On Thursday’s Anderson Cooper 360, anchor Anderson Cooper faulted himself for not pressing Shirley Sherrod when she appeared on the show back on July 22 and claimed that conservative Andrew Breitbart was a “vicious” racist who “would like to get us stuck back in the times of slavery.”

Cooper now says he should have challenged Sherrod to support such an inflammatory charge with facts: “I believe in admitting my mistakes....I didn't challenge her that night and I should have.”

The July 22 interview was one of numerous appearances Sherrod made on CNN after she was fired by the Department of Agriculture on July 19. Cooper asked Sherrod about her phone conversation that day with President Obama, and then about Breitbart. Here’s the transcript of that section of the interview; an extended video clip appears after the jump:

Chris Matthews and Howard Dean on Thursday got into a heated argument about what was included in the controversial video excerpts Andrew Breitbart published at his website last Monday involving former USDA official Shirley Sherrod.

In the opening segment of the 5PM installment of MSNBC's "Hardball," Matthews was discussing with the former Vermont Governor as well as Salon Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh the announcement that Sherrod intends to sue Breitbart.

After playing both videos posted at BigGovernment.com back on July 19, Matthews noted, "That part in there about redemptive revelation was actually in the initial tape."

He then asked Dean, "Why do you think if this was a complete slime job, why do you think Breitbart kept that in there?"

The Governor's absolutely absurd answer started the fireworks (video follows with partial transcript and commentary): 

Managing Editor's Note: What follows is a statement from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell regarding Shirley Sherrod's announcement that she will sue conservative journalist Andrew Breitbart.

Andrew Breitbart is going to be fine. He's done nothing wrong. I wonder if Ms. Sherrod, who is such a champion of transparency, will publicly disclose who is putting her up to this. And I also hope this champion of honesty will stop lying about Fox News. I'm also waiting for Ms. Sherrod to publicly apologize for accusing anyone opposed to nationalized healthcare of being racist. Last time I checked, that was more than half the country.

Bret Baier took on former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean for accusing Chris Wallace of lying about Fox News's coverage of the Shirley Sherrod affair.

As NewsBusters previously reported, Dean pointed his pathetically biased and accusatory finger at FNC while a guest on "Fox News Sunday" only to have it marvelously slapped down by Wallace.

The following day in the friendly confines of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," the former Vermont governor said, "I happen to like Chris Wallace, but he was really not being exactly accurate when he talked about 'We didn`t say one word about this before the secretary of Agriculture fired her.' The fact of the matter is they were pushing this story very, very hard all day."

On Wednesday's "Special Report," Baier struck back and struck back hard using a time lapse video to prove Dean completely wrong (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t our friend Johnny Dollar):  

Appearing as a guest on Monday’s The Ed Show on MSNBC, former DNC chairman Howard Dean renewed his discredited claim that FNC had played clips of former USDA official Shirley Sherrod before her forced resignation, and suggested that Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace had deceived him in denying that there was FNC coverage before her firing. Dean: "I happen to like Chris Wallace, but he was really not being exactly accurate when he talked about ‘we didn`t say one word about this before the Secretary of Agriculture fired her.’ The fact of the matter is they were pushing this story very, very hard all day. It may be true that they didn`t mention her name, but they sure did run the tape without mentioning her name."

Earlier in the show, host Ed Schultz had played the clip of Wallace correcting Dean’s assertions about FNC from the previous day’s Fox News Sunday. Wallace: "I know facts are inconvenient things, but let`s try to deal with the facts. The fact is that the Obama administration fired or forced Shirley Sherrod to quit before her name had ever been mentioned on Fox News Channel."

After Dean’s claims about FNC showing the Sherrod video, Schultz followed up by asking if Fox News is "racist in what they do," leading Dean to answer in the affirmative and to accuse Fox News of "inflaming racial hatred":

Comedian Jon Stewart on Monday said what most in the liberal media continue to deny: as it pertains to the Shirley Sherrod affair, Fox News snookered no one.

Even more surprising, the "Daily Show" host claimed conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart "may be the most honest person in this entire story."

In a lengthy segment about the controversy, after haranguing the Obama administration's handling of the affair, Stewart moved to what the NAACP said when it retracted its initial condemnation of Sherrod (video follows with transcript and commentary):  

Shirley Sherrod's now-infamous March speech before an NAACP audience is recognizable to practicing Christians as a "testimony." That's the spin that Syracuse journalism professor and former Washington Post staff writer R. Gustav Niebuhr brought to Newsweek/Washington Post's On Faith feature in a July 26 Under God blog post:

As she said to members of the Georgia NAACP back on that March day, she spoke as the daughter of a murdered black farmer, victim of a racial crime whose author was never convicted. That allowed her to talk about how, through her experiences with the financially hard-pressed white farmer in 1986, she came to believe a divine agency was at work in her life, teaching her.

