An hour and a half into today's broadcast of Fox News' America Live, after two days of completely ignoring the story, Megyn Kelly finally got to reporting on the Office of Professional Responsibility's statement that they had completed their review of the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther Party case and determined that DOJ's attorneys engaged in no "professional wrongdoing." For 20 seconds.
The brief reference to the OPR statement came in the middle of a one-minute-four-second news brief which largely focused on Rep. Frank Wolf's (R-VA) demand to the DOJ for documents related to the case:
KELLY: Well, new developments today in the New Black Panther voter intimidation case. Congressman Frank Wolf now giving the Department of Justice a 30-day deadline to produce documents on why it essentially dropped major portions of that voter intimidation case. You may remember on Election Day in 2008 members of the New Black Panther Party were caught on videotape holding a nightstick and hurling racial taunts at white and black voters as they entered a polling station in Philadelphia. The Department of Justice decided internally, in connection with an internal probe, that no wrongdoing occurred, and that neither race nor politics played any role - no politics, I should say -- in the dismissal of those charges. Now, that's from the DOJ's Office of Professional Conduct, clearing essentially the lawyers in the case. Now that the DOJ 's investigation is over, Congressman Wolf is pushing Congress to get their hands on the documents. He's the chair of the subcommittee on Commerce and Justice that's been looking into this case.
So if you're following:
J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky, the chief proponents of the New Black Panther Party manufactured scandal, have branded as "uber-political" "militant leftist partisan[s]," "hyper-Democratic loyalist[s]," and "liberal ideologues" those who disagree with their interpretation of the Justice Department's handling of the case. This is ironic given their own partisan and ideological records.
From the April 1 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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The Washington Times editorial board writes today:
The Justice Department continues to do its best to whitewash its involvement in the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. The department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) wrote Tuesday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar S. Smith to say it found no "misconduct" in Obama administration political appointees overruling career attorneys in dropping most charges and penalties against the individuals who stood menacingly outside a polling place in military-style uniforms, holding nightsticks.
The text of OPR's report, which took 19 months to complete, remains under wraps. That's not surprising considering the office has long been a hotbed for liberal attorneys.
Two weeks ago, former DOJ attorney and GOP activist J. Christian Adams wrote :
The New Black Panther fix is in. I have learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren't going to be happy. In essence, it will adopt the outrageous position of Attorney General Eric Holder when he testified to Congressman Frank Wolf's Appropriations subcommittee a few weeks ago: all this fuss about the New Black Panther dismissal does a disservice to his people, or to quote the attorney general at the hearing, "my people."
Technically, reports produced by OPR are never released to the public. If the report is leaked, it will be a sure sign the fix is in.
So let me get this straight. Two weeks ago, proponents of the absurd theory that the decision by senior career attorneys at DOJ to drop charges against several of the defendants in the New Black Panther Party case was motivated by race were claiming that if the OPR report was leaked, it would be evidence of liberal bias at DOJ. Now that the report hasn't been released, the fabulists are claiming that that is evidence of liberal bias at DOJ.
This is just getting sad.
On today's edition of his Fox News show, Glenn Beck asserted that "members of [President Obama's] administration ... openly deliver blatantly insensitive and highly out-of-line anti-Semitic comments." Beck pointed to only one supposed anti-Semitic comment from one member of the Obama administration. And as it turns out, that comment in no way backs up Beck's outrageous smear.
Beck aired Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan's statement that "in all my travels, the city I have come to love most is Al Quds, Jerusalem." Beck stated that Brennan was "using the Arabic term for Jerusalem, which kind of means to the Arab world that Jerusalem doesn't exist." Beck also said: "Al Quds. That's a slam to anybody who is Jewish and lives in Israel."
Beck did get one thing right: Al Quds is indeed "the Arabic term for Jerusalem." But his claim that by using that term Brennan was engaging in anti-Semitism is pure hogwash. And it's not even new hogwash.
As we documented when Beck and others in the right-wing media freaked out about Brennan's remarks in May 2010, prominent political figures -- including current Israeli Minister of Defense and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak -- have referred to Jerusalem as "Al Quds." So did Marshall J. Breger, President Ronald Reagan's liaison to the Jewish community.
In addition, a page on Bar-Ilan University's website states, "According to the historian Moshe Gil the current Arabic name for Jerusalem -- Al Quds, similar to the Hebrew HaQadosh -- 'the Holy' began being commonly used in the 11th century and even appears in Jewish documents found in the Cairo Geniza."
