Accuracy in Media

What can this correspondent write about Gregory Charles Royal’s recent press conference at the National Press Club (NPC)? Honestly, I thought the Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin article in the DC Examiner summed it up perfectly. Entitled A presser on how not to do a presser and dubbed “A Royal Disaster,” the Dufour and Gavin piece marvelously captured the only true usefulness of this event:

“Seasoned Washingtonians are well-versed in the art of the press conference. But have you ever thought about what it is you shouldn’t do at a presser?

In case you were curious, you would have done well to attend Gregory Charles Royal’s press conference Tuesday morning at the National Press Club . . .

Things like:

 -Preface your recollections with phrases such as ‘something like this,’ ‘not exactly sure’ and ‘along the lines of.’
-Arrive five minutes late, then take five minutes to charge your camera battery.
-Fail to bring enough copies of your handout for attendees.
-Hold your cooing baby while speaking at the podium.
-Pass around your laptop in order to show off a photo.”

However, the Philadelphia Tribune columnist Linn Washington, Jr. apparently thought the actual topic of the conference worth reporting.

Posted on Counterpunch on October 8, Palin’s Racist Remark would have probably been more fitting in a gossip magazine like Star or People. Nevertheless, the Washington article presents Gregory Royal’s story far more magnanimously than it deserves.

During the conference, Mr. Royal recalled a chance meeting that took place 18 years ago. While on tour with the Duke Ellington Band in Anchorage, Gregory Charles Royal met a “Sarah Heath” at a fast food restaurant. Washington Jr.’s article describes:

“Royal said the conversation went smoothly until some of his fellow Band members came over to the table. Sarah’s entire demeanor changed.

While Royal is a light skin black man sometimes mistaken as white by whites, his fellow jazzmen causing Heath’s attitude [to] shift were dark skin.

‘You could see it…the body language. There was a visceral reaction,’ said Royal who asked Sarah if something was wrong.

According to Royal, Heath’s response to his inquiry was, ‘Excuse me, but I don’t mess with black men.’

Royal said he told Heath, ‘I’m a black man’ and Sarah responded, ‘But, you’re not really black.’”

What Linn Washington, Jr. “forgot” to mention is Gregory Royal’s own acknowledgement that his story is flawed. Gregory Royal’s key assertions, such as Sarah’s line “I don’t mess with black men,” opened with (as the Dufour and Gavin article mentioned) “It went something like this . . . ,” “It was along the lines of . . .” and, “I’m not exactly sure . . .”

There is no factual evidence to support Royal’s story. There is only a man recalling something that happened 18 years ago, that he isn’t 100 percent sure of, and that a month ago he didn’t even remember.

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