DNC Chair Kaine Complains of Media Effort to ‘Brand’ Sherrod, but Stops Short of Calling FoxNews ‘Racist’
July 29, 2010 - 6:11 PMDemocratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tim Kaine, refused Wednesday to say whether he agreed with former DNC Chairman Howard Dean, that FoxNews "did something that was absolutely racist" by airing the Shirley Sherrod video and story.
Kaine told CNSNews.com at a news conference Wednesday: “It is outrageous that there was this effort to brand her and use her to suggest that she and others were being divisive.”
On Monday, July 19, the Obama administration asked Sherrod to resign from her position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture after a conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, posted a 2-1/2 minute clip of a video showing Sherrod speaking at an NAACP luncheon.
In the video, Sherrod, who is black, seemed to suggest she had not done everything she could to help a white farmer keep his farm. But the NAACP subsequently released an unedited version of the video, which showed that Sherrod was actually explaining her experiences 24 years ago while at a nonprofit -- as evidence of attitudes she said she had overcome.
On July 21, Sherrod accused Fox News Channel, which had reported on Breitbart’s posting of the video, of racism.
"They were looking for the result they got yesterday," she said of Fox. "I am just a pawn. I was just here. They are after a bigger thing, they would love to take us (blacks) back to where we were many years ago. Back to where black people were looking down, not looking white folks in the face, not being able to compete for a job out there and not be a whole person."
Last weekend, on “Fox News Sunday,” Dean told Chris Wallace, “Let's just be blunt about this. I don't think (former House Speaker) Newt Gingrich is a racist, and you're certainly not a racist, but I think Fox News did something that was absolutely racist.”
“They took a -- they had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had -- they had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and Sotomayor and all this other stuff. You -- I think you've got to be very -- I think the -- look the Tea Party called out their racist fringe, and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe. And Fox News is what did that.”
CNSNews.com asked Kaine “Do you agree with former DNC Chairman Howard Dean’s recent statements that Fox News ‘did something that was absolutely racist’ in its handling of the Shirley Sherrod incident and that the GOP needs to ‘stop appealing to its racist fringe?’”
Kaine, who was at a Democratic Party news conference, replied: “Rather than comment on somebody else’s statements, I’m just going to talk about the incident. The incident was very regrettable. Clearly there was an effort to misrepresent the content of Ms. Sherrod’s comments in a very dramatic way to try to produce an outcry, which happened.”
The former governor of Virginia, Kaine added: “Let’s not forget where it all began, with an effort to take the speech that she made and through selective editing make it seem like she was pushing a divisive message when in fact the opposite was true – she was telling the story to demonstrate what everyone up here believes – that in a time of crisis and challenge in this country, we all need to come together and work together – that’s what Democrats are. And it is outrageous that there was this effort to brand her and use her to suggest that she and others were being divisive.”
On Thursday, Sherrod said she will pursue legal action against Breitbart, who has indicated he had obtained the video from another source, and didn’t know it had been edited..
Media Research Center President and Founder L. Brent Bozell III, dismissed Sherrod’s threat, saying: "Andrew Breitbart is going to be fine. He's done nothing wrong. I wonder if Ms. Sherrod, who is such a champion of transparency, will publicly disclose who is putting her up to this. And I also hope this champion of honesty will stop lying about Fox News. I'm also waiting for Ms. Sherrod to publicly apologize for accusing anyone opposed to nationalized health care of being racist. Last time I checked, that was more than half the country."
(DISCLOSURE: CNSNews.com is a division of the Media Research Center.)