Howard Dean to Fox News: Your Coverage of Shirley Sherrod ‘Absolutely Racist’ (Video)
July 25, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The subject of race and the Shirley Sherrod story dominated the Sunday talk shows this morning, as pundits and media outlets attempted to conduct a postmortem on the fiasco. Conservatives have been quick to place the entire blame on the Obama administration and the NAACP, conveniently forgetting the role of the BigGoverment right-wing smear merchant Andrew Brietbart. And Fox News has been quickly whitewashing its early role in promoting Brietbart’s fraudulent edited video of Sherrod, labeling her a racist. Against this backdrop, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Fox News’ Chris Wallace mixed it up this morning, as Newt Gingrich just finished blaming President Obama, for his attack on Shirley Sherrod as “viciously racist.” Said Dean to Wallace, “Fox News did something that was absolutely racist.” And the fireworks erupted from there, when Wallace falsely claimed that Fox News never mentioned Sherrod’s name before she was fired. This ugly episode has been quite the teachable moment, hasn’t it?
During his appearance on Fox News Sunday, after just listening to Gingrich say Obama made him do it, Dean got right to it:
DEAN: “Fox News did something that was absolutely racist,” Dean said. “They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and this Sotomayor and all this other stuff.”
Wallace responded that Fox News’ hands were clean:
WALLACE: “I know facts are inconvenient things but let’s try to deal with the facts.” Which are that the Obama administration preemptively and unfairly fired Shirley Sherrod and that Sherrod’s name was never mentioned on Fox before the USDA fired her. “Did you know that, sir?”
Dean pushed back, pointing out that Fox News aired Brietbart’s edited clip without bothering to determine its validity:
“The Tea Party called out their racist fringe and I think the Republican Party’s got to stop appealing to its racist fringe. And Fox News is what did that. You put that on. Continuing to cater to this theme of minority racism and stressing comments like this — some of which are taken out of context — does not help the country knit itself together.”
Yes, Mr. Wallace facts are indeed inconvenient. Let’s take a look at Fox News’ coverage of the Shirley Sherrod story.
“On July 19, FoxNews.com reported: “Days after the NAACP clashed with Tea Party members over allegations of racism, a video has surfaced showing an Agriculture Department official regaling an NAACP audience with a story about how she withheld help to a white farmer facing bankruptcy.” The article further reported that “[t]he video clip was first posted by BigGovernment.com” and that “FoxNews.com is seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA.” The article is no longer available on FoxNews.com but was republished on another website”
After percolating all day on FoxNews.com and FoxNation.com, Bill O’Reilly showed Brietbart’s edited clip that evening and demanded that Sherrod resign.
“On his Fox News program, Bill O’Reilly stated that “Sherrod was caught on tape saying something very disturbing. Seems a white farmer in Georgia had requested government assistance from Ms. Sherrod.” After airing Breitbart’s video, O’Reilly stated: “That is simply unacceptable. He also said Sherrod “must resign immediately.”
“In the next hour, Sean Hannity led off with the Sherrod story, which he called “Just the latest in a series of racial incidents.” Fox contributor Newt Gingrich then said that she had displayed a “viciously racist attitude.”
“Later that evening, subbing for Greta Van Susteren on On the Record, Dana Perino said Sherrod had been “caught on tape making racially charged comments to an NAACP audience,” and said the video “adds fuel to a growing controversy after the NAACP approved a resolution condemning the tea party movement for not denouncing racist members.”
The next morning, Brietbart’s video was played on Fox & Friends, as the hosts portrayed Sherrod as a racist:
“On Fox News’ Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy said Sherrod had been caught “making a speech to the NAACP that sure sounded racist.” Co-host Alisyn Camerota then accused Sherrod of “touting this in this anecdote as though this is, you know, a feather in her cap, somehow, for her to be congratulated.” Then Camerota and Doocy agreed that the comments were “Exhibit A” as far as “what racism looks like.” On-screen text during the segment read, “Racism caught on camera” and “USDA official admits racism on tape; Forced to resign after dicey video leaks.”‘
“On Fox & Friends, Laura Ingraham praised Breitbart’s video and his coverage of the story, stating “Andrew Breitbart, by the way, did a great piece on this whole thing. Fantastic.” Ingraham went on to ask “where was the media on this” and claimed that it took “Breitbart to come forward with this story.”‘