On Friday’s Political Capital, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson – formerly of CNN and Time magazine – left the impression that FNC coverage of the Shirley Sherrod video was partially responsible for her firing, prompting the National Review’s Kate O’Beirne to clarify that FNC did not show the video until after the USDA employee’s resignation. After host Al Hunt asked, "did it also say something bad about the so-called right-wing echo chamber or Fox News?"
Carlson responded: "Well, once the tape was on Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hammity, Hannity, it got out there, and, you know, I was shown it on live TV, and I was snookered as the NAACP said they were." After also faulting the NAACP and the Obama administration for acting too quickly, she branded Sherrod a "hero" and "the model of the civil servant."
O’Beirne then informed viewers: "Margaret, let the record show the videos didn’t appear on Fox News till she’d already been fired, so it’s sort of hard to blame them for the incredible overreaction."
Hunt ended up agreeing with Carlson that Sherrod is a "hero": "I actually I agree with both of you, and I think Shirley Sherrod is a great hero, she personifies the very best in public service."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Friday, July 23, Political Capital on Bloomberg News:
AL HUNT: Let me ask you about something, though, that really was a terrible story this week, the entire Shirley Sherrod story. It really reflects pretty poorly on the Obama administration, doesn’t it?
KATE O’BEIRNE, NATIONAL REVIEW: It does. An injustice was done this woman, and, yeah, it does reflect poorly. They had a hair trigger in the face of what wound up being a false charge that she had somehow discriminated against white farmers 24 years ago.
HUNT: Based on a partial video...
O’BEIRNE: Absolutely, which the fellow who posted it only had that portion of the video. But, look, the NAACP doesn’t look too good, either. They had access to the full video because it was in front of one of their audiences she made this point, and they had a hair trigger on this, too. Al, we do not have, happily, in America a significant problem with racism. But we have a fairly significant problem with false charges of racism against political enemies. And that’s the kind of thing the NAACP had been engaging in over the past couple of weeks.
HUNT: Margaret Carlson, did it also say something bad about the so-called right-wing echo chamber or Fox News?
MARGARET CARLSON, BLOOMBERG: Well, once the tape was on Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hammity, Hannity, it got out there, and, you know, I was shown it on live TV, and I was snookered as the NAACP said they were. But the NAACP shouldn’t have been snookered. They had the whole tape, and the White House should have been calmer. You know, they were fighting the last war. They were too slow with BP, so there were too fast here. I guarantee you next time something like this happens they’ll be too slow. The lowest point was when, the only hero in this which is Shirley Sherrod, the model of the civil servant, was forced to pull over to the side of the road and text her resignation because, quote, a, the Deputy Secretary of USDA said otherwise it was going to be on Glenn Beck that night. Are we so afraid of Glenn Beck? Is he running the country? That was a very, very low point in all this. I don’t see how we get out of it. This is the news cycle we live in.
HUNT: Jump in, Kate.
O’BEIRNE: Margaret, let the record show the videos didn’t appear on Fox News till she’d already been fired, so it’s sort of hard to blame them for the incredible overreaction. I think one backdrop here was a year ago when President Obama, even though he announced, "I didn’t see the facts, but the Cambridge Police Department acted stupidly." And that got them in a lot of trouble because when the facts emerged, it turned out that there wasn’t apparent racism. The lesson should have been, in the face of a charge of racism, because it’s not common by any means, stand back and get the facts. But that wasn’t the lesson the White House got. Apparently, it was we dare not underreact to a charge of black racism.
HUNT: I actually I agree with both of you, and I think Shirley Sherrod is a great hero, she personifies the very best in public service, but I’ll tell you other heroes. That 87-year-old, that 82-year-old white farm couple, Roger and Eloise Spooner, who, the minute the charges were made, came out and said I’m sorry, this woman saved our farm.
O’BEIRNE: A lot has happened in Georgia over the last 50 years.
HUNT: Boy, that was encouraging.