PLOT TO SPLIT THE BLACK VOTE
OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE REVEALED
By Cash Michaels
A national anti-same-sex marriage group with conservative leanings was allegedly plotting to pit African-Americans and gay people against each other this year for the expressed purpose splitting the black Democratic vote, and passing legal bans on gay marriage, a Washington, DC-based online newspaper reports.
The alleged plot would have definite relevance here in North Carolina, where the Republican-led General Assembly has placed on the May 8th primary ballot a controversial state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage titled “Amendment One.”
Several black Democrats in the NC House voted with conservative Republicans to put Amendment One on the ballot, even though North Carolina already has a law on the books clearly defining marriage in the state as between a man and a woman.
Conservatives hope to exploit the black church’s traditional opposition to homosexuality as a wedge issue to fracture an otherwise formidable political coalition among blacks, gays and Latinos come the May primaries, observers say.
In the March 27th edition of The Hill, the story, “Gay marriage opponents reveal political strategy in secret memo,” alleges that, “An internal memo from the National Organization for Marriage [NOM] was part of a cluster of documents unsealed Monday by a [Maine] federal court…[was] marked “confidential” [and] included a detailed passage entitled “Not a Civil Rights Project.”
The Daily Beast, another online newspaper, reported, “What the secret memos reveal is a well-funded group eager to exploit racial divisions and even use children against their parents in an effort to roll back legal gains for gays and lesbians—not just in the United States but around the world. “Our goal is to use a victory in the U.S. to launch a global movement to reverse the tide on cultural and legal respect for core family values like marriage,” it says.
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies…,” the secret memo began.
It went on to detail a strategy where NOM would “recruit African-American spokesmen to speak out against gay marriage, then organize a media campaign around their objections [to gay marriage as a civil right],” The Hill reported.
The strategy memo continued, “Provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
“Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of [Proposition 8] is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates, and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue,” the memo continued.
“Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, DC; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
The NOM memo even plotted ways to manipulate Latino voters to oppose same-sex marriages, and ultimately defeat President Barack Obama’s “pro-gay agenda” in the November 2012 elections.
Even though the president has worked to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military, and recently came out against North Carolina’s “Amendment One” because he believes it to be discriminatory, Obama has been tepid at best when it comes to actually endorsing same-sex marriages.
He says that he’s “evolving” on the issue, those Obama does favor domestic partnerships.
And yet, the NOM memo, noting a “$20 million strategy for victory,” schemes to join with the conservative “American Principles Project” to “expose Obama as a social radical” on issues like gay marriage and pornography, according the online site, “Buzzfeed.”
The NOM documents were turned over to federal court in Maine as part of an investigation into whether the group was following federal campaign laws.
Brian Brown, president of NOM, released a statement in reaction to the memo disclosures, saying, “The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was formed in 2007 and has worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background. We have worked with prominent African-American and Hispanic leaders, including Dr. Aveeda King, Bishop George McKinney of the COGIC Church, Bishop Harry Jackson and the New York State Sen. Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr., all of whom share our concern about protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Brown continued, “Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, and the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told The Hill the NOM memo, “… confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”
“I would not be surprised to find this group and its filthy hand in crafting this situation,” Bond continued.
Here in North Carolina in February during the Historic Thousands on Jones Street march and rally, Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said that while people may have their personal opinions about the gay lifestyle, citizens can’t allow legal discrimination to become part of the state’s constitution, because if that’s allowed towards one group, then the next constitutional amendment will be against another group deemed politically vulnerable.
Other black religious leaders were not pleased as well.
“If the success of the National Organization of Marriage’s movement depends on stirring up resentment between communities, it might want to rethink its strategies, said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, in a statement.
“African American men and women of faith are not a political football to be tossed around in a cynical game of resentment and division. We, like all Americans, struggle thoughtfully with issues of faith, family and politics. Anti-equality activists such as NOM consistently attempt to use a deeply cynical ‘wedge’ strategy to divide African Americans and the gay community, playing up what are now old and tired clichés. In the long run, this strategy will falter as African American and LGBT communities continue to work together for equal justice.
“I celebrate as more and more African American clergy engage in AAMLC’s Healing Grace dialogues and work to confront and overcome stigma, prejudice and homophobia in the Black Church. We continually seek to help and not harm, love and not hate, reconcile and not separate, unite and not divide -- and it's working.
“NOM’s explicit attempt to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and African Americans is deeply offensive,” Min. Malachi concluded, “and it exposes the depravity of their politics.”
