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Joan Walsh: It's Okay for Shirley Sherrod to Call Fox News and Andrew Breitbart 'Racist'

5 years ago
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Salon's Joan Walsh wrote about me today, so I figure I would return the courtesy.

Walsh and I (along with Jane Hall of American University) appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources" with Howard Kurtz Sunday morning, to discuss the Shirley Sherrod story, as well as the "JournoList" story.

Things got rocky early on. During Walsh's opening statement, she said that she would "stipulate" that "Fox isn't the cause of [Sherrod's] firing." I took that as a small concession, given that it is provable that Fox wasn't the cause. Still, I thought it was gracious of Walsh to concede the point.

Here's how the conversation went after that..
LEWIS: Right. Well, look, I think -- and I thank Joan for actually saying what we know to be true, that Fox News did not air it until after she was fired. Once Shirley Sherrod is --

WALSH: That's not true. That's not what I said, by the way.

LEWIS: I think that is what you said.

WALSH: And it's not true. No. I said --

LEWIS: You disagree with the fact that Fox News did not run the tape until after she was fired?

WALSH: Bill O'Reilly ran the tape before she was fired.

LEWIS: That is not true.
The notion that Fox News caused Sherrod's firing is provably false. As Howard Kurtz wrote in the Washington Post:
O'Reilly taped the show at 5 p.m., and by the time it aired about 8:50, USDA had announced Sherrod's resignation (as Fox noted on the screen).

The first time Fox News mentioned Sherrod by name was on "The O'Reilly Factor" -- a show which aired after Sherrod had resigned. . . . Now, it's possible that fear of Fox caused her firing, but it's impossible to say that Fox News' airing of an edited video did her in. As Kurtz also wrote:

Sherrod may be the only official ever dismissed because of the fear that Fox host Glenn Beck might go after her.

I did make one mistake. Walsh wasn't in the studio, and I made a comment that she was at the liberal online convention, NetRoots Nation, which was taking place in Las Vegas. This was a mistake that might have cost me, had Walsh not then volunteered that she was in San Francisco -- the one place in America that is even more out of touch and liberal than a NetRoots Nation conference.

Towards the end of the segment, Walsh said that because Sherrod's father was murdered by a white man, she was entitled to call Fox News and Andrew Breitbart a "racist." We clashed over this point. Personally, I believe that Shirley Sherrod has been through a lot, but I also do not believe her past experiences give her the right to call them racists. That's just me.

In Walsh's Salon post tonight, she admits she was "angry" -- that is an understatement. Even her blog post about today's show condescendingly mentioned "poor Matt Lewis."

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