Fox News overlooked voter-intimidation allegations against Minutemen

››› ››› ZACHARY PLEAT

In contrast to Fox News' repeated hyping of voter-intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party during the 2008 election, a search of the Nexis database indicates that Fox News' top shows did not report on similar allegations that members of the Minutemen harassed Hispanic voters at an Arizona polling center in 2006.

Fox News fixates on voter intimidation allegations against New Black Panthers

Fox News has devoted more than 100 segments to phony New Black Panther scandal since June 30. Fox News has discussed the Justice Department's handling of voter intimidation charges against members of the New Black Panther Party during more than 100 segments since June 30, devoting more than eight hours of airtime to discussion of the case. A Nexis search found that Fox News hosts have discussed the voter intimidation charges dating back to Election Day 2008.

Megyn Kelly: Fox "dragged the media kicking and screaming" to cover New Black Panther Party voter intimidation. During the July 12 edition of America Live, Fox News' Megyn Kelly criticized the media for its coverage of "the now infamous New Black Panther voter intimidation case," and said that Fox News "dragged the media kicking and screaming" to cover the case. Kelly has discussed the case during more than 45 segments since June 30.

Kelly: New Black Panther Party voter intimidation getting attention because "the voting place is sacrosanct." During the July 13 edition of America Live, Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers said, "I cannot believe that this one case, after all the cases that were dismissed during the Bush administration, is getting the amount of attention that it's getting. I find it absolutely shocking. I cannot believe it." Kelly responded: "Let me tell you why. Because the voting place is sacrosanct."

Carlson: "Remember where they went to vote and there was standing there with clubs?" During the July 7 edition of Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said, "We all saw that video during 2008 where people went to vote. First of all, there was that video. Remember where they went to vote and there was, standing there with clubs. DOJ -- Department of Justice -- decided to end that case." Fox News contributor Dana Perino claimed, "I know that if I -- when I was press secretary, and the situation had been reversed -- I definitely would have been asked if the White House knew about it." She also said that "what we should get right now from the Justice Department is at least some sort of an explanation as to why they thought it wasn't a good case."

Special Report highlighted Adams' claim that it was "a slam-dunk case of voter intimidation." On the July 6, Special Reported highlighted Republican activist J. Christian Adams' testimony before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about "a slam-dunk case of voter intimidation" against the New Black Panther Party.

Minutemen were involved in similar voter-intimidation case in 2006

Armed Minutemen allegedly attempted to intimidate Hispanic voters in Arizona in 2006. A November 8, 2006, Austin American-Statesman article reported (from the Nexis database): "In Arizona, Roy Warden, an anti-immigration activist with the Minutemen, and a handful of supporters staked out a Tucson precinct and questioned Hispanic voters at the polls to determine whether they spoke English." The article continued: "Armed with a 9mm Glock automatic strapped to his side, Warden said he planned to photograph Hispanic voters entering polls in an effort to identify illegal immigrants and felons."

Civil rights attorney "said he reported the incident to the FBI." A November 8, 2006, Tucson Citizen article (from Nexis) reported that Diego Bernal, a staff attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) "said he reported the incident to the FBI." The article also reported that Pima County elections director Brad Nelson said: "If intimidation or coercion was going on out there, even though it might have been outside the 75-foot limit, it's something we take very seriously, and we'll be looking into it."

Perez testified that Bush-era DOJ "declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation" against Minutemen. As Media Matters noted, Thomas Perez, the assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, cited the Minutemen case in his May 14 testimony to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and said that "the Department declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation, notwithstanding the requests of the complaining parties." From Perez's testimony:

In another case, in Arizona, the complaint was received by a national civil rights organization regarding events in Pima, Arizona in the 2006 election when three well-known anti-immigrant advocates affiliated with the Minutemen, one of whom was carrying a gun, allegedly intimidated Latino voters at a polling place by approaching several persons, filming them, and advocating and printing voting materials in Spanish.

In that instance, the Department declined to bring any action for alleged voter intimidation, notwithstanding the requests of the complaining parties.

Fox News overlooked 2006 voter-intimidation allegations against Minutemen

Nexis search revealed no mention by Fox News of the 2006 Minutemen allegations. Media Matters searched* Fox News coverage between November 1, 2006, and November 1, 2007, in the Nexis database, and found no results for Fox News related to the voter-intimidation allegations against the Minutemen. Shows available in Nexis for that time period include Hannity & Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, Special Report with Brit Hume, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, and The Big Story with John Gibson.

*Search terms included "minuteman or minutemen" and "vot! & intimidat! & Arizona."

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