Have you heard about the New Black Panther Party? No? Well, you must not be watching Fox News, which has spent the last week treating the fringe group as the greatest threat to democracy since... well, since health care reform.
So: Idiots. I trust you're familiar with them? Recently, motivated entirely by their selfless concern for others, they have been very worried about an incident in Philadelphia in 2008, when two members of the laughable fringe radical outfit the New Black Panther Party stood outside a polling place in fatigues and sort of vaguely brandished a nightstick and looked intimidating.
Here are some facts about that incident: The polling place was in a heavily black, heavily Democratic district. Police were called, and the two men were ushered away. No one has come forward to say they were intimidated. The Justice Department—at the time still controlled by the Bush administration—decided not to file criminal charges.
But some people, no doubt deeply concerned that this pair of preposterous fools might have intimidated some voters, has been wondering if, perhaps, the Justice Department—again, the Bush Justice Department—chose to downgrade the charges not for the obvious reason that it would be a total waste of time, but because the Justice Department is operating under some kind of edict to not charge black folks with crimes.
No, actually, this is what they think. In the clip above, a California woman says the following thing at a town hall meeting with her congressman: "It's the Department of Justice's new policy that they are not going to prosecute cases with black defendants, where the complainants are white." Black people: Now is your chance to commit federal crimes.
You see, a gentleman named J. Christian Adams—a former Justice Department lawyer—has been telling people that he thinks this case wasn't brought to criminal trial because the Department of Justice is no longer interested in protecting the voting rights of white people. And J. Christian Adams, whose name could not possibly be more appropriate, and his band of merry concerned citizens, have a champion in the media: Fox News' Megyn Kelly, who has been pumping this story for weeks.
In a great post on The Daily Dish, where he's subbing in for Andrew Sullivan, Matt Drudge arsonist Dave Wiegel takes Kelly to task for her embarrassing race-baiting (lest we forget, Kelly's show is on from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET, during the daytime "real news" component of Fox):
One of the more jarring passages in Rick Perlstein's "Nixonland" is his recounting of a popular myth that went around Iowa in 1966, the year of the conservative backlash against the Great Society. The myth was that black gang members on motorcycles were going to head from Chicago to ransack Des Moines. Reading this in 2008, it sounded preposterous, the kind of thing that no one could believe in the country that was about to elect Barack Obama. But Kelly, under the guise of journalism, is working to create a rumor like this in 2010. 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.