So there's nothing to support Beck's charge that Obama administration officials are delivering "anti-Semitic comments." (As an aside, it takes real chutzpah for Beck -- who has repeatedly promoted the work of anti-Semitic writers and used anti-Semitic stereotypes to smear George Soros -- to throw around charges of anti-Semitism.)
One would hope that a news organization would not let its hosts make an accusation of anti-Semitism against public officials unless there was some actual evidence of anti-Semitism. But this is Fox News and Glenn Beck we're talking about.
If Megyn Kelly wants people to pretend that she is a journalist, can't she at least try to play one on TV?
Kelly, of course, is a touchstone of the so-called "news division" that puts the "news" in Fox News.
It was in that role last year that Kelly eagerly promoted "explosive new allegations" that the Obama Justice Department was racist, as evidenced by their supposed refusal to protect white voters from intimidation at the hands of minorities. Kelly bragged how she helped Fox News drag the rest of the media "kicking and screaming" to cover the preposterous claims being pushed by right-wing activists with an axe to grind. Kelly alone hyped the story during 45 segments in 2 weeks, covering 3 hours and 39 minutes of airtime.
I imagine Megyn Kelly, for one, will not return to this particular scandal -- a scandal that she has been hyping with obvious relish for some time now -- very often in the future.
Indeed. In four hours of on-air coverage since the new developments broke, Kelly has reported on kids who got stuck in the mud, a YouTube video of two girls in a fistfight, a missing cobra, AARP's support two years ago for health care reform, and - I'm not making this up - explosive new charges that the Obama administration is insufficiently transparent. The closest Kelly has come to the New Black Panthers was a report on controversy surrounding Oscar-winning film The Black Swan.
Kelly seems content to cover everything except an investigation that essentially discredited the non-scandal she flogged over, and over, and over again last summer.
Here's Megyn Kelly's report on the last night's news that the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility has concluded an extensive investigation and determined that Obama administration DOJ attorneys engaged in no "professional wrongdoing" in their handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case:
Oh, I'm sorry, that's actually her report on the allegation of a "studio cover-up" about how much dancing Natalie Portman did in the making of the movie Black Swan (In what I am sure is a coincidence, Black Swan was produced by fellow Newscorp affiliate Fox Searchlight Pictures, and the film's DVD was released yesterday). Kelly offered absolutely no coverage today of OPR's complete dismissal of the story that last year she essentially tried to make into the Watergate to her Woodward.
From the March 30 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:
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Earlier this month, GOP activist and New Black Panther Party provocateur J. Christian Adams took to Pajamas Media to breathlessly report that he had "learned through sources inside and outside the Department of Justice that the long-awaited internal report on the New Black Panther voter intimidation dismissal is done, and sensible Americans aren't going to be happy." Based on those "sources," Adams wrote of the then-pending report from Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (emphasis added):
What does the OPR report conclude? Indications are that it will conclude that nobody did anything improper in dismissing the case. But it apparently goes even further and concludes that the case was brought because of racial bias, or at least with an insensitivity to Mr. Holder's "people." In doing so, signs are that the authors of the report are perfectly willing to adopt some of the favorite lines of the extreme left-wing blogosphere about people who worked on the case and the principle of equally enforcing the law.
Americans know a whitewash when they see it, especially a racially unfair one.
That's right, Adams' DOJ sources were supposedly telling Adams that a branch of the federal government was about to officially brand him as a racist. I guess that's the sort of thing you can believe when you spend your time peddling the fantasy that DOJ is engaged in pattern of racially-charged corruption.
Michael Yaki, who as a Democratic member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission led the opposition to the Commission's flawed investigation of the New Black Panther Party case, has released a statement indicating that the investigation by the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility demonstrates that "there was nothing sinister or evidence of any racial bias" in the Obama DOJ's handling of the case.
Yaki, who is currently awaiting reappointment also criticizes the USCCR's "so-called 'investigation'" as "a partisan-driven witch-hunt" and "a complete waste of money."
In a letter today to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, OPR's Robin Ashton wrote that her investigation into senior career officials' handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party found that they "did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately." The investigation also found "no evidence" that their decisions were improperly affected by political considerations or by the race of the defendants.
