New Black Panther Party Case

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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.

  • How Geraldo Rivera And Fox News Botched The Story In Baltimore

    Fox News Senior Correspondent Ignored Local Protester, Instead Gave Time To Former Leader Of A Hate Group

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN WHITEHOUSE & JOHN KERR

    Following his death as a result of injuries sustained in police custody, Baltimore resident Freddie Gray was buried on April 27. While protests in the city had previously been peaceful, that night violence broke out. The following day, national media descended on the city to report, and none did a worse job than Geraldo Rivera and Fox News. When Rivera was not giving credence to a former leader of a hate group with no local ties, he was insulting protester Kwame Rose - who merely explained what Geraldo and Fox News were missing (and showed no interest in reporting).

    Time and time again, Geraldo Rivera missed the real story and instead pushed a false narrative that played into Fox News' pre-existing conservative biases.

    Oh, and Rivera also confused Kevin Liles for Russell Simmons. That really happened.

    Video by John Kerr, additional research by Liv Kittel and Nicholas Rogers.

  • Fox News Raises Specter Of New Black Panthers To Stoke Fears Racial Violence In Missouri

    Blog ››› ››› THOMAS BISHOP

    Fox News host Martha MacCallum hyped fears that the New Black Panther Party is pushing racial violence following an FBI report that one member of the group was on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri following the tragic shooting death of an unarmed black teenager.

    Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed African American, was killed at the hands of a Ferguson police officer after an alleged confrontation with the officer. Following Brown's death, a series of tense protests broke out in the town. According to the LA Times, the largest protests have been peaceful, but some looting and vandalism has occurred at night.

    On the August 13 edition of The Kelly File, Fox News correspondent Mike Tobin explained that while "demonstrations remain[ed] peaceful" throughout the day, New Black Panther Party members were seen in Ferguson. Ignoring the reports of peaceful protests, MacCallum highlighted a tweet and Facebook posts from one New Black Panther Party member in particular who she claimed "is very vociferously advocating violence against the police."

  • That Didn't Take Long: Right-Wing Media Revive Perjury Smears Against Perez Labor Nomination

    Blog ››› ››› SERGIO MUNOZ

    Right-wing media are again alleging that President Obama's potential Department of Labor nominee, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, may have committed perjury in connection with the right-wing's New Black Panther Party voter intimidation non-scandal. But the internal Department of Justice (DOJ) report that they are citing to support these claims actually (once again) debunks these accusations.

    The right-wing claim that political appointees within the Department of Justice (DOJ) improperly directed the outcome of the New Black Panther Party fiasco has already been repeatedly disproven, most notably by DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and now by DOJ's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The discredited accusation, initiated by right-wing activist J. Christian Adams, was revived in 2012 by his discredited associate, Hans Von Spakovsky, after a federal judge awarded attorney's fees to a conservative advocacy group that had obtained emails relating to this case through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Von Spakovsky immediately analyzed the opinion, saying of statements from the judge relating to Perez's 2010 testimony on the New Black Panther Party case to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights:

    But what is most disturbing about this court order is that it strongly suggests that Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez essentially lied in sworn testimony... A less diplomatic judge might have said that Perez testified falsely in his hearing testimony before the Commission on Civil Rights. In other words, he may have committed perjury if he knew his statements were false when uttered.

    Now that Perez's Labor nomination is being floated and following the release of the Inspector General's review of the Justice Department's Voting Section (which is overseen by Perez), National Review Online columnist John Fund revived Von Spakovsky's accusation, calling the 2010 testimony "clear dishonesty." Describing Perez as "loathsome," the American Spectator likewise informs its readers (again) Perez "may have committed perjury[.]" 

  • Fox Uses Labor Secretary News To Revive New Black Panthers Nonsense

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Fox News is using reports that Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez may be nominated as Secretary of Labor to revive their manufactured scandal that the Obama administration favored the New Black Panther Party in a 2008 voter intimidation case.

    The right-wing media has spent years propping up the bogus charge that President Obama's Justice Department engaged in racially charged "corruption" in the New Black Panther Party case. The claims, promoted by GOP activist J. Christian Adams, fell apart given the fact that the Obama DOJ obtained judgment against one defendant, while the Bush DOJ declined to pursue similar allegations in 2006.

    America Live anchor Megyn Kelly highlighted news of Perez's possible appointment and said that his "fingerprints are all over some rather significant controversies," including the New Black Panthers case, during the March 11 edition of America Live

    During the segment Fox aired this image:

    NBPP

  • Desperately Seeking Scandals: The Right-Wing Media's Attempt To Take Down Obama

    ››› ››› REMINGTON SHEPARD

    Since President Obama's election, right-wing media have tried to find wrongdoing by top Obama administration officials. The pseudo-scandal they have contrived have resulted in investigations, congressional hearings, and right-wing media bluster, but they have not resulted in any evidence of wrongdoing by top Obama administration officials.

