Race & Ethnicity

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  • Trump Supporters Are Using Fox’s Contrived New Black Panther Scandal From 2010 To Defend His “Rigged Election” Claim

    Blog ››› ››› BRENNAN SUEN

    Conservative media and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are revisiting the debunked right-wing media pseudo-scandal of voter intimidation by the New Black Panther Party to defend Trump’s assertion that “large scale voter fraud” will affect the election.

    After the 2008 election of President Barack Obama, a video went viral of two members of the New Black Panther Party standing outside a Philadelphia polling station on Election Day. One was a registered Democratic poll watcher; the other held a nightstick. Under President George W. Bush, the Department of Justice (DOJ) opened an investigation into the incident after Republican poll watchers complained (no voters ever alleged that they were intimidated by the men). Later, under Obama’s administration, the DOJ obtained a default judgment against the member carrying the nightstick and dropped the case against the poll watcher, the organization, and its leader.

    Bush’s U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, which at the time was packed with conservative activists, responded to the conclusion of the case by opening an investigation, even though the Republican vice chairwoman of the commission called the case “very small potatoes” and criticized the “overheated rhetoric filled with insinuations and unsubstantiated charges.” Nevertheless, J. Christian Adams, an activist Republican member of the commission, went on a lengthy crusade against Obama’s Justice Department for dropping the charges, resigning and claiming the decision showed unprecedented, racially charged corruption.

    Adams found a friendly and eager platform for his position in Fox News, particularly with host Megyn Kelly. In 2010, Fox News devoted at least 95 segments and more than eight hours of airtime in two weeks to the phony scandal, including more than 3.5 hours on Kelly’s America Live. Adams admitted that he had no first-hand knowledge of the conversations leading to the decision.

    One year later, an internal investigation at the Justice Department found that “politics played no role in the handling” of the case and that “department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment.” Fox News spent only 88 seconds covering the debunking of a phony scandal of its own creation. Kelly spent only 20 seconds of her show covering the report.

    But the damage was already done, and the obsessive coverage of the non-event has bubbled back up in the 2016 presidential election.

    On October 17, Trump tweeted, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day.” As they tried to play defense for their candidate, right-wing media figures invoked the faux New Black Panther scandal. CNN’s paid Trump surrogates Kayleigh McEnany and Scottie Nell Hughes got in on the action, with McEnany claiming that Trump “doesn’t want a scenario where there's New Black Panthers outside with guns, essentially like intimidating people from coming into the polls” and Hughes saying that “voter suppression happened when the Black Panthers stood outside the election room.” (CNN’s Kristen Powers retorted, “There was not a single complaint from a single voter.”)

    Conservative radio hosts joined in, with Mike Gallagher asserting that “in Philadelphia we know all about the New Black Panther movement and what they did in Philadelphia at the polling places,” and Howie Carr accusing the Obama administration of “refus[ing] to prosecute” them for “roaming outside polling places, precincts in Philadelphia with baseball bats and threatening white people.”

    Key figures in creating the scandal have also resurfaced to defend Trump’s voter fraud narrative. Fox & Friends hosted J. Christian Adams to push the myth that “dead people are voting … and it’s going to affect the election” (in reality, claims of dead voter fraud are “plagued by recurring methodological errors” and actual instances of this kind of fraud are exceedingly uncommon). The Trump campaign also hired Mike Roman as head of a “nationwide election protection operation.” Roman is a Republican political consultant who shopped the 2008 video to Fox News, worked with Adams to push the scandal, and offered to contact every Republican voter in the Philadelphia precinct to determine if any were intimidated at the polling location.

    The New Black Panther Party pseudo-scandal’s resurgence is only the latest example of how obsessive right-wing coverage of a comprehensively debunked myth, followed by scant coverage of news that does not fit the narrative, can allow a myth to pass as truth for years. Fox’s infatuation with Benghazi still continues to this day and, like the New Black Panther Party issue and other myths, it is frequently revived to attack Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton or bolster ridiculous assertions by Trump. By bringing the overblown and debunked New Black Panther story back into the mainstream, Trump backers in the media are grasping at straws to defend his rigged election nonsense.

