Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Congressional Black Caucus and Fox News

I was happy to sign a letter to Democratic presidential candidates (Clinton, Obama, Edwards) who chose not to participate in a Fox News sponsored debate. It is a long, sad story, but some members of the Congressional Black Caucus are in favor of holding a presidential debate with Fox. Incredible, isn't it?

Color of Change has admirably led the charge on this issue. Here is the letter.

Dear Candidate,

Your decision last month not to attend the debate sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus institute demonstrated truly principled leadership.

Now, a group of CBC members, led by Congressman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and Congresswoman Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), is asking you to reverse that decision. But the truth about Fox and its partnership with the CBC institute has not changed. A Fox-CBCI partnership will use the brand of the CBC—perhaps the most prominent and powerful Black political institution in America—to lend legitimacy to a propaganda network that regularly denigrates black people, black culture and black institutions. This partnership is bad for Black America, and it is a huge mistake.

Since before the debate partnership was announced publicly, Black bloggers, community newspapers, columnists, and radio hosts have expressed outrage that such a partnership would even be considered. Over 16,000 members of reached out to individual CBC members and the CBC institute in hopes that they would be responsive and accountable to the community they purport to represent. But the leadership of the CBC institute has continued to willfully ignore the voices of Black Americans, and amazingly, also dismissed voices of dissent from within the CBC itself (nearly a quarter of CBC members have expressed opposition to the debate, either publicly or privately). Now, more than ever, it’s obvious that the CBC’s leadership is painfully out of step with Black America.

It has been suggested that by skipping this debate, you are missing a valuable opportunity to speak on issues of concern to Black Americans. However, the CBC institute debate broadcast by CNN as well as Tavis Smiley’s debates on PBS provide similar opportunities to address these issues without sending the message that you are willing to validate a network that is consistently hostile to Black Americans and Black political interests.

You did the right thing by rejecting Fox. We applaud your leadership and will continue to support your decision.

Brandon Quante White, The SuperSpade
Garlin Dorell Gilchrist II, The SuperSpade
Jill Tubman, Jack and Jill Politics
Wayne Bennett, Field Negro
Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report
Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report
Leutisha Stills, Sr. Correspondent & Chief Researcher, CBCMonitor
dnA, Too Sense
Pam Spaulding, Pam's House Blend
Chris Rabb,
Rikyrah, Mirror on America
Earl Dunovant, Prometheus 6
Margaret Kimberley, Freedom Rider
James Rucker,

We are still looking for signers, particularly bloggers. If you are interested, please email Gabriel at gabriel AT colorofchange DOT org.