Anderson Cooper apologized on-air yesterday for not challenging Shirley Sherrod when she appeared on his show and called Andrew Breitbart a racist. Cooper said he erred by allowing Sherrod to deliver the remarks unchecked, and said that he’d handle the situation differently if he had the opportunity again:

Here’s the transcript in relevant part:

ANDERSON COOPER:

I interviewed Shirley Sherrod last Thursday and in the course of that interview I failed to something that I should’ve — I believe in admitting my mistakes. I looked at the interview again today, and Ms. Sherrod said during that interview that she thought Andrew Breitbart was a racist. She said, “I think he [BREITBART] would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery.” She went on to say that she thought his opposition to Obama was based on racism.

Now, she of course, is free to believe whatever she wants, but I didn’t challenge her that night and I should have. I don’t want anyone on my show to get away with saying things which cannot be supported by facts. I should’ve challenged her on what facts she believes support that accusation. That’s my job and I didn’t do it very well in that interview and I’m sorry about it. If I get the chance to talk to her again, I will.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfqzH…

He goes on in the video to discuss allegations that her original job offer at the USDA was connected to a nearly contemporaneous settlement she received in a lawsuit against the USDA for $150,000 and new video footage that may or may not show racism on the part of Shirley’s husband, Charles Sherrod.

A rare display of journalistic integrity, or yet more cowardice in the MSM?

To recap:

Charles Sherrod called the USDA racist.

The Obama Administration paid Charles and Shirley Sherrod $150,000 each to compensate for the USDA’s racism.

Glenn Beck called Obama a racist.

The NAACP called the Tea Party racist.

Andrew Breitbart called the NAACP and Shirley Sherrod racist.

The NAACP condemned Shirley Sherrod’s racism.

The Obama Administration asked for Shirley Sherrod’s resignation because of her racism.

Bill O’Reilly called Shirley Sherrod racist.

The MSM called Shirley Sherrod a racist.

The MSM discovered that Shirley Sherrod is no longer a racist.

The NAACP apologized for calling Shirley Sherrod a racist.

The White House apologized to Shirley Sherrod and offered her a new job fighting USDA racism.

The MSM apologized for calling Shirley Sherrod a racist.

Bill O’Reilly apologized for calling Shirley Sherrod a racist.

Shirley Sherrod called Andrew Breitbart a racist.

Anderson Cooper apologized to his viewers for failing to question Shirley Sherrod for calling Andrew Breitbart a racist.

Anderson Cooper said that Charles Sherrod might be a racist.