For those who have been complaining that Fox News has been unfairly targeted in the Shirley Sherrod debacle comes this item, which as far as I am concerned, is an admittance of a faux pas on the part of the company:
The first mention of the Sherrod video, which surfaced on Monday, July19th on Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com, was made later that day on Bill O'Reilly's 8 p.m. show. O'Reilly later apologized for how he characterized Sherrod.
But FoxNews.com did run a story about the existence of the video, titled "Video Shows USDA Official Saying She Didn't Give 'Full Force' of Help to White Farmer" at 5:58 p.m. on Monday, an hour before the Agriculture Department announced Sherrod’s resignation. And Wednesday, (Fox News Senior Vice President of News Michael) Clemente told POLITICO that was a mistake.
"There was a breakdown in the system, and it is being addressed," he said. "But it must say something about the power of Fox, that a week after she resigned, we're still talking about this."
The breakdown occurred following Fox's afternoon news meeting that day, when Clemente, according to The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz offered the following advice: "Let's take our time and get the facts straight on this story. Can we get confirmation and comments from Sherrod before going on-air. Let's make sure we do this right."
Clemente said he gave the advice in the meeting, not in a memo to staff, and his guidance clearly did not make it down to the reporter and producers who put the story on FoxNews.com.
Clemente was wrong about one thing. It does not demonstrate the power of Fox News that people are talking about the Sherrod incident a week later.
It demonstrates the bullheadedness of Fox News to not admit its error.