Fox, Weigel, the New Black Panther Party, and the Missing Link


I’ve been feeling alienated from politics recently, and a faux controversy like the one Fox produced on the NBPP is one of the reasons. It just seems so tired. Dave Weigel is guest blogging for Sullivan this week, and he’s weighed in. The top part is him quoting an exchange between Sean Hannity and Malik Shabazz, who is a leader in the New Black Panther Party:

HANNITY: Do you believe G.D. [God damn] America? Is that your view?

SHABAZZ: I think that’s too simplistic of a question.

HANNITY: That’s not simplistic, it’s the right question because these are the words of Jeremiah Wright.

This isn’t journalism. No one cares what the NBPP thinks about anything. This is minstrelsy, with a fringe moron set up like a bowling pin for Hannity to knock down. And that’s the role the NBPP plays on Fox, frequently.

Kelly’s obsession with the current NBPP controversy is something else, though. No one disputes that two members of the Panthers lurked outside of a heavily black, Democratic polling place in Philadelphia on election day 2008, and no one thinks this was a smart or legal thing for them to do. Police were called to the scene to disperse them, and King Samir Shabazz, who was filmed holding (though not using) a nightstick, lost the right to be a poll-watcher for the next election cycle. It was the only recorded incident like this in the nation; nearly two years later, no voter has come forward and said he or she was prevented from voting by the Panthers. And in his publicity tour to attack the DOJ over the Panther case — a second-rate case against a fifth-rate hate group — J. Christian Adams has been unable to name any case in which the DOJ was presented with a crime committed by black people and chose not to prosecute it.

Let’s take that first paragraph. Weigel is an admirable man who’s done fantastic work, no doubt, so this isn’t so much a criticism of him. Personally, I can’t really bring myself down the “Fox News is propaganda!!11! DON’T YOU SEE?!?!” route anymore. Weigel isn’t being hyperbolic or overzealous, as, say, Olbermann is, but why even bother to make the point?

Weigel is starting the position that he has to refute Sean Hannity as a journalist. For the time being, I can’t do that anymore. I can’t be outraged, and I can’t pretend that anything on Fox (or most cable news, but especially Fox) is worth my or anyone else’s time when it’s under the pretext of journalism. Outfoxed came out six years ago, amid a host of other liberal documentaries. Since the inception of Fox News, it’s been called out for at best being right-leaning, though most often as a propaganda machine. This is why Sarah Palin will talk to Fox and no one else, and that’s true of many GOP politicians.

There’s no reason to complain anymore. If you don’t see Fox as biased, mendacious, and racist, then you don’t want to see it that way. People are stupid, Dave, and America is a center-right leaning, extreme-bullshit loving country. It’s why you got fired, and it’s why you hear people complain about the deficit while simultaneously complaining about job creation. Get over it.

(although one quick note: It’s interesting that you always hear about mainstream media being liberal, and yet the same people brag about how Fox gets the best ratings. )


Anyway, the point I was going to make is that there is a very real problem with violent intimidation in this country, and there was a problem with the Bush Department of Justice–the very same Department of Justice that dismissed the criminal case against the NBPP. Of course, the Bush DoJ famously fired and failed to hire lawyers with a non-conservative background. So therefore, the deck was already stacked against liberals in an illegal manner. So even a group that consisted mostly of conservatives decided this case was worthy of dismissal.

But if we want to talk about intimidation, it’s saddening for me to see that no one wants to compare the alleged (and indeed, not criminal) intimidation of the NBPP vs. the intimidation–in the form of harassment, assault, murder and bombing— of anti-abortion activists against innocent women seeking a legal medical procedure. Indeed, anti-abortion harassment has even entered the doctors’ office, with states passing laws requiring ultrasounds be done and statements be read.

It’s hardly worth stating that Fox isn’t presenting news like this—in fact, their star calls slain doctor George Tiller a murderer:

Again, this isn’t really about Fox. We know what they do. It isn’t even about most mainstream media—I expected, frankly, bloggers, to make the connection. It hasn’t happened to my knowledge until now, and it’s a reason that I fear for abortion rights in this country.


Here’s the video of Kirsten Powers and Megyn Kelly sparring over the NBPP case. I’m linking because it’s making the rounds; I don’t think it’s particularly stunning and Kelly seems in control the entire time. This is not a victory for liberals:

2 Responses to “Fox, Weigel, the New Black Panther Party, and the Missing Link”

  1. 1 silentbeep

    “People are stupid, Dave, and America is a center-right leaning, extreme-bullshit loving country. It’s why you got fired, and it’s why you hear people complain about the deficit while simultaneously complaining about job creation. Get over it.”

    He gets paid not to get over it.

  2. 2 poliology

    Heh, we don’t know that for certain anymore. But yea, fair point 🙂

    I do wonder how one just looks that in the face every day though. It’s so exhausting.

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