The Obama ascendency, the president's acolytes have been keen on telling us, is the dawn of a new post-partisan era. But a development that undercuts that fiction -- the Obama Justice Department's recent move to scuttle non-partisan local elections in Kinston, North Carolina, on the basis of racial and partisan considerations -- has escaped the interest of the mainstream media.
Both the Washington Times (in a Tuesday front-pager) and NewsBusters sister site CNSNews.com have reported the story, but a Nexis search today yielded no stories from print outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, or Los Angeles Times. Broadcast news programs on ABC, CBS, and NBC have also failed to touch the story. Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" briefly discussed the story shortly before 7:00 a.m. EDT on the October 21 edition with Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund.
A search for news stories about the controversy on Google News this morning yielded only 14 hits, most of them from conservative organizations or blogs.
Below is an excerpt from CNSNews.com reporter Adam Brickley's October 21 story:
The U.S. Department of Justice is refusing to allow the town of Kinston, N.C., to hold nonpartisan local elections on the grounds that African Americans cannot win election without being listed as Democrats on the ballot.
In a letter sent Saturday by to Kinston City Attorney James P. Cauley III, the Justice Department stated: “Removing the partisan cue in municipal elections will, in all likelihood, eliminate the single factor that allows black candidates to be elected to office.”
The department Tuesday also refused to answer questions from CNSNews.com about the letter.
Kinston voters last year approved changing city council elections to a nonpartisan basis, similar to thousands of other towns in the U.S. – without mention of party affiliation.
The letter, written by Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King, flatly asserts that the decision was made on the assumption that the town’s citizens use race as the primary consideration in voting.
“In Kinston elections,” King wrote, “voters base their choice more on the race of a candidate rather than his or her political affiliation, and without either the appeal to party loyalty or the ability to vote a straight ticket, the limited remaining support from white voters for a black Democratic candidate will diminish even more.”