Washington Post Covers McKinney's Hair, Tavis Smiley's (Liberal) Flair

The Washington Post "Style" section has several pieces on liberal blacks today. Fashion writer Robin Givhan devotes much ado to Cynthia McKinney's hairdo, panning both the new version and the old ("The braids made her look as though she should be hiking up the Alps wearing a gingham dress and carrying two milk pails.") She also gets in the usual liberal digs -- talking about "ugly" talk from conservative blogs: "A black woman's hair is an easy, timeworn source of racist mockery." And: "Indeed, plenty of black folks see all kinds of dire race-traitor undertones in Condoleezza Rice's smooth, controlled cap of hair."

In another piece, book-beat reporter Linton Weeks hypes the latest product off the assembly line of PBS talk-show host Tavis Smiley, a new paperback best-seller called "The Covenant With Black America." The Post calls it "The Volume That's Making A Loud Noise." But typically, they cannot bring themselves to describe the contents as a collection of liberals advocating liberalism:

"Covenant" is a collection of pieces by notable contemporary African Americans, including former U.S. surgeon general David Satcher; Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund; Angela Glover Blackwell, founder of the think tank PolicyLink; and Cornel West, who teaches religion at Princeton University.

The 250-plus-page book is divided into 10 core chapters, each plumbing a single subject, such as the right to health care, the unequal justice system or the racial digital divide. Arguments are buttressed with statistics and calls to personal and political action. For example, in the chapter on accessing economic prosperity, the book encourages elected officials to "increase the minimum wage to a living wage" and urges individuals to "open and maintain a savings account, no matter what your family's income is."

Smiley can't seem to decide whether he wants to be a public-television journalist or an advocate, but no one in public broadcasting is expected to make him choose.

UPDATE: Over at The Corner, Roger Clegg had this comment on the book:

I just read the book and was mightily unimpressed. The exhortation in each chapter for what individual blacks can do is generally unobjectionable but incomplete; the political agenda is nothing but predictable liberal/left bromides.

Here’s the worst thing though: In the entire 254-page book, there are exactly two oblique sentences that mention what is far and away the number-one problem facing the African American community, namely the fact that 7 out of 10 black children today are born out of wedlock. Fix that problem, and the other socioeconomic disparities will narrow dramatically; ignore it, and it doesn’t matter what else you do. Plus, this is something that the African American community could do all by itself, with no legislation and no money. Think of it: We could go from 7 out of 10 to zero out of 10 in nine months, without passing a single bill or spending a dime. But it won’t happen, of course—certainly not while so-called African American “leaders” ignore the elephant in the room.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis