Accuracy in Media

When Jesse Jackson admitted having fathered an illegitimate child, he said he would take some time off to “revive my spirit.” The news was said to have been devastating to his wife of 38 years and his five children even though they had learned about it long before the New York Post broke the story on January 18. But only two days later Jackson announced his return. He appeared at a “Wall Street Project” event in New York, where he demanded that more minorities be hired, appointed to corporate boards and be given more corporate business. He gave a news conference where he had the chutzpah to announce his intention to monitor the “moral tone” of the Bush administration.

New York Post columnist Rod Dreher attributed Jesse’s rapid resurrection to the fact that he “has a lucrative franchise to protect.” He quoted insiders as saying the Wall Street Project is a “shakedown operation designed not to help black people, but to enrich Jesse Jackson.” Perhaps so, but the media reaction to the expose of his double life surely hastened his speedy revival.

What apparently surprised Jesse was the muted coverage of this story by the establishment media. It got no coverage on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC. The ABC and NBC morning shows reported it, focusing on his statement and concluding with expressions of sympathy. The CBS Morning Show, whose host, Bryant Gumbel, has an adultery problem of his own, did not mention it. Editorial comment tended to avoid condemning Jackson. The New York Times published a column by Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of religious studies, under a headline reading, “Moral Leaders Need Not Be Flawless.”

Differences Between Jackson And Others

The Associated Press story that ran at the bottom of page 4 of the Washington Times did not even mention the large payments that Jackson and his organization had made to Karin Stanford. It reported that “a steady stream of supporters…visited him at his Chicago home, some carrying Bibles.” On the ABC and NBC morning shows he was treated gently. Perhaps the Rev. Jackson feared that the media would treat him as they had such prominent Christian evangelists as Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, who in 1987 and 1988 respectively were exposed as having committed adultery, Bakker with a mistress and Swaggart with a prostitute. Both had been pilloried by the media, both print and electronic. Both had been repudiated by their churches, who condemned their sinning and their hypocrisy. There was one other important difference. They were both white.

Coalition Funds Lavished On Mistress

Some employees of Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition were not that forgiving. They were angry about the amount of money that was paid out of co-mingled funds to Jesse’s mistress, and word of it reached the National Enquirer. This became the cover story of its January 30th issue, illustrated with a photo taken of President Clinton in the Oval Office with Jackson and three Coalition female employees. Jackson’s mistress, Karin Stanford, pregnant with his baby, was one of them. It was on the Drudge Report on the Internet on Jan. 17, and it made the front page of the New York Post the next day. The Post added Jackson’s admission of paternity and his statement that he was dropping out of public life to be with his shattered family.

Jackson had hired Dr. Karin Stanford as director of his Washington office after her doctoral dissertation on his influence on U.S. foreign policy was published as a book. According to the Enquirer and the New York Post, he began paying her $10,000 a month for child support after DNA tests proved that he was the father of her baby girl born in May 1999. The tests were necessary because Dr. Stanford was involved with another man when the child was conceived. The Rainbow/PUSH Coalition was reported to have shelled out $40,000 to cover her moving expenses to California, where she bought a home for $365,000.

A Jackson spokesman at first told reporters that Jackson was paying $3,000 a month, not $10,000, for child support and that the Coalition had paid Karin Stanford $40,000 for moving expenses. (The New York Times incorrectly reported that all this was being paid by Jackson from savings.) The Coalition claimed at a news conference the next day that the Coalition gave Stanford a “severance package” of $15,000 for moving expenses and $20,000 for work that she had done or was intending to do for them as a consultant. The Enquirer stood by its figures, but the AP, Post and Times all accepted the Coalition’s revision. On Feb. 1, the Washington Post said that in its Feb. 13 issue the Enquirer would reveal a Sept. 10, 1999 letter approving Stanford’s drawing $40,000 against future fees to help her buy a house.

Focus on Finances

Another big difference in the coverage of the Bakker, Swaggart and Jackson cases is that the media zeroed in on the huge amounts of money that those two televangelists were raking in and their lavish life style. There has been no similar focus on the income of Jackson, his lifestyle and his organization, either in terms of the dollar amount or how it is earned. The media like Jackson because he has the ability to cause controversy and problems for the new administration. Even President Bush reportedly called Jackson to offer his sympathies. But when a white minister, Jim Bakker, got caught with a mistress, his organization, the PTL Club, came under federal investigation, and Bakker eventually went to jail. Bakker was the subject of numerous stories about his lavish lifestyle, and he was found guilty of defrauding his contributors.

