Opinion Brief

Fox News vs. the New Black Panthers

Fox News has declared war on a small group of militant blacks accused of intimidating white voters — and on the Justice Department for allegedly protecting them

There's a racial-bias scandal at the Department of Justice — at least according to conservative pundits, bloggers, and Fox News. The right-leaning media, and especially Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Glenn Beck, have been giving prominent coverage to allegations by former DOJ lawyer J. Christian Adams regarding a suit accusing the New Black Panther Party of intimidating white voters in 2008. Adams, a Bush-era hire who recently left the DOJ, says his case was quashed to protect minorities. Is Fox uncovering an anti-white agenda at Obama's DOJ, or is it engaging, as liberal blogger Eric Boehlert puts it, in "ugly race baiting"? (Watch a heated Fox interview with a member of the Black Panthers)

Fox wants to scare white people: The New Black Panthers are a "fifth-rate hate group," and Fox's "obsession" with Adams' "second-rate case" against them is just a way to drum up white fears, says David Weigel in The Atlantic. Fox's Kelly is successfully selling the ludicrous idea that "the New Black Panthers are a powerful group that hate white people and operate under the protection of Eric Holder's DOJ." That's not journalism, it's "minstrelsy."
"Megyn Kelly's minstrel show"

This is about justice, not race: The facts are on Adams' side, says Rick Moran in Right Wing Nuthouse, and there are "numerous other examples of Holder’s Justice Department appearing to show favoritism" toward blacks. That doesn't mean "Holder and Obama are racists" — I favor "politically correct jackasses" helping out "a favored constituency" — but conservatives aren't race-baiters for demanding that Holder uphold the law, either.
"Does objecting to DOJ unequal application of voting rights..."

Fox's "Panthermania" has a left-wing counterpart: "[The Atlantic's] Weigel is right about the New Black Panther Party" and Fox, says Jesse Walker at Reason. Conservatives are purposefully inflating the heft of "a tiny, uninfluential group" to "keep the base excited" — just as liberals do with "Hutaree-style militants." But if "taking scalps" is a great way for each side to shore up "movement identity," it's also a lousy way to "actually govern the country."
"Panthermania"

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