Fox's Dobbs Uses Debunked Right-Wing Myth To Attack DOJ

Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

Even after the attack was debunked, Fox Business host Lou Dobbs has repeatedly claimed that the Department of Justice helped pay for anti-Zimmerman protests.

On the July 17 edition of his show, Dobbs criticized civil rights leader Al Sharpton for organizing 100 protests around the country in the wake of the George Zimmerman's acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin. Guest Michael Goodwin alleged that "I wouldn't doubt that somewhere the Justice Department's going to be helping him with the tour." Dobbs responded by claiming that you know that "the Justice Department paid to help demonstrations against George Zimmerman last year":

The attack is based on the release of documents by the right-wing website Judicial Watch, which used the documents to falsely accuse the DOJ of supporting anti-Zimmerman protests. The documents released by Judicial Watch do not show that the DOJ was "organizing anti-Zimmerman rallies" -- only that a unit within the DOJ, the Community Relations Service, was providing support and technical assistance for the protests to prevent violence, not organize protests.

The Miami Herald pointed out that the unit dispatched to Sanford, Florida, worked to "defuse community anger hardening along the fault lines of race, color and national origin":

[I]n the weeks after the Feb. 26, 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin, a city representative picked up the phone and called Thomas Battles, a quiet force who has worked almost three decades mending racially damaged communities.

The federal mediator works for the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS), a stealth federal operation that works to defuse community anger hardening along the fault lines of race, color and national origin. The mediators are called the peacemakers.

The CRS corroborates this claim, according to the site, their services performed in Sanford are only deployed "when requested or accepted by the parties":

The Community Relations Service is the Department's "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony.

[...]

For more than 45 years, CRS has been asked to provide its experienced mediators to help local communities resolve conflicts and disturbances relating to race, color, or national origin. Each year CRS' highly skilled conciliators bring hundreds of community-wide conflicts to peaceful closure across America and its territories.

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