*Shirley Sherrod has received apologies from President Obama, his press secretary Robert Gibbs on behalf of the entire administration, her former boss Tom Vilsack, the NAACP and even Fox News host Bill O’Reilly (sort of) – all for rushing to judgment over the doctored tape of her posted by right-wing blogger Andrew Breitbart.
But, as the Web site Media Matters points out, not everyone feels the need to apologize to Sherrod or hold back from criticizing the now much-praised former Department of Agriculture official.
“What the hell do I have to apologize for,” said Mark Levin, an author and top conservative radio host. “I didn’t hire her. I didn’t fire her.”
In an interview with The Upshot, Levin compared the media — including some Beltway conservatives — to minnows in an aquarium. If you tap the glass, they all swim one way, he said; tap it again, they go the other way. He said that few people in the media are analyzing the entire March speech, which he believes shows Sherrod “as somebody who’s stuck in the race-baiting game.”
Some conservatives agree. Brent Bozell, founder of the Media Research Center, appeared on Levin’s show yesterday and similarly said that Sherrod has a race-driven agenda. Rush Limbaugh, on the air Thursday, praised both Bozell and Levin, along with Fox News host Sean Hannity for not backing off of criticizing Sherrod or turning on Andrew Breitbart for posting the out-of-context clip. (Despite numerous calls to apologize, Breitbart still hasn’t done so and said Thursday that Sherrod “sees things through a racial prism.”)
“Even Fox caved on this,” Limbaugh said. “Even Shep Smith. Even poor old Shep Smith went down there and said that everybody’s wrong on this, and Breitbart is wrong and so forth. There’s only a handful of us that have the guts to put this story straight.”
When it comes to Fox News, O’Reilly may actually fall into both camps. Yes, he apologized for “not putting [Sherrod’s] remarks in the proper context” when calling on her to resign Monday night. But O’Reilly didn’t spend the rest of his “Talking Points” segment in a defensive position.
Instead, he went back on the attack, arguing that while the initial scandal may have been misguided, other parts of the speech required an explanation.
Below: Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Breitbart and Levin on Sherrod Controversy