By Linn Washington, Jr.
Cory Booker, the charismatic Democratic mayor of Newark, NJ currently considering a campaign for the U.S. Senate, enjoys extraordinary media exposure -- exposure that exceeds that of many top-tier entertainers and professional athletes. However, that fawning media coverage from CNN to Vogue Magazine of this mayor rarely reports facts like the increasing ire among Newark residents over Booker’s practices and the right-wing political roots of this politician who is generally portrayed as possessing solid center-left credentials.
Those right-wing roots, for example, provide an under-examined explanation for Booker's lashing out at President Obama last May after a campaigning Obama criticized economic deprivations caused by hedge fund manipulations when he took Mitt Romney to task for the then GOP candidate’s tenure as head of venture capital firm Bain Capital.
Journalist Glen Ford has reported extensively on Booker’s conservative connections for over a decade, beginning with Booker’s September 2000 New York City address at the Manhattan Institute, one of America’s leading right-wing think tanks.
“It’s amazing that most people don’t see this background,” Ford said.
“You must understand that the Manhattan Institute is not some eclectic entity,” Black Agenda Report co-founder Ford said. “This is what makes Cory Booker different from other right-wing Democrats. He comes from the bosom of the right-wing…he started there.”
Ford’s coverage includes Booker’s alignment with the conservative school voucher movement that seeks to siphon government funding from public schools into corporate and religious coffers – a defunding movement that has a profound detrimental impact on large numbers of minority students and minority professionals in public schools.
Favorable media coverage of Booker explains why most people across New Jersey and nationwide view him as progressive. That coverage portrays a mayor who saved a neighbor from a burning building, sustaining second-degree burns during that rescue. It focuses on him for raising more than $250-million in donations for projects in his beleaguered city.
“Most people in Trenton and South Jersey look at Booker as a great mayor because they see him on CNN and other television shows all the time,” Trenton, NJ community activist Daryl Brooks said. “But in inner-city areas of Newark, residents don’t view Booker as a great leader. There is a feeling that he is more interested in his national and international image than in doing something for poor people.”
A December 2012 New York Times article contained rare mainstream media criticism of Booker, citing growing complaints in Newark that Booker is “a better marketer than mayor.”...
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