Defending the legal challenge to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the resulting gutting of the law by the conservative Justices of the Supreme Court in Shelby v. Holder, right-wing media insisted voter suppression is only a problem that existed in the past and long-standing voter protections are no longer necessary. But the immediate spike in discriminatory restrictions on voting after the Shelby decision proves Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was right in her dissenting opinion and right-wing media was dead wrong.
Conservative Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, was a frequent legal authority for Fox News until he announced that he was part of a bipartisan effort to reauthorize the key provision of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) that the Supreme Court recently struck down.
In the past two months, Fox News has repeatedly turned to the legal expertise of Sensenbrenner, former Republican chair of the House Judiciary Committee, on issues ranging from the investigation of national security leaks by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the powers of the National Security Agency (NSA) under the Patriot Act.
Fox News host Sean Hannity, in particular, has expressed his admiration for Sensenbrenner's stature, hosting him on the June 17 edition of his show and informing the long-time congressman that "you're one of the guys that has always been on principle, which I admire and I know you have been there a while, fighting the good fight every day."
Indeed, Hannity appears to have specifically invited Sensenbrenner onto his show that day so the congressman could defend him from Media Matters' observation that the Fox News host was wildly hypocritical in his criticism of the NSA's current surveillance practices. Hannity subsequently praised Sensenbrenner's defense of the Fox News host and his legal explanation of the Patriot Act - legislation the congressman ushered through the House as Judiciary Committee chair - as "enlightening, edifying."
Sensenbrenner is also well-known for leading the effort to pass another overwhelmingly supported bipartisan bill signed into law by Bush: the 2006 reauthorization of the VRA, which the Supreme Court just infamously gutted in Shelby County v. Holder.
Because Congress accumulated extensive evidence to update and justify the VRA's selection of jurisdictions whose election changes remain subject to federal review due to their inability to stop suppressing the vote on the basis of race, Sensenbrenner has repeatedly defended Congress' reauthorization work. Sensenbrenner even filed an amicus brief for the Supreme Court in strong support of the VRA against the right-wing challenge in Shelby County, which the conservative bloc of the Supreme Court ignored.
Now, although Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), current chair of the Judiciary Committee and another Republican who voted to reauthorize the VRA in 2006, is conspicuously silent, Sensenbrenner is helping lead the bipartisan effort to once again pass the VRA provision that was struck down in Shelby County. As reported by The Hill:
A House Republican who led the last push to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act exhorted lawmakers Wednesday to join him in bringing the law back to life.
The day after the Supreme Court quashed the anti-discrimination statute, Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) urged lawmakers to cast aside their differences and restore the rejected provisions for the sake of voter protection.
"The Voting Rights Act is vital to America's commitment to never again permit racial prejudices in the electoral process," Sensenbrenner, the second-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Wednesday in a statement.
"This is going to take time, and will require members from both sides of the aisle to put partisan politics aside and ensure Americans' most sacred right is protected."
Right-wing media are offering multiple false reassurances to those outraged at the Supreme Court's attack on voting rights in Shelby County v. Holder, while failing to report on the progress of one possible fix.
In the aftermath of Shelby County, which held that Congress' extensive 2006 findings of ongoing voter suppression did not justify the Voting Rights Act's formula for determining which jurisdictions with a history of racial discrimination must "preclear" their election changes, right-wing media are incorrectly claiming that this decision will not have an adverse effect on voting rights.
Repeating the lie that the preclearance requirement in Section 5 of the VRA - gutted when the Supreme Court invalidated the formula within Section 4 that determines which jurisdictions are subject to it - was insignificant, right wing-media continue to argue that only a "small part" of this historic civil rights law was struck down.
In their day-after analysis of Shelby County, the editors of the National Review Online proclaimed the preclearance process to be "worthless," adding "[t]he decision brings an end to the automatic and perpetual punishment of states that are guilty of crimes in decades past. It does nothing else."
On the June 26 edition of America Live, Fox News host Megyn Kelly dismissed the idea that "racism was given the stamp of approval officially by the Supreme Court yesterday." Her guest, NRO contributing editor Andrew McCarthy, repeated the right-wing myth that voter suppression that engages in systematic racial discrimination "has long ago passed to the dustbin of history" and progressives who cannot recognize its demise are demagogues and "race hucksters." From America Live:
The conservative media is divided on anonymous sources: Some right-wing media figures have been hyping a claim by an anonymous source that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is "likely involved with the sexual harassment" allegations against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. At the same time, however, other conservative media figures have tried to cast doubt on the sexual harassment allegations against Cain by pointing out that they are based on anonymous sources.
Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, and others pushed the falsehood that in 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama appeared and marched with the New Black Panther Party in Selma. In fact, Obama's visit was sponsored by the Faith & Politics Institute, a non-partisan organization that has prominent Democrats and Republicans among its leaders.
