Weigel: Fox News' “minstrelsy” fixation on the New Black Panther Party resembles Nixon-era race-baiting

Fox News' obsession with the phony scandal surrounding the Justice Department's treatment of the New Black Panther Party follows more than 50 appearances by members of the New Black Panther Party on Fox News shows dating to 1998. Earlier today in an Atlantic blog post, Dave Weigel highlighted one of those appearances and wrote:

This isn't journalism. No one cares what the NBPP thinks about anything. This is minstrelsy, with a fringe moron set up like a bowling pin for Hannity to knock down. And that's the role the NBPP plays on Fox, frequently.

Weigel wrote that Fox News' recent reportage on the trumped-up controversy was “obviously not a search for justice or a muckraking effort to discover reverse racism in the DOJ,” but rather resembled “a popular myth that went around Iowa in 1966, the year of the conservative backlash against the Great Society.” Citing Rick Perstein's Nixonland, Weigel continued:

The myth was that black gang members on motorcycles were going to head from Chicago to ransack Des Moines. Reading this in 2008, it sounded preposterous, the kind of thing that no one could believe in the country that was about to elect Barack Obama. But Kelly, under the guise of journalism, is working to create a rumor like this in 2010. Watch her broadcasts and you become convinced that the New Black Panthers are a powerful group that hate white people and operate under the protection of Eric Holder's DOJ.