  • Fox & Friends Invites J. Christian Adams To Hype His Lies And His Book

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Fox News' Fox & Friends hosted the network's favorite disgruntled storyteller, J. Christian Adams, to complain about his former employer, the U.S. Department of Justice, and hawk his new book, "Injustice," which is out today. While on the curvy couch, interviewer Gretchen Carlson gave Adams the green light to talk at length about phony allegations that President Obama's DOJ dismissed their case against the New Black Panthers and enforces the law with an anti-white agenda.

    It's no surprise that Adams' book tour would find a home on Fox News. After Adams pushed his claims in a two-part interview on Fox News' America Live last summer, Fox devoted hours of coverage to hyping the myths about the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case.

    Unsurprisingly, Adams' interview this morning did not delve into the results of the DOJ's extensive investigation into these allegations. In a March letter to Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Robin Ashton of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility wrote that their investigation found that "department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct," and that there was "no evidence" that their decisions were improperly affected by political considerations or by the race of the defendants.

    Despite their non-stop hype of Adams' New Black Panthers allegations, Fox devoted a mere 88 seconds to the OPR letter in the fifteen days following its release.

    During their interview, Adams repeatedly pushed the falsehood that the DOJ dismissed the case against the New Black Panthers.

    CARLSON: So let's go back to the Black Panther situation. You decide to come out and tell your side of the story, which was what?

    ADAMS: Well, that they dismissed the case because there's a hostility to enforcing the law in a race neutral fashion. In the Black Panther case, the victims were white. The defendants were black and those were the sorts of things many people in the department don't want to enforce.

    Adams failed to mention that it was the Bush DOJ who decided not to pursue criminal charges against the New Black Panther Party and that the Obama DOJ obtained a judgment against one of the defendants in the case.

  • Injustice: J. Christian Adams' Last Grasp At Glory

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ & BRIAN POWELL

    In his forthcoming book, Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department, former Department Of Justice attorney and Republican activist J. Christian Adams desperately tries to maintain his credibility by doubling down on accusations of racially charged corruption in the Civil Rights Division. The book is filled with falsehoods, misrepresentations, and baseless allegations.

  • Breitbart Smear: Obama (And Thousands More) "Marched With" New Black Panthers

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Andrew Breitbart wants you to know that he doesn't think President Obama is "a secret member of the New Black Panther Party." But he's more than willing to hide the truth in order to conjure up the ridiculous smear that sometimes, they hang out.

    Under the headline "Shock Photos: Candidate Obama Appeared And Marched With New Black Panther Party in 2007," Breitbart reports that at a March 2007 march in Selma, "then-Senator Obama was joined by a group of Panthers who had come to support his candidacy."

    Breitbart is providing some publicity for charges that New Black Panther Party fabulist J. Christian Adams leveled at the president in his new book Injustice: Exposing The Racial Agenda Of The Obama Justice Department, which comes out tomorrow. Breitbart provided a blurb for the back of the book, and in the acknowledgements Adams thanks Breitbart, whom he describes as his "soul brother and pied piper."

    In claiming that Obama was "joined by" the Panthers, "appeared and marched with" them, and "shar[ed] the same podium" with them, Breitbart carefully avoids explaining just what the event in question was. References to Obama campaigning "in Selma, Alabama in March 2007" and a mention of how "then-Senator Hillary Clinton and Al Sharpton were also in Selma at the same event" do more to confuse the readers than explain it to them.

    What Breitbart is trying to avoid acknowledging is that several thousand people "appeared and marched" with the New Black Panthers that day. The event in question was the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma, which ended when the civil rights marchers were attacked by law enforcement at Edmund Pettus Bridge. The Birmingham News reported:

    Former President Bill Clinton and presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama locked arms with civil rights icons Sunday and marched through thousands of wellwishers, crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge to cap the 42nd anniversary Right to Vote and Bridge Crossing Jubilee.

    It wasn't Obama's event. It wasn't the Panthers' event. They were all in Selma for an annual celebration of an historic civil rights moment. During that event, Obama and New Black Panthers leader Malik Zulu Shabazz gave speeches from the same podium, and both were part of the crowd that then marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

    Breitbart says that the Panthers "explicitly came to Selma to support Obama," and basically establishes that they followed Obama around that day. For Breitbart, this constitutes "an association between a vile racist organization and a future President of the United States."

  • J. Christian Adams' Missing Sense Of Proportion

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    A sense of proportion has never been J. Christian Adams' strength.

    From major overarching themes like his ridiculous claim that the New Black Panther Party case proved a pattern of racially charged "corruption" by the Justice Department to smaller mishaps like his comparison of diversity committees to "South Africa's apartheid regime," Adams is constantly going overboard. His new book is no different.

