Simply excruciating. If you can’t spare time for the whole thing (the intro from Brad Sherman’s townhall is worth watching), the bombs start falling at 3:45. What makes this more amazing than the average cable-news screamfest, of course, is that Powers has been on-staff at Fox for years and therefore usually enjoys a respectful comfort level with the host. Not here. MK’s at her throat from the word go (“you don’t know what you’re talking about!”) and KP all but accuses her of inciting racial hysteria with her coverage of the Panther case (“scary black man”) before Kelly eventually threatens to cut her mic. The hostility’s genuinely shocking. Ironic that a lefty who’s derided by the nutroots for being some sort of Roger Ailes stooge would be the one to lob a grenade that explosive at the network’s biggest rising star.
Much as it pains me to say it, KP’s also guilty of moving the goalposts. First she questions whether there really was voter intimidation by the Panthers; when Kelly presses her, she backs off and concedes that, okay, maybe there was wrongdoing — before wondering why Kelly didn’t show the same level of outrage when the Bush DOJ started prosecuting fewer voting rights cases. Which is fine, I guess, but it’s awfully late in the game to start noticing that cable news nets cover stories from a partisan viewpoint. Why, just last night our friend Olby selectively omitted facts about this story based on a misleading post on a lefty blog. In fact, maybe that’s what’s really most shocking here — not the hostility but KP’s willingness to express such skepticism about her own network’s integrity.
The punchline? Unless I missed something during vacation last week, we’re still not sure whether Kelly’s right that the Panthers case represents a systematic pattern of refusing to prosecute civil rights cases with minority defendants or whether KP’s right that this is basically an isolated incident. That’s the central issue, but there’s been no formal determination. J. Christian Adams insists that it’s systematic — here’s his piece at Pajamas Media insisting that Julie Fernandes (whom Kelly mentions) explicitly told DOJ lawyers to stay away from, for instance, “motor voter” cases — but the Civil Rights Commission’s investigation is ongoing. Dare we hope for round two between MK and KP when they announce their conclusions?