  • Trump Ally Roger Stone A Repeat Guest On White Nationalist-Supporting Radio Show

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Longtime Donald Trump ally and adviser Roger Stone has repeatedly appeared on a radio program that is hosted by Sam Bushman. Bushman “proud[ly]” syndicates a leading white nationalist radio program, participated in a pro-Trump white nationalist radio ad, and said he agrees that “white people should be able to advocate for their race, for their cause.”

    Stone appeared on the October 20 broadcast of Liberty RoundTable with host Bushman. Bushman is the owner of the Liberty News Radio Network, which syndicates The Political Cesspool with host James Edwards. Bushman is also a regular guest host for The Political Cesspool, including as recently as last weekend.

    The Political Cesspool’s statement of principles says it represents "a philosophy that is pro-White." One of its principles reads, "We wish to revive the White birthrate above replacement level fertility and beyond to grow the percentage of Whites in the world relative to other races." Edwards is an acolyte of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and he “has probably done more than any of his contemporaries on the American radical right to publicly promote neo-Nazis, Holocaust deniers, raging anti-Semites and other extremists," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Edwards has written: “For blacks in the Americas, slavery is the greatest thing that ever happened to them. Unfortunately, it's the worst thing that ever happened to white Americans”; “MLK's dream is our nightmare”; and “Interracial sex is white genocide.”

    Bushman has defended Edwards from criticism, stating that “we are personal family friends and I will not back away from James Edwards no matter what they say. He is a personal dear friend. And I vouch for him a thousand percent.” He added of Edwards: “He will appear on Liberty RoundTable going forward. I will appear on his show going forward. I syndicate his show and absolutely am grateful and proud of doing so. And I will not back away one bit.”

    Bushman also stated that he agrees with Edwards on his pro-white advocacy:

    SAM BUSHMAN: One of the aspects of James Edwards, among a million other things, is that he believes that white people should be able to advocate for their race, for their cause, for their heritage as well. He does believe in protecting his heritage, preserving his people, if you will, European ancestry. And I think that I agree with him.

    Bushman added that he doesn’t believe that Edwards is a white supremacist and that the media is smearing Edwards by labeling him as such. Bushman stated that while he doesn’t agree with Edwards on everything, “we agree on the fundamentals.” Bushman also claimed he has “never, ever promoted white supremacy in any way and I never will, because I don’t believe it” because all men are created equal.

    Stone appeared on Bushman’s October 20 program to promote Trump’s candidacy and his performance during the third presidential debate. Stone also again claimed that Democrats may try to steal the election.

    In between the multiple segments of Stone’s guest spot, the show aired a pro-Trump advertisement read by Edwards for the white nationalist American National Super PAC. Bushman participated in the ad, as he read the legal disclaimer at its conclusion. 

    Back in March, Donald Trump Jr. was heavily criticized when he appeared on Bushman’s program because he was interviewed by Edwards, who was a guest and questioner on the show. Edwards separately interviewed several members of Congress and Trump campaign official Gary Berntsen at the Republican National Convention.

    Bushman hosted Eric Trump on his October 6 program. Trump adviser Stephen Moore has also appeared on the program. The Trump campaign defended Eric Trump’s appearance on the program, telling CNN: "Liberty Roundtable is a conservative program heard on radio stations and online, and dedicated to promoting the principles of the American founding. We would never associate with any program that was even wrongly perceived to be affiliated with a message of hate."

    Stone previously appeared on the October 3 edition of Liberty RoundTable.

    Stone has a history of spewing racist commentary from his Twitter account. His book The Clintons' War on Women is dedicated to and repeatedly cites research from the late Victor Thorn, who wrote The Holocaust Hoax Exposed and blames a "Jewish plot" for the 9/11 attacks. Stone promoted the book in an interview with Thorn for the American Free Press, an anti-Semitic publication founded by "one of the most influential American anti-Semitic propagandists" who used his "publishing to denigrate Jews and other minorities and galvanize the movement to deny the Holocaust."

