Saturday, January 24, 2015


I remember interviewing civil rights leader Julian Bond in 1975 or 1976 in Madison, Wisconsin.   I don't remember what he said.  Most likely we would have been discussing the war in Vietnam. But I don't remember.   I certainly remember what he said Thursday afternoon at Kent State University.   It was the most newsworthy point he made, and local reporters ignored it.

Julian Bond's presentation at Kent State was a reporter's dream.   He gave one great quote after another.

"Obama is to the Tea Party as the moon is to werewolves."

"Jim Crow may be dead but racism is alive and well."

"People who say race is history have it backward; history is race."

"Those were the days when politicians from both parties supported the struggle for civil rights, now they struggle to be civil."

But there was only one point he repeated.   He didn't say it a second time for emphasis.   Nor did he say it a third time for emphasis.   He said it over and over and over and over again.

"Republicans don't want black people to vote!"

Think about that.   And in the time it took for the audience to consider that statement he said it again.

"Republicans don't want black people to vote!"

He paused for just a moment and said again, "Republicans don't want black people to vote."

He said it again.  "Republicans don't want black people to vote."

He said it again and again and again.     

In the Akron Beacon Journal, the Record Courier and on Kent State University's student news website, there is no mention of the most newsworthy statement made by a man who has spent his life fighting for civil rights.   Republicans are now in power in Congress, and Julian Bond the former head of the NAACP does not hedge his words.   He speaks directly.  He speaks forcefully.   He states over and over again:  Republicans don't want black people to vote." 

Local reporters don't want to report it.   

They should.   

They need to hold their elected officials accountable. 

What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. say to reporters who refuse to do so?   What would Dr. King say to the owners of news organizations?   What would Dr. King say to university student journalists?   

Anyone at Mr. Bond's presentation heard him loud and clear:   Republicans don't want black people to vote.   Anyone who read the coverage of that event in the Beacon Journal or the Record Courier or Kent Wired didn't get that quote.   Readers didn't get a chance to read the one statement and the only statement Julian Bond made over and over and over again.

Republicans don't want black people to vote. 



  1. Oh, I see. Julian Bond says some inane thing and it MUST be reported because it reflects Karl Idswoog's bias. that makes sense.
    Interesting that Bond criticizes politicians for being uncivil and then goes on a rant about Republicans and the Tea Party. Typical progressive. Do as I say, not as I do.

    1. Julian Bond did not go on a rant. If you've ever had a chance to either talk with or listen to Julian Bond, you'll discover he does not rant.

  2. Well, if you're going to cover an event, it's probably best to actually cover what the speaker said or not cover it at all — instead of cherrypicking what quotes to include that gives your reader a really, really skewed idea of what was actually discussed. Depending on your perspective, the local newspapers either misled you into thinking that Julian Bond said far less provocative or far less insane things than he really did. Either way, bad reporting.

  3. It may very well have been Julian Bond's most newsworthy quote, if the professor means that by quoting the unsubstantiated and inaccurate assertion it would allow individual readers to judge the wisdom and credibility of the rest of Bond's remarks. If, on the other hand, the associate professor means that the remark is newsworthy because if Julian Bond said it, it must be true, then it is the associate professor's news judgment -- and judgment overall -- that should be questions.


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