UPDATE: Michael Clemente, Senior VP of Fox News, responded with the following statement:
"As we said this past week, some people such as the failed candidate Dean reflexively blame Fox for almost anything."
Original Post: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean took direct aim at Fox News for its involvement in the Shirley Sherrod racism flap, calling their coverage "absolutely racist."
Dean, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, offered his candid assessment in an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" in which he criticized the cable network for being complicit in the controversy.
"Fox News did something that was absolutely racist," Dean said. "They had an obligation to find out what was really in the clip. They had been pushing a theme of black racism with this phony Black Panther crap and this business and this Sotomayor and all this other stuff."
Host Chris Wallace countered that Fox had held off on broadcasting the footage in question until the Agriculture Department forced Sherrod out of her job there, but Dean was having none of it.
"It was about to go on Glenn Beck, which is what the administration was afraid of."
He added later: "The Tea Party called out their racist fringe and I think the Republican Party's got to stop appealing to its racist fringe. And Fox News is what did that. You put that on. Continuing to cater to this theme of minority racism and stressing comments like this -- some of which are taken out of context -- does not help the country knit itself together."