Fired U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, whose career ended when Andrew Breitbart's conservative media consortium posted an edited video from the 1980s that appeared to show her making racially charged comments to an NAACP audience, is not taking her retirement sitting down. Sherrod, in an interview with Media Matters' Joe Strupp, goes after Fox News, which she sees as complicit in her firing, which many observers and possibly even the Obama administration now see as a mistake. It's difficult to fully separate Sherrod's comments from Strupp's clear anti-Fox News position, but here are some excerpts:
She said Fox showed no professionalism in continuing to bother her for an interview, but failing to correct their coverage. "I think they should but they won't. They intended exactly what they did. 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 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."
Still, Fox continued to push for an interview with her, Sherrod said. "It was unbelievable. I am refusing to be on there. They have been calling me and calling me. I have refused to do an interview because they are biased," she explained. "I don't think Fox News does it fairly. It is worse so now. I have sat and listened to the way they cover the news even before this administration and I saw what was going on."
Sherrod said this situation has worsened her view of racism in media coverage. "I think it is race. You think we have come a long way in terms of race relations in this country, but we keep going backwards," she said. "We have become more racist. This was their doing, Breitbart put that together misrepresenting what I was saying and Fox carried it."
- About Forcing Larger Conversation The Washington Post's Greg Sargent writes, "This is pretty incendiary stuff. Sherrod is clearly not going away, and now she appears determined to force a larger conversation about the Breitbart-Fox News axis's broader efforts to stoke white resentment towards the nation's first African American president."
- Fox Messed Up Salon's Glenn Greenwald writes, "They really picked the wrong victim this time."
- Won't Help Her Rehiring Prospects Sargent adds, "If the White House's goal is to avoid racial controversies, this blast from Sherrod isn't going to make it any easier for them to take a stand and resolve this."
- Is Fox News Really So Anti-Sherrod? The Atlantic Wire's John Hudson reports that many conservatives are in fact defending Sherrod and saying she deserves an apology, including marquee Fox News host Glenn Beck.