    Members of the white nationalist/“alt-right” movement have been heavily supporting Trump’s campaign, and the candidate and his team have been courting members of the movement, including appearances in white nationalist media, refusing to denounce them, and retweeting their messages.

  • Trump’s Neo-Nazi “Alt-Right” Supporters Suggest “Violent” “Race War” Response To So-Called Rigged Election

    ››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that the November elections will be “rigged” against him has resulted in suggestions of post-election violence from his “alt-right” supporters. Two leading neo-Nazi websites have suggested that if the election is rigged against Trump, there will be an “uprising -- violent or otherwise -- from the American people” and an “open race war” necessitating guns.

  • Debate Moderator Chris Wallace Has Been Wildly Inconsistent In How He Talks About Immigration

    Blog ››› ››› CRISTINA LóPEZ G.

    Fox’s Chris Wallace is slated to moderate the third and last presidential debate in Las Vegas, NV, on October 19, and has chosen immigration as one of the topics the candidates will be discussing. Throughout his tenure Wallace has been inconsistent in the way he’s framed the issue, at times pushing culturally incompetent slurs and using the language of immigration reform opponents, and at others stepping up to criticize Trump for “demoniz[ing]” Mexican immigrants. Which Wallace will show up at the debate stage on Wednesday?

    Even though immigration is the “cornerstone” of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign, moderators have yet to bring it up at a general election debate. Wallace has announced he will be the first moderator to do so. While Wallace’s conflicts of interest as a moderator are a problem in their own right -- for two decades Wallace worked for Trump ally and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, and he defended Ailes amid the sexual harassment allegations that caused Ailes to be ousted from his position running Fox News -- having him frame immigration for discussion among the candidates will also bring its own set of problems. Those issues stem from Wallace’s own inconsistencies on the topic and his promised passivity in the face of a candidate whose immigration positions have been described as “impractical,” “clueless,” and “inhumane.”

    When it comes to the immigration debate, Wallace belongs to the camp of those who still use culturally insensitive slurs like “illegals” to refer to undocumented immigrants. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) has long condemned that term for its dehumanizing nature, and both the term “illegals” and “illegal immigrant” violate current Associated Press journalistic standards. Wallace has also previously embraced the language of those who oppose immigration reform, asking whether creating a path to citizenship would be “amnesty.”

    While moderating a Republican presidential debate in August 2015, Wallace neutrally introduced an immigration question about Kate’s Law without disclosing the active role Fox News had played in proposing and pushing for the anti-immigrant federal legislation. The proposed law, which sought to establish mandatory minimum sentences for undocumented immigrants who re-enter the country after deportation, failed to pass.

    On the other hand, Wallace was critical of Trump’s vitriolic rhetoric against Mexican immigrants during a June 2015 appearance on KFTK’s Allman in the Morning, taking a more compassionate stance by saying it’s not “right” to “demonize a group of people”:

    CHRIS WALLACE: I vastly prefer what Jeb Bush -- and I’m not in the tank to Jeb Bush on this, but I vastly prefer what he's saying, which is, which I think is the truth, which is that people come to this country -- and I'm not saying that they should. I mean, a great country has to be able to defend its borders, but people don't come to the United States because they're criminals. I think most people come to the United States because they think they'll be able to provide for their families and have better lives, and to demonize a group of people is -- I don't think it's right.

    Many Latinos in the media have been clamoring for a substantive discussion about immigration during the presidential debates, but given Wallace’s announcement that he won’t be pushing back on candidates while moderating, the stage on Wednesday night might just be another platform for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric.

  • Will Megyn Kelly Stand Up Against Donald Trump’s Racial Voter Intimidation?

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Megyn Kelly devoted weeks of her Fox News program in 2010 to pushing fraudulent claims that the Justice Department engaged in racially charged corruption by failing to act against two members of the New Black Panther Party who had supposedly intimidated voters at a Philadelphia polling station during the 2008 election. Will she devote similar coverage to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s declarations that his overwhelmingly white supporters should engage in “racial voter intimidation on Election Day” to prevent nonexistent voter fraud?

