By Vernon A. Williams
The total disrespect, abject contempt and hostile disdain with which the administration treats Black female journalists is disgraceful, repugnant and unacceptable. Every decent American should add their voice to the chorus of rebuke of 45 for the insulting mistreatment of reporters Abby Phillip, April Ryan and Yamiche Alcindor.
What did these three women do to incur his wrath? Each had the audacity to ask questions that made the pathological liar uncomfortable – as does anything regarding truthfulness. Their punishment: 45 called one of Ms. Phillip’s questions “stupid,” described Ms. Ryan as “a loser” and brushed off Ms. Alcindor, saying her question was “racist.”
Ms. Phillip, a CNN reporter and former Washington Post journalist, drew 45’s wrath after she asked whether he hoped Matthew Whitaker, his appointee as acting attorney general, would “rein in” special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“What a stupid question that is. What a stupid question,” he snapped. He did not answer the allegedly “stupid” question, but he did pour more contempt on Ms. Phillip. “I watch you a lot,” he said. “You ask a lot of stupid questions.”
Agent Orange insulted Ms. Ryan saying, “You talk about someone who’s a loser. She doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing. She gets publicity and then she gets a pay raise, or she gets a contract with, I think, CNN. But she’s very nasty and she shouldn’t be. You’ve got to treat the White House and the office of the presidency with respect.” That came after ordering Ms. Ryan at a press conference to sit down.
Finally, Ms. Alcindor asked the Resident of the United States about whether his recent characterization of himself as “a nationalist, emboldened white nationalists.” For that, 45 accused her of being racist – though he of course, never answered the question.
Since I was old enough to say my name, my parents taught me how to treat people. The golden rule. I was never bullied. But I knew children who were. So, when I saw it at Garnett Elementary School in Gary, it was never funny to me. Instead of laughing, I couldn’t wait for a chance to deflect attention by “jiving” on the bully. Not trying to be a hero, but it just always seemed so pathetic to watch someone targeted ruthlessly.
I’ve always been a bold talker and a little more creative than most of my peers when it came to verbal jousts. The point is when it comes to bullying – it just seemed right to say or do something.
America has never seen a bully on the scale of 45 – not in its proud history. Whether victims are women, the handicapped, immigrants, so-called minorities, certain countries, children or the poor, 45 clearly delights in channeling his power to the harm, insult or destruction of those considered weaker.
One of his favorite targets is CNN reporter Jim Acosta who doesn’t mind getting in the face of the emperor and telling him that he is butt naked. Agent Orange is far more accustomed to sycophants and cowards. Predictably, the so-called leader of the free world disregarded Freedom of Speech, banning Acosta from the White House.
Fortunately, CNN has decided to challenge the tyrannical order in court.
CNN filed a lawsuit against President Trump and several of his aides, seeking the immediate restoration of chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s access to the White House. The suit alleges that Acosta and CNN’s First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated by the ban.
Both CNN and Acosta are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. There are six defendants: Trump, chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Sanders, deputy chief of staff for communications Bill Shine, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and the Secret Service officer who took Acosta’s hard pass away last Wednesday.
The suit may be settled by the publication of this column. That is beside the point. The news isn’t the outcome of the suit, the news is standing up to the beast and refusing to cower to the ruling of a despot. More people in power need to do that and I have a feeling you will see much more of that with a Democratic – controlled House of Representatives.
Meanwhile, I pray that every women’s organization, every journalist organization, every courageous elected or appointed official, every media source will lend their voice to the outrage and total rejection of the racist manner in which the three African American reporters were treated by this misogynist chief executive.
Agent Orange’s abusive ways threaten to embolden those who would dare to similarly assault millions of Black mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, nieces, spouses, friends, neighbors and colleagues across the country – without reproving or reprimand. This is a declaration that we won’t stand by silently and watch that happen.
We got your back, Sistahs!
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org.