From City Hall News:
Hundreds of people gathered in a Southeast Queens high school auditorium Thursday night for a “rally against racist journalism” that they say was behind the collapse of the troubled AEG bid for the Aqueduct racino contract, engulfing Gov. David Paterson, Senate President Pro Tem Malcolm Smith, Rep. Greg Meeks and other Queens politicians.
With former Council Member Archie Spigner and other Queens powerbrokers in the audience, community leaders railed against media—specifically the New York Post, Daily News and New York Times—for its coverage of the Aqueduct deal, which they say led to the denial of thousands of construction jobs and other economic opportunities.
“We were robbed,” thundered the Rev. Charles Norris, to a chorus of “mmm hmms” and “amens.”
“If there are no jobs,” Norris added, “it’s because they have been stolen.”
Other speakers conjured up images of lynch mobs and racism from the early part of the century to emphasize who was behind the failed racino contract.
Donald Vernon, director of the United Black Men of Queens, said the infamous Greenwood race riot of 1921, when over 3,000 black residents of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were murdered by an angry mob, spurred by newspaper stories that promoted lynchings.
The Aqueduct deal is not so different, Vernon said.
“That race riot was caused by the same yellow journalism we witnessed in the New York Post, the Daily News and the New York Times," Vernon said.
He also called stories in those papers “lies, innuendo and rumors,” spurred by racism.
“They are twisting the public view as to who we are,” he said.
But not everyone in the audience was convinced by the fiery rhetoric. After the rally ended, one person quietly grumbled about the lack of any local elected official at the event.
“It’s all insiders,” the person said. “And they’re talking about 1921?”
Photo from the NY Times