Last week, CBS "Face the Nation" host Bob Schieffer made the incredible confession that he was unaware of the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation cast on CNN's July 18 "Reliable Sources." The show's host Howard Kurtz asked why Schieffer didn't ask Attorney General Eric Holder about the case when he had the opportunity in an appearance on his show.
"I was on vacation that week," Schieffer said. "This happened -- apparently, it got very little publicity. And, you know, I just didn't know about it"
To compensate for this oversight, Schieffer has assembled a panel for his July 25 broadcast of "Face the Nation" to discuss this issue. The problem - it's heavily stacked in favor of the Obama administration's perspective on the issue.
According to the "Face the Nation" website, Schieffer's panel will Abigail Thernstrom, Vice Chair, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University, Cornel West, Princeton University, John Fund, a Wall Street Journal columnist and Michael Gerson, a Washington Post columnist.
Aside from Fund, there is little reason to think any of the other panelists will argue on the side of prosecuting what is perceived to be voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers. As the American Spectator's Quin Hillyer pointed out in a July 23 piece, even though Thernstrom insisted what occurred was "blatant voter intimidation," she wasn't a proponent of aggressively prosecuting the case
"In several public forums, Thernstrom has repeated her long-standing assertion that the Panther case was indeed worthy of a commission hearing and associated report, but just not the huge, required annual report that is the commission's major annual contribution to civic life," Hillyer wrote. "Her oft-repeated reasons are two. First, she argued that another topic -- namely the strong possibility that the Holder Justice Department would muck with decennial redistricting in order to engineer race-based outcomes -- was more worthy of the commission's major annual report. Second, she argued that as a practical matter, the Panther investigation would likely run into a brick wall because it would require asking the Justice Department to enforce subpoenas on itself, which DoJ would be unlikely to do."
The other potential ally for Fund would be Gerson. However, Gerson wrote in a column on July 24 he was skeptical of Fox News' coverage of the Black Panther case.
"At the same time, Fox News obsessively played video showing two members of the New Black Panthers wearing military gear outside a Philadelphia polling station in 2008, one carrying a nightstick. Voter intimidation is a serious thing and a federal crime. But two men engaged in an act of revolutionary political theater do not a conspiracy make."
So as for now, let's hope John Fund can hold his own when the deck is stacked against him. But as for the media coverage, Hillyer urged "honest investigative reporters" to take this on.
"This, therefore, is hardly a matter of a conservative thoroughly denigrating the substance of an investigation by other conservatives -- although that is the story-line the JournoList-polluted establishment media is eager to play up in order to distract attention from what might be major Obama-Holder malfeasance," Hillyer wrote. "At this point, it might be wise to provide links to some of the best accounts of what really is at stake in the Panther case, including possible White House involvement. Let me repeat, for any other honest investigative reporters out there: POSSIBLE WHITE HOUSE INVOLVEMENT."