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Media Matters: The right-wing rage machine unloads a frenzy of race-baiting

• Simon Maloy via Media Matters

The summer months are typically when the quality of political discourse in this country reaches its yearly nadir. Washington tends to slow down from June to August, and people who hold moderate interest in the political process instead turn to barbecues and baseball games. As a consequence, the people who remain engaged are those who are more, let's say, passionate in their beliefs, and aren't going to let a little thing like "other things to do" get in the way of their political activism. Summer is also tough for political journalists who still have deadlines to meet, but much less material with which to work. As a consequence, we see stories that would ordinarily merit passing or no mention earn disproportionate coverage. Minor gaffes become "scandals," non-issues become "controversial," and the end result is that pretty much everyone gets angrier.

It's in this environment that the right-wing media thrive, practiced as they are in ginning up stories based on manufactured outrage and utter nonsense. And lately, they've all had one topic on their minds: race. Specifically the racism of black political figures, which they claim is nothing short of institutional policy in the Obama administration, and the racism of white tea partiers, which they claim doesn't exist.

And where else can one begin except with the ever-evolving, increasingly ridiculous New Black Panther Party "scandal," which revolves around the allegation -- and it's hard to believe that right-wingers actually profess to believe this -- that the Obama Justice Department dropped voter intimidation charges against members of this fringe hate group due to the administration's official policy of not pursuing cases in which the defendant is black and the victim is white. Is there evidence for any of this? No. Does the partisan GOP hack/former DOJ attorney making this allegation have any facts to support it? Not so much. But that's the story they're sticking to, and it has sparked a frenzy of race-baiting more explicit than any we've seen thus far during the Obama administration.

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