After the first black president completed his first prime-time press conference, the black press was red hot.
“We were window dressing,” said Hazel Edney, a reporter with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America. “We were nothing more than window dressing.”
As the media filed into the stately White House East Room on Monday night, the reporter was shocked to find herself in the front row. Alongside her were the top news agencies, Associated Press, Reuters; also up front, 86-year-old Helen Thomas, who started covering presidents 50 years ago.
Alongside the most prominent journalists in America was Tiffany Cross from Black Entertainment Television. Like Miss Edney, she didn’t know why she was in first-class while all the television networks–every single one–was exiled to the steerage compartment.
While most on the front row got to pose a question to President Obama, the two reporters from the black press did not. Nor did any other black-press reporter, for that matter.
“This was like Reagan, when he’d put all the blacks up front,” said another prominent but visibly peeved black-press reporter who asked to remain anonymous. “He oughta’ be ashamed.”