Press Chief: Black Press Disrespected During Obama Years

Press Chief: Black Press Disrespected During Obama Years

This morning on #NewsOneNow with Roland Martin, National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) wire service Editor-in-Chief George Curry said the black press has been disrespected in recent years.

(audio above/full audio below) “There is a disrespect for the black press that we have not seen in recent years. For example, we have requested — every year  — an interview with the President.  He can ignore 200 black newspapers and 19 million viewers but he can give one to every stupid white comedian there is on TV, the black ones and the white ones, and has time for all George_Curry1types of bufoonery but they will not respect the black press enough to give us an interview,” Curry said on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin this morning.

The NNPA, also known as the Black Press of America, is a 73-year-old federation of more than 200 Black community newspapers from across the U.S.  This week is black press week in Washington, D.C.

Curry, a veteran journalist and the former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, was likely referring to the many celebrity interviews President Obama has granted.  President Obama will be on the Ellen DeGeneres show tomorrow.  Many of the recent interviews have focused on health care enrollment.  But prior to the President’s push to promote enrollment on non-traditional media outlets, black journalists have been granted very few opportunities to interview the President.

These opportunities contrast those given to Hispanic journalists and news organizations.  On March 6, President Obama participated in a hour long town hall on immigration that was hosted by Univision, Telemundo and impreMedia.  Journalists from Univision and Telemundo have been granted numerous interviews and two town halls with the President over the last three years.

celebrities-are-finally-speaking-out-on-syria--bashing-and-applauding-obama-on-twitterCurry has not interviewed President Obama. The last time Roland Martin interviewed the President was January 2010. Both have requested interviews numerous times over the last three years.

There are many interview topics related to the Black community. They include consistently high unemployment numbers, the recent info that only 1.7% of SBA loans got to black businesses, a huge wealth gap between blacks and whites and criminal justice reform.

latino34The President has granted recent interviews with celebrities Steve Harvey and Charles Barkley.  He has not been interviewed by an African American journalist since June 2013 when American Urban Radio Networks White House Correspondent April Ryan was granted a ten minute interview on AF-1.  Ryan, who covers the White House daily, also interviewed the President in December 2012.

“While Obama is laughing and skinny grinning with Charles Barkley serious questions that need to be asked aren’t and the White House knows it.  They’re afraid of allowing him to sit with a reporter who will ask serious questions important to African Americans,” said political observer who did not wish to be identified.

Radio “personalities” have been granted interviews.  They include Yolanda Adams, Tom Joyner, Rev. Al Sharpton and Russ Parr.  None have asked a hard question.

Perhaps the only black radio personality who has asked hard questions of the President has been Joe Madison of SiriusXM.  In September 2010, Madison asked the President about the crisis in Darfur, taxes, and the deficit.  In a later interview he asked the President about voting rights.

Last week, as part of his push to promote health care enrollment, President Obama talked to comedian Zach Galifianakis on his show Between Two Ferns.  The appearance was a stunning success in terms of connecting viewers to and pure entertainment value.  But it was also lacking in any substantive news information.