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.

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7 thoughts on “Thrown Under the NABJ Bus

  1. Brother, as you said in the previous post, Sharpton has face too many other challenges to simply back away from an event because of one comment. I seems like he accepted the invite after the comment was made, so something else must have caused the cancellation. Regardless, the new prez punked out scapegoating you as the reason. #GetAPairNABJ

  2. At least anyone who wants to learn more can now visit your site and get your whole story. So, really, this is a good thing, no? You didn’t make your comments as part of a journalistic article, you made them on your blog. I guess that’s where things get confused. I admit that witnessing the fallout you mention makes me even more careful than ever to keep my TRUE personality out of my own blog……. Needless to say, this too will pass–and I bet your readership will continue to increase.

      • I’d LOVE to swap links — and have a plan, if you’re okay with it. My Blogroll only includes book-related links, given the nature of my blog — but I’ve added a Non-book Links section to my “For Fun” menu tab. Take a look at that and see what you think. Will that do it for you?

  3. It definitely ain’t right, but I felt you needed to at least see it. My wife and I saw this highlighted on Jon Stewart last night and I cringed as I watched. It really illustrates Carol Simpson’s points about the issue.

    I think overall, we need to stop looking at networks like MSNBC and FoxNews as “news” organizations. The news title is a mask in my opinion to garner some credibility. After 5pm, they all switch to opinion and punditry, which is where they enjoy their ratings surge.

    I hope you just continue to do what you’ve been doing, calling out stupidity, hypocrisy and injustice.

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