By Raynard Jackson
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, released his long awaited report last week called the Growth and Opportunity Project. It is basically a post mortem of last November’s election results and lessons learned.
The report stated the obvious: The Republican Party had problems with key demographic groups such as Blacks and Hispanics. To address this issue, Priebus has committed to hiring Black and Hispanic staffers and consultants to address some of the issues raised in the report. Since the report’s release on March 18, some minority staffers have already been hired. Isn’t it amazing that Priebus has already hired more Blacks this year than President Obama?
But that’s something you’ll never read on the Web sites of either The Grio or The Root. Both are White-owned entities masquerading as Black media. When I say White-owned, I am referring to NBC in the case of The Grio and the Washington Post in the case of The Root. It doesn’t get much whiter than that.
As members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) like to remind me, Black Media is by definition Black owned and operated. Essence magazine is no longer Black-owned and we can see how the content has changed for the worst under Time Warner, the new owner.
Joy-Ann Reid, is managing editor of The Grio and like Obama, a Harvard graduate. In a recent column, she called Priebus’ engagement with the Black community “simply platitudinous.” Of course, she doesn’t define exactly what about Priebus’ efforts are “platitudinous,” whatever that means.
The Root is just as biased as The Grio. They thought so little of Priebus’ report that they didn’t even think it was worthy of one news story. One of their columnists did do the typical hatchet job on the report.
As a Black Republican, I am a first-hand witness to many of the deficiencies of my party and I have not been shy about expressing my frustrations. Equally true, I also am a first-hand witness to what my party is doing to correct these deficiencies and they deserve, at a minimum, a wait and see attitude; and at best, praise for some of the steps taken to this point.
I don’t think any party on the Left or the Right should be above critique. But after constantly criticizing the Republican Party, one would think The Grio and The Root would feel some obligation as supposed journalists to give the Republicans a fair hearing and give Obama fair criticism. If these sites were taken to court and accused of false advertising, they would be convicted and ordered to pay serious damages to the public.
In truth, they are surrogates for the Democratic National Committee and are in the tank for President Obama. Instead of admitting that, they claim to be an unbiased news source and claim to hire objective journalists and provide a platform for the full range of thinking and commentary within the Black community. They fail on all accounts.
They do just as much damage or even more to the Black community as rap music. In fact, it can be argued that foul-mouth rap artists stands a better chance of being accurately portrayed on those news sites than a Republican, Black or White.
They criticized Reince Priebus for his “cynical” efforts to engage the Black community. How is seeking to become more engaged with the Black community – something Blacks have been yearning for – suddenly cynical?
Moreover, regardless of your politics, Blacks are better off when two parties truly compete for their vote and not take them for granted as the Democrats are doing. We’ll always have more power when we can leverage our votes on behalf of the candidate who isn’t afraid to say the word “Black” or targets every group except African Americans.
If you’re going to criticize, make sure you spread it around. It’s not fair to criticize Republicans while giving Barack Obama a pass. He has not added one Black to his cabinet in his second term. Yet, we’re supposed to line up, single file, behind him. When is he going to show that he has our best interests at heart?
It speaks volumes that Obama would throw Susan Rice under the bus, back up, and roll over her again. Yet he had no reservation about the uphill fight to get his Republican Secretary of Defense confirmed by the U.S. Senate. In other words, he’ll fight to the end for a White, male, Republican but not a supremely qualified Black woman.
Given Obama’s poor record meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, I would not be surprised if Priebus hasn’t spent more time meeting with the Black community than President Obama?
Even more importantly, at least Priebus issued a plan of action after his meetings with Black folks. Where is the president’s plan? You can’t criticize a plan that doesn’t exist. Legitimate media organizations should criticize the president for such neglect, but by definition that would exclude The Grio and The Root.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at raynard1223.