2011-10-21 / Editorial/Opinion

‘Cash Cow’ Does Not Equal Racism

There is an old saying in the law, “If the facts are on your side, bang on the facts; if the law is on your side, bang on the law; if neither the facts nor the law are on your side, bang on the table.” Congressman Gregory Meeks banged on the table last week in an attempt to divert the message that he is under investigation and losing party support by going on NY1 News to attack The Wave and its managing editor for racism. Two weeks ago, we ran a cartoon, which we first published last year on the editorial page, in conjunction with a news story about his own party’s first move to rid him of his post in the House of Representatives. We have vetted that story and believe it to be true, despite the hurry-up political plan to kill the story and make it look like a fable. Of course, the people at a secret meeting are going to avow that it never happened. If they admitted that the meeting took place, it would no longer be a secret! Meeks, however, spent more time on NY1 to talk about the racist cartoon. In a recent open letter to the editor of The Wave, Meeks wrote, “[the article] was accompanied by what I believe most observers would regard as an explicitly racist cartoon caricaturing State Senator Malcolm Smith and myself. I don’t use that characterization lightly or frequently, but it definitely applies in this case. The cartoon crosses way over the line of civility and violates the necessary sensitivity that a publication in 21st century America ought to consistently and conscientiously display on every page of every issue, particularly when a publication has a racially diverse readership and relies on ads from retailers and other commercial enterprises that have a racially diverse customer base.” That is basically what he told NY1. The cartoon in question, drawn by Rockaway resident Elgin Bolling, who happens to be an African-American, comments on the fact that Meeks and State Senator Malcolm Smith are under investigation for using a “cash cow” non-profit to line their own pockets. That depiction of the two milking that cash cow had nothing to do with “Birth of a Nation,” or slavery, as Meeks contended. The bottom line remains that Meeks is under investigation by the House Ethics Committee, by the fed and the state, for charges growing out of that non-profit and a number of other alleged transgressions. The NY1 reporter let him off easy, feeding him ground ball questions to answer. The news channel should have known better.

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