Andrew Breitbart brushed off an opportunity to apologize to USDA official Wednesday after he posted a selectively edited clip that appeared to show her admitting to using racial preferences.
A video posted on Breitbart's Big Government alleged that Shirley Sherrod withheld help to a white family based on the color of their skin. Based on that video, the NAACP condemned Sherrod and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack called for her resignation.
After obtaining and reviewing the unedited video, the NAACP apologized to Sherrod. Vilsack has said that he will reconsider her resignation.
Breitbart debated the handling of the video with Media Matters's Eric Boehlert on ABC Wednesday. Boehlert called on Breitbart to publicly apologize.
"Andrew had no idea what the context of the comments were but that didn't stop him from launching the smear campaign," said Boehlert. "That's what Andrew and Fox media does. It's contemptible. If he had decency, he would apologize to Shirley Sherrod and would stop with the race-beating that we've seen all summer."
For his part, Breitbart said that the posting of the video wasn't about Sherrod. Breitbart claims he posted the video to highlight the NAACP cheering for racist comments.
"What this video clearly shows is a standard that the Tea Party has not been held to," said Breitbart. "The NAACP, it shows people in the audience there, applauding her when she discriminates against a white farmer. That was the point that I was trying to make."
"What the NAACP is arguing about the Tea Party is that there are people in... there are people in the crowds of Tea Parties and they're rebuking the Tea Party on that behalf. And I'm telling you, that this is a standard. If you want to talk about people clapping racist behavior, that's exactly what you see in the video," Breitbart continued.
"I think he knows Mark Williams," Boehlert countered. "Mark Williams is a national spokesperson for the Tea Party, who was expelled for making racist comments. The NAACP called out the Tea Party for racist elements. There are clearly racist elements. You look at the Tea Party media. Glenn Beck is saying Barack Obama is orchestrating a race war. Rush Limbaugh is saying Obama is keeping unemployment artificially high to exact revenge on white America. There are clearly racist elements. This race-baiting is out of control and Andrew's smear on Shirley Sherrod is latest example," said Boehlert.
"This was never about Shirley Sherrod," Breitbart interrupted.
"So apologize to her," said Boehlert. "Post a correction. Apologize to her."
But Breitbart ignored Boehlert and stuck to his talking points. "This was not about Shirley Sherrod. This was about the smears that have gone against the Tea Party," he said.
Boehlert isn't the only one who has called on Breitbart to apologize. Conservative blogger Jonah Goldberg also thinks Breitbart should say he's sorry.
I think she should get her job back. I think she's owed apologies from pretty much everyone, including my good friend Andrew Breitbart. I generally think Andrew is on the side of the angels and a great champion of the cause. He says he received the video in its edited form and I believe him. But the relevant question is, Would he have done the same thing over again if he had seen the full video from the outset? I'd like to think he wouldn't have. Because to knowingly turn this woman into a racist in order to fight fire with fire with the NAACP is unacceptable. When it seemed that Sherrod was a racist who abused her power, exposing her and the NAACP's hypocrisy was perfectly fair game. But now that we have the benefit of knowing the facts, the equation is completely different.
One SFGate.com blogger thinks that Breitbart may even be in legal trouble. "Andrew Breitbart may be a target for the U.S. Department of Justice' Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section ("CCIPS") which is in the Criminal Division," wrote Zennie62.