NY Times columnist: Fox News ‘exploited’ New Black Panther Party case

By David Edwards
Monday, July 19, 2010 15:07 EDT
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Fox News has gone too far in hyping 2008 case of alleged voter intimidation, according to one New York Times columnist.

The conservative news network has recently produced a flurry of reports about a case where a member of the New Black Panther Party is accused of wielding a billy club outside of a polling place in Philadelphia. Appearing on MSNBC Monday, The New York Times‘ Charles Blow called out the network for exploiting the case.

“I think that the media, depending on what you call the media, some parts of the media, I think have exploited this to a degree that the president of the New Black Panther Party is on Fox on a regular basis now, it seems,” Blow told MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski.

“You have a tough case here, because, to my understanding, we still don’t have any person who has come forward to make an official complaint that they have been — they were intimidated. You have a voter intimidation case with no intimidated voters,” he said.

No on-air personality has promoted the story more than Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.

Writing for The Atlantic, Dave Weigel accused Kelly’s reports of inciting a crowd at a town hall event hosted by California Democrat:

Watch her broadcasts and you become convinced that the New Black Panthers are a powerful group that hate white people and operate under the protection of Eric Holder’s DOJ. That “Megyn Kelly DESTROYS Kirsten Powers” video that I mentioned begins with her introducing a clip of a town hall meeting with Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Ca.) in which he gets an angry question about whether the DOJ has a policy of not prosecuting African-Americans.

“I am extremely sure that we do not have a policy at the Department of Justice of never prosecuting a black defendant.”

The crowd rises up. “Yes you do!” shouts one voter. When Sherman says he doesn’t know much about the Panther case, the crowd erupts in boos. They’ve been driven to fear and distrust of their DOJ by round-the-clock videos of one racist idiot brandishing a nightstick for a couple hours in 2008.

Congratulations, Megyn.

Also appearing on MSNBC Monday, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) suggested that the Obama administration may have a political motivation in ignoring the case.

“Congressman, what is your suspicion about why they are fearful to look into it?” asked MSNBC’s Willie Geist. “What are you suggesting?”

“I don’t know that I really ought to comment what it is,” replied Wolf. “I think there is politics involved, but I think until we see, it’s really hard — very difficult to say.”

But Blow disagreed. “The idea that the Obama administration, which is what is happening here which is people are trying to tie the Obama administration to black radicalism and that has been happening since the campaign and it continues to happen,” said Blow.

“It strains logic to think that this tiny group, [Obama] somehow benefits politically from protecting them,” Blow continued. “There’s nothing to gain. In fact, there’s everything to gain in prosecuting them.”

A former Bush ally seems to agree that the momentum behind the story is more about destroying the Obama administration. “This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration,” Abigail Thernstrom, former vice chairwoman of the US Commission on Civil Rights, told Politico.

This video is from MSNBC’s Morning Joe, broadcast July 19, 2010.

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David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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