March 24, 2007

Dancing with the Devil

House Majority Whip James Clyburn now is the highest-ranking African American elected official in the federal government and the second African American to hold the third-ranking position in the House: Pennsylvania Rep. William H. Gray III (1979-91) was the only other. When Clyburn addresses a joint session of the legislature in his home state of South Carolina on April 10, he will do so with a sense of pride — and a sense of history. He will become the first African American congressman in more than a century to address the South Carolina General Assembly.

The Capitol building in which Clyburn will speak is the same one where statutes passed in the late 19th century — known as "Jim Crow" laws — essentially deprived the state’s large black population of the franchise and other civil rights.

As such, you would think that Clyburn and the other members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) would understand how disappointed that African American citizens are to see that the CBC Institute (CBCI) has cut a deal with Fox News to sponsor two debates, one with Democrats and another with Republicans in the 2008 presidential race.

As many of you might remember, Nevada Democrats and Majority Senate Leader Harry Reid were slammed by liberal blogs for agreeing to a Democratic debate with Fox News a few weeks ago, and backed out of the deal under pressure. Liberal activists complained that Fox News was slanted toward Republicans, would distort the debate, and should be shunned. The breakpoint occurred when Roger Ailes, head of Fox News, in a joke at an an awards dinner, poked fun at President Bush for confusing Senator Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden. (Mr. Obama later said he didn't take offense, but many in the blogosphere did.)

According to Fox:
The first of the two debates will be among Democratic candidates and will be held on September 23rd at the Fox Theater in Detroit. The second debate will be among Republican candidates and will take place in the fall of 2007 at a location to be determined. Both debates will serve as a forum for the candidates to make their platforms known.
In a statement accompanying the Fox announcement, chairman of the CBC, Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi, said this:
"As a leading organization dedicated to educating the public on issues of national policy, the CBC Institute is committed to presenting the presidential candidates to the broadest audience possible."

"Our goal with each debate is to provide a platform that will allow voters to hear the positions of candidates from both political parties. Collaborating with FOX News provides an opportunity to take this presidential election to millions of households." has released a statement asking CBCI to reconsiderField Negro, African American (Black) Opinion and others in the blogosphere brought this issue to the forefront when it first surfaced. It is time for all villagers to become informed and take a stand. The online petition is the type of activism that warriors in the village can take immediately. At a minimum, we would like your insights on the controversial move made by the CBCI to partner with Fox News for this debates.
"The CBC Institute's decision is shamefully out of step with most Black voters, and we will continue to push on the CBC Institute to drop this deal. Every presidential candidate now must decide whether to legitimize Fox - a network that calls Black churches a cult, implies that Senator Barack Obama is a terrorist, and uses the solemn occasion of Coretta Scott King's funeral to call Black leaders ‘racist.' We will be launching a petition asking presidential candidates to attend the CBC Institute's CNN debate and reject the Fox debate."  Fox News has consistently attacked Black people, Black leaders, and Black cultural institutions. Despite this, the Congressional Black Caucus Institute has announced that it will partner with Fox to co-host presidential debates.

The Congressional Black Caucus is letting us down at a time when Black Americans need strong and strategic leaders more than ever. We are beginning a campaign to make it clear to key CBC leaders, and the voters in their districts, that the majority of us are not with them. We must keep raising our voices, making it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Black America is speaking out against this kind of irresponsible and disrespectful representation.
Do you think that our Black congressional leaders are being 'fair and balanced' ... or do you think that they are selling out for the almighty dollar bill? What say u?


Anonymous said...

To be honest, Villager, I think we're getting way more worked over this than we need to be. Do we really believe FOX News wears horns while the other players are all our good friends and lovers? Doesn't matter whether it's FOX, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, whoever. We don't own any of them, Villager. FOX plays the satanic evil conservative for entertainment value and for ratings. It's that simple. And the more we yell and scream about their antics, the higher their ratings go. We really have to get better at playing this game...

Unknown said...

Keith - Your candor is appreciated as was your more comprehensive thoughts on the issue. I appreciate your willingness to keep it real here in da Village.

peace, Villager

Anonymous said...

I agree with Keith in regard to FOX News being nothing more than a circus..or at least an outwardly entertaining circus unlike these other government controlled media networks..The fact that this is the only network available for the CBC to latch onto speak volumes. The fact thatthier actually doing it says even more. I guess the black caucus has decided to copy adopt the FOX News philosophy when it comes to blacks...and that is "hate us all you want, you're still watching!!"
Maybe the time has come for people to see CBC for what it is, a joke. And not a very funny one either..

JD said...

Keith and Tyrone's comments are valid but I am not worked up over the debates or the dissing we recieve from Fox. having said that, I enjoyed your post and found it very informative and enjoyable. I am worked up over our own people being slow to get on the Obama bandwagon. Rev Jackson is showing his leadership and the politicans in South Carolina sold their loyality and support to the highest bidder. Keep hope alive

Unknown said...

Keith & James - First, thanks for sharing your insights. I'm still struck by how unresponsive the Congressional Black Caucus has been to the will of Black people in this matter. Does the appeal of dollar bills always have to trump the appeal of 'doing the right thing'?

Happy Easter, Villager

Francis Holland said...


To become part of the Afrosphere, you contact a blog that is already participating and express a desire to be included in their "Welcome to the Afrosphere" blog list. That blog will review your blog to confirm that your blog expresses a general commitment to the well-being and empowerment of African-Americans and the diaspora.

Then, the Afrosphere blog you have contacted will add you to their "Welcome to the Afrosphere" blog list and you, too, can include a "Welcome to the Afrosphere" blog list at your site, including there the blogs that are already part of the Afrosphere.

But, when you become part of the Afrosphere you assume a large responsibility to help keep the diaspora informed of important political, cultural and social developments that affect the well-being and advancement of our people. You agree to help to determine a consensus political program and then promote that consensus in the Blackosphere, the African-American community, America and the world.

This includes a responsibility to inform others of the blogs that participate in the Afrosphere, provide links to and share information and content with those blogs.

This is a great blog you have here. Based on your request, I have already reviewed the Electronic Village, its current links to the Afrosphere links and its pro-diaspora content.

As far as I'm concerned, you're already doing that, and so I have added your blog to my Afrosphere blog list. Please add my blog to yours as well.

I've just added your blog to my "Welcome to the Afrospere" blog list.

One love! "Welcome to the Afrosphere!" "One Nation Under an AfroSpear!"

Francis L. Holland, Esq.

Unknown said...

Francis - 2-year anniversary of you introducing me to the AfroSpear....