Still No Objectivity on Race Relations

Still No Objectivity on Race Relations
by L. Brent Bozell III
November 20, 1997

As baby boomers who grew up on Bull Connor brutality and the civil rights struggle, reporters learned early that objectivity was a concept detrimental to the noble pursuit of justice: how could a reporter not take sides as blacks risked everything seeking the right to vote? The debate has shifted far beyond the original demand for color-blindness into the black Left's onerous demands, through virulent race-baiting politics, for racial entitlements - and still reporters hold just as reflexively to the cause of the "civil rights movement." Consider a few recent examples.

1. "The Million Woman March." When black women converged on Philadelphia in late October for a "Million Woman March," the media swooned in celebration, even forwarded organizers' bombastic claims of a 1.5 million-woman turnout. On "Good Morning America," ABC's Bill Redeker declared: "People power, that celebrated a common goal, unity and the desire to collectively make life in their community better, safer." NBC's Susan Campos announced, "The rally was aimed at building political, economic, and social unity among black women."

But unity most certainly wasn't the message from all the speakers at the podium. In the November 17 New Republic, iconoclastic NPR reporter Eric Westervelt quoted Ava Muhammed from the Nation of Islam, who "told the crowd that black women must not sleep with white men, lest they become 'traitors to the cause of liberation. 'We have thousands of long toughed Uncle Toms lookin' for a boot to lick...and who'll sell our soul for a job and to have lunch with white people!'" Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a walking advertisement for national health care if it means someone would have the power to force her to seek medical attention, "warned of white plots to destroy blacks," particularly the CIA importing crack into Los Angeles. Quite simply, if this were a white gathering, it would be easily identified as racist, so why are these speeches ignored in favor of a touchy-feely wave of good feeling? Because to do otherwise would be to demonstrate objectivity.

2. "Redneckville." Although Republicans made a clean sweep of the November elections, ABC made it a point to run a story on the one liberal victory of the day. Peter Jennings declared : "And in Houston voters chose to keep in place an affirmative action program that steers city contracts to companies owned by women and minorities. The Houston decision seems to buck a trend developing in the country to reverse course on affirmative action." That intro was fine, but the conclusion from reporter Dean Reynolds was something else: "Mayor [Bob] Lanier said the choice for Houston was clear: people here had to decide whether they wanted to be viewed as a cosmopolitan, diverse, international city or, as he put it, 'Redneckville.'"

3. Ward Connerly. When Mike Wallace interviewed black Proposition 209 activist Ward Connerly on "60 Minutes" November 9, one might not feel the segment was atrociously one-sided - but only because Connerly was so impressive answering Wallace's hectoring questions.

"Do you never feel like you're being used by white conservatives to lead this thing, that you're the cat's paw?" was just one of many insults hurled at this black man for daring to be conservative. Wallace brought on Connerly's cousin to accuse him of wanting to be white and "providing a safe harbor for the bigots of America." Her husband warned other blacks of Connerly's "minstrel show." Wallace asked Connerly: "One of your critics says: 'for someone to stand within the ranks and say I'm not black, but use it to destroy his own people, that's the kind we label a traitor that's how you're perceived by many people in the black community. 'I'm not black,' says Ward Connerly." When Connerly praised the kindness of white strangers, Wallace replied: "I get the feeling that you're looking at things through rose-colored glasses. I can see black folks across the country look at him now and saying 'what world does this Connerly guy think we're living in?'"

A few minutes after Wallace was finished, Andy Rooney noted that across the hall at CBS "This Morning" there are 46 producers, of whom 30 are women, and 12 are black men or women. Rooney declared: "Am I in favor of affirmative action? No, I'm not. As Ward Connerly said earlier on the show, you cannot correct a wrong by arbitarily giving one group of people an advantage over another because of race or sex."

That's objectivity, and needless to say, it looks like Andy Rooney could be in trouble again.