    On Election Day 2008, two members of the New Black Panther Party stood outside a polling station in Philadelphia dressed in all-black clothing displaying the group’s characteristic insignia. One carried a nightstick; the other was a registered Democratic poll watcher. After video of the pair went viral and Republican poll watchers complained, the Justice Department opened an investigation. While no individual ever came forward to say they had been intimidated from voting, the Obama Justice Department sought and received default judgment against the New Black Panther member who had carried the nightstick, dropping initial cases against the other one, as well as the organization and its leader.

    This should have been a local news story detailing a single interaction at one of the tens of thousands of polling places across the country. But because the defendants, the new president elected that day, and the attorney general he would nominate to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ) were all black, it became a cause celebre on the right.

    The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, whose board had been packed with conservatives under President George W. Bush, opened an investigation, even as the group’s vice chair warned that the case was “small potatoes.” And J. Christian Adams, a Republican activist who had been hired as part of the Bush administration’s effort to politicize the Justice Department, left government and publicly declared that the case was an indication of racially charged corruption at President Obama’s DOJ.

    Adams would find a ready champion for his baseless accusations at Fox News: Megyn Kelly. Days after he first leveled his allegations in a Washington Times op-ed, he sat for a two-part interview with the Fox daytime anchor. Those were the first of an astonishing 45 segments Kelly would run on the story over the next two weeks, totaling more than three and a half hours of airtime. The rest of the network would support her effort to manufacture a scandal, with Fox evening shows devoting an additional 50 segments to the story over the same period. A year later, she would devote just 20 seconds to an independent review of the case, which concluded that no wrongdoing had occurred.

    Critics pointed out that that Kelly’s obsession with the case crossed the line into “embarrassing race-baiting” and a “minstrel show,” which resulted in “fear and distrust of their DOJ [caused] by round-the-clock videos of one racist idiot brandishing a nightstick for a couple hours in 2008.” Even on her own show, Fox personalities criticized Kelly for “doing the scary black man thing” and noted that she had no evidence for her claims of misconduct by a supposedly corrupt or racially biased Obama administration.

    Kelly’s obsession with nonexistent voter intimidation supposedly perpetrated by black men raises questions about how she will react now that the Republican nominee for president is suggesting that his supporters engage in a nationwide campaign of voter intimidation in minority neighborhoods.

    Trump has been warning his supporters since at least August that the “election is going to be rigged” and that they need to be “watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.” During a rally earlier this month in central Pennsylvania, he revived the argument, urging his fans to band together and “watch your polling booths, because I hear too many stories about Pennsylvania, certain areas. I hear too many bad stories and we can’t lose an election because of you know what I’m talking about.” On Twitter, he has warned of “large scale voter fraud” at “many polling places.”

    As Slate chief political correspondent Jamelle Bouie has noted, Trump’s “rhetorical time bombs... could be the catalyst for actual intimidation and violence, before and after Election Day. And if that violence and intimidation strikes, it will be against the chief targets of Trump’s campaign: people of color.”

    During the debate over the New Black Panthers case, Kelly furiously denied claims that she was less concerned about voter intimidation against people of color than intimidation against white people. And in the past, she has openly admitted that there is no “overwhelming” evidence of voter fraud in U.S. elections. Those positions require her to denounce Trump’s push for voter intimidation.

    If she doesn’t, it will suggest that she’s fully bought into Fox’s race-war mentality.

  • Univision Explains How Trump’s Bogus Voter Fraud Crusade Could Intimidate Minorities From Voting

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In response to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s baseless claims that there is “large-scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” Univision pointed out the intimidating and deterring effect the claims could have on minority voters.

