After Andrew Breitbart posted a deceptively cropped video and smeared Shirley Sherrod as a racist, Fox & Friends followed suit, airing the video clip and claiming that Sherrod's remarks were "Exhibit A" of "what racism looks like." The full video of Sherrod's remarks has since shown that Breitbart's clip was incredibly unfair, yet Fox & Friends has not acknowledged its mistake or apologized for attacking Sherrod's character on national television.
Fox & Friends repeatedly attacked Sherrod as "racist"
Doocy: Sherrod "sure sounded racist," is "[e]xhibit A" of "what racism looks like." On the July 20 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy said that Sherrod made "a speech to the NAACP that sure sounded racist." Later, after guest-host Alisyn Camerota asserted that Sherrod's remarks were "outrageous, and perhaps everybody needs a refresher course on what racism looks like," Doocy responded that Sherrod's comments are "Exhibit A."
Camerota 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." Camerota added, "I mean, it is really a shocking admission," and went on to criticize the audience for not booing when she made this statement. She repeatedly described Sherrod's comments as "outrageous."
Kilmeade: "She was, like, bragging that she withheld ... all that she could do" to help the white farmer. Co-host Brian Kilmeade accused Sherrod of "bragging that she withheld ... all that she could do" to help the white farmer.
Ingraham on Fox & Friends attacked Sherrod as having a "racist sentiment." Later during the July 20 broadcast, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham said of the video: "This emerges and pretty much confirming what many of us thought about people who've burrowed their way in the Obama administration with radical outlooks, a radical agenda, and in this case, a racist sentiment expressed clearly by her." Ingraham added: "[T]he question is how many more people like Ms. Sherrod exist in the Obama administration who aren't so stupid, as she was, to actually explicitly state her views on this question of race. It's really -- it's really shocking. And Andrew Breitbart, by the way, did a great piece on this whole thing, fantastic."
Ingraham, O'Reilly apologized for attacking Sherrod
O'Reilly: "I owe Ms. Sherrod an apology for not doing my homework." On the July 21 broadcast of The O'Reilly Factor, Bill O'Reilly apologized to Sherrod "for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context." Following a report on FoxNews.com, O'Reilly was the first person on Fox News' television programs to report on the misleading Sherrod videos. He called for her to "resign immediately."
Ingraham: "We shouldn't have even played it." On the July 21 broadcast of her radio show, Ingraham apologized for running with the Sherrod video, saying: "I should say that I came out there and slammed her really hard yesterday, and that we really shouldn't have gone with this, despite the fact that every major news organization went with it. We shouldn't have even played it."
By contrast, Fox & Friends has repeatedly whitewashed Fox News' role in hyping the tapes
Fox & Friends has not admitted error or apologized. On July 21, the day after Breitbart's narrative completely unraveled, Fox & Friends noted that the full speech shows that Sherrod had helped, not harmed, the "white farmer," and asked if USDA and the NAACP "rush[ed] to judgment." Kilmeade said the Obama administration "may have acted without knowing the whole story," and Fox & Friends repeatedly aired Breitbart's false claim that Sherrod's audience was "applauding as she described how she maltreated the white farmer."
On the July 22 broadcast, Doocy said that USDA should have "asked a couple of questions" before firing Sherrod, and co-host Juliet Huddy said the Obama administration "may have become a little sensitive when dealing with racial issues, perhaps." At no point on July 21 or July 22 did Fox & Friends admit to making an error by running with the deceptive video or apologize for smearing Sherrod.
Doocy falsely claimed that Fox News didn't report on Sherrod until after she resigned. On the July 21 edition of Fox & Friends, Doocy falsely claimed, "Fox News did not do the story until after she had already resigned," and guest co-host Dana Perino claimed that USDA had already asked her to resign "before this story was reported." On the July 22 broadcast, Doocy also claimed that "Fox News Channel did not touch this story until she had actually quit."
In fact, FoxNews.com reported on videos prior to her resignation. A July 19 FoxNews.com article reported on the video, noting that it was "first posted by BigGovernment.com," and reported that:
FoxNews.com is seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA. The clip adds to the firestorm of debate over the NAACP's decision to approve a resolution at its convention last week accusing some Tea Party activists of racism -- a charge Tea Party leaders deny.
A July 20 FoxNews.com article stated: "The Agriculture Department announced Monday, shortly after FoxNews.com published its initial report on the video, that Sherrod had resigned." A July 21 FoxNews.com article similarly reported: "FoxNews.com was among several media organizations that carried the story of the initial video released Monday. It remains unclear who edited and released the shorter video."