Yaki's full statement reads:
The OPR findings affirm what I have stated over and over again: there was nothing sinister or evidence of any racial bias in the handling of the New Black Panther Party case by the Department of Justice under Eric Holder, and that the year and a half so-called "investigation' by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was a partisan-driven witch-hunt long on inflammatory rhetoric and desperately short on facts and a complete waste of taxpayer money.
In a letter today to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Robin Ashton of the Justice Departments Office of Professional Responsibility, wrote that her investigation found that in their handling of the voter intimidation case against members of the New Black Panther Party, senior career attorneys at DOJ "did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately." The investigation also found "no evidence" that their decisions were improperly affected by political considerations or by the race of the defendants.
For nearly two years, the right wing has been obsessed with the decision by those senior career attorneys to drop civil charges against three defendants affiliated with the New Black Panther Party who allegedly intimidated voters at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008. This fixation became stronger last year, when two DOJ attorneys on the trial team who are linked the Bush administration's politicization of the DOJ claimed in media appearances and in testimony that the DOJ's actions were part of a pattern of racially-charged corruption at the department, in which lawyers there refused to protect white voters from intimidation by minorities.
These allegations received a ready airing on Fox News, but they simply never added up: There was simply no evidence that this was anything more than a disagreement between career attorneys on how to apply a rarely-used provision of the Voting Rights Act; the Obama DOJ did get obtain an injunction against one of the defendants in the case; it also took action in another case to protect white voters from intimidation by black political leaders; and the Bush administration had failed to take action in a similar case in which Latino voters were allegedly intimidated by whites.
As the story dissolved, a broad and bipartisan group of media and political figures dismissed the supposed scandal, with the Republican vice-chair of the U. S. Civil Rights Commission condemning that partisan group's investigationas an attempt "to topple the administration."
Nonetheless, there is little hope that the right-wing bitter-enders who have been pushing this story will accept the conclusions of OPR. Last week, the foremost proponents of the New Black Panthers conspiracy, J. Christian Adams and Hans Von Spakovsky, began claiming that the "fix is in" because Adams' sources at DOJ had said that OPR would find no wrongdoing on the part of the attorneys who overruled Adams and his trial team. The pair also began what will likely become a right-wing drumbeat intended to undermine Ashton and OPR.
It's worth pointing out that every new revelation in this case has only served to diminish their own credibility and highlight their partisan motives.
I really wish Hans Von Spakovsky would make up his mind.
In a report that aired today on NPR's Morning Edition, the Bush-DOJ-official-turned-right-wing-apparatchik complains that the Obama Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is no longer "filing the really traditional kinds of cases the division has always gone after":
CARRIE JOHNSON (CORRESPONDENT): Conservatives have made no secret of how they feel about the Obama administration's approach to civil rights. Republican analysts have been pointing out examples of what they call major overreach for over two years. Hans von Spakovsky worked at the Civil Rights Division in the Bush Justice Department.
VON SPAKOVSKY: Instead of filing the really traditional kinds of cases the division has always gone after, where there's real discrimination going on, they are trying to push and stretch the laws to reach areas that the laws were not intended to cover.
So "filing the really traditional kinds of cases" is a good thing. Right?
That's funny, because I recall right-wingers claiming that when an Obama DOJ appointee used similar language to describe the kind of cases she wanted filed, it was evidence of her sinister unwillingness to protect white people. You know who said that? Hans Von Spakovsky.
Bush administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey has regularly used platforms on the op-ed pages of major newspapers and as a guest on cable and broadcast news programs to serve as an attack dog seeking to undermine President Obama, his administration, and in particular Attorney General Eric Holder on a wide variety of issues. Most recently, Mukasey has slammed the Obama Justice department for bringing a discrimination lawsuit against a school on behalf of a Muslim teacher who resigned after her request for time off to make hajj, a religious pilgrimage observant Muslims must take, was denied.
From the March 25 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Bill O'Reilly, Jeanine Pirro, Gretchen Carlson are ridiculing and attacking the Justice Department for suing a school district for discrimination on behalf of a Muslim teacher who resigned after her request for time off to make hajj, a religious pilgrimage observant Muslims must take, was denied. But the Justice Department is acting on the recommendation of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which previously engaged in a similar lawsuit during the Bush administration, and even Fox's Megyn Kelly has acknowledged that the DOJ may have a case.