    In an October 12 article, Univision reported that Donald Trump is galvanizing his supporters to sign up as “observers” at polling locations on election day in order to fight back against what he calls “large-scale voter fraud.” The claims contradict extensive evidence that demonstrates in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent. Univision spoke to Latino electorate experts who pointed out that the presence of “observers” at polling locations “intimidates” and suppresses minority voters. Univision highlighted concerns from Hispanic groups about “tactics like these” because they “generate a hostile environment,” especially for first-time voters and pointed out that “Trump’s words graze a dangerous line between legal and illegal.”

    While this line of attack was initially propagated by right-wing media -- which continue to assist Trump in pushing these false claims -- Univision joins others in condemning these statements as “bogus” and “irresponsible.” Translated from the Univision article:

    Donald Trump has started to spread a new message to his followers: vote and then go to “other communities” to make sure “that no one robs the election from our hands.” Hispanic leaders fear that the mogul’s politics of fear might damage voter turnout.


    Even in the campaign’s website, people can sign up to be observers of the elections.

    From long experience, Hispanic leaders know that this type of tactics intimidate minority voters.

    “We have seen similar strategies before, where they assign people to observe, who basically scare Hispanics and tell them off. Even when they don’t say anything, their presence and the way they dress intimidates,” explained Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO.


    Vargas insisted that tactics like this “generate a hostile environment, especially for people who are voting for the first time and that’s why it’s important for those participating to know their rights.”

    The director of NALEO also insisted that it’s necessary for the Department of Justic to place the largest possible amount of observers in polling places.


    Trump’s words graze a dangerous line between legal and illegal.

    In 1982 a decree was issued based on multiple complaints about the intimidation of minority voters between 1970 and 1980.

    The decree specified that the Republican party should not carry out any security activity in voting locations where the ethnic and racial composition is a factor to decide to monitor these areas.

    The order expires in 2017 and can be renewed by the Supreme Court.

  • Fox’s Most Recent Attempt At Revisionist History On The Origins Of The “Birther” Controversy Falls Flat

    Blog ››› ››› NICK FERNANDEZ

    Fox News is attempting to spin a stolen email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta as proof Hillary Clinton and her 2008 presidential campaign “push[ed]” the narrative that then-Sen. Barack Obama is a Muslim and thus “started” the birther controversy. However, the email that the network is citing actually shows a Democratic super PAC, composed of allies of both Obama and Clinton, engaging in the normal practice of testing potential negative attacks “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against” 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain (R-AZ).

    During the October 15 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Saturday, co-host Clayton Morris teased a segment that would supposedly reveal “the truth about the birther movement,” adding “wait until you hear who really started it.” Citing a hacked email from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta that was made public by WikiLeaks, Morris claimed the “bombshell” email shows “that Hillary was pushing the Muslim Obama narrative back in 2008.” Fox News correspondent Ed Henry noted Democratic strategist Paul Begala’s explanation that the correspondence was from a super PAC that was “testing out different narratives the Republicans were pushing” against both Democratic candidates, but added, “This is what their explanation is, to be fair. But they're still raising” the birther controversy.

    Fox’s representation of the content of the email in question is misleading. The Fox hosts falsely claimed “Hillary was pushing” birther claims, but the email was not generated by the Clinton campaign. Instead, the email details proposed questions for a poll commissioned by an organization established to support the Democratic candidate for president in the general election engaging in the common practice of “testing your opponent’s attacks on you.”

    The email was written by Kristi Fuska, an analyst with Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, regarding polling for a group called Progressive Media USA, which was composed of supporters of both Clinton and Obama. Tom Matzzie, an Obama supporter who received the email in question, said that the Democratic group was testing possible general election attacks from Republicans “on BOTH Clinton and Obama in a hypothetical match-up against McCain.” Matzzie also explained that “the research team that cooked up the Obama attacks eventually went on to work for the Obama campaign.”

    Fox’s revisionist history regarding the birther controversy flies in the face of the network’s long history of enthusiastically echoing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s years-long, racist crusade to raise doubts about President Obama’s legitimacy, and ignores the fact that Fox provided Trump with a friendly platform to promote his birther beliefs for years.

    This post has been edited for clarity.