During the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma, Obama pushed the wheelchair of the late Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a civil rights icon, across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
The Faith & Politics Institute released this picture of Obama, former President Bill Clinton, Shuttlesworth, and Rev. Joseph Lowery, another civil rights leader, during the event in Selma:
Yesterday, Andrew Breitbart, Sean Hannity, and National Review Online's Andrew McCarthy claimed that, in Sean Hannity's words, then-Senator Barack Obama was "hanging out" with a group of New Black Panther Party members during a 2007 event in Selma, Alabama. The charge was totally false, as it was based on cropped photos and dishonest descriptions.
In reality, the event was the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma, a pivotal event in the civil rights movement that ended when the marchers were attacked by law enforcement at Edmund Pettus Bridge.
During the commemoration, Obama was in the company of people like the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, who Martin Luther King Jr. once described as "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South." Shuttlesworth died today at the age of 89.
Here's a picture from Reuters of Obama pushing Shuttlesworth in a wheelchair across the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the event mentioned by Breitbart, Hannity, and McCarthy:
This closes the book on the latest shameful attempt at race-baiting by Breitbart, McCarthy, and Hannity.
At National Review's The Corner, Andrew McCarthy is excitedly hyping Andrew Breitbart's ridiculous "report" this morning on President Obama and the New Black Panthers. I'll reproduce just the first paragraph of McCarthy's post, because it's really all you need:
At Big Government, Andrew Breitbart reports that, as a presidential candidate in March 2007, then-Senator Barack Obama appeared and marched with members of the New Black Panther Party. Included in Obama's Panther entourage was Malik Zulu Shabazz, the racist group's "national chief." Shabazz was one of the Panthers charged in the voter intimidation case that the Obama/Holder Justice Department dismissed in 2009 -- even though the government had already won the case (the Panthers defaulted) and the evidence supporting the civil charges was overwhelming.
OK, let's see what McCarthy left out.
1) Obama and the NBPP were at a march commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the 1965 march from Selma, a seminal moment in the civil rights movement. By leaving that out, McCarthy made it seem as though Obama just showed up at a New Black Panther march.
2) If we're going to count Shabazz as part of Obama's "Panther entourage," then we have to count the several thousand other people who were in attendance. But why do that when you can just leave the (absolutely false) impression that Obama was walking arm-in-arm with Shabazz?
3) DOJ actually obtained judgment against NBPP member Samir Shabazz, and the department's Office of Professional Responsibility concluded "that Department attorneys did not commit professional misconduct or exercise poor judgment, but rather acted appropriately, in the exercise of their supervisory duties in connection with the dismissal of the three defendants in the NBPP case."
Actually, this is too much fun -- let's see what else McCarthy got wrong:
Andrew also notes that visitor logs indicate that a man identified as "Malik Shabazz" visited the White House two months after attorney general Holder dismissed the Panthers case. The White House has refused to clarify whether that Malik Shabazz is the Panther national chief.
Untrue! The White House clearly identified "Malik Shabazz" as one of the "false positives" that came up in their visitor logs: "The well-known individuals with those names never actually came to the White House."
Andrew further reminds us that, in March 2008, the Obama campaign website posted an endorsement of Obama by the New Black Panther Party.
Also untrue! The NBPP posted their own endorsement of Obama on the my.barackobama.com user-generated blog, and the campaign deleted the endorsement when they became aware of it.
The Breitbart report displays photos of Shabazz prominently speaking at the rally, and of Obama flanked by Shabazz and a uniformed New Black Panther Party member.
If by "flanked" McCarthy meant "several feet behind Obama as part of a large crowd" then perhaps this is accurate.
By my count, that's at least six demonstrably false claims or misleading omissions. Given that McCarthy's post comes in at under 400 words, that's an impressively high concentration of pernicious, race-baiting garbage.
National Review's Andrew McCarthy has made a habit of citing anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer as a credible authority -- plugging Spencer's book The Truth about Muhammad: Founder of the World's Most Intolerant Religion, for instance. In a recent blog post, McCarthy said that Spencer was the sort of "expert" who should testify at Rep. Peter King's hearings on the "radicalization of the Muslim-American community." McCarthy wrote: "I fear the hearings may turn into a non-event, in large part because they are not hearing from all the right witnesses -- experts like Steve Emerson and Robert Spencer. These experts have been excluded, evidently due to fear of the predictable reaction of the Muslim Brotherhood's American grievance network."
Today, FrontPage Magazine published an interview in which Spencer claims that "the most likely scenario" is that former Rep. Anthony Weiner "did convert to Islam."
In a June 16 National Review Online blog post, Andrew C. McCarthy criticizes Rep. Peter King's (R-NY) hearings into the radicalization of American Muslims. While Muslim, civil rights, and interfaith groups have panned the hearings as "divisive," McCarthy has a different problem: The hearings aren't anti-Islam enough.
