Former ABC Reporter Connects Tea Parties to...Leftist South African Blacks?

Former ABC reporter Kenneth Walker found the strangest connection to alleged Tea Party violence yet: the left-wing African National Congress in South Africa. On The Root, a black-commentary website owned by The Washington Post Company, Walker wrote an article with the headline "South Africa's version of virulent Tea Party rhetoric is set to music and had both whites and blacks worried."

From reading Keith Olbermann commentaries, it would be easy to assume that the virulent songs listed here would be the white Afrikaner conservatives, not the ANC, which had a long-time alliance with the South African Communist Party." Walker began:

The growing debate in the United States about the increasingly virulent hate speech by so-called Tea Party activists and their talk radio and Republican Party boosters has resonance these days in South Africa.

The ruling African National Congress is engaged in an increasingly bitter court battle over its claimed right to continue singing publicly so-called struggle songs, such as "Kill the Boer." The song has become a favorite of controversial ANC Youth League President Julius Malema when addressing crowds of supporters.

How does this have resonance to the Tea Party protesters? Does Walker assume they have a theme song called "Kill the Blacks"? Or is this somehow equivalent to American gun-rights advocates defending their right to carry? Walker later added this about ANC incumbent president Jacob Zuma:

"In fact, President Zuma's trademark is another struggle song entitled, "Awuleth' Umshini Wami," or "Bring Me My Machine Gun."

This all came to a head because white Afrikaner activist Eugene Terre'Blanche was killed, allegedly "bludgeoned and hacked to death with a machete and crowbar by two young blacks who worked on his farm in a dispute over $90 in wages." Walker reported:

Leaders of the Afrikaner community, who controlled the white minority government prior to democratic elections in 1994, have complained that the songs are directly linked to the murders in recent years of more than 1,500 white farmers.

A group of Afrikaner youth, known as AfriForum Youth, last week won a court verdict banning Malema from continuing to sing the song, which the judge called "an incitement to murder." Afrikaner leaders complain that repeated singing of the songs and policies of the ANC government have generated real fear in the white communities.

In addition to his work for ABC (from 1981 to 1985), Walker was also a senior producer for Jesse Jackson's nationally syndicated weekend talk show in 1990 (before Jackson became a CNN host). On his Washington Star alumni page (where he worked as a reporter from 1969-81), he posted a picture with Desmond Tutu in a very loud "Yes We Can" Obama T-shirt. A look at the MRC archives finds two quotes from his talk-show appearances:

"He knows that Yasser is a freedom fighter just like he is."- Kenneth Walker on Nelson Mandela's embrace of PLO leader Yasser Arafat on the FOX (broadcast) talk show Off The Record, March 3, 1990.

"It seems now that with the increasing democratization of Eastern Europe, the only people the United States are going to be prepared to use its military against are non-white peoples, peoples of the Third World."- Kenneth Walker on The McLaughlin Group, December 24, 1989.

On that same program, Walker didn't hesitate to suggest Reagan's policies were responsible for the then-current wave of mail bombings in the South, and for "unprecedented violence" against blacks in the 1980s. "When President Reagan opens his [1980] campaign for President in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the birth place of the Ku Klux Klan where Schwerner, Goodman and,, the other guy, Chaney, were murdered, it seems to me that, along with his refusal to meet any recognized black leadership throughout his eight years in the White House, sent a signal out there that everything is up for grabs."

When The McLaughlin Group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2002, Brent Baker noted a 1986 outburst by Walker that sounded a little by ABC News president David Westin:

In 1986 ABC News White House correspondent Kenneth Walker castigated President Reagan for breaking "international law" when he bombed Libya. Walker argued that "under this rationale, the Nicaraguans are fully entitled to cross into Honduras. Indeed, they're justified in attacking the CIA in Virginia."

-Tim Graham is Director of Media Analysis at the Media Research Center.