By Sean Yoes, Baltimore AFRO Editor, email@example.com
Last week, when CNN’s Jim Acosta engaged in perhaps his most volatile exchange (of many) with Donald Trump, he was accused of manhandling a White House intern (fake news), and had his press credentials yanked by the Trump administration (CNN is suing the White House to have Acosta reinstated).
During the incident in the East Room of the White House the day after Trump attempted to spin last week’s midterm catastrophe for the GOP into a “win” for Republicans, NBC’s White House Correspondent, Peter Alexander defended his colleague Acosta. Later, a photo of Acosta and Alexander embracing served as a symbol of journalistic solidarity for many reporters. Further, many news outlets (including Fox News) rallied around Acosta and rebuked the White House’s decision to temporarily suspend Acosta’s credentials.
Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)
The ongoing tumult between Acosta, CNN and Trump has overshadowed Trump’s ongoing racist assault on Black women and specifically his recent denigration of three Black women who cover the Trump White House: April Ryan, Yamiche Alcindor and Abby Phillip.
In a period of about 48 hours, Trump referred to Ryan as a “loser,” said Alcindor asked him “such a racist question” and told Philip “you ask a lot of stupid questions.”
Here’s the full-Colored commentary on Trump’s racist scolding of these three talented Black journalists:
On Nov. 7 in the East Room of the White House Trump, visibly unnerved by the midterm results, muddled through another rambling, paranoid wreck of a press conference. When Ryan, the White House correspondent for the American Urban Radio Networks sensed an opening during the press scrum, she rose to ask Trump a question. “Sit down!” Trump snapped. “I’m not responding to you…Very hostile,” Trump added as Ryan persisted with a question about voter suppression. Later during that same press conference Alcindor of the PBS Newshour asked Trump about his declaration that he is a (White) nationalist, during a campaign rally for Sen. Ted Cruz in Houston, prior to the midterms. Further, the unflappable Alcindor asked if Trump’s declaration is emboldening White nationalists across the country. “What a racist question,” was his response. “Why do I have among the highest poll numbers with African Americans (fake news)…Let me tell you, that’s a racist question,” Trump added.
On the morning of Nov. 9, Trump zeroed in on Philip, CNN’s White House correspondent on the White House lawn. Phillip asked Trump about his appointment of Matt Whitaker as acting attorney general. Specifically, she asked Trump if he wanted Whitaker to “rein in” special counsel Robert Mueller.
“What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question,” said Trump. No, perfectly cogent question, stupid, unhinged response. “I watch you a lot, you ask a lot of stupid questions,” Trump added. But, prior to his vicious attack on Phillip, he went after Ryan again calling her a “loser.”
It seems clear Trump has his bloomers in a bunch as a result of the midterm butt-whipping he took, the specter of the Mueller investigation and the possible indictment of his son Don Jr., among other things. But, his unprecedented presidential woes do not excuse his racist invective leveled against Black women (see also his ongoing attacks on Rep. Maxine Waters). And the tired refrain of Trump defenders that he is an “equal opportunity offender” is straight B.S.
He reserves his most virulent attacks for Black people and in this case, three Black women doing their jobs in an environment inherently hostile against them. Can you imagine the pressure on them trying to cover a White nationalist in the White House? We’ve seen the mainstream media rally around Acosta (on more than one occasion). But, what is the media prepared to do on behalf of Ryan, Philip and Alcindor in the face of blatantly racist attacks by Trump? Apparently, not much beyond lip service.
Trump’s power (diminished significantly in the Congress because of the pending Democratic control of the House) is derived from his command of the megaphone (social media and mainstream media). What if the press snatched that megaphone out of his small, orange hands? Without that megaphone, Trump would lose his mind, what little is left. There has been sporadic talk about a media boycott of the 45th president. But, I’m not going to hold my breath.
Instead I argue the Black Press should defend the honor of the three women who have been deeply disrespected by Trump. Why can’t the Black Press black out Trump?
To quote Trump, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
Sean Yoes is the Baltimore AFRO editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: Real Stories From One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.