Who knows what lies ahead for Shirley Sherrod -- a book, the lecture circuit, a wrongful discharge lawsuit that could bring millions? But if she keeps talking, the woman "wrongfully portrayed" as a racist may out herself as exactly that.
Andrew Breitbart, a "right-wing" critic of the traditional liberal media, operates websites designed to expose the liberal bias of politicians, Hollywood types and the news media. He rejects the tax-and-spend, grow-the-government, race-based/identity policies of the left -- and believes these policies are aided and abetted by the left-wing media.
This makes him a marked man -- with no margin for error.
Angered by the NAACP's resolution condemning alleged "racist elements" in the Tea Party movement, Breitbart posted an excerpt of a speech that Sherrod, then a black employee of the Department of Agriculture, gave at a March NAACP function. In the excerpt, Sherrod appeared to boast about refusing, on racial grounds, to give full assistance to a white farmer seeking her help to save his farm from foreclosure.
This made the NAACP, in Breitbart's opinion, guilty of hypocrisy. The NAACP condemns racism within the Tea Party. But when a government official acknowledges anti-white racism at an NAACP-sponsored speech, the organization, by its silence, tacitly approves of her objectionable behavior.
Conservative commentators and websites quickly picked up on and reacted to the video. In short order, Sherrod, under pressure, "resigned" from her job.
But the excerpt -- sent by an unnamed source -- was taken out of context. And Breitbart apparently never asked for and never saw the entire speech before posting the excerpt. In fact, in the nearly 45-minute NAACP speech, Sherrod said she overcame her reluctance to assist the white farmer and worked aggressively to help him save his farm. Thus, Sherrod actually shared her story of personal redemption, that life's struggle is not that of black vs. white but, in her opinion, about overcoming economic disadvantage.
Embarrassed, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack apologized to Sherrod for pressuring her into resigning and urged her to return with a promotion. Sherrod even spoke to President Barack Obama, who expressed regret over her mistreatment.