For Release: June 11, 2004
Contact: David Almasi at 202/543-4110 x106
or Virgil Beato at 202/543-4110 x101
Black Activists Decry Negative Reagan Media Coverage
Members of the African-American leadership network Project 21 are taking issue with remarks being made by members of the television news media who are reporting that the Reagan Administration did not help black Americans during the 1980s and that Ronald Reagan himself had a poor relationship with blacks.
For example, during the coverage of memorials for the late president, ABC News host George Stephanopoulos said Reagan "did not reach out to African-Americans." ABC News anchor Peter Jennings, commenting on the public visitation at the Reagan Library, said, "we haven't seen many African-American faces."
Project 21 member Mychal Massie, who waited in line five-and-a-half hours to view Reagan's casket in the Capitol Rotunda, said, "It is appalling that the Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaws, Dan Rathers and Sam Donaldsons of the media elite would surrender themselves to such morally opprobrious and vacuous pabulums of untruths and misrepresentations regarding the relationship that the late President Reagan shared with blacks in America. Ronald Reagan saw American as a pluralistic whole and worked to address her concerns as such. Their jaundiced rhetoric, while beneath contempt, is obviously not out of character for them."
Project 21 member Gregory Parker adds: "Those who say such things are not looking around hard enough. I grew up with him as president, and he was the reason I became a conservative."
Regarding allegations that Reagan's policies did not help blacks, Project 21 member Deroy Murdock notes, "Rising employment and opportunities for entrepreneurship helped grow the black middle class during the Reagan years." Project 21 member James Coleman adds, "Black businesses and businesses owned by women prospered greatly in the 80s." As an example of Reagan's connection to black America, President Reagan corresponded with Ruddy Hines, a black elementary school student in Washington, D.C., throughout his presidency.
"Ronald Reagan always highlighted the best of America and its people regardless of skin color," said Project 21 member Jerry Brooks. "He spoke of hope and opportunity for all Americans."
Project 21 has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x106 or Project21@nationalcenter.org, or visit Project 21's website at http://www.project21.org/P21Index.html.
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