Fox News admits 'a breakdown' on Shirley Sherrod story

Discussion in 'Politics' started by hermit, Jul 30, 2010.

  1. Fox News, always a lightning rod of liberal criticism, came under particularly strong attack from former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean on Sunday, when he accused the network of committing an "absolutely racist" act by playing a now- famously misleading video from Shirley Sherrod without checking it.

    In response, Fox's Chris Wallace insisted that "the video never played on the Fox News Channel before the White House fired her." His point was that Fox did not treat the video as a legitimate story until the Obama administration's action made it one.

    Following the exchange, Fox News Senior Vice President of News Michael Clemente said that "some people, such as the failed candidate Dean, reflexively blame Fox for almost anything."

    As far as Fox's television broadcast is concerned, Wallace was correct: The first mention of the Sherrod video, which surfaced on Monday, July19th on Andrew Breitbart's, was made later that day on Bill O'Reilly's 8 p.m. show. O'Reilly later apologized for how he characterized Sherrod.

    But did run a story about the existence of the video, titled "Video Shows USDA Official Saying She Didn't Give 'Full Force' of Help to White Farmer" at 5:58 p.m. on Monday, an hour before the Agriculture Department announced Sherrod’s resignation. And Wednesday, Clemente told POLITICO that was a mistake.

    "There was a breakdown in the system, and it is being addressed," he said. "But it must say something about the power of Fox, that a week after she resigned, we're still talking about this."

    The breakdown occurred following Fox's afternoon news meeting that day, when Clemente, according to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz offered the following advice: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."

    Clemente said he gave the advice in the meeting, not in a memo to staff, and his guidance clearly did not make it down to the reporter and producers who put the story on

    Since the story was first posted, it has been updated to reflect Sherrod's resignation, but its original version was republished by another website, and posted in a timeline created by Media Matters, the liberal media monitor.

    That version begins: "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."
  2. I don't see why they are conceding anything. The Breitbart video showed this black racist telling an audience publicly that she viewed people she was supposed to be helping in starkly racist terms. Any white government official who went before say, a Tea Party rally, and said the same thing would be fired. The fact that he later said "but I helped them anyway" and "my father was killed by blacks" would excuse nothing.

    The point of the Breitbart clip was that the NAACP audience roared in appreciation at her racism. The same group that tried pathetically to slander the Tea Party as racist thought it hilarious that a black offical would treat desperate whites unfairly soley due to their race.

    Fox made a mistake here, but it was in backtracking even slightly from Chris Wallace's defense of their handling of the story. The mainstream media doesn't even respond to complaints when they routinely make factual errors with conservatives.

    We need only look to their handling of the false allegations by Rep. John Lewis and other black congressmen that they were variously spat upon or called the "N" word at a Tea Party rally. The same Breitbart offered a $100k reward for any confirmation, and no one claimed the reward, depsite the presence of hundreds of cameras, cell phones etc at the rally. Despite this, the media continue to repeat Lewis's lies and fail even to mention the inability of anyone tostep forward and claim the Breitbart award.