Accuracy in Media

      When the Reverend Jesse Jackson admitted having sex with a female employee and having an illegitimate child, he said he would take some time off to “revive my spirit.” Two days later, he announced his return. His instant revival may stem from the reaction of the media, most of whom were eager to get the affair behind Jackson and move on. But when a white minister, James Bakker, got caught with a mistress, his organization, the PTL club, came under federal investigation, and Bakker eventually went to jail. In Jackson’s case, it also appears that tax-exempt money went for personal purposes. William Anderson, a scholar at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, says it is up to the Justice Department to conduct a criminal investigation into Jackson’s activities.

      Neal Travis of the New York Post says he understands that the people who blew the whistle on Jackson were other staffers at his Washington, D.C.-based Rainbow Coalition “who were angry about the amount of money allegedly being paid out of co-mingled funds to Jesse’s mistress. Their stories started a seven-week Enquirer investigation.”

      That’s the National Enquirer, which broke the story. This paper is regarded as falling far below the standards of the so-called mainstream media. But speaking on CNN, Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post said the Enquirer story was picked up by many other papers precisely because it was true. Also speaking on CNN, Democratic Party operative Bill Press 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.

      On CNN, Kurtz wondered if this was because of fear of Jackson, who has made a career of shaking down big corporations for big bucks. If they don’t comply with his wishes, he charges them with 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 Jackson. What is clear is that the cover-up was successful for about two years, which is the age of his “love child.”

      Many aspects of this story that haven’t been explored: was his mistress, an employee of his organization, sexually harassed? And how does the organization justify paying the mistress $35-$40,000 in so-called “moving expenses” to get her out of town? When that sounded fishy, Jackson’s people put out the line that some of that money was for a project she was working on. No details were provided. But Jackson is a multimillionaire. He is said to personally be paying her $3000 a month for child support. Why didn’t he pay the rest?

      Jackson is a “Reverend,” which raises the issue of hypocrisy. Noting the controversies over PTL’s Jim Bakker and televangelist Jimmy Swaggert, who got caught with a prostitute, columnist Cal Thomas predicts Jackson will not suffer the same ostracism and rejection. He says the reason is simple: he is treated differently by the liberal media because he is black, and “anyone who criticizes a black person for even legitimate reasons runs the risk of being called a racist…”

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