Wash. Post: New Black Panthers controversy "fueled by partisan hyperbole, conspiracy theories and misinformation"

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In an October 4 editorial headlined "Right call on the Black Panthers," The Washington Post wrote that the phony New Black Panthers scandal "has been fueled by partisan hyperbole, conspiracy theories and misinformation." The editorial concluded, "Far from acting recklessly, the Justice Department did what every law enforcement entity is ethically obligated to do: press only those charges that are supported by evidence." From the editorial:

Critics charged the Obama Justice Department with refusing to apply civil rights law in a colorblind fashion; the Justice Department, they argued, would never have watered down the case had the alleged wrongdoers been white. The matter made headlines again last week because of allegations by Christopher Coates, the Justice Department lawyer who originally brought the case, that the voting rights section has long been "hostile" to anything but cases in which minorities are victims, not perpetrators. These assertions should be explored by the department's Office of Inspector General in its review of the voting rights section.

But even Mr. Coates did not offer specific evidence that the department acted improperly. For example, there is no evidence that [King Samir] Shabazz's actions were directed or incited by the party or its national leader; the party essentially repudiated Mr. Shabazz in a posting on its Web site and later suspended the Philadelphia chapter. The second Black Panther at the voting facility was a certified poll watcher and appears not to have verbally or physically attempted to intimidate voters.

Much of the controversy that has surrounded this case for more than a year has been fueled by partisan hyperbole, conspiracy theories and misinformation. Far from acting recklessly, the Justice Department did what every law enforcement entity is ethically obligated to do: press only those charges that are supported by evidence.

Indeed, the right-wing media -- led by Fox News -- have relied on completely unsubstantiated allegations about what Justice Department officials have said about enforcing voting-rights laws in a racially neutral manner, rather than reporting on actions by the DOJ that clearly show it has, in fact, enforced those laws when the alleged violators are racial minorities.

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