Does Mediaite understand what the New Black Panther story is about?

Blog ››› ››› SIMON MALOY

This is beyond maddening.

Mediaite's John Bershad has a piece up this morning attacking Keith Olbermann for, as he puts it, blaming the New Black Panther case on President Bush. Bershad's complaint is that Olbermann, in pointing out that the Bush Justice Department determined the voter intimidation charges against the New Black Panthers did not "constitute a prosecutable violation," was incorrectly implying that "they were the ones who dropped all the charges." He then launches into a pox-on-both-houses routine, claiming that both Fox News and MSNBC are "exaggerating" the story to fit their own ideological agenda.

Here's the thing: Keith Olbermann was not "blaming" the Bush administration for failing to prosecute the New Black Panthers. He was debunking the central accusation driving the New Black Panther story on Fox News -- namely, that the Obama administration dropped the case for, in the words of Fox News' Megyn Kelly, "political and racial reasons." When matched against the undisputed fact that the Bush administration declined to pursue the case and the undisputed fact that the Obama administration obtained judgment against one of the New Black Panthers, that accusation crumbles.

This isn't a case of two groups of partisans blaming the other party's administration for a controversial legal decision. This is all about the conservative media completely disregarding the facts as they stand to accuse the first black president and attorney general of being racially biased.

Funnily enough, Bershad acknowledged that the facts Olbermann brought to bear against Fox News should "take some wind out of their sails" and that Olbermann had a "good point" about the "uncomfortable racial tinge" to the network's coverage, but nonetheless hyped his colleague Steve Krakauer's crusade to force the media to follow Fox News' lead in covering the New Black Panther story.

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Diversity & Discrimination, Race & Ethnicity
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