Beck's spastic, spurious attempt to connect Obama to the New Black Panthers rests on falsehoods
Blog ››› ››› CHRISTINE SCHWEN
As Matt Gertz noted earlier, tonight Glenn Beck really stepped up the crazy, and attempted to link President Obama and the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) through Harvard professor Charles Ogletree, which, in Beck's creative and frightening mind, was the reason the DOJ did not pursue additional charges against the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation (as opposed to, you know, the fact that no voters have said they were intimidated by the NBPP). In fact, Beck's purported evidence only linked Ogletree to the Black Panther movement of the 1960s and 1970s, which even Beck acknowledged was a separate organization that hates the NBPP.
In offering his incredibly weak and spurious attempt to connect Ogletree to the New Black Panthers, Beck issued his usual smattering of false and absurd claims. For example:
- Beck distorted Stern statement to falsely claim he was advocating "voter intimidation." While attempting to link SEIU to the NBPP, under a caption that read "Voter Intimidation," Beck quote SEIU's Andy Stern saying "We took the names, we watched how they voted. We know where they live." In fact, Stern's comments referred to SEIU's response tohow Chicago's aldermen voted on a "big box ordinance"; Stern went on to say that "there were some aldermen that were real wrong and we should send them back home into retirement." Stern was in no way calling for "voter intimidation."
- Beck falsely claimed the Kenneth Gladney case was "never prosecuted." Beck claimed that "SEIU [was] delivering a beat-down to a black man," referring to Kenneth Gladney. Beck added, "The case was never prosecuted." Contrary to Beck's suggestion, there is no evidence SEIU conspired to deliver the "beat down." Moreover, the claim that the case "was never prosecuted" is false. In fact, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on November 26, 2009 that St. Louis prosecutors had charged six people in connection with the case with misdemeanor ordinance violations; two of the individuals were reportedly charged with "assaulting a person and interfering with police" after being "accused of scuffling with and injuring Kenneth Gladney." From the article (accessed via Nexis):
Six people arrested in August outside a raucous town hall meeting in south St. Louis County have been charged with misdemeanor ordinance violations.
The six, including a Post-Dispatch reporter, had attended a demonstration outside an Aug. 6 forum called by U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, at Bernard Middle School in Mehlville to discuss health care reform.
The charges were filed Tuesday by the St. Louis County counselor's office. All six are to appear in court Jan. 21. The maximum penalty would be one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Some bloggers and others watching the case have raised questions for months about the lag between the arrests at the politically charged event and the filing of charges.
County Counselor Patricia Redington insisted it had nothing to do with politics or anyone's influence.
Post-Dispatch reporter Jake Wagman, 30, of University City, was charged with interfering with a police officer. The charges allege that he failed to obey repeated commands "to leave the site of an ongoing disturbance."
Elston McCowan, 47, of St. Louis, and Perry Molens, 50, of De Soto, each were charged with assaulting a person and interfering with police. They are accused of scuffling with and injuring Kenneth Gladney in a clash of opinions over the Democrats' universal health care proposals.
On April 22, Beck himself acknowledged that the defendants "pleaded not guilty in the Kenneth Gladney beating."
- Beck falsely suggested that ACORN caused the financial crisis. Roping ACORN into his conspiracy theory, Beck claimed that "our banks were in so much trouble" because ACORN "intimidated the banks," echoing an old falsehood that actions designed to expand affordable housing like the Community Reinvestment Act caused the subprime mortgage crisis. That claim doesn't hold water though, since the CRA did not govern the vast majority of subprime lenders.
- Beck baselessly suggested the DOJ did not prosecute the NPBB as a favor "for all of the support" they gave Obama during the election. Beck suggested that the DOJ "drop[ping]" the case against the NBPP might have been "a little favor for all of the support ... they gave Obama during the election." His only evidence? That in an interview with Beck himself, the leader of the NBPP had expressed support for Obama.
- Beck called Obama's commentary on the Gates arrest a "debacle." Beck suggested Obama erred when he said that the police officer who arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates acted "stupidly," calling Obama's commentary "a debacle." However, the Cambridge police dropped their charges against Gates, calling the incident "regrettable and unfortunate." Additionally, while a report on the incident reportedly found both Gates and the police officer "missed opportunities to deescalate the tension," the Cambridge police commissioner reportedly said that "an officer with a badge bears the ultimate responsibility for quelling any incident." Beck pointed out that Ogletree was Gates' lawyer, and questioned whether Obama might have sought Ogletree's counsel about the incident.