Shep Smith once again broke with the party line at Fox News today as he explained why his show Studio B did not run Andrew Breitbart’s edited video of Shirley Sherrod, “Because of the history of the videos on the site where it was posted, we did not, and do not trust the source.” Shep managed to take shots at both his own network and Breitbart.
Here is the video courtesy of Media Matters:
Smith candidly told his viewers why he and his show did not play the Shirley Sherrod video or reference the story. After recapping the details, and telling viewers that the video Fox News had been running incessantly had been edited, Smith said, “We now know her story was actually one of the life lessons learned, the importance of racial harmony, and her current mission to help the poor and disadvantaged of any and all races. The video taken completely out of context, it ran all over the Internet and on television, including on this network. We on Studio B did not run the video and did not reference the story in any way for many reasons. Among them, we didn’t know who shot it. We didn’t know when it was shot. We didn’t know the context of the statement. In short, we did not, and do not trust the source.”
Now if we could only get the over reactionary White House to be as disciplined an intelligent about evaluating sources as Shep Smith is, the big loser in this whole mess, besides the victim herself, is the White House. How many times are they going to get fooled by the smear tactics of the right? Breitbart and Fox News are not reliable sources. They definitely have a clear political agenda. Whoever made the decision and told Sec. Tom Vilsack to fire Sherrod, and my guess is that this came from Rham Emanuel, did something so incomprehensibly stupid that they should be the one stepping down, not Sherrod.
Once the White House demonstrated that they would cave to the pressure of the right wing media with the sham ACORN video, and the forcing out of Van Jones, the floodgates were going to be opened for a torrent of racially divisive political attacks. These trumped up scandals are nothing but an attempt to divide America along racial lines. Their goal is to whip white voters into an anti-Democrat, anti-Obama frenzy. Shep Smith was correct. Breitbart has zero credibility, and the warning bells should have been sounding in the White House as soon as he would not release the unedited version of the video.
Shep Smith’s willingness to call out Breitbart and his own network for not practicing journalism is refreshing, but the White House should be ashamed of themselves. An apology to Shirley Sherrod is not good enough. Their knee jerk reaction to the race baiting of the right must be addressed. President Obama and the administration deserve all of the scorn and criticism that is coming their way for this. Instead of defending an honorable public servant against baseless attacks, they fed her to the wolves. Shep Smith is a true professional and one of a kind at Fox News. Maybe now the Obama administration will finally learn their lesson when it comes to caving to attacks from the right.