July 26th, 2010
08:32 AM ET
8 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. Robin in SC

    REAL journalists admit when they've screwed up...the faux reporting of Fox News continues unabashedly and based on the VP's statements, they really don't care as long as they accomplish their goal of stoking the coals, which they did. Thanks for calling them out face-to-face, Howard!

    July 26, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  2. Realistic

    Why do people pay attention to fox? They do not report the news but their political agenda, its really that simple.

    July 26, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Chase

    Fox News is racist? In other news, the sky again be blue today, and expect Christmas to arrive on December 25th this year...

    July 26, 2010 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. Mollie

    I'm not racist. I think Sherrod is racist though. I've read all the coverage on CNN and she clearly has racial issues. I also think the anyone who tries to make racism out of nothing is sick and is trying to undermine how far we have come in this country. It saddens me. The democrats disappoint me. They NEED racism to keep their party alive. It's sick.

    July 26, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Atlanta

    So typical of the left. Anything conservative is raciest. Playing the race card and class warfare is all the left has. America is too smart to continue to buy this!

    July 26, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  6. nd

    As an independent voter, not belonging to either party, I am getting tired of the Democrats calling everyone a racist. They play the politics of fear just like the Republicans do with terrorism.

    Question: Can anyone in the Democratic Party be a racist?

    July 26, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  7. Scott

    More proof that anything said against Obama or a democrat is racism. When you have no arguement play the race card.....all that is going to CHANGE in November.

    July 26, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  8. Bobby in Atlanta

    And water is wet. Tell us something we don't know about Fox. You can't even call what Fox does "news", it's really just right winged propoganda, plain and simple.

    And let's also be honest, Fox and right wing main playbook is to stir up racial fear in the country. Look at the last two or three months of the 2008 presidential campaigns and what was said and not said on the campaign trail by the McCain/Palin camp, this whole birther movement, the anti-Acorn campaign hyped up by Fox (yet how much of a retraction did they do once Acorn was absolved of any wrongdoing?), how they treated Van Jones, Glen Beck stating that the President hates white people, Sotomayor, the whole New Black Panther story, and last week with Sherrod. Their whole campaign is to make white Americans fear having a black President. Let's just call this what it is.

    July 26, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Rob

    Is he really telling us something we didn't already know? My local Fox news affiliate does whatever it can to video tape the most ghetto and illiterate person of race it can find during one of its stories. I wouldn't be surprised if it's done on purpose considering how the same story can be shown on another channel without the person with poor grammar, poor hygiene, and glazed look giving an account of what happened.

    July 26, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  10. Allison

    Since when has Fox News been anything but the anti-Democrat news network? They don't care about real news or the truth, just doing anything they can to make the Democrats and Obama look bad. How many times have they "stretched" the truth in order to keep the uneducated angry and on their team?

    July 26, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  11. Living in America

    The Shirley Sherrod tapegate reminds me of the Rev. Wright tapegate all over again. They showed a sound bite for 5 seconds and get people all riled up when he was just repeating what someone else had said when they finally played the whole version. Why hasn't anyone made the comparision.

    July 26, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Kayray

    Fox news racist? I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!!

    July 26, 2010 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  13. rob

    The last refuge of Liberals, call everyone at Fox racists. Not only did the whole Media world run with this story but the NAACP ran with it and the White House forced her to resign before finding the whole truth. Fox NEWS did not run the tape early, so DEAN IS A LIAR. Even with all this evidence, you at CNN printed the rest of his STUPID RANT and headlined with his bogus claim that you DEBUNKED in the article.

    This is why CNN has very low ratings, they slant their news reporting toward their liberal feelings and it shows.

    July 26, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  14. urbantexan

    DUH !!! I completely agree !! The scary black man scenario and they constantly beat it in the ground because we have the first black president so lets get that you know what out or should I say "take our country back".
    Trying to imply that Obama is associated with this person or organization or should I say "pal around" with this type of person.
    I am black and I don't know every darn black person in the world nor do they drive my way of thinking. They have become the Propaganda Network in my book conquer and DIVIDE !!!!

    July 26, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Glynn

    Dean is a certified lunatic. No charge or statement that he makes should be taken seriously by any rational, thinking, individual.

    July 26, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  16. Aj

    In the same interview, Dean also compared Glenn Beck to Iran. Does he really have any credibility?

    July 26, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  17. SmittyATL

    We can rarely have honest discussions about race in this country, because everyone is so quick to blame others of racism, and so defensive about being called racist.

    Some on the left recklessly labeled the entire Tea Party movement "racist" because of the actions of a few troublemakers. As a result, some on the right were looking to "prove" that liberals are even more racist than conservatives. This was the perfect environment for Breitbart to exploit with his selective video clips. Fox News bit, and so did the Obama White House and the NAACP.

    There still is racism in America - on the left and on the right, among minorities and WASPs. Over the past few decades, race relations have improved markedly. Let's hope all the mudslinging and defensiveness don't undermine our progress.

    July 26, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  18. S Callahan

    Beg to differ
    Interstingly I did not learn of the story about the woman until I went to CNN whom actually had, I believe, posted it online before Fox. So why does Fox get all the blame.

    There is a story about a man trying to get the speck out of someone else's eye before he gets the speck out of his own....

    I thank God that there are some in the media who still retain the right to have differ of opinions....they are the brave ones.

    July 26, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  19. alicia

    That's a load of CRAP and Dean knows it, that is just an excuse to deflect the blame from the White House!

    The White House jumped the gun, they want SO much to get ahead of the media curve, they sacrificed Ms. Sherrod without investigating the facts, they fell pray to the very media they worship! This White House always presents itself as media savvy, well, what happened here? They did not do their homework, all they needed to do was watch them video!
    Please don't make excuses and try to pass the blame!!

    July 26, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  20. Lili, FL

    Both the NAACP & White House push to get her fired, how is it Fox News fault?? Are you saying the NAACP & WH make their decision based on Fox News???

    July 26, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  21. GL

    Fox News is racist and is the arm of the Republicans party.

    July 26, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  22. Monrob

    Dean is right.

    July 26, 2010 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  23. Don

    Who cares what Howard Dean has to say? This guy is as clueless as Biden!

    July 26, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. demmie

    really? So, if this is the case, then The WH, NAACP, and all other networkls are ALSO racist for failing to fully vet the video?

    July 26, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Cosmo

    Fox is guilty of extreme sensationalism in almost everything it does, as well as a conservative bias that distorts what is being covered. But what would you expect from an organization owned by Rupert "There Is No Depth to Which I will Not Lower Myself for a Dollar" Murdoch.

    July 26, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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