Liberals Al Franken and Joe Conason are out with books claiming that the news media are not as liberal as they seem. But the network news coverage of the rally marking the 40th anniversary of the March on Washington demonstrates that the media have moved far beyond liberal bias. In this case, network news correspondents concealed the hijacking of the civil rights movement by political extremists, Muslim activists, and Marxists.
One speaker, Mahdi Bray of the Muslim American Society, called President Bush a “modern-day Pharaoh.” He used his speech to promote an upcoming October 25 march on Washington to protest U.S. policy on Iraq that is being sponsored by International ANSWER, a front group of the communist Workers World Party. International ANSWER was a co-sponsor of this 40th anniversary event designed to honor Martin Luther King and celebrate his “I have a dream” speech of 40 years ago.
Another speaker, James Zogby of the Arab American Institute, insisted that the U.S. brought the people of Iraq “untold pain and chaos” by liberating their country. He attacked Attorney General John Ashcroft for rounding up suspected Muslim terrorists in America after the 9/11 attacks. Marxist Leslie Cagan of United for Peace and Justice complained that, in Iraq, Vietnam and Korea, the U.S. had been responsible for the “senseless, cruel deaths” of “people who are not white.”
Billy Thye of the American Indian Movement said the real terrorist in the world was the U.S. government, while Obi Egbuna of the Pan African Liberation Organization praised black racist Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and urged the lifting of the economic embargo of communist Cuba. He said, “We must stand behind Mugabe,” the African dictator whose policies are starving half of his population. On the other hand, he called U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell “a murderer.” Damu Smith of a group called “Black Voices for Peace” attacked what he called the 4 “Cs”?Colin Powell, Justice Clarence Thomas, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Ward Connerly. They were considered despicable for associating with conservative or Republican causes.
Why would the media ignore these controversial speakers? If the media had noted that Democratic Party presidential candidates Howard Dean, Al Sharpton and Carol Mosely-Braun had attended the rally, it could leave them tainted in the public mind with having participated in an anti-American rally at a time when most voters already view the Democratic Party with suspicion on national security issues.
It is significant that Sharpton himself spoke to the crowd, reminding them that Martin Luther King had used the first part of his “I have a dream” speech to press his demand for the cashing of a check made payable to black people. Banners and posters seeking financial reparations for slavery were visible in the crowd. The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations says blacks are owed trillions of dollars. If elected president, Howard Dean may try to pay them off.