Bianca Prieto at the Orlando Sentinel, like so many others in the media, has scrubbed clean the New Black Panther Party. In covering the Panther’s announcement that they would be protesting the tragic death of Trayvon Martin, Prieto makes no mention of the Panther’s violent rhetoric, brazen anti-Semitism or murderous racial separatism. Instead, the Panthers are just one more legitimate voice calling for justice.
Prieto doesn’t even provide a hint about the true nature of the New Black Panther Party. Instead, she provides helpful event information:
The protest is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in front of the police department at the corner of 13th Street and S. Lake Avenue in Sanford, according to organizers.
The media can’t have it both ways. Some marginalize the Panthers by claiming they are “a cartoonish fringe group of a couple guys.” Others, like Prieto, cover them like they are the Freedom Riders, rushing in to right injustice, with nary a mention of their quasi-Islamicist hatred for whites and Jews.
Which is it? A couple of cartoonish nuts, or, a group worthy of gracing the 36th largest newspaper in the United States with a sanitized version of the organization?
How about a third option which I describe in my book Injustice.
The media often dismisses the Panthers as a “fringe” group, but it is mistaken to think the Panthers merely consist of a few isolated nuts. For starters, the group has a knack for conjuring crowds in urban settings. For example, on November 3, 2007, Shabazz held a rally at the federal courthouse in Charleston, West Virginia, that attracted around a thousand people and drew the support of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Reverend Al Sharpton. Later that month, Shabazz addressed a large lunchtime crowd in downtown Washington, D.C., at an Al Sharpton rally ostensibly aimed against hate crimes. Shabazz led hundreds of federal workers and other seemingly mainstream D.C. residents in chants of “Black Power!” replete with raised black power fists. . . .
Michael V. Roberts, one of the nation’s most successful black entrepreneurs, has attended Panther-sponsored events. Roberts, who owns TV stations, condo developments, a cabinetry company, real estate ventures, hotels across the country, and the Roberts Orpheum Theatre in St. Louis, appeared at the National Black Power Convention hosted by the New Black Panther Party in Atlanta in May 2010.
If the Panthers are an irrelevant “fringe group,” as the media often claims, then a lot of people have not yet received the message.
Add Bianco Prieto of the Pulitzer Prize Winning Sentinel to the list who haven’t gotten the message.