Maddow used the channel's role in hyping the Shirley Sherrod story as a springboard for a broader discussion of the history of using the media to pit whites against blacks in the United States. She connected Fox News' recent pushing of the ACORN, Van Jones, Sherrod and New Black Panther Party stories to the old Southern Strategy, where conservatives played on white fears of increased black equality to gain political power.
Maddow described the messaging as:
"Be afraid, white people. There's a threat to take you over. The black people are coming for you...and you better band together to not surrender, to fight back."
Maddow then played clips of conservative figures such as Rush Limbaugh — in this case, a clip of the radio host calling whites "the new oppressed minority" in the Obama era.
She concluded by saying that Fox News was operating almost as a political group by advancing the Van Jones, ACORN, New Black Panther Party and Shirley Sherrod stories.
"What is the same about these four ginned-up Fox News-initiated would-be scandals?" Maddow asked.
Maddow said that the stories aren't about racism, or about targeting black people, but rather a political effort to target "white people, white voters or white would-be voters to feel afraid of black people, to feel afraid of African American people as if they are not fellow Americans but rather a threat to what white people have.
"The message is a political one, clear as a 1960 campaign-funded segregationist comic book: stand up, white people, stand up against the black threat," she continued.
"This is a political strategy, advanced not by a news organization, but by political activists who use a cable channel as a political outlet. And they are pros at this. There's no reason to expect them to stop doing stuff like this — unless it stops working someday."