Newsweek Reporter David A. Graham Runs Interference for Black Panthers, Relies on Media Matters Research

Today's case study in Newsweek's shameless bias disguised as news reporting comes via David A. Graham's article "The New Black Panther Party Is the New ACORN" published yesterday. It begins with this: “As voter intimidation exercises go, it wasn’t much.” And it gets worse from there. The real story according to Graham is how a minor case of voter intimidation was overblown by conservatives media outlets to attack the White House.


Graham links to five stories at three different sites--Hot Air, Michelle Malkin, and Red State--as proof that conservative blogs "can't get enough." He mentions that the incident was caught on tape but, strangely, doesn't include the footage on the page or even recommend that his readers view it. Could it be that the sight of a man brandishing a baton in front of a polling place is a bit too incriminating for the narrative he’s trying to spin?

Then, out of nowhere, Graham compares the incident to the ACORN investigation:
So how did the incident become a replay of the ACORN scandal? There's some resemblance between the two: an organization with unacceptable practices and a vague connection to the Obama administration (through voter registration drives in the ACORN case and Justice Department litigation in the Panther case) becomes a tool for critics of the White House to attack it as corrupt and illegitimate. But as in the ACORN case, the scandal is minimal (much of the ACORN hit has been discredited)—and the allegations against

So according to David A. Graham, ACORN and the Black Panther case are both non-scandals that became "a tool for critics of the White House." It's not as if I can detect any point of view here, but this is still a news magazine, right?

The best part has to be his parenthetical which states that the ACORN sting has been "discredited." His proof for this is a link to this post by Media Matters' Eric Boehlert. Now all of you Big Journalism readers know Boehlert is a Senior Fellow at Media Matters who has made it his personal mission to attack and attempt to destroy Andrew Breitbart. The two men exchange insulting tweets on a regular basis daily. Linking to Boehlert as a source on a story involving Breitbart is like asking the Joker for comment on Batman. It tells you more about the reporter than the story.

grahamPhoto from David A. Graham's twitter profile



In any case, Graham might want to take a look at this piece by NY Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt. Hoyt looked over all the same evidence that is the subject of Boehlert's post. What did he conclude?
Acorn’s supporters appear to hope that the whole story will fall apart over the issue of what O’Keefe wore: if that was wrong, everything else must be wrong. The record does not support them.

A bit later David A. Graham gets to the current flashpoint in the story:
...things really blew open on July 6, when Bush Justice official J. Christian Adams, who is white, suggested that Justice's voting division avoided bringing cases where defendants were black and plaintiffs were white. Adams's testimony is questionable; there are doubts about whether he was actually present for the incidents he described, and he's refused to offer details on key questions

That second link--the one about questionable testimony--goes right back to Media Matters. David A. Graham summarizes MM's lengthy hit piece by saying, "there are doubts about whether he was actually present for the incidents he described." Well, no, there are not doubts about that at all. In his interview with Megyn Kelly (which Media Matters transcribes), Adams plainly states that he wasn't there:
KELLY: What was the response? I mean, that's an extraordinary story.

ADAMS: I don't know. I wasn't there.

KELLY: But this came to you from Coates.

ADAMS: Correct.

Graham makes it sound as if Adams had been caught in a lie or his credibility had been undermined, i.e. "there are doubts..." On the contrary, Adams admitted he wasn't there and explained exactly how he learned of the story. Why not just say that instead?

This is an example of the kind of biased, shoddy analysis I've come to expect from Newsweek in the last year, ever since I caught Senior Editor Sharon Begley lying about a supposedly "viral" racist comment which she used to characterize opposition to health reform. (Her idea of "going viral" apparently includes statements which appear on one unknown web forum and were never repeated by anyone else.) But if Newsweek reporters are now relying on Media Matters as research, then Newsweek cannot be salvaged. It's officially our adversary.

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