Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cincy Enquirer Blasted For Poor Coverage Of Black Event: NAACP's Smitherman Demands Action

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Christopher Smitherman, a Green Party Cincinnati Council candidate and the local NAACP branch president, has accused the city's morning metro daily of "institutional racism at its core." He says the civil rights organization is prepared for some kind of showdown with the newspaper, a unit of the Gannett Co. Inc., publishing chain.

Smitherman expressed amazement that the Cincinnati Enquirer did not adequately cover, in his view, the Black Family Reunion. The annual summertime event on the banks of the Ohio River drew some 100,000 people downtown. Smitherman said if someone had been shot or harmed there would have been blazing coverage across news pages. But the mostly peaceful event got short shrift despite its importance to African Americans.

"I believe this is intentional and the result is the continuation of institutional racism at is core. If the Enquirer does not change they will force the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP to take measures to curb their behavior."

Does that last sentence imply a subscription boycott, or some kind of targeting of advertisers?

Smitherman's statement is just the latest signal that the newspaper is foundering under its top brass, who are increasingly viewed as out of touch, out of tune and have nearly exhausted the town's patience. The complete text of Smitherman's letter originally appeared in the Cincinnati Beacon, which is a small online and print news operation that is also among the daily's biggest critics.

[UPDATE -- There was coverage of the event, as this article from the past weekend shows. The complaint seems to be over whether the newspaper devoted enough attention and space to the Black Family Reunion.]

[Note to readers: The previous post was supposed to follow this one. The Bellwether will inactive for the rest of the day.]


  1. Specifically, the complaint mentions that nothing made the front page, either of the paper in general or of the local section.

    Cliff Radel's two pieces were mediocre at best.

    At Smitherman's point still stands that Tall Stacks gets hyped before, during, and prior to the event. The BFR brought tons of people to the City, and got two small and mediocre stories buried in the paper.

  2. Positive black events is the operative phrase, like blacks marching in the "hoods" demanding end to murder, robbery, rape and general mayhem. But don't hold your breath. To act civilized would be to act white.

  3. It got coverage. Why would it get a front page, multi-page series.

    Of course if someone got shot it would get covered, just like if anyone anywhere in Cinci got shot.

    It's this type of paranoia and "cry wolfism" that desensitizes people to the real problems, or worse yet, gives others a convenient excuse not to improve. This relates to any group.

  4. anon 12:27 am --

    It is a difficult job to run a large metro daily. It is harder yet when you don't have the right sized staff, or enough staff to do the job you might feel that needs to be done.

    If the NAACP president feels the way he does, it is his right to feel that way. Whether you agree with him or not, you should be able to find out what's on his mind. Really, you can't agree or disagree until you know what he saying.

  5. Hi Joe C. --

    I don't know what should have been the exact amount of coverage the event should have received, however, there were supposed to be some 100,000 people downtown on the riverfront. Pretty large crowd, it seems to me. And the paper does call itself the "Cincinnati" Enquirer.