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.”
Fox News has a long history of using the specter of the New Black Panther Party -- which is a small racist fringe group -- to stoke fears of racial violence and voter intimidation.
In 2010, Fox spent more than 8 hours of coverage hyping phony allegations that the Department of Justice had political motivations for refusing to pursue criminal charges in response to claims that the New Black Panthers Party intimidated voters in the 2008 election. During the 2012 elections, Fox again hyped fears of the New Black Panther Party intimidating voters at a polling station in Philadelphia, only to show live video of a New Black Panther Party member opening the polling station doors and politely greeting voters. In 2013, Fox promoted the conspiracy theory that the New Black Panther Party was “the spark behind” the Justice Department investigation into the murder of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin.
MacCallum failed to report that civil rights leaders, President Obama, and the family of Michael Brown denounced the violence and called for peaceful protests. NAACP President Cornell William Brooks castigated the violence and President Obama called for the community of Ferguson to “comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.”