White House misled by dishonest conservatives

Sorry for the redundant title.

The Tea Party movement has been getting a lot of criticism lately due to its inherent racism. As a counter, some of its biggest supporters found a video from March of a black Agricultural Department employee, Shirley Sherrod, giving a speech to the NAACP where she said she once did not give her full help to a white farmer 24 years ago. Except it didn’t really find a video where she said that. It found a video with an entirely different point and context and then made a bunch of dishonest edits.

The two-minute, 38-second clip posted Monday by Biggovernment.com was presented as evidence that the NAACP was hypocritical in its recent resolution condemning what it calls racist elements of the tea party movement. The website’s owner, Andrew Breitbart, said the video shows the civil rights group condoning the same kind of racism it says it wants to erase.

In the clip posted on Biggovernment.com, Sherrod described the first time a white farmer came to her for help. It was 1986, and she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group. She said the farmer came in acting “superior” to her and she debated how much help to give him.

“I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, and here I was faced with helping a white person save their land,” Sherrod said.

Initially, she said, “I didn’t give him the full force of what I could do” and gave him only enough help to keep his case progressing. Eventually, she said, his situation “opened my eyes” that whites were struggling just like blacks, and helping farmers wasn’t so much about race but was “about the poor versus those who have.”

Sherrod was initially forced to resign from her position, but has now been offered to return (though to a different position for some reason). The White House has apologized.

I can’t say I’m surprised a political organization, especially a conservative one, would pull this sort of dishonest stunt. It’s expected. But what is surprising is the fact that Glenn Beck has managed to say something reasonable.