As the first cable-news host to air an edited video that made it appear Shirley Sherrod, a black U.S. Department of Agriculture official, had made racist remarks, Bill O’Reilly said on Wednesday he owes Sherrod an apology for "not doing my homework," reports the Los Angeles Times’ Showtracker blog.
O’Reilly had called for Sherrod’s resignation on Monday night, although by the time his show aired she had already resigned. The edited video on which O’Reilly based his remarks had left out some crucial context, such as Sherrod’s explanation that an episode when she discriminated against a white farmer had taught her how to overcome personal prejudices, the story says. “I owe Ms. Sherrod an apology for not doing my homework, for not putting her remarks into the proper context,” O’Reilly said on "The O’Reilly Factor." "I well understand the need for honest reporting.” His own words have at times been placed out of context, he added.
Still, Sherrod and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People partly blamed Fox News for partly creating the media storm because of the way it hyped the story, the article says. Fox News senior vice president of news editorial Michael Clemente says the network approached the story cautiously and "did the normal fact-finding we would do on any story."
The first reported piece on Fox News that aired on Tuesday morning included another video clip that provided context to her remarks. Nevertheless, Tuesday night found O’Reilly continuing to blast Sherrod’s speech, even though by that time it was clear her comments had been misconstrued, the story says.