We learned something very important in the matter of Shirley Sherrod. We learned the full magnitude of fear in the Obama White House. Fear of the conservative media infrastructure. Fear of conservative Republican attacks. Fear of the race issue itself. Fear of Drudge. Fear of Breitbart. Fear of Fox. Fear of being attacked even without cause.

Even after the white couple that Sherrod allegedly did not help emerged with full-blown support for Sherrod and gratitude that she saved their farm, the White House still, even then, publicly backed Agriculture Secretary Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE's firing of her.

It is healthy that the apologies finally flowed forth, but it is ominous and profoundly troubling that anyone, in any administration, of either party, would succumb with such fear, in such haste, with such little loyalty to an employee, with such fear-ridden disregard for the facts of the case.

Let’s give a standing ovation to Shep Smith of Fox for refusing to join the stampede and acting like a professional in vowing to learn the facts before pronouncing judgment in the case. And let’s applaud CNN for making the maximum effort to report the facts rather than joining the herd.

The White House should never cower in fear of Drudge, Breitbart, Beck, Fox News or anyone else. This is the real teachable lesson in the case of Shirley Sherrod. Until this lesson is fully learned, it is a worrisome sign about the future of the Obama presidency and an ominous portent for the Democratic Party.