Welcome to the Republican National Convention: “This Is How We Feed Animals”

Yep, the mood in this joint is electric. Sure is…

Every four years when the Republicans hold their convention and trot out their handful of Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other people of color, what is the message they are seeking to convey to America?  “Look!  We have a few.   But not too many.”

And they know their place.   When they forget there are ways to remind them where and what it is.

Why do Republicans get rapped as being a party that accommodates bigots?

This is why: An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to Talking Points Memo.

RNC officials ejected the two attendees and confiscated their credentials and issued an apology to the camerawoman, but didn’t identify who they were and which state delegation they were with.

Don’t fall for the okie-doke. A bigot attending a Republican National Convention? That’s about as usual as fleas at a dog show.

 Patricia Carroll, the CNN camerawoman who was assaulted with peanuts and called an animal by two attendees at the Republican National Convention, told Journal-isms on Thursday that “I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised at all.”

CNN’s Patricia Carroll became the story instead of filming it.

 Carroll, who agreed to be named for the first time, said she does not want her situation to be used for political advantage. “This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue,” she said by telephone from Tampa.

Carroll said no one took the names of the attendees who threw peanuts at her Tuesday on the convention floor and told her, “This is what we feed animals.” She alerted fellow camera operators, producers and CNN security. The head of the delegation — she was not certain of the state — told her the perpetrators must have been alternates, not delegates.

 But Carroll, 34, said that as an Alabama native, she was not surprised. “This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South,” she said. “You come to places like this, you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.

 Carroll noted of the Republican convention, “There are not that many black women there.”

 “I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Carroll added. “No, it doesn’t feel good. But I know who I am. I’m a proud black woman. A lot of black people are upset. This should be a wake-up call to black people. . . . People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’re gone further than we have.”

 The person(s) was an invited attendee. If you invite a guest to a party you’re holding and they exhibit boorish behavior such as urinating on your neighbor’s roses, vomiting on their sidewalk or defecating in their driveway, you’re kind of responsible.

Party conventions are staged and scripted events designed to put the party in the best possible light. Some racist jerkwad (who hopefully was liquored up) throwing peanuts at a Black camerawoman and screaming, “THIS IS HOW WE FEED ANIMALS” doesn’t exactly conform to that hoped for goal.

That’s why the lame attempts to wave away the ugliness of this incident by  Republicans falls flat.  I wonder if those two troglodytes know how lucky they are?  Do they know how close they came to having both of their bitch asses beat to death?   Maybe because Black folk have taken it for so long some White men feel free to let their redneck flag fly and just say and do whatever the hell they want to any Black  person that wanders into range.   Maybe because we’ve been so peaceful and tolerant and forgiving they believe we will always be that way.

Catch the wrong brother or sister at the wrong time in the wrong mood at the right time and that might be your butt.   Next thing you know you’re waking up in the emergency room.   If you wake up at all.

I don’t know Patricia Carroll, but I feel like I want to defend and fight for her.

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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.

Sharpton No Shows NABJ Convention

"Hello NABJ. I must be going."

This would still be just another non-journalist media “celebrity” receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.

The National Association of Black Journalists invited the Reverend Al Sharpton to last week to speak at their convention.   He accepted the invitation.  Then he turned it down.
The Reverend Al Sharpton blew off the convention based upon his anger at statements made on the NABJ discussion board by two members.   I am one of those two.  I wonder if the other guy is feeling like events  have swirled out of their control.

It’s not always fun being stuck in the eye of the storm.  It’s even less fun when only half of what you say gets any notice.

There’s a saying that a lie can be half way around the world before truth puts on its shoes.  The same thing applies to misinformation except in cyberspace it can be all the way around the world before truth even wakes up.

In my nearly 20 years as a reporter, editor, columnist and blogger, I have been at the center of controversy more than once.   A syndicated radio show host called me a “Sambo.”  I’ve had more than a few readers accuse me of being a  “White-hating militant.”   There is no need for me to declare who I am to anyone who doesn’t know me.  When I write something I never declare it to be the definitive truth.  It is simply my truth and truth is subjective.  It can be accepted, rejected or ignored.

It’s regrettable Sharpton chose to blow off over a thousand Black journalists because in his words, he “would have been a distraction” by showing up.   Sharpton was scheduled to be part of a discussion on presidential politics  as part of a panel with Cornel West, former RNC chairman Michael Steele, author Sophia Nelson and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

Sharpton said in an interview, “I was invited to come speak about politics and the upcoming presidential election. If they had invited me to talk about whether advocates and activist organizations should host talk shows, I would have considered coming to discuss those kinds of things. But to put me on a political panel and then for it to go into something else about MSNBC, that wouldn’t have been good.”

