Massive generalizations are usually the work of a lazy mind or someone with an ax to grind: all cops are white nationalists, all politicians are corrupt, all media is biased, etc. etc. We know all of these things aren’t true, at least not all of the time.
Yes, academic studies show that black politicians aren’t covered by the news in the same way as white politicians. And, yes there are always people like Tucker “I don’t watch porn” Carlson on Fox News spouting a right-wing agenda but that’s not all media right? Surely the hardworking local anchor covering high school football, and the regional paper that covers school board meetings like it’s Game of Thrones with slide-rules aren’t doing the bidding of George Soros or the Koch brothers, right?
Yet, in the Georgia governor’s race, where the state and local press spend more time covering the back taxes and yard signs of a black woman running for governor than they do digging into the background of a white male candidate with terrorists as supporters, it’s open season to call out the ridiculous press bias across Georgia.
Earlier this month Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, former state legislator, and potentially the first black female governor in U.S. history, did a campaign event near Augusta, Ga., for female veterans and dependents. This is a pretty smart campaign stop—she’s tied with Secretary of State and Republican nominee Brian Kemp less than two months from Election Day and African-American women make up 40 percent of women in the army. Everything was going great until four men and one woman, members of the Nationalist Liberty Union, a white nationalist hate group, decided to crash the party by protesting in favor of Confederate monuments and flashing “Kemp for Governor” signs. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill Georgia racists that might end up showing their asses (literally) in a Sasha Baron Cohen skit; these men are thugs, felons and terrorist sympathizers.
“Everyone but James Stachowiak is new to us,” says Daryle Lamont Jenkins, director of the One People’s Project, an organization dedicated to combating race and hate groups in America. They received a video of the incident online and investigated the men involved. “They’re spouting off at the mouth now but it’s the small groups that end up doing big things.”
James Stachowiak is a multiple felon who regularly posts online videos calling for black people to be shot on sight.
Another NLU member, Paul Lovette, walked into the Abrams event and repeatedly interrupted the candidate before yelling a question about Confederate monuments. I believe if you pause the video precisely at the 12:10 minute mark you can actually see Abrams summoning the spirits of Maxine Waters, Olivia Pope and Kamala Harris in Senate hearing mode, that she may have all of the time to answer this man’s question in a way that was measured, educated and shut him up without incident.
Stacey Abrams deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for this campaign event, because that room full of black female combat veterans were about to go WorldStar on Lovette and his friends if Abrams hadn’t asked them to stand down. But that didn’t stop these MAGAboys (who have never put on the uniform) from hurling racial slurs and attacking more black female veterans outside the event.
So let us review: A group of white nationalist criminals and terrorist sympathizers, using racial slurs and threatening violence against a black female candidate for governor, all while displaying campaign signs for her opponent, tried to disrupt a campaign event. You would think that would be a huge story, right? That the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Augusta Chronicle, the Albany Herald, or some type of Georgia press would cover the story, right? Not at all. Augusta ABC affiliate WJBF covered the event and even showed the white nationalist asking his question but neglected to mention he was part of a Kemp-supporting hate group.
WFXG Fox 5 Augusta was there and didn’t bother to investigate the men either. That’s like reporting a beauty pageant and neglecting to mention one of the judges is Harvey Weinstein. I’m not a media conspiracy theorist but I’m pretty sure if a chapter of Black Lives Matter had a vegan pot-luck within a hundred miles of a Brian Kemp campaign event it would be covered like a potential terror attack and Stacey Abrams would be asked to denounce BLM as a staff, label and organization. Why hasn’t Kemp been asked to denounce white nationalists acting in his name? The only organization to provide full coverage of the event was Ida Vox, the press arm of the One People’s movement.
“You know a lot of these [local Georgia] journalists are crap,” says Anoa Changa, a local activist and blogger for the Peachtree perspective. She posted the initial video of the confrontation between Stachowiak and a veteran. “The national coverage of Stacey really helps because the AJC, these local papers either don’t cover her, or they only cover nonsense about her but not Kemp.”
So for weeks, pro-Kemp Klansmen get no coverage from the Georgia press but you know what does? Yard signs saying “We’re Racist Bloodsuckers: Fuck the Poor,” which were placed in a few Republican-leaning yards in Buckhead Atlanta and were covered as a “hate crime” from the local Fox affiliate. There was nothing linking the signs to the Abrams campaign, yet her team was still asked if they would denounce the message.
But the biased press coverage doesn’t stop there. Last month when “Suppression Consultant” Mike Malone was caught trying to shut down black voting precincts in Randolph County Georgia (under Brian Kemp’s orders) did the Albany Herald, or Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s political blogs dedicate 1,200 words to the financial and political connections of these men? No, they were too busy digging into Stacey Abrams finances or fundraising history or whatever else tags her as unfit while letting Kemp get a free pass. There have been dozens of stories about Stacey Abrams relationship with the voting organizations like the New Georgia project. However, only Atlanta’s NPR affiliate has done a deep dive on how Brian Kemp’s role as secretary of state, and refusal to upgrade state voting machines from Windows 2000, is a conflict of interest while he’s running for governor.
As of this morning, the AJC finally made mention of the white nationalists attacking the Abrams campaign, three weeks after the fact, with a few sentences at the end of a politics blog, and only after The Root mentioned we were running the story on MSNBC last night. We see you AJC, and it’s too little too late. By the way, comparing white nationalists to the Democratic Socialists of America is borderline journalistic malpractice.
All of this one-sided coverage during the campaign would almost lead you to believe that there just might be bias in many news outlets in Georgia. Maybe, despite the polls being tied, news directors and editors in Georgia actually want to elect a Trump worshipping, dog-whistling, child-threatening, vote-suppressing, white nationalist-supported politician who has no loyalty to party, principle or practice unless it’s going to help him get into office.
Either that or they simply don’t want a state party leader, Yale-educated lawyer and author, to get elected because she just so happens to be black. Of course, that would be a massive generalization about the Georgia press, and we know massive generalizations aren’t fair, even if they only seem to apply to black candidates, and even if they’re probably true.