Thanks, Howard Kurtz:
But for all the chatter — some of it from Sherrod herself — that she was done in by Fox News, the network didn’t touch the story until her forced resignation was made public Monday evening, with the exception of brief comments by O’Reilly. After a news meeting Monday afternoon, an e-mail directive was sent to the news staff in which Fox Senior Vice President Michael Clemente said: “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.”
Sherrod may be the only official ever dismissed because of the fear that Fox host Glenn Beck might go after her. As Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tried to pressure her into resigning, Sherrod says Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook called her Monday to say “do it, because you’re going to be on ‘Glenn Beck’ tonight.” And for all the focus on Fox, much of the mainstream media ran with a fragmentary story that painted an obscure 62-year-old Georgian as an unrepentant racist.
On Monday night, O’Reilly played the clip posted by conservative activist Andrew Breitbart on his site BigGovernment.com. He led his Wednesday program by criticizing some of Sherrod’s language but acknowledging his own mistake: “I owe Ms. Sherrod an apology for not doing my homework . . . and for not putting her remarks into proper context.” While the excerpt showed Sherrod, an African American, telling the NAACP in a speech that she had discriminated against a white farmer as a nonprofit aid officer 24 years ago, the full speech made clear she was saying she had overcome that race-based bias and learned an important lesson.
In his Monday comments, O’Reilly credited Breitbart with posting the excerpt and concluded that her remarks were “simply unacceptable. And Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately.” O’Reilly taped the show at 5 p.m., and by the time it aired about 8:50, USDA had announced Sherrod’s resignation (as Fox noted on the screen). Fox executives say O’Reilly’s staff, which is not part of the news division, sought comment from USDA throughout the day.
But I’m sure the far left, led by the dishonest whiners at Media Matters, will continue to push the “it’s Fox’s fault!” meme, because – as we all know – they never allow facts to get away in the middle of a good old fashioned rant/race-baiting. So much easier and effective (for them) than dealing with the real issue here, and that is the racism that is rampant at the NAACP, an organization which Andrew Breitbart accurately described as being in no position to lecture the Tea Party on alleged “racism” within its ranks.
Saul Alinksy would be awfully proud of how certain folks on the left – including their allies in the MSM – have attempted to make this about “conservative media outlets” and “anonymous bloggers” rather than the NAACP’s racism, wouldn’t he?
PM Update – 8:41 PM: Mediaite has a great rundown not only of how Fox handled the Sherrod story, but how the rest of the MSM did as well. Good stuff.