Thrown Under the NABJ Bus

NABJ President Gregory Lee isn't mad at Sharpton, but he's not too fond of Winbush.

A friend asked me had a NABJ member ever been asked to resign or had their membership revoked?

I replied, “I don’t know, but there’s always a first time.”

Yesterday, Gregory Lee, the newly elected president of the nation’s largest minority journalist group spoke to Richard Prince for his Journal-isms column about Sharpton’s no-show last week.

The new president of the National Association of Black Journalists says, “We are happy to see Al Sharpton get the opportunity to have a prime-time show on MSNBC.”

Gregory Lee Jr. told Journal-isms, “NABJ is just concerned about all of the cable networks” and their representation of people of color and wants “journalists to have the opportunity to host the shows on any network on cable. . . . We’d like to see journalists of color behind the scenes, as executive producers, as bookers, decision makers,” not just as hosts.

Sharpton canceled a Thursday appearance at the NABJ convention in Philadelphia because of comments by NABJ members questioning MSNBC’s reported choice of the activist to host a 6 p.m., pre-prime time show on the network, according to NABJ.

“I’m not angry at Al Sharpton,” Lee said. “I think what he read was the view of Jeff Winbush,” a Columbus, Ohio, blogger quoted in Journal-isms, “who is one member” and does not represent the entire organization. “It’s not our official stance.”

So the NABJ President essentially blamed ONE member—me–for Sharpton refusing to attending the convention.

If Lee isn’t angry at Al Sharpton is he angry at Jeff Winbush instead?

Am I misreading Lee’s remarks?  Possibly, but could it be he misread mine

Lee did not have to name check me. He could have said “the view of one member” and STOPPED RIGHT THERE. Instead, he chose to say one person in an organization of over 3,000 members did what Pat Buchanan, Bill O’ Reilly, Sean Hannity, Cornel West, 60 Minutes and countless others could not do: make Sharpton opt to take a pass.

I do appreciate President Lee giving one blogger from Columbus so much juice, but I don’t think it’s warranted. I also don’t think I deserve to be thrown under the bus because I said something that no one has offered a serious rebuttal to. At least nobody in the NABJ leadership.

I’m annoyed my new president is not supporting one of his members, but not terribly surprised. At least I know now how much NABJ has my back. Not.At.All.

For the past few weeks I thought I had a problem with Reverend Sharpton.   My mistake.  It now appears my real problem is with the organization I pay membership dues to. 

There probably are some who would be pleased if I were to resign from NABJ. That pleasure will be deferred until my membership lapses. But quit? I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.