July 26th, 2010
08:32 AM ET
4 years ago

Dean says Fox News racist for Sherrod coverage

 Dean says Fox News was racist over the way it handled the Shirley Sherrod story.
Dean says Fox News was racist over the way it handled the Shirley Sherrod story.

(CNN) – Howard Dean is charging that Fox News was not only irresponsible with their coverage of the Shirley Sherrod story, but downright racist.

Appearing on the network's Sunday show, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and onetime presidential candidate said Fox should have more thoroughly investigated the edited footage that appeared to portray Sherrod telling an NAACP crowd that she refused to help a farmer because he was white.

"I don't think you're a racist," Dean said to Fox News host Chris Wallace, "but Fox News did something that was absolutely racist. 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 did not air the footage until the USDA had already forced Sherrod to resign. Howard Kurtz, a media critic for the Washington Post and a CNN contributor, has noted this is largely true except for comments from host Bill O'Reilly, who called for Sherrod's ouster before the USDA official had formally resigned.

On his Monday show, O'Reilly praised conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart for disseminating the video and said the comments were "simply unacceptable." He added.

"Ms. Sherrod must resign immediately." While the show was tapped at 5 p.m. ET – before Sherrod resigned – it did not air until three hours later at which point she had in fact stepped down.

In an interview with CNN last week, Sherrod said she was told to resign because administration officials feared Fox host Glenn Beck would target the comments on his show later that night.

"It wasn't Fox News that cost Shirley Sherrod her job. It was the scary specter of Glenn Beck," Kurtz said.

Watch: The anatomy of a smear

Still, Dean charged Fox "didn't do your job."

"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," the former presidential candidate said.

"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," he added.

In a statement obtained by the website Mediaite, FOX News Senior Vice President of News Michael Clemente took aim at Dean's comments: "As we said this past week, some people such as the failed candidate Dean reflexively blame Fox for almost anything."


Filed under: Howard Dean • Popular Posts • Shirley Sherrod
soundoff (221 Responses)
  1. Jackie

    All I want to say is that all this back and forthing of racism between the Politicians and News Agencies is getting ridiculous and old. You notice the only one's discussing this subject are the Stations for ratings or Policians for votes.

    July 26, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  2. jerseylou

    DEAN ....you can't sugar coat Racism.

    July 26, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  3. Another Reformed Republican

    This is typical Faux News reporting. Fox is not a news station in any sense of the word. Fox has a bunch of news analysts (opinion reporters) like O'Reilly, Hannity, and Beck who spread lies and mistruths. Fox is the television verson of Rush Limbaugh!

    July 26, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Four and The Door

    Is Howard Dean considering his own comments on TV broadcasts as, " ...helping the country knit itslef together."?!? Note that his comments come days after Bill O'Reilly completed his coverage with an on-air apology for not having reviewed the rest of the speech.
    No surprise. Howard Dean doesn't typically bring anything new or useful when he's got a camera on him.

    July 26, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  5. Mike

    Who is this Dean guy anyway? I thought he disappeared after he went insane on the campaign trail a few years ago. He needs to go away for good!

    July 26, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. DanW

    Fox gets called out for its misleading video and boss Clemente responds by calling Dean a 'failed candidate'! In other words, if Clemente can't defend his company's irresponsible actions, he attacks the person calling him out. What does Dean's failed presidential candidacy have to do with Fox's reporting? If being a successful candidate makes one more qualified to speak to Fox's ethics, then Rod Blagojevich would be a good person to interview. Good grief.

    July 26, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  7. SAY WHAT...

    FOX News Racist!!! Really that's like calling an orange well an orange...

    July 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  8. Carol

    There is no place on the airwaves for the likes of FOX. They are everything bad about what is going on in our country.
    Mike Wallace must be SO proud of his son Chris, working and supporting this sorry network.

    July 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  9. JonDie

    Fox News racist? Of course Fox News is racist. This is not "news."