    For instance, are you aware that we're currently experiencing a "national war over civil rights"?

    [Ike Brown's] shocking campaign of vote fraud - the likes of which, most Americans believe, is rarely seen outside third world nations - sparked a national war over civil rights that continues to this very day. (Page 25)

    Did you ever think how much African Americans who gained political power after the passage of civil rights legislation act a little bit like they during "the transition from white rule to black rule in Zimbabwe"?

    The empowerment of formerly oppressed people often creates a volatile situation where much can go wrong and much can go right. In those situations, there is a natural human instinct toward vengeance and retribution that must be controlled by the law. In the transition from white rule to black rule in Zimbabwe, we find a start example of what happens when the law fails to control these instincts - legally sanctioned terror against the white minority, gangsterism, and economic collapse. We find a counter-example in South Africa, where Nelson Mandela presided over a peaceful transition from apartheid that, though imperfect, was marked by adherence to the law and full legal protections for all races.

    In some American counties, as the black majority became empowered after passage of the Voting Rights Act, new political leaders emerged who sought racial payback. While they did not unleash wanton violence on the scale of Zimbabwe, the same sense of racial animus animated their cause. (Page 179)

  • J. Christian Adams' Campaign Donation Hypocrisy

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    In his new book, Injustice: Exposing The Racial Agenda Of The Obama Justice Department, New Black Panther fabulist J. Christian Adams goes to great pains to highlight campaign donations to President Obama from DOJ staffers and appointees.

    In Chapter 3 ("Personnel Is Policy") Adams points out that several hires for career attorney positions in the Civil Rights Division were Obama donors. At the end of the book, he circles back to this point, urging future Republican administrations to "prevent the appearance of bias in the conduct of employees' duties" by banning career DOJ lawyers, specifically those in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division, from "engaging in political activities."

    Adams then references several such attorneys who were involved in election-related DOJ functions who donated to Obama, creating "an appearance of impropriety to the American public."

    At one point in the book, Adams even explains that on Election Day 2008, Voting Section chief Christopher Coates kept him at the Section's Washington desk because he didn't trust "key DOJ election officials" who were "large donors to Obama":

    I received an early report about the Panther incident in Philadelphia. Voting Section chief Chris Coates had kept me at the Washington desk for just this sort of eventuality. Normally another lawyer would manage all traffic on election day, but Coates didn't trust him because there were already signs within the DOJ that some attorneys had used their position and power to aid the Obama campaign. Not only were key DOJ election officials large donors to Obama, but a wave of questionable inquiries and requests had come in over the previous few months from people such as Obama campaign lawyer Robert Bauer.

    Yeah, it would be horrible if a donor for one of the presidential candidates had been in that position on Election Day, right? You'd never be able to trust whether they were acting to further the law or their candidate of choice.

    FEC filing

    Yup, J. Christian Adams was a John McCain donor. He received the first report about the New Black Panther case. The rest is history.

    Anyone else see an "appearance of impropriety"?

  • Who Is J. Christian Adams?

    ››› ››› MATT GERTZ & BRIAN POWELL

    New Black Panthers Party fabulist J. Christian Adams is a long-time right-wing activist who began working for the U.S. Department of Justice during its notorious era of politicized hiring and now blogs for the right-wing media site Pajamas Media, often issuing false attacks on the Obama DOJ for its supposed politicization and "racial agenda." His forthcoming book, Injustice: Exposing The Racial Agenda Of The Obama Justice Department, promises to cover similar territory.

  • J.Christian Adams Compares Diversity Committees To "South Africa's Apartheid Regime"

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    Eleven months ago, J. Christian Adams triggered weeks of frenzied right-wing coverage after he quit the Department of Justice and claimed that under President Obama, the Department of Justice was engaged in a campaign of racially-motivated corruption, highlighted by its actions in the New Black Panther Party case.

    Adams' latest Pajamas Media piece is much less explosive, detailing the supposed politicization of the Obama Justice Department largely with more of what we've seen from PJM for the last week or so.

    Complaints that the DOJ is hiring attorneys for the Civil Rights Division who have backgrounds in civil rights law? Sure. Declarations that those lawyers are "radicals," "committed leftist[s]," "militants," and so on? Of course. Complete lack of comprehension of the irony of a guy hired under a regime of improper DOJ politicization complaining about politicization? You betcha!

    But then, via TPM's Ryan J. Reilly, we come to this paragraph:

    Tamica Daniel: Ms. Daniel comes to the Section only a year out of Georgetown's law school, where she was the diversity committee chair of the law review, volunteered with the ACLU's Innocence Project, and participated in the Institute for Public Representation Clinic. For those in the real world, diversity committees are groups set up to hector for race-based outcomes in hiring employees and student matters. It is an entity with close cousins in South Africa's apartheid regime and other dark eras in history.

