Are Republicans afraid of Black journalists? It appears that they are
The Republican National committee and GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney have rejected invitations to attend the National Association of Black Journalists’ convention this year.
The decision marks a stark contrast from that of the White House, who sent several speakers to the convention last week. Vice President Biden addressed the event at its opening night Wednesday, and at least seven Obama administration press contacts and campaign representatives appeared at a series of sessions Friday afternoon.
Sonya Ross, an Associated Press Washington editor who serves as chair of the organization’s Political Journalism Task Force, said to the Maynard Institute’s Journalisms they “reached out constantly and vigorously to the Romney campaign asking that he appear,” and noted the offer was still open to Republicans for the remainder of the convention.
The lack of GOP attendees was notable on Friday morning, when there was no opposition response to retired Newsday editor and columnist Lee Payne’s question: whether, in light of the commentary previously made on the sermons of Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright, examination of the Mormon faith’s views on race—and founder Brigham Young’s controversial statements on the subject—would be fair game.
The GOP decision to skip the convention also comes after MSNBC commentators, including former Politico reporter Joe Williams, questioned Romney’s ability to relate to minority voters on Friday’s Martin Bashir program. Williams was suspended after conservative bloggers drew attention to his comments that the candidate might be more comfortable with “people who are like him;” providing the example of the “white folks” who host the Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends, a show he has visited frequently.