DC Greens Respond to Washington Post McKinney Piece

On Monday, the Washington Post published an article on Cynthia McKinney in the “Style” section entitled: “Stealth Candidacy“. While media coverage of the Green Party is rare from news publications such as the Washington Post, when it happens it is usually a wee bit negative. This article starts: “Spies. They’re probably in the room, she says ominously.” You can imagine the direction this is going to take from that start (or read it yourself).

Adding further insult to injury, the Washington Post chose to omit Cynthia McKinney from their Presidential Candidates web page, choosing instead to stick with Barack Obama and his three leading white male opponents (Chuck Baldwin was left off as well, as proof that it wasn’t a conspiracy against women).

The DC Greens have responded with the following release and well written response to the “Stealth Candidacy” article:

WASHINGTON, DC — The following response to an October 27 Washington Post article on Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney was prepared with the intent of submitting as a guest column.

The Post’s editorial department discouraged such a submission, and recommended sending a letter to the editor instead. The Post imposes a 200-word limit on letters to the editor, which would have made an effective response to the article impossible. The decision was thus made to publish the response, written by party media coordinator Scott McLarty, in a news release.

Greens — locally, DC Statehood Greens — have expressed concern that Washington’s hometown paper avoided covering the McKinney campaign throughout most of the election season and then published an article misrepresenting the McKinney campaign eight days before the general election.

Party members also complained that the Post omitted Ms. McKinney from its ‘DC Presidential Election’ voters’ guide page (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/elections/dc/president), even though Ms. McKinney will appear on the DC Statehood Green Party’s presidential ballot line on Nov. 4. As of 12:30 pm on Thursday, Oct. 30, the error had not been corrected and calls to the Post had not been returned. The DC Statehood Green Party has major party status in the District of Columbia.

Response to “Stealth Candidacy: The Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney Takes Puzzling Path To the Electorate” by Manuel Roig-Franzia, The Washington Post, October 27, 2008

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/26/AR2008102602240_pf.html

“Stealth Candidacy” (The Post, Oct. 27) is full of distortions and misrepresentations of Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney and her political background. Space limitations allow me to correct and clarify just a few of them.

Ms. McKinney’s was elected by her Georgia constituents to the US House six times, but lost her seat after Republicans engaged in ‘crossover voting’ in the primary (based on a Georgia election rule permitting voters outside of a party to vote in the party’s primary, prohibited in most states) to prevent her from winning the Democratic nomination.

Rep. McKinney was labeled ‘conspiracy theorist’ for asking what the Bush Administration knew about the impending attacks in the months leading up to 9/11. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission found that advance warnings had crossed the desks of White House officials.

Given the history of infiltration by the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if spies might be present at a Black Panthers reunion. Nor is it unreasonable for Ms. McKinney, in this decade of pervasive surveillance and serious erosion of constitutional protections, to suspect that a similar operation is at work today.

Disobeying orders from House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. McKinney joined a congressional commission to investigate the response to Katrina [U.S. House Select Bipartisan Committee to Investigate the Preparation for and Response to Hurricane Katrina, chaired by Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia]. During her investigation, she collected harrowing reports of numerous extra-judicial killings by law enforcement and military contractors, as well as mass displacement of black and poor New Orleans residents to make way for development. While most Americans know of the Bush Administration’s shamefully inadequate actions in the early days of the disaster, the post-hurricane outrages have mostly been swept under the rug.

The Post reporter, focusing on his sensational claims, ignored Ms. McKinney’s leadership on major issues. While Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain endorsed a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street that did little to assist most Americans facing financial hardship, Ms. McKinney published a plan that addresses the needs of homeowners and working people and holds reckless financial institutions responsible (http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=106).

Ms. McKinney has called for rapid US troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, an end to threats of a US attack against Iran, support for single-payer national health care, canceling the costly and ineffective war on drugs, abolition of the death penalty, impeachment of President Bush, and no immunity for telecomms that had participated in warrantless spying on US citizens. These and other ideas are shared by many Americans who plan to vote for Barack Obama, although Sen. Obama takes opposing positions. With no objection from Sen. Obama, Democrats dropped the goal of DC statehood from their national platform in 2004 and 2008, leaving Greens the only national party to support the genuine democracy, full equality, and freedom from Congress’s rule that statehood will afford DC residents.

