By Dr. John E. Warren
Publisher, San Diego Voice & Viewpoint and Florida Tribune Newspapers
In spite of what we hear about the death of newspapers, the fact remains that talk show hosts and news commentators still look to newspapers daily, and many important news items one hears during morning drive- time on the radio come from newspapers.
Newspaper editorial pages are the moral compass of a community and the influencers of public policy. Yet many politicians fail to respect the power of the African American vote by ignoring to advertise in the Black Press.
In California alone, Republican candidate for Governor, Meg Whitman has spent over $200 million on her campaign, much of that for media time. Yet she has not placed one ad in any California African American newspaper.
Likewise, State Attorney Jerry Brown, a former Governor of California running against Whitman and a politician using all of his African American political contacts, supposedly to get the Black vote, has not placed one campaign ad in any African American newspaper in the state of California.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer running against Carly Fiorina, another wealthy republican corporate female, has sent out press kits for her campaign. Yet neither of these candidates has placed an ad in any African American publication in the state.
In contrast, Kamala Harris, an African American female District Attorney running for California State Attorney General, won her primary election with the help of the Black Press in which she placed her political ads.
In San Diego County, the State Senate Primary race was won by a candidate not currently holding public office. The race was won against a sitting State Assemblywoman who was favored to win. The Assemblywoman did not place ads in the local African American newspaper. She lost by 22 votes. Her opponent did place ads in the African American newspaper and won.
Jerry Brown running for Governor feels that African Americans will vote for him because we tend to vote democratic and have no choice but to vote for him.
We say, Mr. Brown, wake up.
If African Americans survived slavery and continue to survive racism, we can survive a Meg Whitman and a Carly Fiorina if they were to win. We can survive them or any other republican or democrat. Wigman and Fiorina appear to have written off the Black and Latino vote.
The non democratic candidate for Lt. Governor in California has shown more interest in the African American vote than his opponent. Consider the fact that the Republican Party is running some African American candidates as in the State of Florida where a Black woman is running as Lt. Governor, and a strong Black candidate is running for Congress. Where possible, these races will result in “split tickets” or efforts to vote for candidates from different parties.
Simply stated, politicians should be reminded that those holding or seeking political office should not be allowed to think that the past politics of their political parties are a guarantee of access to the African American community. The Black Press, which has been the voice of consciousness for almost 180 years, continues to influence more people in our communities than CNN. CNN might reach more, but the Black Press “touches” all those it reaches.
The Black Vote is important. Whether a political race is determined by one vote or twenty two votes, each vote still counts. Those candidates, who don’t think enough to spend dollars with our newspapers to bring their stories to the black community, do not deserve our votes.
No longer should candidates be allowed to show up at African American churches, smile at a few people and think they have the vote. No longer can a handful of Black political “yes” men and women give false assurances that they can deliver “our” votes, no matter what state we live in.
Finally, if people disrespect your Black Press, they disrespect you. Your local African American community newspaper reflects you and what people think of you, whether or not you think of yourself being included with the rest of us.
Something to think about.