Did Media Matters Collude With DOJ On Black Panther Story?

When news broke of alleged voter intimidation involving the New Black Panthers Party in the 2008 election, Media Matters for America (MMfA) launched a relentless push back against the charges, resulting in almost 8,000 MMfA site specific Google hits in which MMfA attacked virtually anyone who attempted to report on the controversy, while elevating any reporting that minimized it, or the Department of Justice’s decision to drop the case.

Meanwhile, a former MMfA Director of External Affairs, Xochitl Hinojosa, who had actually joined the Department of Justice in July of 2009 as a Public Affairs Specialist, took an active role in pushing back against the story from witin DOJ.

Apparently, the Justice Department is going by George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm ending:

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” “We can only take action where we have legal authority,” wrote DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in a December 2010 e-mail to The Washington Times Water Cooler. She continues: “As stated in the website below, we are statutorily authorized to initiate suits under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act.

It’s not unusual for D.C. professionals to move in and out of government positions. Yet given MMfA’s acute focus on the Panthers/DOJ story, Hinojosa’s involvement with and ties to MMfA invite speculation as to what extent MMfA and DOJ might have cooperated in pushing back against a potentially explosive story for the Obama administration.

Indeed, today, MMfA is already attacking J. Christian Adams and his forthcoming book on Obama’s beleaguered Department of Justice, which has shown itself, in the Panthers case and in others, as one of the most politicized DOJ’s in modern history. (For more on new evidence linking Obama directly to the New Black Panthers, see this exclusive at Big Government today: Shock Photos: Candidate Obama Appeared And Marched With New Black Panther Party in 2007.)

Hinojosa has at times been quoted by Media Matters on a variety of stories that pertain to the DOJ. Yet the organization does not mention that she used to work for it, nor is that information available on MMfA’s current website. This 2009 cached snapshot of the Media Matters website confirms her tenure there:

Hinojosa is also the daughter of Gilberto Hinojosa, a former Cameron County, Texas judge and current Cameron County Democratic chairman. Aside from her time with Media Matters as Director of External Affairs, where her position oversaw outreach to Capitol Hill and to advocacy groups, Hinojosa also worked on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, as well as the Texas gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Chris Bell. She also worked for Texas Democratic state senator Kirk Watson.

As for MMfA, few can deny that Media Matters is a collaborative clearinghouse of information to most of the left-wing media. The coordination of “research” and talking points provided by the organization on the one hand, and left-wing commentary on the other, is deliberate and orchestrated.

We’ve seen it on numerous occasions, such as the SEIU vs. Kenneth Gladney story, or MSNBC’S Martin Bashir’s interview of Andrew Breitbart, or the multitude of stories that deliberately exclude the redemptive statement from Shirley Sherrod that Breitbart included in his 1400-word post.

There wouldn’t be so much wrong with that collaboration if MMfA’s “research” weren’t so deliberately deceptive.

The Panthers scandal began when explosive video surfaced from the 2008 elections of several members of the organization, including then-National Field Director King Samir Shabaz, stationed outside a polling place in Philadelphia with nightsticks. That was followed by even more disturbing video of the Houston New Black Panther Party protesting with machine guns, as well as King Samir Shabaz calling for the “killing of crackers and their babies.” The controversy prompted public outrage and demands for the DOJ to investigate what clearly appeared to be voter intimidation.

At the time, Media Matters ran numerous pieces on the scandal – not denouncing the threats of violence, but rather attacking those exposing the threats and criticizing the DOJ for not investigating them. In fact, even as emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests revealed major contradictions with the sworn testimony of high ranking officials inside the DoJ, Media Matters continued to run interference, putting out distraction after distraction. Any mention of the Panthers even today prompts a barrage of disruptive pieces from MMfA aimed at the messenger and not at the criminal past of some of the individuals involved.

Meanwhile, there seems never to have been any acknowledgment by MMfA that the spokesperson sent to defend the actions of the DOJ and its ultimate decision not to pursue the Panthers case was once employed by Media Matters itself. That certainly raises questions about whether the Obama administration and its tax-exempt thought police have colluded directly in suppressing the truth about the New Black Panther Party.

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