The rest of the story

As any critical viewer of Fox News can tell you, there is often a lot more to a story than the supposedly fair and balanced accounts served up by the media. Important facts are omitted; trivial side notes are blown way out of proportion. The story is pushed, pulled, stretched and spun to fit a storyline that has been accepted as the conventional wisdom.

This, of course, is nothing new. Bias is as old as human history, and it takes a special, daily dedication to maintaining an objective narrative to avoid wearing our biases on our sleeves.

In the 1960s, the Black Panther Party was on the receiving end of some pretty bad press. What we read in the papers is that the Panthers were a vicious pack of thugs that, if unchecked by proper law enforcement, soon would be storming the comfortable suburban backyard enclaves of white America, raping women, robbing banks and destroying our American way of life.

What was happening, which did not get as widely reported, was that the Panthers were formed in Oakland in October 1966 with a strong impetus for social justice. Although their armed neighborhood patrols, arguably in response to abuses by existing law-enforcement agencies, got plenty of negative play in the media, there was also a strong progressive component to the Panthers’ agenda that included free breakfast programs for kids as well as free food, clothing, ambulance and medical service—the sort of things that were in short supply in that community at the time.

Beginning last Tuesday and running through May 15, the Golden State Museum, at 1020 O Street, is showing an exhibit of some 50 photographs from the heyday of Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. Titled Louder than Words, the exhibit offers a visual representation of the California Black Panther Party during the turbulent 1960s. The show is curated by the museum’s Amanda Meeker, with assistance from the It’s About Time Committee, a group dedicated to presenting the overlooked, progressive side of the Black Panther Party. Admission is $5 ($4 for seniors, $3.50 for kids ages 6-13 and free for kids ages 5 and under), and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It is closed on Monday. For further information, you can check the museum’s Web site at or It’s About Time’s site at

So, now that the Golden State Museum has reported, you have the opportunity to decide.