"God helped me to see that it's not just about black people--it's about poor people. And I've come a long way. I knew that I couldn't live with hate, you know."

That's the key statement in her speech. In traditional Christian terminology, it's called a testimony.

The New York Times went to town on Andrew Breitbart and Fox News on Sunday and Monday, rehashing the racial controversy over the Shirley Sherrod tape and suggesting conservative media outlets were guilty of "tilting the field," blowing "obscure or misleading stories...out of proportion" and presenting "political opposition research" as news. Hmm. Isn't that what the New York Times has been doing to conservatives for years?

Media reporter Brian Stelter made the front of Monday's Business page with his Fox News-bashing take on the controversy, "When Race is the Issue, Misleading Coverage Sets Off an Uproar."
In the last couple of days, Andrew Breitbart, a conservative Web site operator, has been called a liar, a provocateur, a propagandist -- and even a race-baiter. But he says he knows who the true race-baiters are: some Democratic activists.
Andrew Breitbart highlighted the edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod on one of his Web sites. "It's warfare out there," he says.

It was one of Mr. Breitbart's Web sites, BigGovernment, that highlighted the heavily edited video clip of Shirley Sherrod, a black official at the Department of Agriculture, apparently saying that she had been biased against a white farmer she was supposed to help. Ms. Sherrod's full speech actually demonstrated the opposite, but do not expect Mr. Breitbart to be embarrassed.
Stelter later evinced a convenient concern for journalist credibility for "when obscure or misleading stories are blown out of proportion and when what amounts to political opposition research is presented as news." Stelter must have missed the Times's hit pieces on John McCain alleging an affair and suggesting his birthplace made him unqualified to serve as president, or the paper's sabotage of two successful Bush-era terror-fighting programs it disapproved of.

In the past six days, you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting some liberal media member claiming that Fox News was responsible for Shirley Sherrod's dismissal from the Agriculture Department.

So obsessed with this idea were the folks on PBS's "Inside Washington" Friday that the lone conservative on the panel Charles Krauthammer had to defend FNC's honor like a knight in shining armor protecting a princess from a gang of marauding Huns.

Two days later, CNN's Howard Kurtz and Politics Daily's Matt Lewis did their darnedest to convince Salon's Joan Walsh of the facts - unfortunately to no avail.

Getting fed up with the stupidity from his colleagues on the left, Mediaite's Steve Krakauer Sunday evening tried to once and for all put this matter to rest:

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."

Four months after leading Face the Nation with uncorroborated allegations from left-wing bloggers about racist and homophobic outbursts by anti-Obamacare protesters, spread in an effort to discredit President Obama’s opponents, CBS’s Bob Schieffer cited the Shirley Sherrod case to propound on the superiority of his fact-checking “Old Media” over the careless “New Media.”

In his commentary on Sunday, Schieffer boasted of how “we still call people involved in a story to get their side; editors fact check; and we never publish or broadcast anything unless we think it's true.” In contrast, he lectured, “last week, we saw what can happen when it's done the other way. A partisan blogger with an agenda -- not a journalist -- put the heavily edited, totally out of context, now infamous soundbite of Shirley Sherrod on the Internet. Some of the cable folk picked up the story, and demanded the woman's ouster.”

Schieffer scolded: “No calls to those involved, no checking of any kind -- just throw it out there and leave it to the woman to defend herself.” Very much like Schieffer left the conservative citizens he smeared at the top of the March 21 Face the Nation:

On The O'Reilly Factor on Wednesday night, host Bill O'Reilly apologized to Shirley Sherrod "for for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context." But then he quickly turned to NBC and MSNBC: "And then there is NBC News howling with left-wing indignation." He ran clips of  Matt Lauer saying the whole story was "garbage" and Rachel Maddow sneering:

MADDOW: Just like the fake ACORN controversy, Fox News knows that it has a role in this dance. That's not new. That's not actually even interesting about this scandal. Fox does what Fox does.

O'REILLY: Which is kick your network's butt every single night, madam. And you have to be kidding with this fake ACORN scandal stuff. Unbelievable. Do you live in this country?

Maddow responded on her own show on Thursday night: "A host at the FOX News Channel named Bill O`Reilly accuses us of, quote, 'howling' with left-wing indignation over the Shirley Sherrod affair. We respond with subdued, dignified barking and yipping – next." Maddow flagrantly claimed that the ACORN scandal was a fake: