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Lather or Rinse, Repeat As Necessary

Contrasting the treatment of two DOJ stories is a case study in media bias. On the one hand, there’s the Bush-era “scandal” involving the firings of politically appointees. US attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President, so their termination was perfectly legal. Nevertheless, the media worked itself into a froth, resulting in scores of news stories, Congressional hearings, and a two-year DOJ investigation that led, inevitably, to the story fading away into nothing was once its usefulness was depleted.

On the other hand, the Obama DOJ’s swift dismissal of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case, after getting a judgment in its favour, was immediately and almost universally waved off as a non-story. The original whistleblower, a career DOJ lawyer (not a political appointee), was slapped with the “conservative” label (often, at least in part, with the aforementioned politicization “scandal” offered as proof) and his charges therefore treated as unworthy of consideration. The fact that multiple colleagues came forward to support his allegations that the Obama DOJ was refusing, as a matter of policy, to practice race-neutral law enforcement was all but ignored.

So now we reach the rinse cycle wherein the dereliction of the “mainstream” media, who have almost uniformly treated the story like something unsavoury stuck to the bottom of their Alan Edmondses from the beginning, becomes self-proving. “Fox News and… other right-wing outlets” aren’t engaging in journalism in being the only outlets to treat these facts as newsworthy. They’re just a “media echo chamber.”

Did the NBP engage in voter intimidation? Without access to the full case file, I have no way to know. But it isn’t necessary to belabour the point that the mere suggestion that a Republican DOJ was engaging in racial bias in enforcing the law would be a scandal of epic proportions. Not so for a Democratic administration. There’s no interest in discovering and reporting the actual truth value of the allegations; it’s totally irrelevant. Instead, we are told that, because the Bush DOJ (acknowledging the extraordinarily high level of proof required to successfully prosecute a criminal charge) downgraded the case to a civil complaint — and all of the people making the allegations are “conservatives” anyway — there’s simply nothing to talk about at all.

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About Dodd
Dodd, who used to run a blog named ipse dixit, is an attorney, a veteran of the United States Navy, and a fairly good poker player. He can kill a mime using only his thumb. He joined the staff at OTB in May 2007. Follow Dodd on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Brummagem Joe says:

    ” so their termination was perfectly legal.”

    So this is why AG Gonzales and others felt compelled to lie about it and were subsequently compelled to resign.

    “Did the NBP engage in voter intimidation? Without access to the full case file, I have no way to know. ”

    Not that that is going to stop you using the age old tactic of the suggestio falsi

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  2. grampagravy says:

    Unbelievable that you would try to compare the political firing of competent US Attorneys (unethical at best) with two clowns dressed up funny and acting like fools in public (silly at worst). Your cupboard must be bare.

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  3. steve says:

    There were actual people fired in the first case. One employee, Goodling IIRC, admitted that she probably erred in asking questions about political affiliation. In the second case, no one has come forward to claim that they were intimidated. The available youtubes show people walking in past the two guys, ignoring them. TBH, they looked like most of the security guards we had when I worked in West Philly. We then have a he said/she said about DOJ policy. Great drama I guess, but easily resolved just by looking at department stats. Have they stopped prosecuting blacks? Why should the second get much coverage?

    Steve

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  4. reid says:

    This post is a study in media bias. Have you thought about a career at Fox?

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  5. Tano says:

    “Did the NBP engage in voter intimidation? Without access to the full case file, I have no way to know. ”

    Here – I’ll make it easy for ya bud. The answer is no.
    There has been no accusation whatsoever that any voter was actually intimidated. You don’t need access to the ‘full case file” to know that. You can be sure that any truly intimidated voter would by now be a Foxnews star.

    These were two clowns, one with a billy club, mugging in front of a camera for a few minutes. I doubt that anyone even noticed them, other than the cameraperson. It is a totally madeup race baiting exercise by the usual suspects. And you think the feds are somehow obliged to prosecute such a case? On what grounds?

    “There’s no interest in discovering and reporting the actual truth value of the allegations;”

    As you point out, the Bush DOJ did an investigation and found no basis for criminal action. It is YOU who have no interest in what the truth actually is – you have a political agenda to follow.

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  6. glasnost says:

    Here’s a long list of dissimilarities and refutations that will make no impression on you whatsoever:

    #1. Legal acts, when related to illegal acts, i.e. done in order to facilitate them, become of both of interest as part of a scandal/crime, and sometimes become illegal acts themselves. It is legal for the A.G. or President to fire US-attorneys, but

    #2. U.S. Attorneys are removed, in practice, only for misconduct, or at the beginning of a new presidential administration. Exceptions to this rule have only occurred on an individual basis. Never in the 20’th century have U.S. Attorneys been fired en masse in the middle of a presidential term, or by the very president who appointed them.

    #3. This legal act, as has been demonstrated through credible evidence, was in at least some cases directly related to illegal acts, such as obstruction of justice in attempting to force said attorneys to file bogus voter-fraud prosecutions for the purpose of intimidating and suppressing voter registration organizations.

    #4. The above story wasn’t covered for shit until Alberto Gonzales started giving hilarious answers suggesting total amnesia in Congressional hearings.

    #5. The original whistleblower, a career DOJ lawyer (not a political appointee), was slapped with the “conservative” label (often, at least in part, with the aforementioned politicization “scandal” offered as proof)

    This is insane. The original whistleblower was hired about four by a guy who admitted under oath that he exclusively hired Republican activists into the civil service, which is de facto illegal conduct he was not prosecuted for. The “support” from multiple “colleagues includes two guys who were gone before he even arrived, one guy who does nothing more than say “this guy was a good attorney, honest”, and that’s it. Nothing remotely like corroboration of J. Christian Adams’ specific charges.

    It’s a one-man UFO tale, alleging facts for which there is no evidence besides his own stories. In contrast, the U.S. attorney firings were undisputed, obviously real events, genuinely unprecedented, and in due time rather large piles of evidence emerged of wrongdoing – from Pete Domenici’s recorded phone calls, to te4stimony under oath, to 2005-6 prosecutions reserved on appeal or thrown out with incredulous statements from various judges.

    #6:

    But it isn’t necessary to belabour the point that the mere suggestion that a Republican DOJ was engaging in racial bias in enforcing the law would be a scandal of epic proportions.

    Actually, it is neccessary to belabour this point, because this point is you engaging in what we call “making things up”.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/11/12/AR2005111201200.html

    Actually, there were widespread and credible allegations, including from insiders, during the Second Bush term that political folks at the DoJ had completely halted civil rights-related prosecutions, period, or were only investigating cases with white victims. Needless to say, it was not a scandal of epic proportions. There were a few stories and liberal blogs whined about it. Mostly, no one gave a sh*t. It got about as much coverage as this Fox News non-story you’re hyping.

    Nevertheless, there’s been coverage of this story in the MSM, because they always cover your bullsh*t. You have no idea what coverage there has, or has not, been. You just have a wild-eyed and uninformed rant.
    You really stick out here on OTB like a sore thumb, Dodd. I’m going to email this comment to James as an example of your, frankly, inability to separate facts from your personal sense of victimization. You belong in the comment section with zeldorf, not on OTB.

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