Here’s a newsflash: Black journalists DO indeed exist. You might not know this because their jobs are being taken by professors, pastors and civil rights leaders looking for a new TV gig. Men like Toure, Melissa Harris Perry, Michael Eric Dyson and Al Sharpton are hogging up the MSNBC hosting jobs for their entertainment value, with black journalists being few and far between.
The most direct slap in the face was the passing over of African American journalist Gwen Ifill for the presidential debates. Ifill was a perfect candidate to moderate a debate, but was barely given any consideration whatsoever for the job.
Where have black journalists gone over the last four years? The answer is that they are right in front of your nose and they are starting to speak up.
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) recently stated that the Commission on Presidential Debates is treating black journalists as if they are unqualified or invisible. The group says that there is no time period more appropriate to fight for journalistic diversity than during debates featuring the first African American president.
Candy Crowley of CNN, Jim Lehrer of PBS and Bob Schieffer of CBS News were chosen to moderate three debates between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Martha Raddatz of ABC News was selected to moderate the vice presidential debates. Not a single African American is on the list of moderators.
African Americans aren’t the only ones feeling left out of the “whites only” party at presidential debates. The president of the Spanish-speaking network Univision also spoke up on the lack of diversity. They are pushing to have their own separate forums and turning off the television during the all-white debates.
The commission hasn’t made a statement about its alleged racial exclusion. They’ve only said that they believe the moderators represent all Americans, even though all of them are white and they typically don’t ask any questions of direct relevance to minority communities. Isn’t that something people would have said in the 1950s?