Fox Business host Lou Dobbs on Monday promoted the conspiracy theory that the Department of Justice somehow organized protests over the killing of Trayvon Martin, joining with some in right-wing media who claim Attorney General Eric Holder is a radical racist.
Summarizing Holder’s comments on the Zimmerman verdict, Dobbs said the nation’s first black U.S. attorney general was instead “sounding like a state attorney general from the Jim Crow era.” He added that the Department of Justice was “actively involved in fomenting anti-Zimmerman protests in Sanford, Florida last year.”
He went on to insist that “thousands” of taxpayer dollars were spent to train the initial crop of people who were only pretending to be mad about Martin’s death. Dobbs also seems to think Floridians needed some kind of special training to organize protests over Martin’s death.
Dobbs added that he’s not sure, but some of the money may have gone to MSNBC host Rev. Al Sharpton, who he accused of embarking on a nation-wide tour to “raise racial tensions.” He concluded: “We don’t know whether that Sharpton effort is being financed as well by the Justice Department. We have asked the Justice Department and we are waiting for their answer.”
Dobbs appears to be inspired by report published by right-wing watchdog group Judicial Watch, which claimed on July 10 that it had proof that the DOJ was involved in the protests over Martin’s death. “These documents detail the extraordinary intervention by the Justice Department in the pressure campaign leading to the prosecution of George Zimmerman,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton explained in an advisory. “My guess is that most Americans would rightly object to taxpayers paying government employees to help organize racially-charged demonstrations.”
However, as PolitiFact pointed out last week, the City of Sanford requested DOJ assistance in mediating the situation as civil unrest peaked following Martin’s death. Thomas Battles, longtime mediator with decades of experience dealing with inflammatory racial, was dispatched from the DOJ’s Comunity Relations Service and soon found himself in Florida working to keep the peace.
“There was so much angst and fear of the unknown,” Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett told The Miami Herald. “We had never been through something like this before. We didn’t know what was going to happen and if this thing was going to blow. Mr. Battles has a calming way about him. He was a voice of reason. He got everybody to the table.”
Claims that the DOJ’s leadership in community mediation was scandal-worthy spread to right-wing media outlets like Breitbart, Hot Air, The Daily Caller and Fox News. However, such claims were also debunked by, of all people, Fox News reporter Jake Gibson in a July 10 report. In interviews with DOJ officials, Gibson discovered what the DOJ’s Community Relations Service has been doing for the last 49 years: Mediating conflicts in hopes of “reducing tensions and the potential for violence.”
“Fox & Friends” co-host Steve Doocy also reflected Dobbs’ view when he hosted a conservative activist Monday and agreed when the man said that the DOJ is actually letting the New Black Panthers call all the shots behind the scenes.
That activist, former DOJ official J. Christian Adams — who now blogs for Pajamas Media and Breitbart — quit his government post to expose how racist he thinks the Obama administration really is (PDF). He claims the DOJ relied upon nothing but racial prejudice and a preference for black activists when it refused in 2008 to prosecute a member of the Black Panthers, who was caught on video standing in public near a polling place and doing nothing in particular.
“I have a piece at Breitbart […] that shows how the New Black Panthers were the spark behind the whole Zimmerman investigation,” he said on Monday. “This is part of a radical, racial agenda that Eric Holder has implemented since he took office.”
This video is from The Fox Business Channel, aired Monday, July 15, 2013, as snipped by the liberal watchdog group Media Matters.