  • Six Ways Fox Demonstrated Its Disconnect From Latinos During Hispanic Heritage Month

    Blog ››› ››› DINA RADTKE

    From September 15 to October 15, while many in the United States celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the culture of the largest minority population in the country and commending its contributions, Fox News continued to demonstrate its disconnect from Latinos and the issues that affect them most. The network’s coverage of Hispanic Heritage Month was limited to highlighting one high-level Hispanic person during three-minute segments every Saturday, while simultaneously ignoring numerous relevant stories concerning Latinos, denying the impact certain issues have on Hispanic people, mocking relevant members of the community, and providing a platform for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to smear them. Here are six examples:

    Fox Was The Only Cable News Network To Ignore Trump Supporters’ Racist Attacks On A Hispanic Journalist

    On September 12, senior political writer Henry Gomez of Cleveland.com wrote a piece outlining the influx of “racist, hateful messages” from Trump supporters attacking his Mexican heritage, messages that he says “parrot[ed] a lot of Donald Trump’s greatest hits.” CNN and MSNBC interviewed Gomez and asked about the ethnic slurs he received while covering Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Fox News was the only prominent cable news network not to cover the story.

    The O’Reilly Factor Mocked Prominent Hispanic Journalist Jorge Ramos

    On the October 4 edition of The O’Reilly Factor, host Bill O’Reilly dismissed Tim Kaine’s Spanish language skills by arbitrarily taking a jab at one of the “most influential” Hispanic people in the U.S., journalist Jorge Ramos, commenting, “You can be boring if you speak Spanish. Have you ever seen Jorge Ramos?” Attempting to rehabilitate his unwarranted insult on Ramos, O’Reilly later called his remarks “a good line and a cheap line” and said that “Jorge Ramos is not boring” but did not apologize.

    Fox Gave Donald Trump A Platform To Further Attack Former Latina Miss Universe

    After it was revealed that Donald Trump had attacked former Miss Universe Alicia Machado about her weight and Hispanic heritage, Fox & Friends provided him with a platform to further smear the pageant winner, and he claimed she was “the absolute worst” and “impossible” to work with because she “gained a massive amount of weight.” Trump’s smears were met with no pushback from the Fox hosts.

    Fox’s Sean Hannity Advocated For Stop And Frisk, A Policy That Negatively Targets Blacks And Latinos

    After the October 4 vice presidential debate, Fox host Sean Hannity and Fox regular Rudy Giuliani made the case for stop and frisk. But the policy has been shown to have disproportionately "targeted blacks and Latinos," according to CNN's Jason Carroll, who noted that the practice was deemed unconstitutional in New York City in 2013 and that officials "say the practice severely eroded relations between police and the communities they serve.” Fox figures routinely laud the use of stop and frisk, even though Hispanic media and mainstream outlets have discredited the practice as ineffective and an example of racial profiling.

    Fox’s O’Reilly Misidentified CBS’ Elaine Quijano As “A Latina” And Speculated She Would “Go After Pence About Trump’s Statements And Miss Universe”

    During The O’Reilly Factor’s pre-vice presidential debate analysis, Bill O’Reilly misidentified debate moderator Elaine Quijano as Latina and commented that because of her ethnicity “you’ve got to assume that she’s going to go after Pence about Trump’s statements, and Miss Universe, and all of these other things.” Quijano is in fact Asian-American. Meanwhile, Latinos in the media had been blasting the debate commission for its failure to include a Latino moderator.

    Fox’s Eric Bolling Denied That Latinos Are Disproportionately Victims Of Police Brutality

    On the September 23 edition of The Five, co-host Eric Bolling insisted that “the number of people killed [by police], whether white, black, or Hispanic, is proportional to the amount of violent crimes [they] commit.” This runs contrary to statistics and feeds into a deceiving right-wing media narrative that downplays police brutality against blacks and Latinos. In fact, many media outlets have been pointing out that police brutality against Latinos is often underreported, and Hispanics are increasingly more concerned about racial discrimination.