Glenn Beck devoted the first twenty minutes of this evening's Fox News program to attacking the administration for their response to the release yesterday of heavily edited clips a speech then-USDA official Shirley Sherrod gave. Beck savaged them for not waiting to see the full context of her comments before attacking her, saying that it appeared that she was discussing a “turning point,” and said that she shouldn't have been fired. A representative clip:
Beck is absolutely right that the administration was hasty in forcing her resignation. They were unwilling to listen to Sherrod's side of the story, and as we've detailed throughout the day, it seems that the clips of Sherrod were ripped from context in order to paint her as a racist.
But Beck -- while claiming that “Context matters” -- somehow manages to erase Andrew Breitbart and Fox News from the creation of that image.
All Beck says about Breitbart is that he's “trying to get the full video.” In fact, it was Breitbart, without having that full video (the “context” that “matters” ) who originally posted the clip, claiming that it was “video evidence of racism” by Sherrod, and illustrating his post with an actual “race” card. Breitbart called her a racist without knowing the context of her statements, and has subsequently said that the context doesn't matter, that what he saw in the clip is sufficient to support his claims. Beck doesn't mention that -- in fact, he actively suggests the opposite is true, that Breitbart is engaging in responsible journalism.
Beck does not mention Fox's own horrendous coverage, which certainly did not wait for “context” before declaring Sherrod a racist. FoxNews.com's first report on Sherrod -- the first mainstream report on her speech -- gave no indication that her comment might have been taken out of context. It reported that Fox was “seeking a response from both the NAACP and the USDA,” but not that they had attempted to find the full version of the tape or contact Sherrod herself. In the network's first coverage of the comments, Bill O'Reilly said they were “simply unacceptable” and called on Sherrod to “resign immediately.” Newt Gingrich said that her comments indicated a “viciously racist attitude,” Sean Hannity called them “racially charged,” and the Fox and Friends co-hosts agreed they were “Exhibit A” of “what racism looks like.”
And yet, in his analysis, Beck slams the administration for judging Sherrod before all the facts were in while completely disappearing Breitbart and Fox.