One common theme, echoed by Sam Stein at HuffPo, and various people he quotes, is that the original clip released by Breitbart was "false."
To portray the clip as "false" is wrong. The clip itself was what it was. No one is claiming that the words were changed or edited within the time span shown on the clip.
The original Sherrod clip was no worse, and in many way much more fair, than the clips and words taken out of context that we see every day at Democratic media machines.
I previously posted about how Gawker and Think Progress ran headlines that Bill O'Reilly had said that a black guest looked like a drug dealer? Those headlines and the articles were literally true, but wildly out of context meant to portray O'Reilly as racist. Breitbart's conduct did not rise anywhere near that.
The original Sherrod clip certainly gave enough of a flavor that Sherrod was talking about something in the past, and had changed (watch the clip beginning at 1:50, where Sherrod mentions that she no longer views race as the real issue). The full speech gives an even more complete version of that supposed transformation, but that does not make the shorter version "false."
Even Breitbart's original description of the tape -- before the full tape was available, actually disclosed Sherrod's transformation (emphasis mine):
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.To the extent the original clip and Breitbart's description portrayed Sherrod as having engaged in a racist act in the past, such implication literally was true, as Sherrod admits. The actions people in the Obama administration took, and the conclusions the media drew from that literal truth may have been unfair and precipitous, but that does not make the clip defamatory.
I think Sherrod's chances of winning a suit are much, much weaker than portrayed by Stein and the people he quotes.
Any such suit would be political in nature, done for some ulterior motive.
Which, as I have pointed out, may not be the worst of outcomes for Breitbart, because a lot of people will be in the hot seat.
Shirley Sherrod May Make Andrew Breitbart's Day
Context! For We, But Not For Thee
Shocked - Think Progress Misleading Anti-Tea Party Video
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