COMMENTARY: Cosby Owes Black Media The Truth
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.