The Enquirer’s Feb. 6 issue reported that Jackson’s “nonprofit Rainbow Coalition pulls in more than $15 million a year.” The Washington Post quoted the Coalition’ s chief financial officer, Billy Owens, as saying that it was a for-profit organization and was not required to make its expenditures public. Neither Owens nor his staff would discuss this, but we have learned that tax-deductible gifts are made to the Coalition through its Citizenship Education Fund (CEF), a charitable tax-exempt organization that shares management, staff, office facilities and some board members with the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, which is described as a non charitable tax-exempt organization, meaning that contributions to it are not tax-deductible. The CEF’s 1998 report to the IRS (Form 990), showed that its largest program expenditure was for the Wall Street/LaSalle Street projects which pressure firms to hire and give business to minorities.

Is O’Reilly Right?

Bill O’Reilly, host of the O’Reilly Factor on Fox News, says he has been looking into the finances of Jackson’s organization for a couple of years. On his TV show and in a column that ran in the Washington Times on Jan. 25, he has said that Jackson had “provided his mistress with $40,000 in moving expenses, a $365,000 house and $10,000 a month in child support.” He said this may have been from tax-exempt funds and that the IRS should look into it. He also said that in 1982 the IRS had reviewed Jackson’s nonprofit status and that “about $1 million was unaccounted for.” Jackson, he said, ” was ordered to pay about $700,000 to the government. It took him years to do it. The IRS did not charge him interest or penalty.”

The Enquirer did not claim that Jackson or the Coalition had provided the $365,000 house to Karin Stanford. The $40,000 draw discussed above, which may have been reduced to $35,000, was clearly to enable her to make a down payment on a house and Jackson’s monthly child-support payments would help make the payments. But tax-exempt funds were used. CEF records show it paid $36,181to Stanford for expenses in a single pay period.

O’Reilly is clearly wrong about Jackson’s organization owing the IRS a million dollars in 1982. At that time he had PUSH and PUSH-Excel, which had been started in 1977 and had received $4.9 million in grants from the Carter administration, to be used to get minority students to avoid drugs, teenage pregnancy and to do their homework. In 1983, an audit disallowed $2.1 million of PUSH-Excel’s expenditures. This should have been repaid to the government. In 1987, the Labor, Education and Commerce Departments were willing to settle for a total of $1,445,647, and in 1988, PUSH-Excel agreed to pay $550,000 to settle all claims. That amount was finally paid in 1994. No interest was charged.

Jackson’s Income And Riches

In 1988, when Jackson was running for president, documents on file at the Federal Elections Commission showed that his annual income exceeded $200,000 and that it had more than quadrupled since 1984. An article in the London Sunday Times revealed that Jackson owned stock in the Inner City Broadcasting Corp. valued at over a million dollars. Gail Sheehy, in an article in the January 1988 issue of Vanity Fair, described how Jesse Jackson and his half-brother, Noah Robinson Jr., had made money organizing economic boycotts of corporations to induce them to sign “moral covenants.” These were written commitments made to PUSH to hire and award contracts to blacks. This enabled Noah Robinson to win the first black distributorship from Coca-Cola and to obtain fast-food franchises in Chicago and New York from Wendy’s, Bojangles and Church’s Fried Chicken. Sheehy wrote that Robinson had once told Jesse, “If you just do the talking for us-and I handle the financial operations- we can rival the Rockefellers in riches.”

After the Enquirer article about his mistress and illegitimate daughter appeared, Jesse Jackson abandoned his plan to lead a demonstration in Tallahassee to protest alleged disenfranchisement of minority voters in Florida. But he abandoned his withdrawal from public life to appear at the Wall Street Project in New York City, demanding that more minorities be appointed to corporate boards and be given more business. This suggests that the formula he and Noah Robinson charted as their road to riches is still his primary agenda. The goal appears to be more to enrich Jesse Jackson than to save humanity.

His History Of Womanizing

The revelations about his affair with an employee also bear a resemblance to what was being written about him 25 years ago. Barbara Reynolds in her 1975 book, Jesse Jackson, America’s David, reported that Jackson had relationships with singers Nancy Wilson and Roberta Flack. She said that in 1974, when asked about his relationship with Roberta Flack he replied, “Until such time as I’m ready to concede some formal relationship I refuse to deny it. I’m not going to plead the Fifth.” An article in the January 20, 1988 issue of the Christian Science Monitor said that when asked about Nancy Wilson, Jackson’s response was to hold up his hand in the halt position and say, “That’s an inappropriate question.”

Gail Sheehy reported that Jackson’s womanizing was well known in the black community, but no hint of that found its way into a profile of Jackson titled “Jesse’s Family” that aired on 60 Minutes as Jackson prepared for his race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Mike Wallace, who did the narration, said that the media had treated Jackson fairly and that he had not been given a pass. The fact that the segment ignored his well-known womanizing and said nothing about how he was amassing a considerable fortune indicates that he was being given a pass.

