Indeed, and if there’s any one point from l’affaire Sherrod being hammered today by both left and right, media and non-media alike, it’s that one. (Beck himself mentioned it on tonight’s show and Sherrod has started emphasizing it in her interviews.) Shep’s not crowing, though: This is a lament, not only that the trap door would have been pulled on Sherrod sight unseen to avoid taking fire from GB but that Fox News would have ever touted a clip being pushed by Breitbart, whose site Smith dismisses as discredited. Except … how much did Fox really tout it? Steve Doocy claimed this morning that the first airing of the clip on FNC didn’t come until after Sherrod had already resigned, which, from what I can tell, appears to be true. We noted the resignation at 8:21 p.m. on Monday night and the first mention of her on FNC appears to have been this short segment near the end of O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. show, when he demanded that she resign. (The show is taped a few hours earlier and she hadn’t resigned by the time of the taping.) Fox News’s website had, I thought, also posted an article about the vid sometime on Monday, but the earliest story I can find in the archive is this one from Tuesday. Unless I’ve missed something, there was no Fox-driven furor that forced Vilsack’s hand — which, ironically, only buttresses Shep’s point about how paranoid the White House is about FNC. Merely the prospect of them airing something politically damaging is enough to send the administration into crisis mode, firing people in order to put out the fire before it gets started. No wonder Jim Messina was congratulating people on Tuesday morning.

Sherrod herself told Media Matters last night that she won’t do interviews with Fox because they’re both biased and racist, which is a fittingly incendiary note on which to end this appalling, mammoth clusterfark. To cleanse the palate — and we really do need some cleansing — I recommend Mary Katharine Ham’s thoughtful take on the left/right “racism arms race.” She’s got the only “teachable moment” here that’s worth teaching.