JEALOUS SAYS COMMUNITY MUST
STAND UP FOR TRAYVON MARTIN
By Cash Michaels
Progress in the Trayvon Martin case is proceeding, says NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous, because communities all across the nation are making it clear that they want to see justice done in the shooting death of the 17 year-old unarmed Florida teenager.
Meanwhile this week saw right-wing media, led by Fox News and various conservative websites, attempting to smear Trayvon Martin with reports of bad school behavior, numerous suspensions, and photos of a much older teenage than previously seen. Martin’s parents blasted the conservative pushback, saying that after “murdering” their son, forces are now also trying to kill his reputation.
With a Seminole County grand jury being impaneled April 10, and investigators from the state and Florida governments interviewing witnesses who heard the violent confrontation between Trayvon and his killer, the call for justice nationwide is getting louder.
NAACP Pres. Jealous says the pressure must continue.
“The situation in Sanford remains tense because George Zimmerman is still at-large,” Jealous said, referring to the 28-year-old neighborhood watch vigilante who fatally shot young Martin Feb. 26th in Sanford, Fla. “That is the number one objective of the NAACP and [Trayvon Martin’s] family - that Zimmerman is brought to justice, see his day in court, and justice is done.
Zimmerman had remained in hiding since the Martin case exploded in the media two weeks ago. His father has already secured a defense attorney to represent the shooter.
In an exclusive interview with The Carolinian Newspaper during his visit to the 59th Annual NAACP Southeast Regional Conference in Raleigh last weekend, Jealous said while a lot has been accomplished by young Martin’s parents and their attorneys, black leadership, black media and others in building pressure on Florida officials and the US Justice Dept. to probe more, they haven’t turned the corner yet.
“That work is happening because people like your [readers] and our activists, have raised their voices across the country and around the world, saying that it’s time for George Zimmerman to be brought to justice,” Jealous told The Carolinian, “… and it is time for justice to work in Sanford.”
Jealous spent much of last week in Sanford, rallying protesters to demand the arrest of shooter Zimmerman, and the removal of Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee, who vigorously defended his department for not charging or arresting Zimmerman after the shooting, later releasing him because he claimed self-defense under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law.
Lee was forced to “temporarily” step down after he got a vote of “no confidence” from the Sanford Town Council last week.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a special prosecutor to oversee the state’s investigation into the matter because the Seminole County prosecutor had a conflict of interest. It was later determined, through recent press reports, that the Seminole prosecutor rejected a determination by the lead Sanford Police investigator in the Martin case that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter because of “lack of evidence.”
That investigator, Det. Chris Serino, filed an affidavit the night of the shooting, standing by his contention that Zimmerman’s version of events - namely that Trayvon Martin, armed only with a bag of Skittles and can of iced tea, attacked and tried to kill Zimmerman with his bare hands before he was fatally shot - didn’t hold water.
Police ultimately released Zimmerman after questioning, saying that he killed in self-defense per Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
Marches of outraged citizens in cities all over the nation, ranging from hundreds to the tens of thousands in some cases, including in Raleigh this week and in Wilmington this weekend, have demanded Zimmerman’s immediate arrest.
But those defending Zimmerman stepped forward this week, saying that they’re convinced that the grand jury evidence will show that the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain was truly defending himself against a Trayvon Martin who jumped him from behind, punched Zimmerman in the nose, and then repeatedly banged the man’s head against the sidewalk, causing a bloody nose and cuts to the back of Zimmerman’s head.
The 911 call where someone is heard screaming before a shot rings out and the screaming stops - Zimmerman’s defenders contend that it is he who is crying for help, not Martin.
Indeed one of those defenders, Joe Oliver, an African-American former journalist who once worked for CNN and WRAL-TV in Raleigh, said in several media interviews that young Trayvon may have tried to wrestle Zimmerman’s 9mm gun away from, thus causing it to go off, killing the teen.
There is no known evidence thus far that lends credence to that version of events.
On the political side, this week also saw Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum blast Pres. Barack Obama after the president, seeking to comfort the parents of Trayvon Martin, said if he had a son, “he’d look just like Trayvon Martin.”
