he received – which he did not edit. Her epiphany was included in that excerpt, and Breitbart specifically pointed that out.

    His target all along WAS the hypocritical NAACP. They did not know about the Rest of the Story, they approved her decision to not help the white farmer.

    I agree that a trial, and the attendant discovery will be highly entertaining. Popcorn for all my friends!

  24. gs Says:

    Ilíon Says:

    It’s time, and past time, to stop playing this split-the-difference game with the leftists. You can’t split-the-difference between ‘Yes’ and ‘No;’ you can’t split-the-difference between ‘True’ and ‘False.’

    Until the choice is not between the lesser and greater of two evils, I, and I suspect many other swing voters, will continue to do what you call splitting the difference.

  25. rickl Says:

    But what if the Federal government nationalizes Big Popcorn? Huh? What then?

  26. expat Says:

    Ilion,
    I agree completely that we can’t give in to the race card. I try very hard to understand the scars that someone like Sherrod must carry and I recognize that my understanding will never be complete. But I also expect that she make an effort to understand why I detest leftist attempts to keep anyone in permanent victim status. And I resent being put into the category of white oppressor. I am sure not a legacy admission Ivy grad, although I don’t put all of them into the spoiled white kid category. In fact, if you read the memory lane post and comments above, you will find many reasons to think the inherited wealth class should envy us. I just won’t play the class/victim games. My life would be a lot poorer had I shut out people with other life experiences, whether harder or easier. And I find it something close to sinful to try to limit blacks to a certain set of “authentic” attitudes. It has led to kids killing kids in our cities.

  27. John Says:

    There is a lot more to this story than has been reported.

    Have you guys seen this?

    Real Sherrod Story Still Untold

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/real_sherrod_story_still_untol.html

    I’m thinking her lawsuit will end up exposing a lot of things she & her backers really don’t want exposed.

    But then I have thought that about other things as well.

  28. Baklava Says:

    Richard,

    Please read the story in John’s link above.

    Completely.

    Embrace the words.

    Think they don’t think in the prism of race? They do.

  29. Baklava Says:

    Richard idiotically wrote, “All I said was that she was unable to answer that particular question

    After being asked idiotic question after idiotic question by Katie, Sarah has admitted repeatedly that she was being sarcastic and snarky back to Katie.

    Are you perfect Richard?

    Are you a robot Richard?

    No you probably aren’t either of those. But you are … an idiot. And i don’t name call much on this blog – but you take the cake lately because you believe that Sarah should’ve been perfect and a robot and never been snarky or sarcastic or frustrated with Katie’s asinine questions.

    They EDITED the tape Richard! You didn’t see the complete interview which showed Sarah getting more and more frustrated.

    Did you know they edited the tape or are you playing the part of an idiot.

    A couple of hours of stupid questions and Richard would’ve been a perfect robot.

    Idiot.

    Probably voted for Obama…..

  30. Baklava Says:

    http://biggovernment.com/publius/2010/07/29/matthews-slams-dean-defends-breitbart-sherrod-video-included-her-redemption/

  31. Baklava Says:

    I think Richard didn’t read anything of substance regarding the interview…

    Read headlines…

  32. Richard Johnston Says:

    Baklava said:

    “Richard idiotically wrote, “All I said was that she was unable to answer that particular question”

    After being asked idiotic question after idiotic question by Katie, Sarah has admitted repeatedly that she was being sarcastic and snarky back to Katie.”

    I think you’re reading into my comments things I did not say. Certainly things I did not mean to say.

    Didn’t bring any sort of judgment in previous comments about inability to answer a question (about which I said nothing about the reasons, and about which I never said there was no ready explanation).

    Just said that’s what led to some of the comments you heard, and as to those I was quite explicit that I did not endorse them. If she said she was being sarcastic and people misunderstood I have no basis whatever to disagree with her. Really the whole thing was about someone saying there were people saying she “didn’t read,” and me saying I was unaware of anyone saying that.

    To be clear: I don’t think Sarah Palin is a lightweight, or stupid, or anything like that, at all. Don’t read that into my comments, please. If that’s what I mean to say I will say it.

