What Next for Sherrod?

Bright prospects for the one-time victim

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It's been quite a week for Shirley Sherrod, who was fired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a years-old video that was edited to falsely imply she had made racially insensitive comments. Although both groups initially played a role in her demise, both the media and many conservative pundits have now come out in support of Sherrod. She now has the sympathy--and attention--of much of the U.S., as she appears on TV and radio to discuss her unjust treatment. Once the story dies down, what will she do next?

  • Obama Administration Falls Over Itself Apologizing  The Washington Post's Karen Tumulty and Ed O'Keefe write of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's profuse apology to Sherrod, and also quote the statement from Robert Gibbs:
"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," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at his daily briefing, which CNN broadcast on a split screen with a live shot of Sherrod watching from its studio.
  • She Won't Pursue Further 'Justice'  The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder says that Sherrod has found "justice" on the national media, "which is already being achieved because she's getting publicity, recognition that she should not have been fired." So, although the incident has clearly raised serious questions, there's no need for her to pursue further personal justice.
  • Lawsuit Against Andrew Breitbart?  Talking Points Memo's Rachel Slajda reports that Sherrod is considering filing a lawsuit against Andrew Breitbart, whose conservative web sites first posted the video and launched the attack. "Asked if she would consider a defamation suit against Breibart, the conservative blogger who posted the edited clip that got her fired, she said, 'I really think I should. ... 'I don't know a lot about the legal profession but that's one person I'd like to get back at, because he came at me. He didn't go after the NAACP; he came at me,' she went on."
  • She Wants Personal Meeting with Obama  The Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe reports that Sherrod "says she wants to hear directly from President Obama that he and his administration are fully committed to fighting discrimination against black farmers. 'I can't say that the president is fully behind me,' Sherrod told ABC's 'Good Morning America' Thursday morning. 'I would hope that he is…I would love to talk to him.'"
  • Will Sherrod Change How White House Answers Right-Wing Attacks?  The San Francisco Chronicle's staff editorial declares: "The Obama administration received a humbling lesson about the importance of checking out the facts before reacting to the hyperventilation on conservative blogs and Fox News. Panic is the only word to describe Sherrod's ouster from her U.S. Department of Agriculture job." Perhaps now, they imply, the White House will know better.
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