Gingrich and Santorum, both of whom trail GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney badly in the polls, accused Obama of being racially divisive, a charge the White House immediately dismissed.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
NAACP REGIONAL CONFERENCE VOWS TO FIGHT VOTER ID LAWS
[RALEIGH] Declaring that the battle is on to stave off Republican attempts at voter suppression through restrictive voter ID laws, delegates to last weekend’s NAACP Southeast Regional 59th Annual Civil Rights Advocacy Training Institute in Raleigh vowed to protect the vote during this crucial election year. During the “This Is My Vote” rally and Town Hall Meeting last Saturday, NAACP leaders from Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama and host state North Carolina were told by NAACP President/CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous that the key to economic and social empowerment is the vote, and they must protect it at all costs.
CONSERVATIVE BLOGGER RESIGNS AFTER POSTING LURID PICTURE OF PRES. OBAMA
[CHARLOTTE] A conservative blogger’s attempt at lampooning Pres. Obama’s support for North Carolina’s upcoming Amendment One referendum to ban same-sex marriage, went too far on the conservative John Locke Foundation’s website last week, and was forced to resigned. Tara Servatius, a former Charlotte area radio talk show host, posted a picture of Pres. Obama in a sleazy dress with boots, sitting in the grass eating KFC chicken out of the bucket on her blog on the JLF’s “Meck Deck” site, where it remained for two-days before it was exposed.
John Locke Foundation President John Hood, who apparently didn’t know what Servatius had posted, was informed by a reader, and immediately had the lurid illustration removed from the site. On his Facebook page, an embarrassed Hood apologized, saying not only did he disagree with the illustration, but didn’t think it made a very good argument for Tara Servatius’ case. Hood says Servatius resigned the next day before he could fire her, which he said he intended to do. Hood apologized to NC NAACP Pres. Rev. William Barber, who he spoken with after the incident. Ironically, as a result of the controversy, Hood this week came out against the Republican-sponsored Amendment One, saying that it would hurt all marriages.
OFFICE OF MINORITY HEALTH DIRECTOR RESIGNS AMID SBI PROBE
[RALEIGH] Barbara Pullen-Smith, the long time director of the NC Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities, resigned last week amid reports that her office was being investigated for an alleged “misuse of funds,” according to published reports.
Reportedly, an internal audit revealed missing funding from a statewide community health program. The State Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the matter, an interim director has been assigned, and the current grant process has been stopped. Officials say a new grant application process will begin within a month.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
DR. CONDOLEEZA RICE SPEAKS AT DUKE APRIL 10
Former US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to speak at Duke University on Tuesday, April10, officials there say. The 4:30 p.m. event is free to the public at Duke’s Page Auditorium, but tickets will be required. Dr. Rice was the second woman, and first African-American woman in American history to hold the post under President George W. Bush, from 2005 to 2009. The 66th secretary of state is a controversial figure, having been involved in the planning for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
RALEIGH 21ST FASTEST GROWING URBAN AREA, SAYS US CENSUS
Our of the US Census Dept’s 486 officially designated urban areas, Raleigh was 21st among the fastest growth from 2000-2010, the federal agency says. Raleigh added more than 343,000 residents during that time, 63.4 percent jump, totaling to approximately 885,000. Reportedly, Charlotte grew even faster among urban areas with at least 1 million in population. The Queen city urban area grew 64.5 percent during this century’s first decade. Overall, North Carolina is second in the nation for the largest rural population.
AS OF JUNE 1ST, IT’S ILLEGAL TO CELLPHONE WHILE DRIVING IN CHAPEL HILL
The town of Chapel Hill is now the first in the nation to ban the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle with the town limits, as of June 1. By a 5-4 vote, the town council Monday voted to outlaw the practice in an effort to limit car accidents resulting from drivers not paying attention to the road as a result of talking on the phone. The ban includes hands-free device as well. Drivers are allowed to make emergency calls. The fine is $25.00 for violating the ordinance.
Politics Fuel Debate on Gas
By George E. Curry
Republicans are so intent on defeating President Barack Obama in November that they have accused him of deliberately raising the price of gasoline.
Obama pointed out the ridiculousness of that argument during a recent news conference. Replying to a question from Ed Henry of Fox News, Obama said: “Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the president of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go higher?” Obama said. “Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?”
But Republicans and journalists employed by conservative news organizations are not the only people blaming the president for high gas prices, which are hovering around $3.80 a gallon, a 29.5-cent increase over the past month.
A CBS/New York Times poll this month found that 54 percent of Americans believe the president “can do a lot about” gas prices. Consequently, Obama saw his job rating drop from 50 percent in February to 41 percent this month, a period that coincides with rising gas prices.
