Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hillary Wrong-Foots with Bob Johnson

Today, the Hillary Clinton campaign staged an event where Robert Johnson, the founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) defended her comments about Martin Luther King. The problem is that Johnson is rightly reviled by black bloggers and others for his exploitation of black women in the rap videos played by his network.

Here's a summary comment on Johnson from Gina at What About Our Daughters. Bob

Johnson stands for everything Hillary Clinton OUGHT to be against. This man single-handedly set the cause of African Americans back hundreds of years. His exploitation of Black women and girls is particularly morally repugnant. Hillary Clinton is supposed to be a defender of the American worker, yet Bob Johnson made his billions at Black Entertainment Television by notoriously paying his on air talent slave wages.To be sitting up in a the pulpit of a Black church grinning and laughing side by side with this multimedia crack cocaine dealer and pimp is the slap in the face of every Black woman and girl in this country.

Instead of repeating Bob Johnson’s comments on Senator Obama wholesale, reporters should be asking him about the circumstances under which his wife and BET cofounder left the company. They should ask him about his “relations” with the female executives at his company. They should ask him why his own sister allegedly sued him and whether Johnson properly paid his taxes. All of these issues are raised in Johnson’s biography, The Billion-Dollar Bet. Bob Johnson is not an African American leader, he is a bottom feeder.

Hillary Clinton's use of Bob Johnson as a surrogate was a huge substantive mistake even if Johnson's reputation doesn't filter through the mainstream media. I don't know about the "multimedia crack cocaine dealer" part, but disgust with Johnson's exploitation of black women is a standard theme of African-American bloggers like African-American Political Pundit. I don't blame Hillary for hitting Obama and hitting him hard. But the ineptitude of what she's doing looks bad for her campaign.

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