On CNN’s Reliable Sources Bill Press, the liberal co-host on CNN’s Crossfire, said stories of Jackson’s affairs had been circulating for some time in Washington. This means that many reporters probably knew about it but decided to cover it up. Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post reporter who hosts the program, wondered if this was because of fear of Jackson, who has made a career of shaking down big corporations for big bucks after charging them with racism. In addition to his Wall Street Project, he has a “Media & Telecom Project” that targets major media companies for alleged racism. Media companies may have suppressed the Jackson-mistress story either because (1) they were trying to curry favor with him, or (2) they feared being targeted if they went after him. What is clear is that the cover-up was successful for twenty months, the current age of his “love child.”

Jackson’s Black Critics

Jackson’s hypocrisy is relevant because he was such a reliable shill for President Clinton. He is the host of a CNN program, Both Sides with Jesse Jackson, but also served as an adviser to Clinton. He was even more prominent as Clinton’s adviser after it was disclosed that Clinton performed immoral sex acts with Monica Lewinsky. Now we know that Jackson sympathized with Clinton because he was in the same predicament, but the pass from the media helped him cover it up.

Jackson has taken the lead in the effort to delegitimize President Bush, charging that he stole the election in Florida. The blacks who oppose Jackson get very little attention from the mainstream media. One of them is the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of Los Angeles. “Jesse Jackson is a pathetic excuse of a leader,” he says. “He is an unprincipled, power-hungry, racist demagogue who is responsible for setting race relations back fifty years with his unfounded and inflammatory rhetoric.” Referring to the allegations that Florida Gov. Jeb Bush tried to intimidate black voters, Rev. Peterson said, “Jesse Jackson is the one guilty of attempting to intimidate law-abiding citizens by threatening to take to the streets.”

Another Jackson critic is Kevin Martin, who is on the advisory council of Project 21, an initiative of the National Center for Public Policy Research that promotes black views not represented by the civil rights establishment. He asks, “Do you think for one second Jesse Jackson is concerned about black voters? No. He’s concerned about Jesse Jackson.” Calling Jackson a limousine leftist, Martin said, “I’ve lived here in Washington, D.C. almost all my life, and I remember when Jesse Jackson sent his son to a private school, Sidwell Friends, the same school that Chelsea Clinton went to.”

Yet Jackson is opposed to school vouchers that would give middle- and lower-income parents that same option. Martin also criticized the media for failing to note Jackson’s limousine lifestyle. He said, “You never hear anyone saying how, before the cameras are rolling, [that] Jesse Jackson arrived in a limousine.” It is this kind of reaction that may have led Jackson to believe that he could get away with anything, and that the media would cover for him.

By Cliff Kincaid

One of the difficult problems President Bush inherited from Clinton is the mess he created in Haiti. In the name of democracy, Clinton used 20,000 US. troops to restore Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power in Haiti. Aristide, a former Catholic priest with serious mental problems, wrecked the frail Haitian economy and made the impoverished country a major trans-shipment point for cocaine coming to the U.S. A new book by Lynn Garrison, Voodoo Politics, reports that the Clinton administration had refused to bring a drug-trafficking indictment of Aristide because of his political and financial connections to the Democratic Party.

The situation in Haiti receives little coverage from the media these days. It is not an attractive place for foreign reporters to visit, as Rita Braver of CBS News discovered more than a year ago. In a report from the capital, Port au Prince, she said, “Clean water is non-existent; people seem to bathe, rinse and wash their clothes in sewage-laden streams. Paved roads are rare…In city markets flies are everywhere, and the stench of rotting food and human waste is unbearable.” Her report showed a dead body in the street as passing cars wove around it. Crime was reported to be on the rise, and gas stations were guarded by people with guns. Two French tourists had recently been killed there.

Braver and her camera crew experienced this problem firsthand. As they were filming in Port Au Prince, the capital, some thugs came up and demanded their videotape at the point of a gun. They were told that the network didn’t have permission to film. Braver commented, “I tell you this tale not to focus on what happened to us, but to give you an example of how insecure and brooding things are in this neighboring country…We called our (1994) invasion of Haiti ‘Operation Restore Democracy.’ But there is a great chance that in the end, we will have succeeded only in replacing one set of bullies with another.”

Lynn Garrison, the author of Voodoo Politics, was in Haiti when the Clinton administration was planning U.S. and U.N. intervention. The subtitle of his book is “The Clinton-Gore Destruction of Haiti.” Besides the destruction of the country’s economy, ecology, and political system which followed the invasion, Haiti has become a significant route for cocaine. He says that In 1991, only one percent of the drug came through Haiti. By 1996 it was up to six percent. He says that today, it’s about 20 percent. The Office of National Drug Control Policy estimate is between 12 and 15 percent. Garrison says the drug traffic is controlled by Aristide.

