Today on Fox News’ America Live, host Megyn Kelly discussed the manufactured right-wing “scandal” surrounding the New Black Panther Party, and whether the Department of Justice is being insufficiently tough against black defendants. As Media Matters has documented, the “scandal” surfaced on Fox News and has slowly migrated to more mainstream networks. (Read background on the issue here.)
This afternoon, Kelly invited New York Post columnist — and regular Fox contributor — Kirsten Powers to debate the importance of this story. Kelly bemoaned that “no one seems to give a darn” about the allegations promulgated by former Bush DoJ lawyer J. Christian Adams. The conservative activist claims that the Obama Justice Department dropped voter intimidation charges against the New Black Panther Party due to racial considerations. Contrary to the claims, the Obama DoJ has issued an injunction against the member of the NBPP who was seen engaging in voter intimidation tactics, prohibiting him “from displaying a weapon within 100 feet of any Philadelphia polling place through 2012.”
Powers effectively dismantled the faux scandal for what it is, telling Kelly, “You can put me in the same category of people who don’t really give a darn.” “You don’t seem to know what you’re talking about,” Kelly immediately responded, growing more enraged as the two wrestled, jabbed, and bickered over the facts:
POWERS: The minute I challenge you, you tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about?
KELLY: Because you don’t.
POWERS: You just want people to come on and just agree with you –
KELLY: No, I want informed people.
POWERS: — that what you’ve been doing and the way you’ve been completely doing the “scary black man thing.”
Powers told Kelly, “I don’t remember people screaming” about the Bush administration’s miscarriages of justice in the Civil Rights Division. “Don’t make me cut your mic,” Kelly threatened at one point. Watch the showdown.
In the segment, Powers correctly noted that the allegations about the DoJ’s wrongdoing stem from a “conservative activist posing as a whistleblower” and are being peddled with conservative “hysteria.”
Abigail Thernstrom, the Vice Chair of the Civil Rights Commission, implored conservatives to “forget about the New Black Panther Party case; it is very small potatoes,” adding that “evidence has yet to be offered” to justify the right wing fearmongering.