  33. Baklava Says:

    Your wrote, “I do recall indications she didn’t read substantive and serious publications,

    Case closed. Checkmate. You lost.

  34. Richard Johnston Says:

    Baklava said:

    “Case closed. Checkmate. You lost.”

    OK.

  35. Assistant Village Idiot Says:

    General comment, because it has come up in the thread a few times. We have an increase in nonliberals defensively jumping to conclusions about things other nonliberals write. Let’s be careful not to eat our own here, not listening fully to what might be a valid criticism of a Breitbart or a Palin because we have assumed the critic must be a liberal.

    Hey, I understand the defensiveness and have jumped the gun a few times myself. Y’all are free to call me on that if you see it. Iron sharpens iron.

  36. Baklava Says:

    He wrote, “I do recall indications she didn’t read substantive and serious publications

    I’ll eat him alive for that. It’s lazy.

    AVI wrote, “what might be a valid criticism”

    It’s not a ‘valid’ criticism.

  37. gs Says:

    AVI: Nah, we’ll keep purging people until we win elections. ;-)

    It’s hard to construct a winning coalition; it’s extrenely hard to construct a winning coalition and remain true to essential principles. Reagan is the only modern conservative whom I’ve seen do that nationally.

    He invoked the Eleventh Commandment. He was constructive and optimistic. He was not nasty. As it were, “Our liberal friends are at it again. We’re not angry. We know they mean well, but they keep getting things backwards. Let’s look at the facts and see why they’re wrong.”
    **************
    The post was about Sherrod but Palin’s name was injected into the comments. Having changed from a Palin supporter to a strong opponent, I’ve been sitting on my hands so as not to respond. Fyi, Neo.

  38. abdul7591 Says:

    I agree completely that those of us – and we are in the multi-millions – who reject Obama’s despicable policies and ugly leftist worldview should not be cowed by those who try to use the racist smear to shame us into silence. On the contrary we should ridicule their moral presumption for the buffoonery at its core. For my part, I tend to regard the behavior of the Left as simply part of the background noise of the universe; dogs go “bow-wow”; cows go “moo”; pigs go “oink”; liberals call people “racist”. Like Janeane Garofalo and Bill Maher, the leaders of the NAACP are but an illustration of this zoological phenomenon.

    As for sh*tty Shirley Sherrod, I don’t think Breitbart misrepresented what she is at all. She clearly is an odious bigot if she thinks white people who disagree with her on public policy are actually trying to revive slavery. Whenever an Afro-American leftist takes this attitude, what it means is that she does not believe whites have any right to be intellectually independent of them. To the race-conscious black leftist, the “White Man” must be ideologically subservient at all times. Because Breitbart will not submit to such arrogance he must endure being compared to slavemasters. Sherrod’s ugly view of her fellow human beings reveals a much deeper commitment to racial division and hate than somebody who shouts a racial epithet in a moment of explosive anger – like Mel Gibson.

    Ironically, even if her accusation were true, and people like me wanted to bring back slavery, she couldn’t be more safe. Given how dishonest she is about herself, I wouldn’t want her in MY fields, picking my cotton. She’d probably steal half of it.

    The Breitbart/Sherrod affair illustrates for me why I have come to find “guilt-ridden” white liberals so pathetic and contemptible. The political alliance they have formed with black militants is not one based on friendship. The liberal only wants absolution for himself for the “crime” of being white; real social progress for poor Afro-Americans is only a secondary consideration. The race-conscious black militant sees the liberal not as a human being, but as a useful tool to a political end. The white liberal is the black militant’s prison bitch, nothing more.

  39. expat Says:

    abdul,
    The liberal wants more than just absolution. They also want to use their own moral superiority to exercise power over others.

  40. Baklava Says:

    gs,

    You can be a Palin supporter or opponent.

    However, you can’t have your own set of facts.

    If you LIE like Richard did about Palin not “reading serious and substantive publications”, you’ll be called on it and the game will be LOST.

    Oppose her – fine. There is a concept here I’m DRILLING HOME… It’s bigger than Palin or Sherrod.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>






Monthly Archives



Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge