Fox's Media Criticism Show Defends Breitbart Against Sherrod

Blog ››› ››› ADAM SHAH

Today, Fox News' media criticism show, Fox News Watch, discussed the defamation lawsuit filed by Shirley Sherrod against Andrew Breitbart. When Fox News Watch first discussed Breitbart's smear of Sherrod in July 2010, it didn't go very well, and this episode was not much of an improvement.

Guest host Eric Shawn began the segment by saying, "Sherry [sic] Sherrard [sic], remember her? She is the former USDA employee who was forced to resign after those edited videos of comments she made in a speech last summer of course uploaded to the website run by Andrew Breitbart. Well Ms. Sherrod is now suing Breitbart for libel, saying the clip did not include the entire speech and made her comments appear racist."

Shawn then read a portion of a statement from Breitbart claiming that the lawsuit is an attempt by "the institutional left" to silence him.

Shawn did not read from Sherrod's complaint or from her statement about the complaint, nor did he describe what Breitbart had actually done: posted a deceptively-edited clip that made it appear that Sherrod discriminated against a white farmer when the actual clip told the story of Sherrod rising above racism. Shawn then turned to conservative commentator Andrea Tantaros who predicted that Sherrod will have a "very tough case" and asserted that Breitbart "never said that [Sherrod] should be fired." Tantaros neglected to mention that Breitbart called for "Eric Holder's DOJ" to "hold accountable Shirley Sherrod for admitting practicing racial discrimination." Nor did Tantaros mention that when word broke that Sherrod had been fired, Breitbart tweeted that he was "stand[ing] in end zone."

Then, when Alan Colmes began to describe what Breitbart had done, Tantaros and fellow Fox News Watch panelist Jim Pinkerton jumped in to speak over him.

Pinkerton asserted that "every news organization, the ones we like and the ones we don't like, edit videotape" as if the tape that Breitbart posted of Sherrod was the product of run-of-the-mill editing rather than a deliberate attempt to smear Sherrod.

This segment is another example backing up former Fox News Watch host Eric Burns' assertion that "[t]he show was getting to be more and more of a struggle to do fairly. There was a progression of interference to try to make the show more right-wing. I fought very hard against it."

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