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. Joe Six

    I think it is Howard Dean who is the racist in this story. By Dean's own standard, the White House is racist and should have done its homework. "They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. " And the NAACP was racist by Dean's standard. "They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. " Maybe Dean should go back to screaming.

    July 26, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. C. Heston

    Wow! Such classic CNN garbage. So, the fact that Fox News did not air the video at all until well AFTER she resigned is "largely true". ROFLMAO! Mostly true, kinda true, true for the most part... No pun intended, but this is a black and white issue. They either did or they didn't. So, there you have it folks, another prime example of why Fox News is desparately needed in these crazy, upside down times in the Obama Era. Remember in November!

    July 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  3. M2M

    Howard Dean, he's a joke.

    July 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. dem in wi

    Fox News, Tea Partiers, Republicans=the downfall of america

    July 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  5. Kevin

    Fox News is racist? Whaaaa?

    July 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. B.H.

    I think Dean is on the mark.

    July 26, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. dave_in_altmar

    Wait – that Faux News is racist is news?

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  8. Roger

    Fox did not even report the incident until Ms. Sherrod was forced to resign. If reporting an event after it occurs is racist, then Dean has his priorities all fouled up as usual. One would think that the Administration had done its investigation prior to taking any action. The Administration admitted its error and Dean should have left it at that but instead he decided to inflamed the issue even more so. The NAACP could have easily released the entire tape and thus prevented this unfortunate incident but for some reason withheld it and instead pointed the finger at others. Furthermore, to characterize the New Black Panthers intimidation at the polls, as "phony ....crap" is the height of hypocracy and Dean should apologise to all Americans. The foundation of any democracy is the freedom to vote, without intimidation, and if Dean believes we American will fall for his blantant peice of propaganda he is badly misguided.

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  9. Annie

    Oh, Fox News... when will you stop hanging out in the high school yard... comments such as your vice-president's reflect poorly on your show, "As we said this past week, some people such as the failed candidate Dean reflexively blame Fox for almost anything."
    Why did you have to emphasize that Howard Dean ran for president and didn't win? Because it makes you feel better.
    Please stop calling yourself a news program as it is neither neutral nor true in many cases. It is mainly used to promote your Republican agenda.

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. ToldUSo

    Can't beat them in the ratings call them a racists! Isn't that what the MSM got together and did to protect Obama during the elections? Don't like his policies, well u must be a racists.

    Wow! Keep crying racism. It is doing so much good to unite this country & race relations. Nothing like a ticked off electorate come November! Thanks Obama-for making us oh-so "post racial".

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. lforlegend

    Faux Nues should be absolutely ashamed. They should remember that they are not too big to fail. The network and "bosses" know there's a gigantic racist element to their "nues coverage."

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Dave

    Since CNN here is reporting on the competition ,, completeness and honesty is required and note that O'reilly APOLOGIZED the next day (and the guy usually do not apologize!).

    Leftists (like Dean) maligning fox news is no news and this makes Fox News stronger and stronger (for honesty I hope CNN will show this comment). Most stories about Fox News being bad are urban legends like this one.

    July 26, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  13. felicia

    He ain't never lied...but i've always had my doubts about howard dean as well. Now he's endorsing the grinch he's confirmed my doubts i hope president Obama don't trust him

    July 26, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  14. andy c

    I am glad to hear some truth about fox news. They create stories that are not true and incite the right and create fear that "black people are coming to get them". This has been going on from day 1 since President Obama was elected. Divide the nation along racial lines- Make whites fear blacks, hispanics and all other non- whites. The Beck ,Limabaugh wanting Obama and America to fail so republican regain power. Rand Paul and the Tea party wanting to do away with the civil rights act so business can refuse service to blacks or other ethnicity's. Wake up America and let's move forward ! Stop believing this fake racial crap on fox.

    July 26, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. chasm

    So Fox News has to write " . . . the failed candidate Dean reflexively . . . " Thus Fox continues it's "skewer" brand of commentary, like whether or not Howard Dean has run for elected office successfully somehow matters in evaluating his comment. Pathetic.

    July 26, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. M-AZ

    American's really need to get along! This "CRAP" will eventually lead to our ultimate down fall.

    July 26, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Herman

    Well dip me in cheese and roll me in nuts. . . I never would have imagined it in my wildest dreams.

    July 26, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  18. Elizabeth

    Fox News did not force Sherrod to resign. The USDA did. I listen to Fox news, but I heard the story from CNN first and as I recall she was forced to resign because the USDA was afraid Glenn Beck had a copy of the tape and would air it on his show. It was the possibility that the information would be made public that caused them to react the way they did. Rather than acting out of fear of possibilities the USDA should have reviewed her speech before forcing a resignation.

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  19. MMAJim

    What a lame attempt by CNN.com to smear Fox News. Dean accuses Fox News of racism.. you use that as a headline. Then in the body you basically acknowledge that its a completely erroneous accusation. Nice work, Bill O'Reilly mentioned it on a taped but not-yet-aired broadcast that didn't air until after she already was forced to resign, that really validates Dean's accusation. CNN.com is getting much worse at this.

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  20. Joe

    Fox News is hate and fear mongering news agency. They twist the facts like bad campaign commercial.

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  21. Diana

    Is he just figuring this out now?

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  22. Marc

    He may be a failed candidate but he is right. Breitbart was the hitman that delivered Ms. Sherrod up on a silver platter and Fox ran with it. This was an engineered story designed to make the NAACP and minorities in general look racist. Wallace's claim that they didn't air the story until the USDA demanded her resignation is disingenous. The avalanche of criticism was teed up and ready to come crashing down had action not been taken within 24 hours. The only thing that stopped it was Mr. Spooner (the farmer involved) stepping forward.

    Fox knows, as does everyone else, that Breitbart has skewed the facts on more than one occasion and should look carefully at anything he supplies. He is not a jornalist, he is a propagandist, plain and simple. Instead, he has carte blanche with them. Ms. Sherrod should sue the pants off of Breitbart and Fox. Maybe that will teach them something.

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  23. John B

    The comments of the Senior Vice President show how this network lies and throws smokescreens at everything. Instead of apologizing for not fully investigating a story, he states that people will bame his network for everything while taking a swipe at the person who dared bring out the truth about the network.

    Wake Up America- we are being divided by a bunch of liars. Get to the truth of the matter. The media on both sides often exaggerates everything to make things more dramatically worse then they are. Shut these people off!!!!

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  24. Doug

    Sherrod needs file a civil suit against O'Rielly. He defamed her on air based on information his group should have known was false. He lies over and over, and Sherrod needs to go after him.

    July 26, 2010 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Kenneth

    I guess Fox "news" would like us to believe that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ... its a cow!

    July 26, 2010 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
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