Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Day The Controversy Over The New Black Panther Case Fell Apart.

I've been talking for days about the right wing obsession with the non-story of Black Panther voter intimidation, but today comes a statement from Abigail Thernstro, who Bush appointed as vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which reveals that this right wing obsession is part of a Republican plan to "bring down Eric Holder and really damage the president."

“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,” said Thernstrom, who said members of the commission voiced their political aims “in the initial discussions” of the Panther case last year.

“My fellow conservatives on the commission had this wild notion they could bring Eric Holder down and really damage the president,” Thernstrom said in an interview with POLITICO.
This is the first time that anyone is admitting that there was a conscious decision, by conservatives on the commission, to deliberately use this issue in the hope of damaging Holder and Obama. To that end, the Fox News noise machine has been chattering on about this story relentlessly. Media Matters has found that Fox News have discussed this non-story 95 times, talking about it for a total of eight hours of airtime.

At the core of Megyn Kelly's claims, has been the notion that the DOJ no longer prosecutes cases with black defendants where the plaintiffs are white. It was always an utterly outrageous proposition. Now it has been utterly destroyed:
But court filings earlier this week, in which the Obama Justice Department is asking a federal court to extend its injunction against black leaders in Mississippi for discriminating against white voters, should end once and for all the scurrilous accusation that the Obama administration is hostile to prosecuting black defendants on behalf of white victims.
Now, other conservative voices are now coming into the open criticising this Fox News led obsession over what was a relatively minor incident.
“There are more important issues to go after Attorney General Holder on even in terms of the voting rights section itself,” said Linda Chavez, president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, who was staff director of the Civil Rights Commission in the Reagan years and called the video “damning” but relatively minor.

“Because it’s 24-hour news and cable news and Fox News — this is the kind of story, like the ACORN story, that’s got pictures that you can run over and over again,” said Chavez, who noted that she’s a Fox News contributor.

“When it comes to race, the right, like the left, can't resist getting hung up with trivia and sideshows,” said Amy Wax, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of an influential book arguing that discrimination against blacks is no longer very meaningful. “How do the antics of these two Black Panthers make a difference?”

A leading writer on the widely read HotAir marveled at Fox’s eagerness to offer a platform to the New Black Panther Party’s ranting chairman, Malik Shabazz, crediting it to the fact that the “outrageous outrage he provokes is good for ratings and partly because, as here, his demagoguery necessarily casts the host in the role of Spokesman for Decency."

And Doug Mataconis of the conservative blog Outside the Beltway called the flap “much ado about very, very little.”
This story is now utterly in tatters.

So in the past day, the following things have been happened: The idea that there was outside pressure from the administration to close the case has been shown to have no evidentiary basis, the commission has been exposed as deliberately attempting to damage the administration with this investigation, and Adams' claim that the Voting Section does not intervene on behalf of white voters has been proven conclusively false.

I don't expect that this will do anything to silence the Fox News noise machine, it will grind on continuing to see reverse racism all over the place, because that is what it's tea party supporters wants it to tell them.

But, for everyone else, this story should now be considered truly dead and buried. I've said before that people like Megyn Kelly should be ashamed of themselves for the way they have race baited over this story. But she won't be. This was, after all, a deliberate right wing plan to "bring down Holder and really damage the president".

Fox News will actually be proud to find themselves leading such a mission. It's what that channel exists for.

Click here for full article.

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