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Obama’s Pitch Inspires but ABC News Strikes Out!


President Obama caught a lot of comedic flak last week after his ceremonial first pitch at the Major League All-Star game failed to get across home plate. But I'm glad the throw came up short! It was a high-profile reminder that black men do not have be athletic to be great! There is enormous pressure - from within our own culture and from society at large - to define African-American males by our physical skills. A lot of black boys grow up believing that it's more important to do well on the field or on the court than in the classroom. Many of our kids are actually embarrassed about being good students! This misdirected values system is one of the main reasons that so many black boys get poor grades, drop out of high school and enroll in college at lower rates than black girls and boys of other racial and ethnic groups.

So, President Obama's incomplete pitch sent an inspiring message. So what if Barack Obama can't hurl a baseball from the pitcher's mound to home plate? He's the President of the United States and he uses his intellect to throw strike-out pitches in the Oval Office, on Capitol Hill and in the halls of power all over the world.
A fast mind can always beat a fast ball!


If President Obama wants to improve his pitching he could always sign up with a coach. I recommend ABC News correspondent Chris Connelly who demonstrated great skill at lobbing softballs during his obsequious interview with Michael Jackson's controversial father, Joseph Jackson.

The ABC News special "Primetime: Family Secrets -- The Jackson Family: Life After Michael" was a sub-journalistic waste of time that shrank from asking tough questions of the Jackson patriarch whose been vilified by his own famous kids, especially the late King of Pop.
"Papa Joe" did more to damage Michael Jackson's psyche than anyone or anything else in the superstar's life. As Michael told Oprah Winfrey in 1993 and Martin Bashir in 2003, Michael's dad was so physically, verbally and emotionally brutal that his mere presence caused the world's most famous entertainer to faint and throw up. But Connelly never confronted Joseph Jackson with any of this. He got close a couple of times, but backed down whenever the old man turned evasive or gruff.

Connelly let Joseph bully his way out of answering what should have been the thesis question of the interview: "What do you think the sources of conflict in your relationship with Michael were over the years?" Joe's response was indignant and dishonest: "Conflict? We didn't have no conflict! That's media talk! That's my son! I loved him! What conflict are you speaking of?" Now, that's when Connelly was supposed to have reminded Joe Jackson of the things that Michael told Bashir, Oprah and other reporters. But he didn't. He changed the subject.
This kind of wimpy, non-reporting is what results when a major news network buys an interview. ABC insists that it did not pay Joseph Jackson to talk exclusively with Chris Connelly, but the network did shell out $200,000 to license 10 minutes of superfluous footage from an unsold reality show that just happens to star Papa Joe.

If this is how ABC News plans to do business, then how can any of us take them seriously? What hope do we have of being informed when news agencies act like fluffy celebrity interview shows? This is a frightening prospect in an age when newspapers are dying, news magazine circulations are shrinking and the majority of Americans get their information from television.
The Bible asks, "What shall it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?" ABC News sold its journalistic soul with the Joseph Jackson interview, but it didn't gain a thing.
Thanks for listening. I'm Cameron Turner and that's my two cents.

[Cameron Turner is a native of Altadena and a graduate of John Muir High School and Stanford University. Contact him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and read more of his "Turner's Two Cents" editorials at www.UrbanThoughtCollective.com, www.EURweb.com and www.BlackTalentNews.com.]


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