Endorsing Allen Without a Real Explanation

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Endorsing Allen Without a Real Explanation

The Voice, an African-American newspaper based in Richmond, Va., has endorsed Sen. George Allen in a bizarre editorial. The only reference to "macaca" or allegations that Allen used the word "nigger" is paranthetical:
This has been an election year in which Blacks have had to listen to allegations about which U.S. Senate candidate is a racist, who said the n-word, and so forth. It is sad that when they talk about Black people, it’s only in the context of these trivialities and not about the issues that affect the everyday lives of Black folks.
I'm not black, but I sure know more than a few African-Americans who would not consider the use of racial epithets to be mere "trivialities."

This is the closest the newspaper comes to citing a single thing that Allen has done or cares about that is important to black Virginians:
Sen. Allen’s record with the Black community may have started out blotchy, but we feel that he has learned the most about what is important to the Black community.
So exactly what has Allen learned? The Voice doesn't say. Indeed, the next sentence in the editorial sounds pretty defensive:
We don’t have to justify our endorsement, but we want to tell our readers that a new breeze is blowing and you can either join it or stay shackled in the past.
Actually, the whole point of an endorsement is to make the case for why readers should support a particular candidate. So, yes, a newspaper does have to "justify" its endorsement, at least it does if it expects that endorsement to be taken seriously by readers.

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