OPINION: IS PRESIDENT OBAMA SHUTTING OUT THE BLACK PRESS?
According to the National Newspaper Publishers Association also known as the Black Press of America, President Obama is avoiding Black media outlets.
This past June, the NNPA held its annual convention in Atlanta. One discussion panel, “Get Out the Vote,” became a venue of criticism over how the president and his administration deal with black owned media outlets.
The Chicago Crusader, a member paper of the NNPA reports that, “African-American newspaper publishers expressed strong displeasure over what they deemed the failure of the President Obama’s Administration to accommodate the needs of the Black Press.”
The Crusader goes on to highlight the discussion as it unfolded.
“We don’t think the president has ever spoken to us. He’s spoken to the Latino community… This is the first president since Franklin Roosevelt that has not invited the Black Press to the White House (for an interview).” –Robert W. Bogle, Publisher of the Philadelphia Tribune and former NNPA President
“I have made several requests that we be allowed to have an interview. All 200 of us cannot get an interview with the president, that’s unreasonable…But for a national organization such as NNPA to not be allowed to interview the president, that’s unacceptable.” –Dorothy Leavell, former NNPA President
But, it isn’t only President Obama that is avoiding the Black Press. The Crusader also reports that other African-American media outlets have experienced difficulties when it comes to getting interviews with the first lady. “Heart & Soul magazine, a health and fitness magazine for women of color, offered to place Michelle Obama on the cover but they, too, were denied an interview…”
Broderick Johnson, a campaign senior adviser to the President stood up for the President’s record and told the publishers “there’s a lot that the President is doing that needs to be articulated with your help in ways that your readers and your communities hear and appreciate…” But, Sony Messiah Jiles, publisher of the Huston Defender told Johnson, that message is not coming through clearly to the community or the publishers.
Unfortunately, as we in other media outlets are aware, the President doesn’t seem to like talking with any media all that much, as witnessed by his rare occasion to conduct formal press conferences and lay-up interviews with “main-stream media.” While President Obama’s adviser can relay messages to the Black Press at their annual conference regarding the need to defend the his record, it is falling on deaf ears of publishers who are looking for more access to get more answers to their unasked questions.
Then again, maybe that is just how President Obama prefers it…
If the Black Press has to spend their time asking questions about why they aren’t getting any interviews, then they aren’t getting chance to ask questions the president most likely doesn’t want to answer, like, where are the jobs Mr. President?