The Jesse Jackson Connection

Garrison says reports of contacts between Aristide and Clinton date back to 1992, before the start of the first Clinton term, when Jesse Jackson was reported to have been a contact between the two men. Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has an international project supposedly concerned about “political justice around the globe,” but it says nothing about Haiti. Aristide’s U.S.-based foundation continues to reflect his political influence here. Its board of advisers includes liberal black leaders such as Reps. Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Charles Rangel, and former congressmen Joe Kennedy and Michael Barnes. Barnes was a lobbyist for Aristide.

Garrison was an adviser to Lt. Gen. Raoul Cedras, the commander of the armed forces in Haiti when Aristide was overthrown and a military junta headed by Cedras took control. Cedras was vilified in our media as a dictator who helped overthrow Aristide in 1991, eight months after his inauguration as the first freely elected president in Haiti’s 200-year history, to quote the Washington Post. Garrison says that Haiti has had five other freely elected presidents and that it was Cedras who insured that the election that Aristide won was free and fair.

During his eight turbulent months in office, Aristide incited his followers to murder 27 people by necklacing, the barbaric practice of burning them to death by putting a gasoline-filled tire around their necks and igniting it. He had incited the mobs, telling them that he loved the smell of necklacing. He allowed them to gather before the Parliament and the Supreme Court with their tires, gasoline and matches, to intimidate anyone who refused to do Aristide’s bidding. The last straw was the murder by necklacing of the head of the Christian Democratic Party on September 29, 1991, and the execution on Aristide’s orders of Roger Lafontant, a former cabinet minister, who had been sentenced to life in prison. Aristide was arrested by the army that night and given the choice of standing trial or going into exile. He chose exile.

Clinton restored him to power, leaving a mess for his successor to handle. Some of the responsibility for the mess rests with George W. Bush’s father. Garrison points out that the first Bush administration took a series of actions designed to restore Aristide to power. It issued executive orders imposing econ-omic sanctions on Haiti, in an unsuccessful effort to topple the military junta. The orders froze Haitian government assets in the U.S. and prohibited American business dealings with Haiti.

Money Talks

The frozen assets were released to Aristide while he was in exile. Some of the money was used to get politicians and Hollywood celebrities to join in demanding Aristide’s return to power in Haiti. However, it soon became apparent to the Bush administration that Aristide was mentally unstable and was not devoted to democracy and human rights. Garrison points out that President Bush himself challenged Aristide on his human rights record and came around to the position that the U.S. should insist on the return of constitutional order to Haiti, rather than the return of Aristide.

Bush was adamantly opposed to using U.S. troops to return Aristide to power. Before the troops were sent in, AIM publicized U.N. memos that showed that Clinton’s top aides wanted to invade Haiti before the 1994 elections, to show how macho Clinton was. AIM also played a vital role in getting the Carter-Powell-Nunn mission into Haiti, spoiling Clinton’s plan by arranging for our troops to land unopposed.

Garrison believes the invasion was encouraged by Aristide’s money being spread around Washington. He would like to see Aristide indicted. He says, “Clinton lives in absolute terror of having Aristide indicted in a Miami court for cocaine trafficking because Aristide will probably talk quite a bit about Clinton and his associates.” He points out that the U.S. government has more evidence of drug trafficking to use against Aristide than it had against Manuel Noriega of Panama. It took an American invasion to capture Noriega, and he is serving time in a U.S. prison. That’s what it would take to haul Aristide into court.

Aristide was reelected as President of Haiti on November 26 in an election denounced as a “sham” by Senator Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Benjamin Gilman, then chairman of the House International Relations Committee. In a statement, they confirmed that Aristide is surrounded by “narco-traffickers, criminals and other anti-democratic elements,” and that the Clinton policy toward Haiti had failed.

Garrison, who was an adviser to the military junta, has documented the true nature of Aristide. He searched Aristide’s living quarters after his departure and discovered his diary and psychiatric records. He says the diary laid out a Communist-style plan to cleanse Haitian society. The psychiatric records showed Aristide was a mental case dependent on mind-altering drugs. Garrison also brought out a portrait that hung in Aristide’s presidential office. It depicted Aristide smiling broadly as he gazed out over the scene of a necklacing. Aristide has said this was his favorite portrait.

What You Can Do

Send the enclosed cards to David Westin, President of ABC News, Andrew Heyward, President of CBS News and Andrew Lack, President of NBC News to protest their blackout of the Jesse Jackson story. A card is enclosed which can be used to order Voodoo Politics, Lynn Garrison’s authoritative book on the mess created by Clinton’s intervention in Haiti.

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