Whitey Need Not Apply
By Patrick J. Buchanan
“Will race be an issue in this campaign?”
Hearing the cable talk-show host solemnly pose the question, Icould not suppress a belly laugh.
For the anchor was fearful that some white folks might reject Obamabecause he is African-American — even as a Rasmussen poll wasreporting that Barack is beating McCain among black voters 94 to 1.What, other than race, explains how Barack rolled up 90-10 marginsamong black voters while running against Hillary Clinton, wife ofthe man novelist Toni Morrison dubbed “our first black president”?
Indeed, so one-sided was the primary coverage in favor of Barack asthe first African-American with a real chance to be president, even”Saturday Night Live” took to mocking the mainstream media.
As for black radio, on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” “MichaelBaisden Show” and “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” which togethermay reach 20 million folks, there is “little pretense of balance,”writes Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times. “More often than notthe Obama campaign is discussed as the home team.”
Black Entertainment Television plans to carry Barack’s speech tothe Democratic convention live, but has no plans to carry McCain’s.Barack’s speech “is an historic occasion,” says BET Chairman DebraL. Lee, “so that demands some special treatment from us.”
As the mainstream media have moved left and talk radio right, andcable is breaking down along political and ideological lines, thereis something else afoot now — the racial Balkanization of thenewsroom.
Consider. On Sunday, 6,800 folks showed in Chicago for the 2008quadrennial convention of UNITY: Journalists of Color. McCaindeclined an invitation. Bush had been booed at UNITY 2004, whileJohn Kerry got a standing ovation. Featured speaker: Barack. Majorconcern of the journalists running the show: that their colleagueswould lift the roof off the McCormick Place convention center whenBarack arrived.
Said Luis Villareal, a producer of NBC’s “Dateline,” “I don’t thinkit’s such a bad thing if for 15 minutes you take off your reporterhat and respond to (Obama) as a human being at an event whereyou’re surrounded by people of color and you’re here for a unitedcause.”
And exactly what “cause” might the 10,000 members of UNITY beunited behind? The hiring and advancement of journalists of colorin all major news organizations in America.
For, as its emblem depicts, UNITY comprises four alliances: theAsian American Journalists Association, the National Association ofHispanic Journalists, the Native American Journalists Associationand the National Association of Black Journalists.
“A New Journalism for a Changing World” is UNITY’s motto. And thetitle of its July 22 press release reveals what the “newjournalism” is all about. “Aim of New UNITY Initiative Is MoreDiversity in Top Media Management.”
“With more than 50 percent of the population projected to be peopleof color in less than a generation,” says UNITY President KarenLincoln Michel, “the nation’s news organizations continue togenerate dismal diversity numbers year after year. … ‘Ten by2010’ is a significant step in the right direction.”
What is Ten by 2010?
UNITY is demanding that 10 major U.S. news organizations, bymid-2010, elevate to a senior management position in the newsroomat least one journalist of color and provide “customized trainingto help prepare them.”
The journalist may be Asian, African-American, Native American orHispanic, which rules out journalists of Irish, English, Polish,Italian, German or Jewish ancestry, since they are white.
Is this what we have come to 50 years after the triumph of thecivil rights movement? Flat-out demands, by American journalists,for the hiring and promotion of colleagues based on race and color?
Is there any evidence major news organizations in this country haveengaged in systematic discrimination to keep out men or women ofcolor this last half century? The reverse seems true. They havebent over backward to advance minority journalists.
And if journalists have been hired and promoted based on abilityand merit, why in the 21st century should these criteria be thrownout as the standards for advancement — in favor of race and color?
Isn’t this what they did in the days of Jim Crow — hire andpromote based on race? What UNITY is calling for is a return to theold rules but with new beneficiaries — blacks, Hispanics, Asiansand Native Americans — and new victims, all of whom will be white.
On Sunday, McCain came out in favor of an Arizona civil rightsinitiative that would outlaw any state discrimination either for oragainst folks, based on race, gender or national origin. Baracksaid he was “disappointed” with McCain and told UNITY he favorsaffirmative action “when properly structured.”
The Arizona referendum banning preferential treatment based on raceis also on the ballot in the swing state of Colorado. It won inCalifornia in 1996, in Washington in 2000 and in Michigan in thegreat Democratic sweep of 2006. It has never lost, and may just winMcCain Colorado, and with it the nation.