Republican presidential contenders are also pointing the fingers at Obama, with Newt Gingrich promising policies that would bring gas down to $2.50 a gallon.
Without mentioning Gingrich by name, White House Press Secretary said, “Any politician who says that is lying.” He explained, “That strategy does not exist. It is a simple fact that there is no such plan that can guarantee the price of oil or the price at the pump.”
The reality is that gasoline prices are set on the world market, not 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Center, the cost of crude oil accounts for 76 percent of the price of a gallon of regular gas. Refining costs and profits are responsible for 6 percent, distribution marketing and retail costs add another 6 percent and taxes contributes another 12 percent.
As Steven Mufson writes in the Washington Post, “Today’s oil prices are the product of years and decades of exploration, automobile design and ingrained consumer habits combined with political events in places such as Sudan and Libya, anxiety about possible conflict with Iran, and the energy aftershocks of last year’s earthquake in Japan.”
FackCheck.org dissects the numbers game.
“The president said that [oil] imports declined last year to less than 50 percent of U.S. consumption, while the Kentucky senator (Mitch McConnell) warned that the U.S. imports 60 percent of our oil. McConnell was talking about total imports, while Obama was talking about net imports (total imports minus exports). Both can claim to be correct, but the EIA [Energy Information Administration] sides with Obama’s match when gauging U.S. dependency on foreign oil.”
Writing on her Facebook page, Sarah Palin accused President Obama of “allowing America to remain increasingly dependent on imports from foreign oil regimes in dangerously unstable parts of the world.”
FackCheck.org noted that the U.S. imported 2.3 million barrels a day from 13 countries in the Middle East in 2012, down from 3 million barrels a day in 2008. There was an 8 percent decline
in imports from Africa.
“The U.S. actually imports more petroleum from our northern neighbor, Canada, than it does from any other country,” the fact-checking organization stated. “And Canada does not appear on the State Department’s list of ‘dangerous or unstable nations.’ Nor do Venezuela, Russia, Angola, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Ecuador, the Virgin Islands or Kuwait, which are all in the the top 15 countries from which the U.S. imports oil and other petroleum products.”
This is the kind of perspective largely missing from news coverage of the issue, according to Media Matters, the watchdog group. It reported, “In total, 63% of those interviewed or quoted on gas prices by cable outlets were political figures (including politicians, strategists, White House officials and campaign advisors), and only 13% were economists or oil industry experts.”
Americans tend to have short memories. Gas was $1.89 when Obama first assumed office. But just six months earlier, it was $4.11 under President George W. Bush, according to GasBuddy.com.
Republicans, with a ”drill, baby, drill” mentality, have attacked President Obama for not issuing enough permits to drill. However, the drilling-rig count is twice as high as it was in 2009.
In his weekly radio address last Saturday, President Obama said gasoline prices are part of a larger issue.
“The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology,” he said. “As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for $2 gas: drill, drill, and drill some more. Well, my response is, we have been drilling. Under my administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.”
He continued. “But you and I both know that with only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.”
Deryl Dedmon, 19, charged with capital murder in the June 2011 death of 47-year-old James Craig Anderson in Jackson, MS, pleads guilty to murder and committing a hate crime, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 in Hinds County Circuit Court. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File
Miss. White Men Plead Guilty to Hate-Fueled Killing of James Anderson Victim’s Family Requests Prosecutors to Not Seek the Death Penalty
Miss. White Men Plead Guilty to Hate-Fueled Killing of James Anderson Victim’s Family Requests Prosecutors to Not Seek the Death Penalty
by Zenitha Prince Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
Three Mississippi men who ran down and killed a Black man last June pleaded guilty to federal hate crimes March 22, one day after one of the defendants pleaded guilty to the slaying in state court.
Dylan Butler, 20, Deryl Dedmon, 19, and John Aaron Rice, 19, all of Brandon, Miss., admitted to conspiring to commit and committing a hate crime, as well as to a months-long campaign of terror against Blacks that began in April 2011 and culminated June 26 in the death of James Craig Anderson, a 47-year-old auto plant worker.
“This is really a case about a group of racist thugs who made a sport of targeting vulnerable African Americans in Jackson and attacking them without provocation simply because of the color of their skin,” Thomas E. Perez, the assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a statement.
“On a number of occasions they drove around Jackson looking for African-Americans to assault,” Perez continued. “Jackson is a venerable community, however, for these defendants Jackson was ‘Jafrica’ [and] African Americans were subhuman.”
