Letters to the Editor: MLK Sales, Sessions and Tillis

Letters to the Editor: MLK Sales, Sessions and Tillis
January 19
07:30 2017

Conn’s should apologize for MLK Jr. Day sales, promotions

To the Editor,

Having spent many years prior to my retirement in marketing and advertising, including stints in the retail sector, I was shocked to see the MLK Sale ad for Conn’s HomePlus store this weekend.

It immediately brought back a conversation I had with my husband many years ago when I worked in the marketing department at Hanes Mall and he was in sales at Sears.

We were discussing the various seasonal sales promotions and he said, “At least we’ll never see a Martin Luther King sale.”

Looks like he was wrong.

Yes, there are Easter sales and after-Christmas sales, and even President’s Day sales, but Martin Luther King Jr. is a Civil Rights icon who gave his life fighting for peace and justice.

To try to drive sales on a day when many people who have the day off are using the time to honor and celebrate his life by attending prayer breakfasts, marches or volunteering to help others in honor of Dr. King, is retail crassness at its worst. I can’t help but wonder who their target market is with the sale, the African-American community … or not.

Conn’s HomePlus should offer an apology to the African-American community for this incredible lack of judgment. I am sure I am not the only public relations professional who will cringe at this lack of sensitivity.

Judie Holcomb-Pack,

APR Winston-Salem

North Carolina media showing coverage bias toward Sen. Tillis

To the Editor:

The media has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately, particularly for chasing shiny objects designed to attract viewers and page clicks, rather than focusing on the important policies that actually have a meaningful impact on the lives of the American people.

Reflecting this, a recent Gallup poll found that the nation’s trust in the mass media is at an all-time low.

I know many good journalists who are incredibly frustrated by this development, and this memo is not meant to be an attack on North Carolina’s media outlets or reporters. It’s simply a presentation of enlightening data points that I hope all reporters and editors in North Carolina will take to heart when they consider what to cover and how they cover it.

Yesterday [Jan. 11], many television stations in North Carolina provided air time to Rev. William Barber for a protest he held at Senator Tillis’ constituent services office in Raleigh. Barber was protesting the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general, demanding that Tillis oppose his confirmation.

In total, 14 television stations covering North Carolina devoted air time yesterday to Rev. Barber’s protest at Senator Tillis’ office regarding Senator Sessions. And of those 14 television stations, only 1 reached out to Senator Tillis’ office to give the Senator an opportunity to share his thoughts.

Consider what this television coverage was about: a partisan political activist opining on what a duly-elected statewide official’s position should be.

Then consider how few media outlets in North Carolina actually covered Senator Tillis when he publicly declared his position on Jeff Sessions’ nomination back in November, through a press release that was sent to the news desk of every single television station in North Carolina.

In total, only 4 television stations devoted air time to Senator Tillis’ statement on Jeff Sessions’ nomination during the November 18, 2016 news cycle. None of the 14 stations covering Rev. Barber’s protest yesterday included Tillis’ original statement in their story.

This poses an important question: Why did media outlets believe it was newsworthy to cover a partisan political activist’s opinion on what Senator Tillis’ position should be, even though they previously made the decision not to run a story when Senator Tillis publicly expressed his position months earlier?

Or, more simply put: Why are views of a partisan political activist deemed newsworthy, but the views of a statewide elected official are not, even though they are in a direct position to influence the subject matter?

Whether this type of coverage bias is intentional or not, it’s bias nonetheless, and it’s a disservice to North Carolinians.

Daniel Keylin Communications Director

N.C. U.S. Senator Thom Tillis

Washington, D.C.

A Sessions confirmation would be tantamount to negligence

To the Editor:

For decades, America’s working families and communities of color have struggled to build a better life in an economic and political system that favors greedy corporations and self-interested politicians over everyday people. Through loopholes and by rigging our system, corporations go unchecked while families are kept in poverty and communities of color can’t get ahead, regardless of how hard or long they work.

Confirming Sen. Jeff Sessions, who has a history of anti-immigrant and anti-Black sentiments and proposals, as the chief law enforcement official and lawyer of the U.S. government would be tantamount to congressional negligence of the people it is elected to serve, particularly working families, immigrants, and communities of color.

America’s Attorney General is in charge of giving legal counsel to our federal government and enforcing our laws, but Sen. Sessions’ record shows he is unfit to protect the American people from illegal acts of racism, sexism, Islamophobia and xenophobia—an essential component of the Department of Justice’s role. He has already been rejected for a federal judgeship due to racist comments, has called the Voting Rights Act a ‘piece of intrusive legislation’ and has proven to be the most anti-immigrant member of the U.S. Senate by working hand-in-hand with anti-immigrant extremists, associating with a known hate group, and making divisive and bigoted comments against immigrants.

Senator Sessions is grossly unfit to lead the U.S. Department of Justice and carry out its core mission to pro-mote and establish justice and the appearance of justice through vigorous and fair representation of all citizens in all matters.

Mary Kay Henry 

SEIU International President 


Note: The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits. 

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