Media Blackout for Black Panthers

Washington Times, July 2, 2010

Where is the New York Times? Where is The Washington Post? Where are CBS and NBC? A whistleblower makes explosive allegations about the Department of Justice; his story is backed by at least two other witnesses; and the allegations involve the two hot-button issues of race and of blatant politicization of the justice system. A potential constitutional confrontation stemming from the scandal brews between the Justice Department and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. A congressman highly respected for thoughtfulness and bipartisanship has all but accused the department of serious impropriety. By every standard of objective journalism, this adds up to real news.

Or it would be real news if a Republican Justice Department stood accused. It would be real news if the liberal media weren’t mostly in the tank for our celebrated but failing first black president.

Tomorrow, the Civil Rights Commission will hear long-awaited testimony from J. Christian Adams, who resigned from the Voting Section of the Justice Department after the department improperly ordered him to refuse compliance with the commission’s lawful subpoena. Mr. Adams first told his story in public in these pages on June 28 and later did two major interviews with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. In those appearances, he flatly accused the Obama Justice Department of adopting an unlawful, immoral policy identified in previous Washington Times editorials–namely, enforcing civil rights laws against white perpetrators who victimized minorities but never against black perpetrators who victimize whites or Asians. If this is indeed the policy, it makes a scandalous mockery of the cherished American principle of “equal justice under the law.”

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If the department’s motives are not racial or racist, Justice officials surely appear political. One of the Black Panthers against whom the department declined to press charges was an official poll watcher for the Democratic Party and an elected local party official. The department dropped charges just four days before another election, allowing him again to serve as a poll watcher.

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On a parallel track, The Washington Times has reported strong circumstantial evidence suggesting that department officials may have consulted the White House before dismissing the case. That possibility, too, cries out for investigation.

These broad policy questions and suggestions of political chicanery are important. Do we have a nation of laws equally applied to all, or is justice being reduced to raw politics? Investigating such questions is the essence of the news business. Failure to look into such a scandal is evidence of the institutional corruption of the much-ballyhooed “fourth branch of government,” a supposedly independent media.

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