Tag Archives: Tavis Smiley

Cornel West and Tavis Smiley Embark on the Poverty Tour

Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman recently conducted an interview with Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, who have embarked upon a fifteen city tour to promote what they call “A Return to Conscience:”

The full transcript is here, but below are the segments I found most interesting.


TAVIS SMILEY:
The bottom line is that our body politic—I want to be clear about this—both Republicans and Democrats, both Congress and the White House, and for that matter, all of the American people, have got to take the issue of the poor more seriously. Why? Because the new poor, the new poor, are the former middle class. Obviously, the polls tell these elected officials, these politicians, that you ought to talk about the middle class, that resonates. Well, if the new poor are the former middle class, then this conversation has got to be expanded. We’ve got to have a broader conversation about what’s happening to the poor. And the bottom line for me is this, Amy, with regard to this legislation and all others that are now demonizing, casting aspersion on the poor. There’s always been a connection between the poor and crime, but now—between poverty and crime, but now it’s become a crime, it would seem, to be poor in this country. And I believe this country, one day, is going to get crushed under the weight of its own poverty, if we think we can continue to live in a country where one percent of the people own and control more wealth than 90 percent. That math, long term, Amy, is unsustainable. We’ve got to talk about poverty.[...] Continue reading

All Things Inconsiderate?: Issues Arise With New NPR Book

By Arturo R. García

Like any good journalistic outlet, NPR prides itself on thorough coverage and accuracy. Which makes the errors in its’ 40th-anniversary retrospective, This Is NPR, stand out even more.

(Note: As mentioned in the past, Racialicious Editrix Latoya Peterson is a consultant for NPR, and has contributed a piece to one of their blogs.)

First, as St. Petersburg Times columnist Eric Deggans reported Friday, there’s no mention in the book at all of All Things Considered host Michele Norris, the first black woman to earn a regular hosting slot on the network. From the story:

Norris was asked to contribute a chapter, along with other staffers or people who appear regularly on NPR for the book, which weaves the stories into a chronological history. Other contributors include Cokie Roberts, Nina Totenberg, P. J. O’Rourke and Paula Poundstone. But because she was writing her own book, The Grace of Silence: A Memoir, Norris couldn’t contribute an essay and was not included anywhere else, said NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm.

It was an inexcusable mistake,” Rehm added. “She should have been in the book.”

Deggans also notes the book’s omission of the recently-released Juan Williams, who had been a news analyst with the network for more than a decade before his firing last month; and of the African-American Public Radio Consortium, the group that helped NPR develop The Tavis Smiley Show, which first aired on the network before Smiley and NPR parted ways in 2004. Smiley doesn’t have an essay in the book, either, though he is referenced three times.

The only POC mentioned in the book who contributes an essay is Tell Me More host Michel Martin, who writes about covering the inauguration of President Obama in 2009. Oddly enough, though, the picture running alongside the story is of reporter Audie Cornish, who isn’t mentioned at all otherwise.