Ms. McKinney and running mate Rosa Clemente, America’s first presidential ticket with two women of African ancestry, will be on the ballot line of the DC Statehood Green Party, which holds major party status and has begun to emerge as the District’s ‘second party’ in terms of electoral clout. In 2006, the five Statehood Green candidates for partisan office collectively received more votes (47,421) than the five Republicans (32,658) (http://www.dcboee.org/information/elec_2006/general_2006_results.shtm). The Green Party remains America’s best hope for a truly progressive party and an end to a political landscape limited to the two established parties and the narrow ideas they represent.

  1. Mike Gillis says:

    Just a factual correction. Ralph Nader isn’t white.

    He’s an Arab American, whose parents are first generation immigrants from Lebanon. His first languages were English and Arabic. His surname is Arabic.

    He’s not a white guy.

  2. Washington Post sucks says:

    Washington Post also supported the Iraq War. It seems to be most closely aligned with the DLC (right-wing Democrats), like the Clintons. I’m not surprised that they would slander Cynthia McKinney or the Green Party.

    Regarding the post above me, yes it is true that Ralph Nader has Lebanese ancestry. However, the definition of ‘white’ has been expanded to include light skinned people from North Africa and the Middle East. For example, that definition often appears on employment applications.

  3. Gregg Jocoy says:

    As has been pointed out to Mr. Gillis on several occasions, including by Richard Winger himself, Ralph Nader is of Greek ancestry. His family moved to Lebanon. That does not make him Arab any more than being born in South Africa made P.W. Botha Black.

  4. Mike Gillis says:

    Gregg, Just because Richard Winger says something does not make it true.

    He has an Arab surname, he’s ethnically Arab and he grew up speaking the language.

    But hey, whatever… clearly facts aren’t facts in the Green Party these days.

  5. David Gaines says:

    {{America’s first presidential ticket with two women of African ancestry}}

    The GPUS headquarters is determined to milk this claim for all it’s worth……..as I reminded Scott McLarty after this came out, we’re ALL “of African ancestry” if you want to go back far enough. How much up-close “African ancestry” did Lenora Fulani’s Latina running mate in 1988 have? Or Monica Moorehead’s in 1996 & 2000? I dunno, but I suspect their African lineage is probably a lot closer then mine. I wish the Green Party would just drop this claim altogether — it’s not getting any traction in the press anyway.

  6. Reb says:

    Ralph Nader may be of Arab and/or Greek ancestry, but he does not claim being a person of color in any political way. In fact, whenever he is confronted with anything regarding his “race”, he turns to some ancient “melting pot” ideology where race doesn’t appear to matter to him.

    He may break down institutional racism in the U.S. well. However, he does not show to be actively anti-racist in his political thinking.

    And for those of us who CANNOT LOOK WHITE, ACT WHITE, nor PASS AS WHITE, it is difficult not to see Ralph Nader as other than white. When Nader starts claiming some political identity over his racial background, then we can move forward accepting him as a person of color. Until then, people like McKinney have no choice BUT to be non-white.

  7. Steve Kramer says:

    A good piece in response, though as I’ve said before, this is the Post and nothing really will change their slant. If Cynthia McKinney were to walk on water in front of their editorial board, the headline the next day would read, “MCKINNEY CAN’T SWIM”. :-)

    Unfortunately, McKinney made it too easy for them to paint her in that fashion. She went public with her claim about killings in Louisiana without having a shred of evidence to back it up, and plays the 9/11 conspiracy nonsense front and center in her campaign. It seriously undermines her credibility.

    If she’d just stick with the actual issues, such as challenging the Democrats on true universal health care and their plans to “shell-game” the troops rather than simply remove them from Iraq, and the Republicans on their plans which don’t even go that far, the Green message would get out better, and people from all over the political spectrum would realize what we’re about.

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