In admitting his crime, Dedmon said he and friends were partying in the town of Puckett, Miss. when they decided to find a Black person to harass. Around dawn, they found Anderson in the parking lot of a Jackson hotel. Butler, Rice and others stalled Anderson until Dedmon arrived, when they proceeded to punch and beat the victim.
Then came the scene that rocked the nation. Caught on a hotel tape which received widespread attention, Rice, Butler and others in a white Jeep Cherokee are seen leaving the parking lot at around 5:05 a.m. Seconds later, Dedmon’s green Ford F-250 backs up and then plunges forward, knocking down and driving over Anderson.
Several people cried during the recounting. Later, Dedmon asked the victim’s family for forgiveness.
“As I stand before you today, I am a changed man. I am a godly man. God has showed me to see no colors. God showed me that we are all made in the image of God so we are all based on the same thing,” he said. “I do not ask y’all to forget, but I do ask y’all to forgive.”
The victim’s family has not made any public comments about the case, but asked prosecutors not to seek the death penalty for Dedmon because they oppose capital punishment, according to Reuters. They have nevertheless filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dedmon in civil court.
Dedmon received two life sentences on the state charges. He and his co-conspirators face up to five years in prison on the federal conspiracy charge, and could receive life sentences on the hate crime federal charge.
U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves set sentencing for June 8. Officials said the investigation is ongoing and more arrests may be imminent.
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
CONGRATULATIONS SHAW UNIVERSITY LADY BEARS - Have to give a shout out to the Lady Bears of Shaw University, the new NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Champions! We’re proud of you!
THE PUSHBACK HAS BEGUN - Those of us who have been around the block a few times, could have told what was going to happen after the Trayvon Martin case exploded into the national spotlight.
Forces for the admitted shooter, George Michael Zimmerman, have mounted a sizable public relations counter offensive. Zimmerman, 28, who, as of this writing, remains free having never been arrested since the fatal Feb. 26 shooting of the unnamed black teen, maintains through spokespeople that he killed young Trayvon in self-defense after confronting the black youth walking through the Sanford, Fla. gated community, where he was staying.
Martin, as you know, was coming back from the store after purchasing a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.
A Seminole County grand jury is scheduled to hear evidence in the shooting death during an April 10 proceeding. A special prosecutor appointed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott has taken over the investigation.
You need to be aware of what the game plan for the Zimmerman team is to save his behind, because right now, the man can’t even walk the streets, especially with the New Black Panther Party putting a $10,000 bounty on his head.
Simply put, in order for Zimmerman to get any sympathy beyond the Fox News- Geraldo Rivera-National Rifle Association crowd, young Trayvon Martin has to be dehumanized. He has to be made to be what America would normally see him as - a dangerous young black male not worthy of living if we can help it.
All of those pictures of Trayvon playing with a baby, posing for his football and basketball teams, skiing with the family…. in effect, being a normal American kid, all of that has to be replaced with stories of Trayvon being violent, or short tempered, or threatening, or lying, or being intimidating, or yes, even allegedly using drugs.
That last item was leaked to the media Monday, forcing Trayvon’s parents to confirm that the teen had been suspended from school in Miami for ten days because an empty plastic bag with marijuana residue reportedly found in his book bag by school officials.
Trayvon’s mother was forced to send him from Miami to Sanford (near Orlando) to serve out the ten-day suspension with his father at his father’s fiancée’s house.
That’s why Trayvon was in Sanford, and that gated community there to begin with.
That revelation gets a big “SO WHAT” considering that the Associated Press confirms that Trayvon had no criminal record, or record of violence. That doesn’t mean the revelation isn’t troubling, because no one’s child should have ANYTHING related to drugs on their person.
But that news has literally nothing to do with George Zimmerman actions on the night of Feb. 26th. Nor do any further reports about Trayvon being seen allegedly drawing graffiti at school, or anything else of a nonviolent nature.
Clearly, Zimmerman’s forces have coordinated a campaign to make white America (and consequently the media) fall out of love and sorrow for Trayvon, and empathize more with Zimmerman, who does have alleged violence in his history, who has been arrested, and is reportedly short-tempered to a fault.
That’s the PR war you’re seeing and hearing right now. And sources within the Sanford police department - now headed up by a black police captain after the white police chief was forced to step down last week - are leaking stuff about Trayvon to muddy up his image.
