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Megyn Kelly Misleads About Professional Consensus On New Black Panther Case

Reported by Ellen - July 9, 2010 -

Megyn Kelly visited the O’Reilly Factor last night (7/8/10) where she further promoted the racially-charged claims against the Obama administration made by her star interviewee, J. Christian Adams – and pretty much ignored the holes poked in his credibility by a later interviewee, attorney and Fox News contributor Tamara Holder. As part of her advocacy, Kelly misleadingly told Bill O’Reilly that “virtually every attorney” who’s examined the case “doesn’t believe” the Department of Justice’s explanation for why it dropped its case against the New Black Panther Party, further lending her support to Adams’ hearsay claims. But, in fact, a prominent expert charged with reviewing the case recently wrote an article in National Review supporting the DOJ’s explanation. Kelly also went on to gratuitously fearmonger – again – that the result of the DOJ’s decision means that a New Black Panther thug may be waiting to intimidate white voters at almost any polling place in November.

As I’ve written what seems like a zillion times now, Kelly and Fox News seem determined – along with GOP activist J. Christian Adams - to use this insignificant case as a vehicle to turn Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama into this year’s ACORN, just in time for Fox’s regular election year “voter fraud” fear mongering.

In this segment, one of a zillion about the New Black Panther case that I’ve seen on Fox in the past week, Kelly told O’Reilly that DOJ attorney Tom Perez told the Commision (on Civil Rights) that “the reason for dropping this case was the facts and the law weren’t there.” Kelly added pointedly, “Virtually every attorney who’s taken a look at this doesn’t believe that.”

Well, OK, she's not an attorney but conservative Angela Thernstrom who just happens to be an expert on voting rights and the vice chair of the Commission on Civil Rights. That’s the same conservative-packed Commission that Kelly sets such a store by in this interview. Thernstrom wrote in a recent National Review article about the right's frenzy over the New Black Panther case, “Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, makes a perfectly plausible argument (my emphasis). Different lawyers read this barely litigated statutory provision differently. It happens all the time, especially when administrations change in the middle of litigation. Democrats and Republicans seldom agree on how best to enforce civil-rights statutes; this is not the first instance of a war between Left and Right within the Civil Rights Division… There are plenty of grounds on which to sharply criticize the attorney general — his handling of terrorism questions, just for starters — but this particular overblown attack threatens to undermine the credibility of his conservative critics.”

Funny how Kelly, who is supposed to be an objective anchor, has not hosted Thernstrom as a guest, despite her endless enthusiasm for this case.

Kelly went on to further complain that the DOJ “downgraded” their judgment against the New Black Panther Party member “with the billy club,“ so that he’s only barred from voting precincts in Philadelphia and only until 2012. Kelly added, her voice full of suggestive indignation, “If you’re any place outside of Philly (a New Black Panther Party member) could be showing up at your polling station and, according to J. Christian Adams, the DOJ will not be pursuing a case against him if he harasses you!”

At the beginning of this clip, O’Reilly said, “This is now developing into a major scandal for the Obama administration.” But at the end, he lamented that the networks are not covering this story. It’s hard to see how something not covered by the networks can also be a major scandal at the same time. Whether or not Fox News will succeed in making it a major scandal – their obvious goal – remains to be seen.

Note: This post originally and erroneously referred to Thernstrom as an attorney.

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