by Dave Weigel
I don't really get a chance to watch TV in Unalaska, and the one thing I miss is Megyn Kelly of Fox News. The last week or so of her work -- her one woman crusade against the New Black Panther Party -- has been truly riveting television. Kelly widens her eyes in a way that bespeaks both horror and anger at the subject she's reporting on. "Shocking new video," she'll say, introducing a clip of the Panthers acting like idiots and yelling about "crackers" at a Philadelphia street festival. "We have a DOJ whistleblower alleging there is a discriminatory policy at the DOJ voting rights section," she'll say, "and no one seems to give a darn." It's the "darn" that ties this together -- she's not just a journalist, she's a concerned citizen who has to bring you this story before it's. Too. Late.
The people who grab these videos for the web use the same cliches to title them. "Megyn Kelly DESTROYS Kirsten Powers on New Black Panther Case" says one of them; "Megyn Kelly schools lib pundit over New Black Panthers Party." But why is she doing so many stories on the Panthers? It's because Fox News uses the Panthers the way that Phil Donohue used to use the KKK or G.G. Allin. They're good on TV. The difference between the Panthers and other freakish groups that look good on the air, of course, is that that they threaten white people.
How often does Fox bring on the Panthers, or talk about them? A Lexis-Nexis search finds 68 mentions of "Malik Zulu Shabazz," a leader of the NBPP. The majority are appearances on Fox News, where Shabazz is repeatedly brought on to act as a foolish, anti-Semitic punching bag. Among the segment titles: "Professor's Comments on Whites Stir Controversy" and "Black Panthers Take a Stand on Duke Rape Case." Here's one example of a Shabazz appearance during the Jeremiah Wright controversy. Fox was the only network to book him; Sean Hannity conducted the interview.
HANNITY: Malik Zulu Shabazz joins us right now. Malik, welcome back to the program. Now, we didn't show the one time I think you called me a devil on the air. So I'm going and try to start off and see if we can have a civil dialogue here tonight. You said I have nothing but respect for and his pastor. Is there nothing that the pastor said that you disagree with?
SHABAZZ: I understand that he comes from the black church tradition. And in the church they study Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah and Egypt. And they believe that those nations in the church. Both the black church and white evangelicals believe powerful nations in the past that have done evil to their slaves will be condemned by God. So this is not just Jeremiah Wright. It's a regular church teaching. Same teaching that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson do the same teaching.
HANNITY: Do you believe G.D. [God damn] America? Is that your view?
SHABAZZ: I think that's too simplistic of a question.
HANNITY: That's not simplistic, it's the right question because these are the words of Jeremiah Wright.
This isn't journalism. No one cares what the NBPP thinks about anything. This is minstrelsy, with a fringe moron set up like a bowling pin for Hannity to knock down. And that's the role the NBPP plays on Fox, frequently.