Add to Zimmerman’s team pushing the story that Trayvon was trying to kill Zimmerman, and right-wing media digging into the dead child’s Twitter and Facebook accounts for dirt, and you have a full-fledged war here.
I hope you’re ready for all of this. The people who are doing this don’t think they’re racists. All they’re doing, they believe, is defending what America is supposed to be all about - “true” Americans fighting for the “values” that we’re all supposed to share.
That’s funny. I thought that’s what Trayvon Martin’s parents were doing - fighting for the truth, and trusting our criminal justice system to find it.
Gee, silly me.
JOE THE BLACK ROBOT - If Joe Oliver, the black spokesman for George Zimmerman who made the media rounds on Sunday and Monday not only defending his friend of six years, but casting aspersions on Trayvon Martin by suggesting that he may have grabbed the gun making it go off - blame the victim in other words - seems like a well-oiled, extraordinarily practiced communicator, there’s a reason.
Oliver is, as we say in the business, a “ringer.” Go to Youtube, enter his name, and pull up all of the CNN video with his name on it.
You’ll see a young man with hair on his head and no beard, diligently anchoring the CNN Weekend News from the mid-1990’s.
His name was Joe Oliver…. the same.
My problem with Oliver now coming back into the spotlight to defend his friend is that no one on TV is reminding us that this guy use to work in media (I betcha if Dan Rather left TV for a few years, and came back as the spokesman for something or someone else, every TV, radio and newspaper outlet would make sure we knew that homeboy was once an anchor for CBS News.
So why can’t we know that now?
What also bothers me is that when a representative - paid or unpaid, and we don’t know which one Oliver is given the tremendous amount of money expended to fly and drive him around to all of the media outlets Sunday and Monday - goes public insisting that the guy he’s defending is really of good character and judgment, how in the ham sandwich do we know that the spokesman is of “good character and judgment?”
Joe Oliver, a professional presenter well-trained as a black man to sell information to predominately white audiences, did exactly that this week, “sell” white audiences that his “friend” George Zimmerman, is really the innocent victim in this sad and tragic saga.
But beyond his CNN days, what else have we not been told about Joe Oliver? Has he gotten into any trouble since he left the news business? How is he making his living these days?
To just throw a well-spoken black man at the world and hope that his charm and good looks will save the day without having to answer any tough questions beyond the ones Oliver rehearsed for, is diabolical at best.
But guess what? It worked! No one asked Oliver anything about him.
That’s horrid journalism.
There’s a reason why, when we all hear information that we don’t trust, the first thing out of our mouths is, “Says who?” Based on where that info is coming from, we’re able to determine the veracity of what we’ve been just told.
If it’s The Carolinian or Wilmington Journal, no problem.
Fox News or Breitbart.com, get away from me.
Thus far, Fox News is backing Zimmerman, because the National Rifle Association and the ultra right-wing are backing Zimmerman.
So we really need to know what side Joe Oliver is on…beyond George Zimmerman’s?
Keep your eyes wide open for whatever is to happen next, because it could be anything!
REV. SHARPTON - Lots of controversy about civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton being a primary partisan advocate for Trayvon Martin’s family, while still hosting his daily TV show, “PoliticsNation” on MSNBC.
Pundits and media critics like Howard Kurtz of the online “Daily Beast” are crying out loud that MSNBC is breaking journalistic protocols by allowing Sharpton to take part in stories he’s reporting on during his show.
Let’s break some news here - AL SHARPTON IS NOT A JOURNALIST. HE’S AN ACTIVIST, AND MSNBC KNEW THAT WHEN THEY HIRED HIM!
This is not like a newsperson, like say Brian Williams of NBC News, reporting on the Trayvon Martin case, and then leading a rally for Trayvon. That clearly would be wrong because Williams primary job is to report the news for NBC.
Rev. Al Sharpton’s primary job for MSNBC is to be Al Sharpton. That means TV host, political analyst, and black presence on the air, and not necessarily in that order.
And as Rev. said when there was controversy about him getting the gig in the first place, there are no journalists hosting shows on MSNBC after 6 p.m., so what’s the problem?
No I will admit that his situation is unique, but MSNBC, the number two cable news network behind the crud at Fox News, is daring to push the issue in its race to be number one.
I say, “Go for it,” but be careful. Rev should not take part in political campaigns. That’s what got former MSNBC’er Keith Olbermann in a whale of trouble two years ago. There would be no excuse for that.
Rock on, Rev. We’ve got your back.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.Power750.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.