Sunday, July 18, 2010

New Black Panther Party Accuses FOX News Of Fueling Racial Tensions, Fear

New Black Panther Party Accuses FOX News Of Fueling Racial Tensions, Fear
By Matthew Keys

FOX40 News

July 15, 2010


The chairman of the New Black Panther Party is alleging coverage by national media outlet FOX News is contributing to racial tension and fears in America by covering claims that President Barack Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder -- both of whom are African-American -- dropped voter intimidation charges against the group stemming from a 2008 incident.

Charges were pending against two individuals of the New Black Panther Party who were captured on amateur video shouting racial insults, including "white devil" and "you're about to be ruled by the white man, cracker" at voters who were casting ballots at a polling center in Philadelphia in 2008.

Despite the video, charges were dropped by the Justice Department due to a "lack of evidence," which triggered claims by whistleblower and former DOJ employee J. Christian Adams that the department was creating a "systematic one-way approach in which only minorities are protected," the Associated Press reports.

The justice department disputed these claims earlier this month, adding that the department works with law enforcement agencies to prevent voter intimidation.

While the story has been ignored by and large by mainstream media outlets, cable's FOX News Channel and several AM radio conserivative pundits have turned the incident into a melee. Over the past two weeks, FOX News Channel has conducted stories and interviews surrounding the 2008 incident and the response from the Department of Justice, while other media outlets and agencies have reported little, if anything, on the incident.

The blowout by FOX News Channel has come under criticism by fair media advocates and blogs. Now, the news station is being criticized by the leader of the New Black Panther Party itself.

In an interview with Moscow-based Russia Today, Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz charged the FOX News Channel with contributing to racial tensions and fear in the United States by journaling the story with nearly wall-to-wall television coverage.

"FOX News audience is mainly whites, Republican or right-oriented whites, some independents, some confederates, racist organizations," Dr. Shabazz said. "They have a base. It's really the dissatisfied whites in America that say they want to take their country back. We interpret that as 'We want to take our country back from this black man.'"

Dr. Shabazz, who was also included in a civil lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in 2008 under the Bush Administration that was later dropped, claims the voter intimidation story is "a tool by the Republican party," which Dr. Shabazz says is the target audience by the cable news network.

"They have no intention of being, as they say, fair and balanced," Dr. Shabazz said. "They don't want the truth to come out because they have political purposes."

The lack of balance on the FOX News Channel contributes to racial tensions and fear that fuels political activism such as the Tea Party movement, Dr. Shabazz claimed.

Though Dr. Shabazz stated in the July 8th Russia Today interview that members of his party were no longer invited to appear on the FOX News Channel, an interview taped July 9th aired just a few days later on the FOX News Channel program "America Live," in which Dr. Shabazz himself discussed the allegations against the Black Panther Party and asserted that the FOX News Channel was behind a conspiracy to drum up Republican support just before the midterm elections through controversy.

"I would say that all of this, to me, is being overhyped and overblown and is party of a right-wing Republican demonize President Obama and his administration, to demonize the New Black Panther Party, in order to drum up white dissatisfied support for the midterm elections," Dr. Shabazz said in the FOX News Channel interview, who accused FOX News personalities Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck as fueling such dissent.

Responding to a clip aired by FOX News Channel reportedly filmed by National Geographic in which a leader of the New Black Panther Party alleges African-Americans obtain freedom from perceived oppression by murdering "white people and killing white babies," Shabazz said he felt the quotations were taken out of context by the news channel and the Republican party.

"That is not the position of our organization and that is not my position," Dr. Shabazz said. "I am not a hate teacher. I am a person who fights for the civil rights of black people. I've fought all my life to end discrimination."

The New Black Panther Party was organized in 1989 as a group separate from the popular Black Panther Party that made waves in the 1960s and 1970s. The party, based in Dallas, Texas, seeks full employment, tax-exemption status for African-American citizens and free health care, according to a mission statement posted on their website.

Copyright © 2010, KTXL-TV

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