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General News    H3'ed 9/4/12

News Media Blind Again to GOP Racism

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Message Linn Washington

The news media failed once again to report a significant story about an example of racism always obvious at the Republican National Convention during the past quarter century.

That story is not the paucity of black delegates participating in the GOP's quadrennial presidential candidate nominating confab or Republican leaders lamely blaming Democrats for falsely claiming the GOP exploits racial prejudice.

That poignant-proof story persistently missed by mainstream news media is the failure of the GOP to include black owned businesses in economic opportunities arising from its nominating convention.

This exclusion undermines GOP proclamations of being champions of both business and even-handedness.

The recently concluded Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay pumped an estimated $153-million into that region's economy.

However, very few black businesses around Tampa received any revenue from RCN related expenditures.

The presidents of the Tampa Bay Black Chamber of Commerce and the Sun Coast African American Chamber of Commerce both said economic exclusion ruled at Tampa's RNC.

"There was not big tent of inclusion," said Tampa Bay Black Chamber head Willis Bowick. "The RNC had no real outreach to black businesses here."

David Venson, president of the Sun Coast African American Chamber of Commerce, said a few blacks businesses received contracts, mainly food service.

"The RNC provided opportunities to white owned businesses first. There were very limited opportunities for blacks and those opportunities were not even made available until the last minute," Venson said.

Bowick and Venson were interviewed a few hours before Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley that he supported "civil rights and equal opportunity" when responding to a question from Pelley about concerns involving racism consistently raised regarding the Republican Party.

Tampa Black Chamber head Bowick voiced a belief held by many blacks that both the Republican and Democratic parties "take advantage of the African American community""

The exclusion of black owned Tampa Bay businesses from that recent RNC paralleled black business exclusion evident during the 2008 RNC in Minnesota -- exclusion also overlooked by the mainstream media.

Only the black-owned Minnesota Spokeman-Reporter newspaper reported on that 2008 black business exclusion.

"None of that convention money trickled down. We have significant businesses that could have benefited that didn't," Spokesman reporter Charles Hallman said in an August 2008 interview about his coverage headlined: "Republican Convention Host Committee overlooks Black businesses."

When the GOP held its 2000 nominating convention in Philadelphia, extravagantly themed around racial inclusiveness, the mainstream media failed to find the festering story about the exclusion of black owned businesses in the Delaware Valley. Only Philadelphia's black owned media reported this economic apartheid.

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)
 
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