I have no idea what moderator Roland Martin would have asked Sharpton or what questions he would have gotten from attendees.   But so what if the MSNBC question or my remarks would have come up.   I know Sharpton wasn’t invited to talk about whether he was getting a show or not.  By refusing to attend he made his absence the issue and a huge distraction.   Or does he think Martin and NABJ president Kathy Times were calling to ask him to reconsider because they had nothing better to do?

The issue is not whether or not Sharpton should get a show.  It never was the issue.  Since so many seem to have missed out on what the subject actually was here is a reminder from Carole Simpson as reported by Richard Prince on his Journal-isms column.

Simpson sees the problem in Sharpton's new gig.

Carole Simpson, the retired ABC News anchor, echoed Winbush in a telephone interview Wednesday with Mallary Jean Tenore of the Poynter Institute.

“[Sharpton] was not a journalist. It seems like having a name is more important than your credentials and the news you’ve covered, and how well you did as a reporter and how much you did as a thinker and writer about the issues of the day,” she said. “Who’s going to get the eyeballs? … That’s the bottom line. It’s all about eyeballs. It’s the drive for ratings.

“I have nothing against the Rev. Al. I’ve known him for years. I’ve covered him, but he doesn’t sound like a professional broadcaster. Somebody sounding like that wouldn’t typically be hired by any station. Yeah, as a pundit. He’s an intelligent man. I give him credit for that. But he doesn’t sound like a professional broadcaster.

“But he’s controversial, he’s provocative, he yells, and so they’re looking for personalities and not journalists. The problem that I have, as NABJ has, is fine — hire somebody of color — but how about a journalist? Not a reverend. I don’t get it.”

I don’t either.  The point was never whether or not Sharpton should get the MSNBC gig.  The point was why can’t a journalist even be considered? 

My comment has appeared on Blackamericaweb.com, Beliefnet, the conservative Accuracy In Media website, three times on Prince’s column,  the Tom Joyner Morning Show, read by Keith Olbermann on his newly revived Countdown program and last week Politco picked it up.

With the exception of Prince nobody has picked up the phone or dropped me an e-mail asking me why I wrote what I wrote.  The comment is all that matters.  The commentator is irrelevant.

Sharpton has run for president.  He’s faced down angry White mobs in Howard Beach, Bensonhurst, and Crown Heights.  He’s gone head-to-head with the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity.  He’s been in screaming matches with Cornel West.   Sharpton has taken on professional back breakers and walked away with a big winning grin on his face.

Last week he got in a shouting match with that old Nazi sympathizing racist Pat Buchanan over his calling President Obama “your boy.”

Am I supposed to believe Sharpton is afraid to take on a freelance writer and blogger from Columbus, Ohio he’s never heard of?  If Sharpton had shown up in Philadelphia and someone asked him a question about the NABJ list serve he didn’t want to answer there’s a simple two-word response, “no comment.”

The mind boggles at the suggestion, but it seems to be a reality.

Sharpton said,  “People are making conclusions based off their assumptions. I’ve been guilty of this too in the past, so I understand it, but it doesn’t excuse the fact that people are rushing to judgment.”

No argument there, Reverend.  Unfortunately, since you haven’t bothered to get the story, you are one of those people.   What you believe I said was not necessarily what I meant.

Philly loves NABJ, but Al Sharpton doesn't.

The Al Sharpton Blowback: Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of

Rev. Sharpton slimmed down, but he's still a big target for his enemies.

The Germans, when they weren’t conquering Europe coined a word to describe the pleasure or satisfaction others receive from the misfortunes of others.  Schadenfreude is the word and over the last two weeks I’ve given a lot of folks I’ve never met a lot of pleasure.

Jeff, I’m hearing your name everywhere. Even this morning on my drive in to work, I hear about your thoughts on the whole MSNBC thing. How is this newfound (or renewed) stardom treating you?

That was a message waiting for me when I signed on to Facebook the other day.  I had no idea what my friend was talking about.

It turns out she was talking about me being talked about on The Tom Joyner Show.   The fly jock was jockin’ my name regarding remarks I made about the Reverend Al Sharpton replacing Cenk Uygur on MSNBC.

