DURING HIS LONG public career, the Rev. Jesse Jackson has often scolded the news media for any number of perceived shortcomings.
But he may never have been as biting and angry about the press as he was in a bitter speech at the recent Associated Press Managing Editors convention.
"You cheapen our lives by the way you twist and distort our [African Americans] story," Jackson thundered at the 220 newspaper executives gathered in Indianapolis.
America's press, Jackson said, portray African Americans as less intelligent, less patriotic, less disciplined and more violent than they really are.
Journalists portray welfare recipients and affirmative action beneficiaries as black, when in fact the majority in both cases are white, he said.
"The whole phenomenon of putting a black face on a white body is imposed on an uncritical media. The media has allowed the Big Lie to be perpetuated," Jackson said.
Clearly, too, Jackson was taking his disagreements with press coverage personally.
Though it has been seven years since he last ran for the presidency, it is apparent he is still rankled by the idea that he is mostly an obstructionist on the political scene.
"Jesse Jackson ? the spoiler," he said with a snort. "No man living has registered more voters than I have. Is that a spoiler? No man living has brought more Americans back from foreign jails than I have. In Syria. In Kuwait. In Cuba. No one in the State Department can match that.
"Yet somehow I can't be a diplomat. I'm always lucky ? not intelligent. Lucky ? not thoughtful, not someone with a good sense of timing. No ? just lucky," Jackson said.
And his criticism of coverage of the recent Million Man March in Washington appeared to reflect some resentment at the frequently published observation that he is now taking a back seat in black leadership to Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan.
"If you can only see one person out of a million, you must have a pea for brain," Jackson said, arguing that news organizations have made Farrakhan the focus rather than exploring the more important issues that motivated the demonstration.
"Two weeks after the Million Man March ? and not one article on urban policy," he said.
Jackson also took a swipe at newspaper diversity efforts when he answered a question from Louisville Courier-Journal editor David Hawpe. The editor wanted to know what Jackson thought about the idea advanced by some black leaders that integration was an "outmoded" concept.
"What's outmoded is this," Jackson said, waving his hand out to an audience of newspaper executives which was overwhelmingly white. "What's outmoded is the gap between talk and action."
?("You cheapen our lives by the way you twist and distort our [African Americans] story," the Rev. Jesse Jackson thundered at the 220 newspaper executives gathered in Indianapolis.) [Photo & Caption]
By: Mark Fitzgerald Addresses Associated Press Managing Editors convention sp.