Late in her program today, Megyn Kelly announced that her interview with former USDA official Shirley Sherrod -- which Kelly had touted throughout the show -- was off. Kelly said that Sherrod had “changed her mind,” even after Fox had “offered her a considerable amount of time” to “clear the air” and “tell her story.”
Boy, I wonder why that happened? Maybe it had something to do with Fox's initial coverage of “her story,” in which numerous Fox figures responded to Andrew Breitbart's heavily edited clip of Sherrod's speech by claiming it was evidence that Sherrod was a racist.
- FoxNews.com's first report on Sherrod reported her statements made in the clip, but gave no indication that it 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 Fox News' first on-air mention of Sherrod, Bill O'Reilly aired a portion of the Breitbart-pushed clip, then called her comments “simply unacceptable” and said Sherrod “must resign immediately.”
- In the next hour, Sean Hannity led off with the Sherrod story, which he called “Just the latest in a series of racial incidents.” Fox contributor Newt Gingrich then said that she had displayed a “viciously racist attitude.”
- Later that evening, subbing for Greta Van Susteren on On the Record, Dana Perino said Sherrod had been “caught on tape making racially charged comments to an NAACP audience,” and said the video “adds fuel to a growing controversy after the NAACP approved a resolution condemning the tea party movement for not denouncing racist members.”
- The next day on Fox & Friends, Steve Doocy said Sherrod had been caught “making a speech to the NAACP that sure sounded racist.” Then Alisyn Camerota accused her of “touting this in this anecdote as though this is, you know, a feather in her cap, somehow, for her to be congratulated.” Then Camerota and Doocy agreed that the comments were “Exhibit A” as far as “what racism looks like.”