Jeff Johnson, a contributor to Joyner’s morning radio show and a writer for Black America Web.com had some thoughts he wanted to share about what I had said on my blog and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) discussion board  that had been picked up by media reporter Richard Prince on his Journal-isms column and gone nationwide.

Prince wrote in his July 21 column:  When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.”

Media Writer Richard Prince

That observation became the centerpiece every critic and supporter of the Sharpton hire springboarded off of.

Johnson rolled up his pants legs and waded in on Blackamericaweb in an essay, “Don’t Hate on Sharpton-Congratulate Him”:

For years, there have been no black hosts in primetime cable news and fewer than a handful anywhere in cable news. Last week, that reality was served a blow when MSNBC decided to announce that Rev. Al Sharpton would become the network’s newest host, filling the 6 p.m. hour of the cable network’s programming. Now, MSNBC had been using Rev. Sharpton to fill in for Cenk Uygur and then seemingly opened space for him to continue to audition (if you will) for the spot. I heard my fair share of comments regarding his performance, from praise to reasonable critique, to straight-up hate. And when it was finally announced that he would get the spot, the naysayers came out of the woodwork.

Even Keith Olbermann, a former MSNBC host, weighed in, helping to spread one of the most reported quotes about Sharpton’s hiring from Ohio journalist Jeff Winbush. He stated, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.” It is important to state that Winbush went further to say that he did not have an issue with Sharpton, but wanted legitimate black journalists to get an honest shot at this type of opportunity.

I hope that we as a community pause, put this into perspective and make the most of this moment in time.

As a growing journalist myself, I want to see seasoned, tested and consistent black journalists get greater visibility as well. However, let us not allow others to use this moment to create division between us.

I guess I’m supposed to one of those “others” Johnson says is creating division.   I always wanted to be an “other.”

This was apparently the quote heard round the world.

It showed up on Roland Martin’s website, The Poynter Institute which covers media-related issues,  Blackamericaweb.com, Beliefnet, Media Bistro, the conservative Accuracy In Media site and places I never knew existed.    When I learned Media Takeout, the Black-oriented celebrity and scandal site, had picked up on it with the headline, “Jealousy??? Black Journalists Criticize MSNBC…For Hiring Al Sharpton!!!”, I knew things had snowballed into something way beyond my control.

A quick Google search of “Al Sharpton, Jeff Winbush” found this article from EEW Magazine Buzz: 

Is it the age old “crabs-in-the-barrel” syndrome among African Americans? Or does National Association of Black Journalists member, Jeff Winbush, have good reason to get all huffy about MSNBC’s rumored plans to hire Reverend Al Sharpton for a primetime nightly hosting gig?

Winbush’s written commentary about the decision to potentially hire Al Sharpton has made its rounds online.  Said Winbush, “This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent… “

On the one hand, black folks complain about not having a visible role on primetime cable news. On the other hand, once someone is chosen, complainers are not satisfied because they would like to see someone else get a shot.

Can anybody really win?

Although there is merit to Winbush’s argument that qualified journalists of color consistently get passed over for these type positions, should we allow that issue to cloud the fact that one of our own may be getting a nationwide platform to advance our causes and interests?

Johnson agreed with some of my remarks, but thought it was too harsh on Sharpton

Then there was this from J.C. Brooks at EURWeb:

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the NAACP have been asking for more faces of color at the news desks across the country, but for some reason when Al Sharpton was asked to consider a position at MSNBC’s news desk in the 6pm slot, he was met with strong words and, to make it simple, a little “hateration.”

One member of the NABJ took to his blog saying, “‘This would still be just another non-journalist media ‘celebrity’ receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent.”‘  Well, when Jeff Winbush made that comment, it took off across the Internet, columns, and even Keith Olbermann’s new “Countdown” show.  Now he feels he should clarify his statements.

According to Journal-isms, Sharpton was asked how he felt about the controversy that stirred up with Winbush’s comments and he told the Root.com, “We can’t get into a crabs-in-the-barrel mentality,” Sharpton said. “We cannot let them play us off one another. There is a history here. Kweisi Mfume had a talk show. Jesse Jackson Jr. had a talk show. If someone can advocate nationwide, we need to do that given the pain of our people. We need to do that on television, in newspapers and magazines. And all of us need to be united.”

The Root’s Leslie Holloway further clarified that the position being offered to Sharpton is not one of news, but “opinions and advocacy.”  Winbush contends that he didn’t want to stir anything up with Sharpton and that he has “no ill will” toward the community crusader, he just wants journalists to get a fair shake too.

