Black Caucus head: Government ‘held hostage’ by Fox and other media

The government is being sometimes “held hostage” by Fox News and other media outlets, the chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus charged Thursday.


Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the chairwoman of the caucus, said she was concerned that outlets like Fox were creating a culture of “misinformation” that has led to controversies like the one following Shirley Sherrod. 

Lee said on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal:

When you look at how, not only Fox, but other media outlets — but we focus naturally, because we know how this has evolved with Fox — how many including, sometimes, our government is held hostage, mind you, by the fact that Fox and other media may run wild with snippets and misinformation and create a media frenzy based on half-truths, no-truths.

Sherrod, the director of rural development in Georgia for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), had been fired from that job after video came to light suggesting that she’d purposefully denied assistance to a white farmer. But the full video showed that Sherrod, who is black, was telling a story about overcoming racial prejudice. 

The edited video had first been posted on Big Government, the website of the conservative activist and pundit Andrew Breitbart. He has since acknowledged that the video was edited, but said it was presented to him that way, and has denied editing it in-house.

The error forced the Obama administration into a political quagmire on the issue of race, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack publicly apologized to Sherrod, and offered her a new job. 

Lee lashed out at outlets like Fox and Breitbart’s website, and urged the public to demand more accountability from the media.

“They can create what we just saw happen,” she said. “So I think it’s really incumbent upon the public to ask for fair reporting, objective reporting, and to not try to use scare tactics and fear tactics to create an outcome that furthers some right-wing political agenda.”


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