I got home at 11:18pm, and as I walked in the door a Twitter friend said he saw Jack & Jill Politics mentioned on CNN. It was Anderson Cooper 360, and my Tivo was already on it. The subject: pressure on black superdelegates to support Obama.

The piece referenced Color of Change explicitly and showed screenshots of JJP and Skeptical Brotha (ironically on the day he dropped his own support for Obama). It’s two four minutes. See below

There are serious problems with this reporting, and it illustrates the information problem we have with incumbent media providers who cannot or will not take a 360-degree view of the issues. Let me enumerate.

1. As far as I know, none of the black bloggers referenced in the piece were invited to comment directly on CNN.

Skeptical Brotha and JJP certainly were not. I would happily have jetted over to the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle to add some much-needed context. I’m right here yo! I know TV time moves quickly, but they had a responsibility to at least call. They have our number.

2. Anderson and Soledad are not well-versed on the issue.

I’m not saying they are malicious, but they lack the full perspective and analysis behind the effort to pressure black superdelegates, at least as its been discussed on this blog.

On Feb 29, rikyrah wrote the following:

The main thing is that they’re putting out there, in the MSM, that Black folk are pressuring them, for no good reason. Like, ‘ irrationally’, Black folk are demanding they switch their allegiance to Obama – JUST BECAUSE HE’S BLACK.

And, that’s simply not the case.

This came to me last night, and I’ll present it to you:

Imagine if this were any other ethnic group. They had one of ‘their own’ running, and the main competition race-baited/ethnic-baited ‘your own’.

Please explain to me what other ethnic group would remotely tolerate THEIR elected representative supporting the competition POST race-baiting?

Can you imagine it with ANY other group? Yeah, neither can I.

WE’RE the only ones who would allow this BS….and SHAME ON US.

That’s the key for me:::: POST RACE-BAITING::::

On Mar 6, I wrote the following

the additional point i was trying to make, about the African-American vote was not an attempt to compare hardships with women or any other group. i’m just tired of feeling held hostage. I think hillary could have made some much better choices in this campaign that were tough but without being so offensive and dismissive of this particular group of voters. there are ways to go negative, but pitting blacks against latinos or minimizing obama as “the black” candidate should not be on the table.

on jack and jill, many commenters and some of the bloggers have said they won’t support hillary specifically because of this. because it sets a bad precedent for future black candidates. it is not random rage but rather considered-judgment about the future and its prospects. often people reply (as wolfson did) and say, “well, the blacks will come back in the end.”

if we do, then we’re rewarding an extreme level of negativity and possibly sabotaging future black presidents. our blogger rikyrah has been the chief proponent of this line of thinking, but i pretty much agree with her.

3. Without comment from the bloggers and lacking insight themselves, Anderson and Soledad left it to the very black superdelegates being pressured and allowed them to frame the issue and “respond” as they saw fit.

This meant they framed the issue as “these black people want me to support Obama just because he’s black.” That is not the case, but such an oversimplified argument is easy to defend against.

To give some credit, Anderson and Soledad got half of the argument right, and it’s easy to see how they would simplify our position based on the Color of Change petition. They focus on the need for black superdelegates to vote with their districts, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

There are compelling reasons to buy this argument and Color of Change laid them out, tying them to historic issues of black representation. But to my mind, and certainly to rikyrah, the issue of voting with your district is not the main point (in fact, reps strictly voting with their constituents is not always a good idea. sometimes the voters are wrong or uninformed and need to be lead. see: Jim Crow)

No, the more serious issue that we’ve repeatedly been all over here at JJP is that black superdelegates who continue to support Clinton also support her nasty, divisive, race-baiting campaign tactics. By continuing to stand by her despite these repeated offenses against Obama, against the very black churches that keep many of these people in office, they are complicit in defining a roadmap that will be used to undermine future black candidates.

This is not just about supporting Obama. It’s about the future of black politics. It’s about holding the line on unacceptable behavior. It’s about taking a stand against tactics that would pit blacks against Latinos or would try to define any candidate like Obama as just black or would try to stoke the fears of Islam among a clearly-fearful populace.

Meeks and Cleaver would never provide this perspective because it’s too damning to them. They have no answer. There is no justification. They should, however, have been forced to address it. But Anderson and Soledad could not or would not do it. And when they gave “airtime” to black blogs, they put words in our mouths, framing the issue as a simple mathematical demand that the superdelegates vote with their districts.

We weren’t on CNN last night. A censored version of us was.

It’s in moments like these when I realize how revolutionary it is to be a part of this new medium. Just a few years ago, we would have to fume isolated from one another in our homes, ignorant of the existence of others like us. In the past, what happened on CNN would have been even more distorted.

We at least have an accessible forum in which to respond and promote a wider range of ideas. I’m beyond grateful to all of you who keep coming back and helping us raise the bar of political discourse in this country. What we’re doing here is so necessary. What we’re doing here is democracy.

Thank you,

Baratunde aka Jack Turner

Update at like 3am:
you can fill out this form to leave feedback for Anderson Cooper 360 if you share my concerns. Please be polite.

Update 6pm April 4
Color of Change posted a response in the comments. All should see it!

This is a great post.

ColorOfChange was contacted by CNN on Thursday evening and we got back to them on Friday morning. By that time, it was too late. We then sent them a statement that they asked for.

Unfortunately, they did not read that statement, and viewers were left to think that ColorOfChange members were asking superdelegates to vote for Obama because he is Black.

I think you’re hitting the point spot on: instead of allowing for a more complete version of events, Black superdelegates were allowed to frame the issue entirely, without any opposing viewpoint besides the cursory narration of the story. What makes this more problematic, is that CBC members continue to push a narrative that equates advocacy with threats and arm-twisting. It’s irresponsible and disrespectful to the people who go out of their way to send CBC members their informed concerns about how they are acting as superdelegates.

Finally, here’s our statement in full:

ColorOfChange.org uses the internet to empower our members to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

Our petition to pressure superdelegates is not about who wins the nomination; it’s about who gets to decide – we think the people’s voice should be decisive. Because we saw the possibility of Black elected officials using their votes as superdelegates to undermine the will of voters, we called on them to make clear they would not choose that course. The Congressional Black Caucus has long defended voting rights in Congress and our members insist that they maintain that commitment.

Along with 26,559 petition signatures, we have received thousands of comments from our members – they are critical, but fair and focused on a powerful message: ‘do not undermine the choice of the voters who put you in office’.

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