    Yup. Adams thinks that committees intended to increase diversity are "close cousins" with "South Africa's apartheid regime."

    This isn't the sort of comparison that you make when you want to be taken seriously as a critic of the DOJ's fictional policy of racial corruption. With every additional comment, Adams discredits the right-wing freak show that promoted his wild claims.

  • Fiction Writer J. Christian Adams Has A Book Deal

    Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ

    J. Christian AdamsFormer Department of Justice lawyer and New Black Panthers fabulist J. Christian Adams has found a way to cash in on last year's manufactured scandal. On October 4, right-wing outlet Regnery Publishing will release Adams' first book, "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department."

    According to the description provided to Amazon.com, Adams' book will expand on his oft-repeated claims that DOJ practices racially-motivated enforcement of the law, focusing in particular on his fanciful recounting of the Justice Department's handling of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case:

    Revealing unknown and startling examples of racism and corruption at the local, state, and federal level, Injustice exposes a Justice Department that is anything but just.

    Justice is supposed to be blind, especially to race and politics. Yet as Department of Justice (DOJ) whistleblower J. Christian Adams divulges in his shocking expose Injustice, justice under the Obama administration is anything but blind. Here, Adams reveals the never-before-published truth about the corrupt, racist, and politicized inner workings of the Obama Justice Department, as well as the untold story of the DOJ's corrupt handling of the New Black Panther voter-intimidation case. As a former Department of Justice attorney in the civil rights division, Adams has witnessed firsthand how the DOJ is aggressively executing a racist and radical left-wing agenda through its policies and employees. After watching the DOJ continually turn a blind eye to voter fraud, blatant racism, and voter rights abuses, Adams finally blew the whistle during the New Black Panther case--a case that Adams brought to the DOJ's attention and ultimately resigned over because of the corruption and perjury he witnessed leading up to and following the case's orchestrated dismissal.

    Michael Yaki, a Democratic member of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission who led the opposition to the Commission's flawed investigation of the New Black Panther Party case, predicted to Media Matters that Adams' book would be "a warmed over-retread of his allegations that never got traction and which an independent watchdog within Justice cleared of any political or racial overtones."

    Yaki also commented that "Adams' failed and discredited testimony before the US Civil Rights Commission was a lesson that apparently did not take hold," adding that under the Bush administration, DOJ's Civil Rights Division employed "a partisan litmus test which he passed" and "ignored massive civil rights violations at the polls."

    Indeed, it has long been clear that Adams' claims of racially charged "corruption" in the handling of the New Black Panther Party case don't add up, and are simply the politically-motivated attacks of a right-wing activist tied to the Bush-era politicization of DOJ.

  • Eric Bolling Hosts Tom Tancredo To Rant About "Black Thugs" And Guns

    Blog ››› ››› BRIAN POWELL

    Eric Bolling, host of Fox Business Netork's Follow the Money, invited former congressman and failed Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo onto his show to discuss the ongoing investigation into Fast and Furious, the controversial operation of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Tancredo, a notoriously intolerant fear-monger, didn't take long to shift the conversation to the topic of race, calling African-American Attorney General Eric Holder "the guy that refuses to prosecute blacks -- black thugs who intimidate people at the polls."

    Tancredo's statement is an obvious reference to the long-discredited New Black Panther Party controversy, a voter intimidation case featuring African-American defendants that some conservatives say were let off the hook by the Obama administration. His claim, which echoes a wider conservative narrative that President Obama's administration is racist, is demonstrably false.

    In fact, the DOJ obtained a judgment against an African-American defendant in the NBPP case after the Justice Department under President Bush decided not to pursue criminal charges against the NBPP. The Obama DOJ has also requested injunctions against black Democratic Party officials in Mississippi who were found to have discriminated against white voters.

    TANCREDO: Eric Holder knows. No other agency of this government is so politicized. Remember this is the guy that refuses to prosecute blacks -- black thugs, who intimidate people at the polls.

    There's another, even more I think, insidious -- potentially more insidious -- reason for the, for Operation Gunwalker. I think they wanted guns in Mexico so they could eventually say, "look at the flood of guns from the United States into Mexico causing all this violence. Let's do something about guns in the United States." I think that was behind all of this.

    In typical Tancredo fashion, he adds fuel to the fire when he followed up his racially-infused comments with the latest conservative conspiracy theory, claiming that the Obama administration is purposefully allowing guns to enter Mexico in an attempt to gain popular support for tighter gun laws in the U.S. Conservative proponents of the far-out notion admit that they "do not have any direct evidence" of its veracity. Far be it for someone like Tancredo to let something as trivial as "proof" stand in the way of a good sound bite.