NAACP Official Attacks Black GOP Senator as Ventriloquist's Dummy on MLK Sunday; WashPost Coverage Underwhelms

January 22nd, 2014 6:44 PM

Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when the content of one's character, not the color of one's skin, was how Americans would evaluate each other. So when NAACP official and African-American clergyman the Rev. William Barber made statements fundamentally violative of the spirit of that dream on the Sunday preceding the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, you'd think it noteworthy for the liberal media.  Not so much. At least, not when the target is conservative Sen. Tim Scott.

On Sunday evening at a church in Columbia, South Carolina, the Palmetto State's junior Republican senator was compared to a ventriloquist's dummy by Mr. Barber, who heads up North Carolina's chapter of the civil rights organization. For his part, Washington Post reporter and Post Politics blogger Aaron Blake hacked out a brief entry just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday which simply relayed to readers the controversial remarks, but failed to do any significant follow-up to add anything of value to the story, like say trying to pin down the national NAACP leadership for comment. Blake did, however, add an update which included Sen. Scott's reaction, and it reads as follows:

Update 2:08 p.m.: Scott's response is below:

"To reflect seriously on the comments a person, a pastor that is filled with baseless and meaningless rhetoric would be to do a disservice to the very people who have sacrificed so much and paved a way. Instead, I will honor the memory of Dr. King by being proactive in holding the door for others and serving my fellow man. And Rev. Barber will remind me and others of what not to do."

Blake's six-paragraph entry was little more than a summary of original reporting by Columbia, S.C., newspaper The State. Surely a national political reporter for Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper could have added legs to the story by contacting the NAACP or, better yet, solicited comment from Sen. Scott's colleague Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the only other African-American member of the U.S. Senate.

Of course, Mr. Booker himself or his office might have tried to escape being pinned down for comment, but that itself would be a new dimension to this controversy and eminently newsworthy.

But when it comes to reprehensible attacks on conservative black politicians, well, the Washington Post seems intent on avoiding the issue as much as possible. As of publication of this blog post, the Post has completely failed to devote any print edition space to the matter.