Accuracy in Media

CNN analyst Areva Martin went on David Webb’s SiriusXM radio program on Tuesday to talk about employment and the struggles different people have finding good jobs.

Martin, a civil rights attorney from St. Louis and co-host of Face the Truth on CBS whose website says she “brings her no holds bar brand of advocacy to daytime talk,” made an assumption she shouldn’t have made.

Webb led into the moment by saying qualifications and experience should matter more than skin color when applicants are considered.

“Shouldn’t their primary requirement, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of network, be that they are capable of covering politics?” Webb said.

“For instance, if you’re going to cover political campaigns, sports may not be the most qualified background. And that brings up the point, if people want to get into these fields, regardless of color, I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one. I never considered my color the issue. I considered my qualifications the issue.”

Martin responded: “Well, David, that’s a whole ‘nother long conversation about white privilege of things that you … huh … have the privilege of doing that people of color don’t have the privilege of … “

“How do I have the privilege of white privilege?” Webb shot back puzzled.

“David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege. It’s this whole long conversation I don’t have time to get into.”

She should’ve gotten into it.

“Areva,” Webb responded, “I hate to break it to you, but you should have been better prepped. I’m black.”

Realizing she was in trouble, Martin stammered, “OK, then I stand …”

Webb pounced. “You went to white privilege,” he said. ”This is the falsehood in this. You went immediately with an assumption. Your people obviously … or you … didn’t look. You’re talking to a black man who started out in rock radio in Boston, who crossed the paths into hip hop, rebuilding one of the greatest black stations in America and went on to work for Fox News, where I’m told blacks are apparently not supposed to work.

“But yet, you come with this assumption, and you go to white privilege. That’s actually insulting.”

Martin responded by blaming it on her staff. “It is,” she said to Webb’s contention it was insulting. “And I apologize. My people gave me wrong information. They told me they …”

Webb interjected: “The whole white privilege thing is insulting.”

Martin, who also is a contributor at CNN, scrambled.

“David, can I apologize and correct the record? I want to apologize. I was given wrong information about you, and I apologize,” she said.

Webb finished his point. “But based on my color, you were going to something that I was part of. And just to add to it, my family background is white, black, Indian …  Irish, Scottish. I mean, it’s so diverse. I’m like the UN when it comes to this. And this is part of the problem with driving the narrative around a construct like white privilege.

“Privilege is one thing where applied to the economy, various social factors, but not necessarily determined by color of skin.”

Martin’s website says she is an “award-winning attorney, advocate, legal and social issues commentator, talk show host and producer” and “an audience favorite on a long list of shows from Dr. Phil, The Doctors to World News Tonight.”

Webb, who has been active in conservative circles for more than a decade, co-founded TeaParty365 in New York City and Reclaim New York, a 501(c)3 organization seeking fiscal reform in the Empire State.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

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