Accuracy in Media

Former DNC Chairman Howard Dean accused Fox News of being “absolutely racist” in how it handled the Shirley Sherrod case but couldn’t back up his claim when confronted by Chris Wallace.

From The Hill

Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean accused Fox News of promoting racism, including in the recent fracas over the Obama administration’s forced resignation of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod.

“Let’s just be blunt about this … I think Fox News did something that was absolutely racist,” Dean charged on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I think we need to stop being afraid of Glenn Beck and the racist fringe of the Republican Party,” Dean said, emphasizing he was not accusing Wallace himself of racism.

Dean said Fox helped promote the charges that Sherrod – who is black – made racist comments about white farmers, which led to her forced resignation Monday.

The fervor was built around a video of Sherrod speaking at an event hosted by the NAACP shown online by conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.

But the video showed her comments without the surrounding context and the accusations of racial discrimination against Sherrod proved unfounded. President Obama subsequently apologized to Sherrod on Thursday and the administration has offered to reinstate her as USDA’s director of rural development in Georgia.

Obama said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack “jumped the gun” in dismissing Sherrod. The NAACP – which initially applauded the move to ouster Sherrod – also apologized. “You’re seeing a calamity of errors here,” Rev. Jesse Jackson said later on Fox News Sunday.

But Dean emphasized that it was Fox News that helped apply the pressure.

“Fox News was not blameless during this,” Dean said. “You played it up.”

But host Chris Wallace shot back, “I know facts are inconvenient things, but let’s deal with the facts.”  They include that Fox News did not play the clip or mention her name before the Obama administration forced Sherrod on Monday to step down, he said.

Dean said the clip was about to run on Glenn Beck’s program on Fox, “which is what the administration was afraid of.”

Wallace gave Dean every opportunity to back up his racism allegations and each time Dean deflected him with either a question or non-answer.

Score this one for Fox News.

Here is the complete segment with Gingrich and Dean.

Maybe Dean got his info from Rachel Maddow

Maddow gets into the Fox coverage around the 4:20 mark.

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