    July 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. TnGal

    Dean is SO right about this!! Fox News is RACIST, 24/7 propaganda machine just to smear anything and everything they can find In Obama Administration!!! for example ACORN , now it's black Panther, it so obvious how they try to find even remotely something negative that they can link Obama to it of if they can't they made up lies so people who are racists are made to believe the garbage they are spewing!!! Glenn Beck is sick paranoid person who just goes on overdrive when his hate is so obvious for black people but he does it subtle way, installing fear to another brainless people who listens to his crap. Fox News should call themselves TeaParty News or Repub News!

    July 26, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Joseph

    Fox news is owned by Rupert Murdoch and run by Roger Ailes. Both of those men are racist. The puppets that were carefully selected by Murdoch and Ailes to speak on Fox News, ( O'Reilly, Hannity, Beck ) were selected because they are uneducated, hate-filled bigots, that would say anything in order to be pulled off of the street and given a job. Fox news never checks for facts before airing a "news" story. Glenn Beck does nothing but spew hatred, lies, and fear.

    July 26, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  12. Asch13

    Look, it was not Fox news that fired the woman.

    July 26, 2010 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  13. DJ in TX

    Dean is a little out there, but I agree with his point. Fox (along with others) only showed the edited conted for inflammatory reasons. I saw the remarks by Fox viewers and they appalled me. O'reilly was wrong, but at least he had the guts to apologize. Then Limbaugh comes down on Shep for at least recongnizing his network had some culpability. Fox is ANYTHNG but "fair and balanced". I would have more respect if they said "the voice of the conservative".

    Not ONE single program gives this administration credit for anything, but quick to blame them for everything. They refuse to acknowledge the previous administration's responsibilities. They try to find every single little thing against the adminstration and not one single thing that is positive. I don't remember this scrutinty with the previous administration. Anyway, the network isn't racist, but like the Tea Party, they tend to look at as if it doesn't exist either.

    July 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. bertina

    This is obvious to anyone who isn't fully in the pay of Fox news and its ilk.

    July 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. PREDICTA

    Sherrod tendered her resignation before Fox News aired it at 8 PM. Although they should have checked the story out in more detail, the same can be said for the administration and USDA for forcing her resignation before getting all the facts.

    July 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. JWS

    Dean subscribes to the WH principle : Ready – Fire – Aim. He simply doesn't let facts get in the way of his agenda. But fact is – fox DIDNT mention the story until after she resigned (fired).

    July 26, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. jamesnyc

    The Republicans don't want national unity, they want to divide and conquer. They want Obama to fail. I wonder why this isn't considered treason to deliberately undermine the elected government?

    July 26, 2010 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. woodie

    Fox News has a political agenda and therefore is not news. I hope people come to realize this.

    July 26, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. toughlove

    Ultra liberals like Dean fear Fox News because of its conservative lean and the fact that the country is still a conservative majority. But the libs should leave Fox News alone and search its own soul...their problem is many of their positions are illogical, immoral and a type of religion void of truth.

    July 26, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. Bob Lindsey

    Perhaps the Obama Whitehouse and the NAACP should have vetted the information better also. It seems to me that CNN has an ax to grind with Fox and has resorted to selective reporting to further its own cause. You might find it interesting that I watch both CNN and Fox. I feel that gives me both extremes of the news reporting spectrum. Shame on CNN, Fox, NAACP and The Obama Whitehouse for using this woman for political gain.

    I watched the interview of Mr. Dean on Fox yesterday. The real story was that Mr. Dean while accussing Fox of not getting the story straight didn't get his facts straight either. Mr. Dean is a wild cannon and often makes himself and the Democrats look like crakpots. He certainly did yesterday.

    July 26, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  21. LIP

    That is strange...I saw it as just the opposite, with FOX holding back and CNN doing all the questioning of what Sherrod had said without questioning anything.
    I would also like to comment on how fast Obama responded with firing her and then apologizing. Kind of reminds me of the Arizona response with not bothering to read the law passed and condemning it right away. Too bad he couldn't have apologized over that one as well. I guess after the government spends a few billion (our tax dollars) chasing that dog and lose, he will have an opportunity, but sure he will pass on it.

    July 26, 2010 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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