After getting pummeled by the mainstreamed media over the scandalous sexual assault allegations against him, Bill Cosby is hoping the black media will offer impartial support.
Why now? And is it too late? Black people have a long history of forgiveness, but I’m not sure how many Black Americans are prepared to forgive Cosby’s alleged sexual crimes.
It’s a long, hard fall from a storied perch.
“Let me say this,” Cosby told the New York Post. “I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism, and when you do that, you have to go in with a neutral mind.”
Cosby was interviewed by reporter Stacy Brown, who also writes for the African-American media, including The Washington Informer. More than 20 women have publicly claimed that Cosby drugged and raped them. The allegations span at least four decades, beginning in the 1960s.
I’ve worked for the Black media – off and on – for many years and I’ve known the Black media to be fair when reporting on black celebrities, but I’ve also seen many thoughtful Black writers take Black celebrities, politicians, athletes and actors to task when necessary.
And I can’t recall Cosby talking publicly very often about the ‘standards of excellence in journalism’ when pontificating about the Black media. So now Cosby is saying that the mainstream media – where Cosby has given most of his interviews over the years — is suddenly no longer objective and now he’s suggesting that the Black media will remain fair?
Here’s the takeaway: It’s an insult for Cosby to imply –in a sly backhanded way — that Black media should give him a pass by remaining “neutral” – a not-so-subtle word meaning Black media (and therefore Black Americans) should support Cosby through these dark days.
This is a teachable moment for Cosby: The Black media can’t protect Cosby if he’s guilty. The Black media can’t reinvent Cosby’s legacy. The Black media can’t speak Cosby’s truth. Only Cosby can speak his truth.
But Brown appeared on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” Tuesday and said Cosby’s statement that he expected the Black press to stay neutral has somewhat been taken out of context.
“I didn’t get that he was asking things of the Black press or the Black media in particular,” Brown said. “He knew he was talking to a Black man. I think if he’d been talking to the white media, his message would have been similar. His message was just one of fairness.”
Coincidentally, Cosby’s comments about the Black media comes as former supermodel Beverly Johnson, who is African-American, appeared on The View recently where she discussed her recent Vanity Fair essay, which claims that Cosby allegedly drugged her in the mid-’80s.
Johnson, now 62, is the latest women to come forward with sexual allegations against Cosby. She recalled how Cosby had invited her over to help rehearse for his popular sitcom, The Cosby Show.
She said Cosby offered her a cup of cappuccino. After the first sip, Johnson said the room “started to spin a little, right away.” She then “took a another sip,” and the drug hit her “like a moving train… At that moment, I knew, I had been drugged. He motioned to me to come over like we were gonna rehearse the scene,” Johnson recalled.
“I went over, he put his hands on my waist. I put one hand on his shoulder to steady myself at this moment, and I cocked my head to one side and looked him dead in the eye and said, ‘You’re a mother f—er.”
Johnson said Cosby became enraged, put her in a cab, and sent her on her way. Meanwhile, Brown, the black journalist from The New York Post, said Cosby abruptly ended her telephone interview by saying: “They [lawyers] don’t want me talking to the media.”
It’s interesting to note that despite advice from his attorneys, Cosby, in my view, still managed to allow enough time in the interview to imply that a neutral-minded Black media could afford him a fair hearing in the court of public opinion.
What do you think?