EDITOR: To Mr. John Garon: While I often admire your “way with words,” I’m disturbed by the frequency with which you present unsupported claims as indisputable truths. With particular regard to your Sept. 6 letter:
In discussing the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) voter intimidation lawsuit, you pooh-pooh the group as “hardly a threat to the Republic,” and assert they number “a dozen at most.” However, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Website, adl.org, outlines the NBPP’s “close ties to Louis Farrakhan and…the Nation of Islam (NOI).”
In 2005 Farrakhan “appointed Malik Zulu Shabazz, NBPP national chairman, national co-convener of the 10th anniversary commemoration of the NOI’s Million Man March,” also known as the Millions More Movement. Mr. Shabazz’ photo appears at millionsmoremovement.com.
The ADL website also states, “Since (2005), Shabazz has continued to be a frequent guest at NOI events, including its annual Saviours Day conventions;” and, “In March 2006, Shabazz joined Farrakhan on a delegation to Cuba.” Further, blackpowerconvention.com/participants.html documents the groups’ continued cooperation as recently as May 2010.
I find such mutual back-scratching troublesome, since the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) states the NOI has “grown into one of the wealthiest and best-known organizations in black America;” and, “the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic rhetoric of its leaders” has earned the group “a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate” (see splc.org).
Given such close NBPP-NOI ties, I believe it likely the party has access, not only to NOI-and-affiliate financial resources, but to the support of many NOI members. Since the NOI will not release statistics, its exact membership is unknown, but is estimated to be 100,000 to 300,000.
With regard to Fox News’ coverage of the aforementioned NBPP civil rights lawsuit, you assert the network lied about the Obama administration “giving a pass” to the Party by dismissing the government’s complaint. You also state the dismissal “occurred during the Bush administration, a few months before Obama was inaugurated;” and the “Black Panthers” (sic) were cleared “for lack of evidence that anyone had been intimidated or harmed.”
However, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) Website, usccr.gov, displays (1) a December 2008 Bush administration memorandum, issued six weeks before Obama’s January 2009 inauguration, in which the DOJ recommends pursuit of the complaint; (2) a “Notice of Dismissal” for the suit filed in May 2009, well after Obama was in office; and (3) a June 2009 letter in which the USCCR questions the dismissal, stating the defendants “were caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters…one of them actually brandish(ing) a nightstick in plain view of voters and poll observers.”
On the same issue of Fox News’ bias, you assert, “Since Obama’s inauguration, the network has played the race card for the sake of ratings;” and its purported “race baiting resonates with a lot of people…who’ll never accept the fact that a ‘Negro’ could be in the White House, except as a butler.” You also indicate you’ve relied upon a PEW Center survey to determine “these people tend to get their ‘news’ almost exclusively” from Fox.
You therefore should give credence to an October 2009 PEW “media consumption” survey. In an article titled, “Partisanship and Cable News Audiences”, the center reports that, “Among regular Fox News Channel viewers, 39 percent identified as Republican, 33 percent as Democrats and 22 percent as independents.”
While I disagree with your whole race-baiting premise, I’m delighted to see you’ve inadvertently tarred Democrats and independents rather than just besmirching your ordinary targets, the Republicans.