A Fox News executive released notes from an internal meeting to show that the network's news producers had been urged to treat the video story with caution. But anchor Shepard Smith zinged some, including programs on his own network, for swallowing the story whole.
"We didn't know who shot it, we didn't know when it was shot, we didn't know the context of the statement," said Smith, adding that Breitbart's history didn't inspire great confidence. "In short — we did not and do not trust the source."
Too bad that message didn't reach the operators of Fox's websites and commentator Bill O'Reilly. FoxNews.com posted the story on Monday, and the FoxNation.com website followed with the video and the accusatory headline: "Caught on Tape: Obama Official Discriminates Against White Farmer." That night, O'Reilly called on Sherrod to resign. (She had already agreed to leave her post before the O'Reilly segment aired.)
O'Reilly at least apologized for proceeding without all the facts. (Though he then proceeded to backhand Sherrod for two days running, suggesting she might be too dangerously left wing for government service.)