What really riles the right

The Washington Post has finally written about the controversy over the Obama/Holder Justice Department’s handling of the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party and two of its members. The story appears on page 3, under the headline “Voter-intimidation case riles the right.”
Not surprisingly, the Post’s coverage is not exactly impartal. For example, reporter Krissah Thompson elects to identfy J. Christian Adams as having been hired during the Bush administration. In past story’s about government lawyers turned whistleblowers, I don’t recall Post mentioning the administration during which the lawyer was hired. Thompson is trying to signal to her readers that Adams is not the right kind of career lawyer and thus should not be treated with the respect (or reverence) granted to liberal whistle blowers.
The Post also tilts its presentation of the merits in favor of the Obama/Holder Justice Department. A supporter of the administration claims that the decision to narrow the case and focus on the individual who wielded the night stick was a reasonable judgment call. On the other side, the Post presents a conclusory statement by Adams that DOJ was hostile to the case and a conclusory statement of Todd Gaziano, of the Civil Rights Commission, that the matter needs to be investigated. No explanation is presented as to why.
The Post also cites Abigail Thernstrom, a conservative member of the Civil Rights Commission, who calls the case “small potatoes.” She points out that it involves a narrow and rarely relied upon provision of the Voting Rights Act, and notes that the polling station in question was in a majority-black, overwhelmingly Democratic precinct, hardly a prime spot for intimidating white voters. She concludes that critics of Eric Holder should not “waste their breath” on the matter.
Thernstrom may well be right. I’m reserving judgment on the merits until I get around to reading some cases on the issue, but the controversy does have a pumped up feel to it. Nonetheless, the Post’s story does not do justice to Adams’ case; in fact, the Post doesn’t really present it.
The Post also ignores Adams’ broader claim that the Obama/Holder Justice Department is uninterested in, or more likely hostile to, challenging voting rights abuses by blacks directed against whties. Hans von Spakovsky, formerly of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, has provided additional support for that claim, including specific examples.
It is that perception, which is consistent with what I have observed in decades of following the government’s civil rights enforcement efforts, that really “riles the right.”

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