The reporting on the Abramoff lobbying corruption scandals by the mainstream corporate dominated media has demonstrated an anti-Native American bias. This anti-Native American media bias has been effectively exploited by Republicans to paint Democratic lawmakers as being an equal partner in the Republican culture of corruption partially revealed by the Abramoff operation.
First of all, the Native American tribes were victims of Republican exploitation. Abramoff was a major Republican operative. He headed the national College Republicans early in his political career and stayed connected at the highest levels of national Republican politics from that point until now. Jack Abramoff was a frequent guest at the Bush White House. His personal donations were huge and Republicans received the money. He was hardly on speaking terms with the Democratic political establishment.
The Native American tribes were being threatened by Republican politicians in DC and in the various state governments with taxes and laws aimed at their newly organized gambling facilities. Republicans were looking to balance state budgets and offset the deficits created by the tax breaks they had given large corporations by taxing the profits of the Native American businesses. In some cases, the Republicans involved seemed to be acting to protect large corporations already engaged in gambling from the new upstart Native American competitors.
Native American tribes had traditionally supported mostly Democrats. They continued some donations to Democrats. Democrats had been friendly to the interests of the tribes to a much larger degree than the Republicans. Political donations by Native Americans are not inherently dirty. Only the racism of the mainstream media can explain why these donations are being portrayed as corrupt by the media.
Institutional racism by newspapers, cable, TV, radio and Internet journalists has combined with institutional laziness to falsely color the story. What is essentially is a republican scandal has been colored as bi-partisan. More importantly, Native Americans have been largely frozen out of playing an important role in national politics. They have been denied the use of their new wealth to influence political campaigns because politicians they support are unable to accept donations from them without being falsely tarred by the media with an unsupported taint of corruption.
I am of mixed pioneer and Cherokee blood. I am a Democratic activist. The Abramoff rip-offs personally offend me. The racism of the mainstream corporate dominated media toward Native American political involvement is worse.
Written by Stephen Crockett (co-host, Democratic Talk Radio http://www.democratictalkradio.com ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, MD 21919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
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