Politics

Will Pigford vindicate Andrew Breitbart?

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

This summer Andrew Breitbart, publisher of a number of conservative news sites, found himself in the throes of a media scandal of dramatic proportions — and one which he later discovered went far deeper than a mere contextual snafu.

For those unfamiliar with the story, in July, when liberals, the media, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were slamming Tea Partiers as racist, Breitbart released a now infamous video of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) official Shirley Sherrod’s speech before the NAACP describing how she had discriminated against a white farmer. Her comments were met with nodding approval by the members of the audience.

In the wake of the release, the USDA wasted no time in forcing Sherrod’s resignation, despite the fact that Breitbart says his intent was never to harm Sherrod, but rather to expose the NAACP as a racist body.

While the partial video ended Sherrod’s career at USDA, the second half, the portion of Sherrod’s anecdote in which she explained that she learned the error of her ways, was not included in the initial video Breitbart had released. The incomplete video lost Sherrod her job and resulted in a mass demonization of Breitbart for not showing the full context of her remarks.

Since that time Breitbart has worked to understand the full story behind Sherrod’s hasty ousting and believes he has an answer. According to Breitbart, the answer lays in a piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed Wednesday — which provides $1.15 billion in funding for a case known as Pigford II. The money will be doled out in payments of $50,000 for more than 90,000 alleged black farmers as retribution for alleged discrimination on the part of the USDA.

From the initial class action suit, Pigford vs. Glickman, Shirley Sherrod and her husband received $13 million. In addition to the $13 million, the USDA gave her a job in their ranks.

With Sherrod on the outs, her defenders came out in droves, charging that Breitbart’s video release had been an ill-fated attempt to bring more attention to Pigford. Despite these adamant claims, Breitbart says that at the time he was ignorant of any such suit.

“They were trying to show that my intention was to get Pigford defunded,” Breitbart told The Daily Caller. “And, I had never heard of Pigford, so for the last four and half months, all I’ve been doing is eating, breathing, sleeping Pigford, researching Pigford, finding whistleblowers who are hiding in plain sight who have been wanting to tell the story of how this was rigged.”

Breitbart since has embarked on a mission to expose Pigford for the outrageous fraud he and others have found it to be, namely how 400 black farmers in a class action suit ballooned to over 90,000 claimants when even one of the most energetic advocates for Pigford, John Boyd, founder of the National Black Farmers Association, has admitted that there are only 18,000 black farmers in the country.