According to McCarthy, "the hearings are proceeding on a false premise: namely, that Muslims are being 'radicalized' by some aberrant ideology that is a perversion of Islam." He explains:
What "radicalizes" Muslims is Islam -- the mainstream interpretation of it. The "radicals" propagating it do not need the "captive audience" provided by the prison environment. The "radicalization" is happening in plain sight.
McCarthy bases his claims on a study by David Yerushalmi and Mordechai Kedar which states that more than 80 percent of U.S. mosques feature texts that promote or support violence. Several right-wing pundits who specialize in attacks on Muslims and Islam previously highlighted the report earlier this month.
As we noted at the time, this study is undermined by Yerushalmi's history of extreme anti-Muslim and racially charged rhetoric. The Anti-Defamation League has highlighted Yerushalmi's "record of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry," specifically highlighting his reported statement that "African Americans are a 'relatively murderous race killing itself" and suggesting that "racial differences included innate differences in character and intelligence."
The ADL also reports that a think tank founded and led by Yerushalmi "called on Congress to declare war on the 'Muslim nation,' which it defined as 'Shari'a-adherent Muslims,' and further asked Congress to define Muslim illegal immigrants as alien enemies 'subject to immediate deportation.'"
Yerushalmi has written that "Muslim civilization is at war with Judeo-Christian civilization" and that "The Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies." This is probably not the kind of person you want to rely on for unbiased data.
Of course, Andrew McCarthy thought the proposed Park51 Islamic center several blocks from Ground Zero represented "Islamist supremacism" and his most recent book recycles numerous smear to paint President Obama as an "Islamist," so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.
From February 12 coverage of CPAC 2011:
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From the February 11 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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From the February 11 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck:
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Andrew McCarthy's sole focus in life, it seems, is to hurl overblown and misleading accusations about Islam and who, supposedly, is in league with Islamic extremists. We've previously detailed how McCarthy's book The Grand Jihad repeatedly invokes smears, myths, and falsehoods to portray President Obama as an "Islamist," and an entire chapter of that book is dedicated to promoting the discredited claim that Obama, during a 2007 visit to Kenya, campaigned for a presidential candidate there.
McCarthy keeps up his record of anti-Muslim activism in a January 25 National Review Online blog post, in which he embraces the work of WorldNetDaily's Aaron Klein:
Aaron Klein is the World Net Daily reporter and WABC radio host to whom Imam Feisal Rauf could not bring himself to admit that Hamas is a terrorist organization, an episode I wrote about in a column last week. Mr. Klein has just uncovered a recent recording in which the imam who has replaced Rauf as the face of the Ground Zero Mosque explains that Islam's sharia law requires the imprisonment of former Muslims who publicly renounce Islam.
"If someone leaves the din, leaves the path privately, they cannot be touched. If someone preaches about apostasy, or preaches their views, they're jailed," stated Shaykh Abdallah Adhami, a 44-year-old American and scholar of sharia. His remarks were made in a lecture two months ago.
Here is the moderate part: As Adhami acknowledged, many sharia jurists say that apostates -- Muslims who renounce Islam -- must be killed. But Adhami maintains that sharia distinguishes between "public" apostates and "private" apostates. Only the former, he says, must be punished and -- to be even more moderate about it -- they don't have to be killed . . . just "jailed so they are contained."
But as we documented, Adhami wasn't expressing his personal views; he was merely reciting history. Klein cherry-picked a handful of statements out of a 10-minute-long answer to create his slant, which McCarthy uncritically repeated despite Klein's long history of shoddy reporting. And both ignored a 2007 article by Adhami, headlined "The right to change one's religion," in which he called for religious tolerance, writing, "We need to acknowledge and affirm that diversity and difference are part of the divine intent for creation."
McCarthy's touting of how Rauf "could not bring himself to admit that Hamas is a terrorist organization" to Klein is similarly misleading; the website for Rauf's Cordoba Initiative states: "Hamas is both a political movement and a terrorist organization. Hamas commits atrocious acts of terror. Imam Feisal has forcefully and consistently condemned all forms of terrorism, including those committed by Hamas, as un-Islamic."
Unsurprisingly, Klein's misleading story also proved to be irresistible to the rabidly anti-Muslim Pam Geller, who promoted Klein's article as proof that Adhami was stumping for Islamic law on apostasy -- which, of course, is not what he was doing.
From the December 8 edition of Fox News' Hannity:
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Two recently released polls show that an increasing number of Americans believe the falsehood that President Obama is a Muslim. According to the Pew Research Center, 60 percent of people who believe this false claim cite the media as the source of that information -- and, indeed, the right-wing media have incessantly promoted this lie.