Via everyone on Twitter, Shirley Sherrod, the former (and perhaps current; she hasn’t accepted her new position yet) USDA employee caught up in a bogus scandal over remarks made at an NAACP event, plans to sue the man who selectively edited her words and helped get her fired int he first place, Andrew Breitbart.
Former Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod said Thursday she will pursue a lawsuit against conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.
Breitbart posted an edited video clip of Sherrod appearing to say she discriminated against a white farmer looking for assistance. The clip showed her addressing a chapter of the NAACP.
“I will definitely do it,” she said when asked whether she was considering legal action. Sherrod made her remarks during an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in San Diego, California.
Breitbart “had to know that he was targeting me,” Sherrod said. “At this point, he hasn’t apologized. I don’t want it at this point, and he’ll definitely hear from me.”
Breitbart has not yet responded to this potential lawsuit on his Twitter feed, where he routinely highlights people criticizing him in an “I welcome their hatred” fashion. He declined comment to CNN and other outlets as well.
It’s unclear what the charges of the lawsuit would be – perhaps defamation or libel – but the discovery phase, at least, should be interesting.
Incidentally, President Obama made extended remarks today about Sherrod at a National Urban League event, praising her and calling the controversy a tragic mistake:
In a speech to the Urban League in Washington, Obama accepted some blame for the overreaction on behalf of his administration. But he criticized the initial release of the video of Sherrod’s speech, saying it was “based on selected and deceiving excerpts.”
The president said the story Sherrod told in that speech was “exactly what we need to hear” in America, and he urged the country to have an extended conversation about the biases that everyone holds.
“Rather than jump to conclusions,” he said, “we should all look inward and try to examine what’s in our own hearts.”
One wonders if this reaction will get remembered the next time some conservative noise machine member tries to gin up controversy.