July 16, 2010

The other day FOX Host Megyn Kelly got into a heated argument with Kirsten Powers because Powers had the audacity to understand that the New Black Panther story Kelly was promoting was nothing more than FOX's attempt at race baiting. The post has spread through the blogosphere quickly and many are discussing this example of inflammatory "journalism" specifically. Last night, she went on The Factor to let off some steam and continue her assault against African-Americans. Unfortunately for Kelly, O'Reilly starts off by highlighting how ridiculous this NBPP story is by stating the fact that there is only EIGHT members in the whole party.

But Kelly has a much more sinister story to tell. One that connects the Obama administration to racist behavior.

O'Reilly: ...but why do you so passionately about the Panther story when there's only eight Panthers? There...er...it's a very minuscule organization.

Kelly: Yea, it's not about the Panthers. Ah, I got involved in this more seriously or more extensively as the DOJ whistleblower came...

Bill: Came on your show.

Kelly: And gave us his first television interview. And the reason that I'm passionate about this case and this story, Bill, is I believe in fidelity to the law. And I believe your viewers know that about me. It doesn't matter whether it's left or right, conservative or liberal. I try to follow the law.

That's the crux of her argument that O'Reilly dutifully is ready to distribute. Kelly is not being honest with the false narrative that she doesn't care which ideology is to blame for not upholding the law because her outrage was nowhere to be found during the Bush years.

It's all a smoke screen. J.Christian Adams is a fraud and everyone who has a smidgen of integrity knows it. Digby easily dispatches him here. The rest of the clip goes on to attack Newsweek's David Graham for rightly calling out this story in his piece: The New Black Panther Party Is the New ACORN

And make no mistake about it. This nothing of a case is all about whipping up the racist elements of the GOP/Tea Party Clans and the conservative movements, which they have seized upon and exploited for political gain for decades.

Kevin Drum has been writing about this story as well and he sees what I see. It's all about using The Scary Black Man Thing to appeal to the angry, disaffected white men and point his anger away from the real cause.

James Joyner, the right-leaning blogger takes a level-headed view as well.

Moreover, as others have pointed out, the district at which these two members of the NBPP were filmed was a majority black district that had gone overwhelmingly for John Kerry in 2004. If these two guys were really interested in intimidating white voters in the Philadelphia metro area rather than engaging in street theater, they would’ve shown up at a polling place in King of Prussia or Bensalem, not one in the inner-city at which, conveniently a guy with a video camera had shown up.

As I noted in an earlier post, there’s no evidence that any actual voters were intimidated by these two men, or even that their “protest” lasted longer than the amount of time that the camera crew was there filming them. In fact, judging from this video, it seems clear to me that these two guys were playing for the cameras.

The way FOX is amplifying the narrative of "The Angry Black Man" to their audience is disgusting. That's what Kelly has latched onto even if she deludes herself into thinking that she's on a righteous path. I might actually go on her FOX show and debate her. I've never gone on FOX before and although I've refused up to now, who knows? I doubt she'd have me anyway because I may know a little too much. Powers is hired by FOX and does a good job at times, but she is also a very conservative, pro-life Democrat and doesn't represent progressive thinking.

Drum later asks a good sort of a good question here.

(T)hey might be playing a dangerous game here. As Chait says, the Fox/Megyn Kelly crusade against the NBPP is taking this to a whole new level, one that's far more overt and far more incendiary than in the past. And there's no telling how that's going to turn out. As a friend puts it, "I think the reason why conservatives have so assiduously censored themselves from playing fast and loose with Atwater-esque racial overtones is that it can be a very difficult genie to put back in the bottle once released on a national stage." The press will start paying attention, tea partiers might feel freer to spout off, and the whole thing could turn ugly very quickly.

Or not. Who knows? But for reasons of both principle and self-interest, some of the conservative movement's big guns might want to think about weighing in on this before it gets out of hand. It can't hurt.

As a man studying the history of the conservative movement, I can make the observation that while conservatives hate and try to reject being painted with the racism brush, they do nothing whatsoever to stop those in their party from spreading this garbage. Like it was done before, the Atwateresque racial overtones still brings in the right wing engagement...and votes. That's the bottom line. No votes, no racism.

(h/t Heather)

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