Before he’s even inaugurated, one question about the effect of electing Barack Obama is getting an answer.
The question: Will a black president quell black demands for affirmative action?
The answer: No.
In a recent article on the new black-oriented, Washington Post-owned website “The Root,” writer Sam Fulwood fumes that “racism” has kept blacks from the White House press corps, and quotes another writer, Jack White, as saying that “the job of interpreting this president to the world is too big and too important to be left just to white reporters and editors.”
What Mr. White means is this: Whites don’t understand blacks, and can’t be trusted to report on them. This has always been a strangely accepted holding of the minority-racialist community: They demand that whites cease all ethnocentric activity and behavior, but that blacks ramp up their own — while being “treated equally” (usually better) by whites. Under this reasoning, it’s perfectly acceptable to have both a black-only newspaper like “The Afro-American” and demand that “white” newspapers hire more black reporters.
There are too many examples of this in other areas of life to recount, but its manifestation in journalism has always amused me. As a college journalist, I recall that it wasn’t unusual to hear calls for blacks to report on blacks, for Hispanics to report on Hispanics, and so on. But you would never hear that whites should cover whites. Whites, you see, should also be covered by blacks. This pattern continued after I left college and joined the working press, first in Washington and later in Philadelphia.
And that brings to mind an alternative reason why blacks aren’t “represented” (as they say) in the White House press corps:
They aren’t very good. Especially at print journalism, as opposed to radio or television journalism. (As a print snob, I don’t really count the ubiquitous black news anchor for the local station as a “journalist” — they read what scrolls before them on the teleprompter.)
We’ve all heard of Janet Cooke, the disgraced black reporter for the Washington Post who faked her way to a Pulitzer, and Jayson Blair, the disgraced black reporter for the New York Times who faked his way — for a while — through life at the nation’s newspaper of record. But I’m here to tell you that Cooke and Blair aren’t bizarre outliers. They’re just a bit more outrageous than your typical black “journalist” — and they got caught.
I recall that in the varied papers I worked for, black males were virtually non-existent, despite editors’ desperate attempts to reel them in. They never even came ’round, so it’s a little hard for Mr. Fulwood to argue that rafts of qualified black men are being kept from the profession. Print journalism, truth be told, is a low-paying and, probably to the black mind, pretty uncool job. Whites, especially if they tend liberal, think it’s cool, but in the way they see working for a non-profit as cool (a la Stuff White People Like). So right away, I don’t see black men clamoring for it.
There were a few black women, however. But these black women were invariably at the back of the pack when it came to performance. In the lead were white men, white women, and, of course, Jews. Asians did alright, but generally weren’t aggressive enough to make much of a splash.
One black woman hired (through affirmative action channels) by a paper I worked for barely stayed awake on the job — literally. She would fall asleep during working hours. She produced an abysmally small number of stories, and, before we knew it, disappeared. And the stories themselves were quite unremarkable.
I can even recall the one black woman who worked on my high school newspaper staff. She was let go for… reviewing a movie she hadn’t seen. Even for the staunchly liberal white adviser to the paper, this was too much.
I doubt much will come of Mr. Fulwood’s demand. Another hard truth is that even the most ridiculously liberal white editor still feels sharply competitive with other media outlets, and would be loathe to have anyone less than a crackerjack covering the White House. That’s necessarily going to mean a big drop-off in the number of eligible blacks.
That focus on quality aside, even if President Obama decreed that spots at the front of the briefing room be reserved for black reporters, it’s unlikely that the stream of crap that is American journalism would be affected much. I agreed with the assessment of Noam Chomsky, a left-wing Jewish intellectual, when he called the American media “the servant of power.” He is correct. However much it fancies itself a “watchdog,” it is no such thing. It exists to prop up and propagate the system.
And, whether covered by affirmative-action black reporters, white-hating Jews or self-hating whites, the most obvious and pressing issue of our time — the fundamental failure of the multiracial experiment — will likely be ignored. With his demand, Mr. Fulwood shows just how far from that understanding he is.
Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist.