Shirley Sherrod, the former US Department of Agriculture official who was forced out of her job as Director of Rural Development for the state of Georgia over allegations of racism, has received some pretty substantial apologies over the last couple of days.
First the NAACP issued a statement yesterday that included the following:
With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.
Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans. I apologized to Ms. Sherrod, clearly a commited and selfless public servant, who had been unfairly maligned
Then during today's White House press briefing Robert Gibbs had this to say:
Members of this administration, members of the media, members of different political factions on both sides of this have all made determinations and judgments without a full set of facts. I think that is wholly and completely accurate. I think without a doubt Ms. Sherrod is owed an apology. I would do so certainly on behalf of this administration.
He later added that the apology was on behalf of the entire administration.
Finally, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that in addition to offering to rehire Ms. Sherrod he had extended,
to her my personal and profound apologies for the pain and discomfort that has been caused to her and to her family over the course of the last several days. ...she was extraordinarily gracious. ...I asked for Shirley's forgiveness, and she was gracious enough to extend it to me.
The apologies from the NAACP, the Obama Administration, and from the man who dismissed her, as well as the offer to return to work, all seem well deserved. But what about the person who created the controversy by releasing a 2.36 minute excerpt of a 43.15 minute video of a speech by Ms. Sherrod as an example of practicing racism at the Department of Agriculture,when in fact the speech was about how she overcame the temptation of what could be called "racism as revenge" long before she ever went to work for the USDA? As of this writing there have been no apologies that I know of from Andrew Breitbart. In fact, comments Breitbart has made in his own defense have been characterized as pathological and almost sociopathic.
Understandably, people are wondering if Ms. Sherrod will file a lawsuit. Law professor and blogger Jonathan Turley has an interesting post up about whether or not she has a case.
What do you think: should she sue Breitbart over the edited video tape or simply move on?