Fox & Friends guest co-host Juliet Huddy dredged up the debunked claim that NAACP national president Ben Jealous was in the audience during former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod's now-infamous March speech. In fact, Media Matters for America confirmed that Jealous was not in attendance.
Fox falsely claims NAACP president Jealous was at Sherrod's speech
Huddy: “Now isn't it true, though, that the president of the NAACP was in that audience?” On the July 22 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, Huddy said, “Now isn't it true, though, that the president of the NAACP was in that audience? Have we determined that?” Co-host Steve Doocy replied: “I read that. At one point on the tape she does refer to the president who was in attendance. ... [S]o there is some question of whether or not Ben Jealous is actually there. So that would be extraordinary.” From Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: Extraordinarily, she wound up getting blasted by the NAACP that actually made that tape.
HUDDY: Now isn't it true, though, that the president of the NAACP was in that audience? Have we determined that?
DOOCY: You know, I read that. At one point in the tape she does refer to the president who was in attendance.
HUDDY: Well, I don't think it was President Obama sitting there.
DOOCY: No, so there is some question of whether or not Ben Jealous is actually there. So that would be extraordinary.
Huddy: “The NAACP president was supposedly there.” Later in the broadcast, Huddy falsely claimed that “the NAACP president” was there, “according to” Sherrod. Fox & Friends then went on to show a picture of Jealous:
DOOCY: And it's so extraordinary that she would get fired by the USDA for that little snippet, when they should have looked at everything, you know, ask a couple of questions. She worked there for a long time. Go ahead, ask some questions. Get the totality of it. And the NAACP, you know, they denounced her because of the comments. It was an NAACP event, so they should've known what she said.
HUDDY: And the NAACP president was supposedly there, according to her. She made a comment about the president being there, and it wasn't President Obama, so this was back in March. But, it's a very strange story.
In fact, according to the NAACP, Jealous “wasn't there”
NAACP's VP for communications and deputy director confirm: “No,” Jealous “wasn't there.” After right-wing blogger Jim Hoft published the misleading claim that the “NAACP President Was In Attendance at Sherrod Speech,” Media Matters for America Senior Fellow Eric Boehlert contacted the NAACP and received confirmation from two national NAACP officials that Jealous “wasn't there.” Vice President for Communications Leila McDowell said:
No he wasn't there. Obviously if they had the president and CEO of the national [organization] there, he would have spoken.
Likewise, Deputy Director of Communications Christopher Fleming confirmed: “He was not in attendance.” It is unclear to whom Sherrod was referring in her speech, but, it seems plausible that she was referring to Hal Pressley, the president of the local Georgia chapter, who confirmed to Anderson Cooper on CNN's 360 Degrees that he was in attendance during Sherrod's speech.
Previously: Fox exec told staff “seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right”
Former Fox exec: “For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right.” After Doocy retracted his false assertion that then-Sen. Barack Obama “was educated in a madrassa,” then-Fox News Vice President for News John Moody reportedly said in a memo to Fox News staff: “For the record: seeing an item on a website does not mean it is right. Nor does it mean it is ready for air on FNC. The urgent queue is our way of communicating information that is air-worthy. Please adhere to this.”