They both make sense, but most journalists and everyone else were given the wrong impression.  The media reported Sharpton’s position as one of a 6pm news format and in that capacity, Winbush and fellow journalists had reason for concern.

Concern?  Yeah, you might say I was concerned.  Mostly because my name was floating around as ripping Sharpton and had mutated from a pointed observation to a truncheon to bludgeon a non-journalist taking a gig away from somebody more deserving.

What surprises me most is how nobody ever asked me why I made the remarks about Sharpton in the first place.  If anyone had bothered to ask I would have explained I’m not anti-Sharpton, I’m pro-Black journalists.   All I did was point out Reverend Al is a man of the cloth, not the Associated Press style book.

Nobody wanted to hear that.  I thought I had exposed an inconvenient truth.  The truth is all these writers on these websites wanted was a juicy pull quote.  Once they got it, it was time to whip up a controversy that all these Black journalists were upset over Sharpton beating them out of a gig when the only person who said jack was me.

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms column ran a follow-up where he identified me as the source of the controversial quote.  I was glad Prince gave me a chance to clarify my remarks, but the follow-up never gets the kind of play as the original statement.

Freelance journalist Jeff Winbush wants it known that he is not hatin’ on the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Winbush is a blogger in Columbus, Ohio, a former editor of the black newspaper the Columbus Post and a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. More to the point, he was the source of a quote in Thursday’s “Journal-isms” about MSNBC’s reported readiness to hire Sharpton for its 6 p.m. slot.

“When rumors surfaced this week that Sharpton was under consideration for the MSNBC job, one NABJ member told colleagues without challenge, ‘This would still be just another non-journalist media “celebrity” receiving a TV show based upon their name recognition, not their years of experience, training, ability and talent,’ ” the column read.

Winbush’s quote reverberated around the Internet and was even shown, with the column, on Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” show on Current TV. Olbermann was fired by MSNBC, where his show was also called “Countdown,” in January. On Thursday, Olbermann gave a platform to Cenk Uygur, the former MSNBC host whose slot has been filed temporarily by Sharpton.

“MSNBC Set To Hire Sharpton; Black Journalists Slam Impending Hire,” one headline read.

” ‘Slam?’ I did no such thing. I said nothing of the sort,” Winbush told Journal-isms by email. “I was not attacking him personally. I bear him no ill will. I simply want to see Black journalists get a fair shot as well.”

There is no control when the Internet gets hold of something you say or do.  If it’s caught by a camera it will soon be slapped on You Tube.  If it’s a muttered racist remark everybody will hear it.   There is no hiding place in cyberspace.

I’ve written several miles worth of columns and essays taking on and taking down politicians, celebrities and other pundits.  Keith Olbermann and Sharpton are among the many subjects I’ve praised, slammed or damned, so I can’t really bitch about having my words thrown back in my face.  My words are like my kids and they belong to me.  I can’t distance myself from them and I can’t deny I said what I said.

Sharpton getting a show has upset both the Right and the Left.

After all the times I’ve bad-talked Michael Steele, I’m surprised he hasn’t called to say, “How it’s feel to get played, brother?”

It’s been an interesting experience.  Next time though I would hope over something I said that was actually newsworthy instead of scandalous.

Next week I’ll be in Philadelphia attending the National Association of Black Journalists Convention.  I’ll have more to say later about the convention, but a lot of my “friends” will be there.  Sharpton will be there.  So will Michael Steele, Cornel West, Roland Martin, Jeff Johnson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Joel Dreyfuss, editor of The Root, and Arianna Huffington among a cast of thousands.

For Black journalists next week is our Woodstock.   There’s going to be far more partying, drinking, and over indulgence in four days than most folks will do in four months, but for me it will also be an opportunity to look some of the people who got my remarks wrong and set them right.

And if I get a chance to get close enough to Reverend Sharpton and shake his hand,  I’ll introduce myself and tell him how sorry I am my name was used to scandalize his.  Sharpton is taking heat not from his enemies on the Right, but from the Left as both The Daily Caller and The Huffington Post have blasted MSNBC for ousting Uygur and replacing a White liberal with a Black liberal.

I’m no fan of U2.  Not even a bit, but I have to credit Bono and the boys this much.  They came up with a song that perfectly captures the mixed emotions one experiences when something they say gets all mashed up into something unrecognizable as your original thought.    When the media starts manipulating it is like being stuck in a moment you can’t get out of.

You’ve got to get yourself together
You’ve got stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it
Don’t say that later will be better now
You’re stuck in a moment and you can’t get out of it