[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
Everyone -- even Abigail Thernstrom -- knows what Fox News' endless flogging of the fake "New Black Panthers" controversy is really all about:
"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."More than that: It's a classic case of race-baiting, using the incendiary rhetoric of the NBPP to whip up white racial fears and resentments. It is, in other words, a Fox specialty.
O'Reilly was flogging the story again last night, ignoring the inconvenient realities of the matter in order to claim that Obama's Justice Department under Eric Holder is discriminating against white people. O'Reilly wrapped it up with this observation:
O'Reilly: Everybody knows that if a Klan guy was outside a polling place with a club, shouting racial remarks, he would have been prosecuted. So you can draw your own conclusions here.Oh, really, Bill?
Because a Klan guy in Arizona that same election was seen outside a polling place not just with a club, but with a gun -- and the same voting rights section ignored it!
We reported on this awhile back:
Leading off the pack is a fellow named Roy Warden. Roy is a well-known Latino-hating racist who is fond of threatening to kill his critics and anyone who opposes him -- and as you can see from the video, in fact packs a holstered pistol to all public events.
Warden is especially noteworthy because, just like those New Black Panthers, Roy Warden was in fact the subject of a DOJ voter-intimidation investigation -- and they indeed decided not to prosecute him based on a lack of evidence, just as in the NBPP case. Media Matters has more:
In his May 14 testimony before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the DOJ's civil rights division, highlighted a case that completely undermines the notion that the DOJ's decisions in the Black Panthers case were unprecedented or racially motivated. Perez testified that in 2006, the DOJ "declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation" "when three well-known anti-immigrant advocates affiliated with the Minutemen, one of whom was carrying a gun, allegedly intimidated Latino voters at a polling place by approaching several persons, filming them, and advocating and printing voting materials in Spanish." [U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 5/14/10]O'Reilly, incidentally, is trying to claim that Christopher Coates has no ideological ax to grind -- though in fact Coates is a converted right-wing ideologue with a serious ax to grind, based on his demotion within the Voting Rights Section. Coates, during his tenure with the Bush administration, in fact did an incredibly poor job of protecting the voting rights of blacks and other minorities, often overlooking their complaints in order to please his bosses upstairs -- which is why he got the boot.
Anti-immigrant activist in 2006 case reportedly had "9mm Glock strapped to his side" at polling place. A November 8, 2006, Austin American-Statesman article reported (from the Nexis database): "In Arizona, Roy Warden, an anti-immigration activist with the Minutemen, and a handful of supporters staked out a Tucson precinct and questioned Hispanic voters at the polls to determine whether they spoke English." The article continued:
Armed with a 9mm Glock automatic strapped to his side, Warden said he planned to photograph Hispanic voters entering polls in an effort to identify illegal immigrants and felons.Arizona Daily Star: "[A]nti-immigrant activist" "stood by with a firearm in a holster." A November 8, 2006, Arizona Daily Star article reported (from Nexis):
A crew of anti-immigrant activists, meanwhile, visited several South Side polling places in what one poll-watch group called a blatant attempt to intimidate Hispanic voters.Tucson Citizen: Incident "reported to the FBI." A November 8, 2006, Tucson Citizen article (from Nexis) reported that Mexican American Legal Defense Fund lawyer Diego Bernal "said he reported the incident to the FBI." The article also reported that Pima County elections director Brad Nelson said: "If intimidation or coercion was going on out there, even though it might have been outside the 75-foot limit, it's something we take very seriously, and we'll be looking into it."
Anti-immigrant crusader Russ Dove circulated an English-only petition, while a cameraman filmed the voters he approached and Roy Warden stood by with a firearm in a holster.
Diego Bernal, a staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), said the trio was trying to intimidate Hispanic voters. "A gun, a camera, a clipboard before you even get to the polls - if that's not voter intimidation, what is?" he asked.
Bernal said his group encountered the men at the Precinct 49 polling place at South 12th Avenue and West Michigan Street and began documenting the scene with their cameras. "There was an interesting period where they were taking pictures of us taking pictures of them."
And now we're supposed to consider his testimony definitive? I don't think so.
Fox News, in the meantime, is clearly playing the race card. Funny how readily they like to accuse others of that, isn't it?