Even for lunatic Glenn Beck conspiracy theories, this was a weird one. Tonight, Beck attempted to establish a "direct link" between President Obama and the New Black Panther Party, suggesting that this link resulted in President Obama engineering the dismissal of charges against members of the group (details of this phony scandal here).
Acording to Beck, the New Black Panthers and Obama are linked through Charles Ogletree, a Harvard University professor and friend and mentor to the president. Displaying a photo of Obama with Ogletree, Beck said, "Maybe it's not so surprising that Obama's DOJ would drop the case against the New Black Panthers, especially when you know who [Ogletree] is." Beck added that "you have to understand his past, and his connection to the Panthers and the NAACP to maybe begin to see how this happened."
But in his subsequent examination of Ogletree, Beck failed to expose even a hint of a connection between the professor and the New Black Panthers:
Beck claimed connections between Ogletree and the "original" Black Panther movement in the 1960s, saying that Ogletree edited a Black Panther newsletter and attended the trial of Angela Davis. But Beck acknowledged that the "new guys" in the New Black Panther Party "don't mix" with the Black Panthers with whom Ogletree associated. That's putting it mildly, as the Anti-Defamation League points out in their profile of the "anti-Semitic and racist" New Black Panthers:
The NBPP's divisive positions have been condemned by members of he original Black Panthers. Co-founder Bobby Seale believes that the NBPP has "hijacked our name and are hijacking our history." David Hilliard, a former Panther and executive director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, has said that the racism that the group "espouse(s) flies directly in the face of the Black Panthers' multicultural ideology and purpose." The NBPP continues to use the Panther name and logo in spite of a permanent injunction prohibiting them from using either, which the original Panthers obtained in May 1997.
So why does Beck bring this "link" up if he knows it's invalid? Probably because he doesn't have anything better -- Beck makes no further attempt to tie Ogletree to the New Black Panthers.
Instead, Beck points out that Ogletree is friends with Angela Davis; that he previously worked for the NAACP, urging them not to support Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court; and that Ogletree has represented Henry Gates and Anita Hill, is involved with the Reparations Coordinating Committee, received an award from the Ella Baker Center (which Beck noted gleefully was founded by Van Jones), and is friends with the Obamas.
It sounds like Beck is attempting to lay out an elaborate web of prominent African American individuals and organizations in order to fabricate a link between Ogletree and Obama on the one hand and the New Black Panthers on the other.