Fox News apologists still trying to spin the Sherrod fiasco

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

You know the conservative drill: Fox News didn't touch the bogus story until after Shirley Sherrod resigned.

Except, of course, that's not true.

Fact: Fox News did touch and did push the phony Sherrod smear campaign before she was forced to resign, and it's probably time the channel's online apologists came to grips with the truth. I mean, host Bill O'Reilly has already apologized for the way he unfairly dealt with the Sherrod, so why people feel like they have to run around and clean up Fox News' mess is a little confusing.

Nonetheless, we get people online like full-time FNC apologist Johnny Dollar, who claims all sorts of news outlets and liberal commentators and media critics (including me!) unfairly maligned Fox News. But apparently Johnny Dollar can't read too good. (Not to mention write.)

Behold as Johnny Dollar highlights a comment I made during an MSNBC interview last week, and holds it up as proof of me getting the story wrong [emphasis added]:

Look, the first mistake they made, or the Department of Agriculture, or whoever was making the calls, they believed something that Andrew Breitbart put on his Web site. That's mistake one. And then they believed a smear campaign, a character assassination attack that Fox News was peddling.

Not true, Johnny Dollar whines, because nobody at Fox News touched the story until Sherrod resigned, so Fox News wasn't peddling the smear campaign, as I suggested to MSNBC.

Please note the language I used. I referred to "a character assassination attack that Fox News was peddling." But Johnny Dollar says no way because nobody at "Fox News" touched the story until after Sherrod's resignation a week ago Monday.

Question: Has Johnny Dollar ever head of the Internet? Because if he had, he'd know that there's this whole division within "Fox News" (i.e. FoxNews.com) that publishes news and commentary online. And if he had heard of the Internet, he'd know that "Fox News" peddled the bogus Sherrod story before she resigned.

From Media Matters last week:

As our timeline of the Sherrod smear shows, on Monday afternoon, prior to her resignation, FoxNews.com reported on the story without the comment from Sherrod that Clemente indicated was crucial. In fact, while the story indicates that "FoxNews.com is seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA," it gives no indication that they tried to contact Sherrod herself. In a follow-up report published some time before 5 p.m., FoxNews.com reported that USDA had announced Sherrod's resignation" shortly after FoxNews.com published its initial report on the video."

Why am I not surprised that Fox News' apologists are just as clueless as the folks at Fox News?

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