Benjamin Jealous Must Leave The NAACP
by DC Livers
(BlackPress.org) - Ushering in the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP, new president Benjamin Jealous nearly blew it. He cut side sweetheart deals that virtually locked out credentials reporters from international media outlets as far away as Paris, Africa and beyond. He failed to provide daily updates to the press and rarely made people of importance available to the media.
Now just a year later as the organization should be looking forward Jealous' actions have many wondering the how to protect the past legacy of the nation's most prominent civil rights organization.
Not since Tom Joyner and Tavis Smiley rushed to judgement and called a boycott of CompUSA without authenticating the fax has a Black figurehead screwed up so royally. The situation was so bad that ABC, which owned the show at the time, threatened to take the show off the air. Joyner and Smiley tapped danced and eventually the situation calmed down, but the damage was done.
Clearly Jealous didn't bother consider the CompUSA boycott case study.
Instead Jealous, whose actions over the past week are made more unacceptable by the fact that he spent more than a few years working for news gathering organizations which are mandated to authenticate sources, watch the full video and so on before passing judgment, set the NAACP up for its biggest lawsuit since former president Kwesi Mfume got a little to cozy with the ladies. His blunder will surely be foder for candidates in the upcoming elections and the 2012 presidential election.
Under his watch, the NNPA's membership fell into a class action lawsuit for virtually stealing the digital work of the writers who only allowed the publications to print their work. In at least one case, Jealous' NNPA outright stole the work of one writer (mine) and published it in over 200 Black newspapers, their websites and eventually got paid by digitization database companies for unauthorized use of the journalist's work. A quick look at CopyrightClassAction.com shows that damage that Jealous and his partner in crime Raoul Dennis'actions have caused and are still causing.
How long with Shirley Sherrod, who spent a lifetime building her good name, have to work to undo the damage that Jealous has done. Most likely the biggest pain that Sherrod likely feels is the near death blow that she was delivered by an organization who is charged with the "advancement of colored people."
If Jealous really loves the organization he currently heads up, he will do the right thing.
When men make mistakes they man up and admit it. Instead Jealous used the opportunity to sling mud at Sarah Palin her Tea Party supporters.
Said Jealous in a statement, "With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, [the NAACP] have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias."
"Snookered?" Really? His clarification sounds a lot like social plagarism and to be frank Black America deserves better than a leader who can't admit he overreacted, got lazy and didn't bother to check his sources or seek first party clarification.
The Internet was abuzz with reaction to Jealous' fall from grace.
On July 21, 2010 at 2:50 pm Jack_Blackmusic took to the EURWeb message boards and wrote, "No Ben. You take the walk :shock: This is so embarrassing for the movement, and the organization. This is so bad on so many levels."
TGen agreed but seemed to be willing to have others share the blame.
At 6:33 am TGen wrote, "True, NAACP dropped the ball. Shirley Sherrod even called them out for their incompetence. However, they weren’t wrong in calling out Breitbart. What he did was malicious and probably illegal. Sherrod is no stranger to lawsuits, so Breitbart better get lawyered up fast. If Shirley is smart, she’ll put that clown out of commission for a long, long time to come. Cha-ching!"
Although he's not proven to be very brave in the past, it's time Benjamin Jealous to take a bow and allow the NAACP to heal under leadership that have the good their membership at stake. Anything less is a distraction that the NAACP and racial future of this country that we just cannot afford.
DC Livers is managing editor for the Historical Black Press Foundation. From hard news to celebrity updates to international affairs, DC Livers has earned a reputation for being the best at what she does. She has interviewed DC sniper police Chief Charles Moose, Black mayors Ray Nagin, Adrian Fenty, Marion Barry and presidential candidate Barack Obama, “the second lady” Lynne Cheney, Tavis Smiley, Oprah’s beau Stedman Graham, BET CEO Debra Lee among others. More information about her is available at www.blackpress.org or www.dclivers.com.