NAACP president combats press opinions 'based on confusion'

BALTIMORE: The head communications officer at the NAACP told PRWeek

he believes he has finally stopped a piece of misinformation he said had

been dogging his three-person staff for nearly two weeks.

John White, director of communications for the NAACP, said a Los Angeles

Times story wrongly reported that a talk-show pilot filmed by NAACP

president Kweisi Mfume was being shopped around by an NBC-owned station

for national syndication. The NAACP maintains the show was never being

considered for national syndication. The story came days after Mfume had

announced his plan to lead the NAACP in a boycott of the major TV

networks, saying they lacked diversity programming.

White said he had Mfume himself call reporters who had incorrect

information, as well as reporters who cover the TV industry. "Reporters

tend to listen more to the principal than they do to the spokesperson,"

said White. "People were writing opinion columns based on confusion, and

he wanted to clarify the situation."

White also issued a press release quoting Mfume as saying he asked the

production company not to market a pilot tape, though Mfume added that

he was sure that wasn't the case.

White said he did not feel the NAACP was acting to protect its image,

but Mfume said in the statement, "I hope that this further public action

on my part underscores my intention to always do all that I can to avoid

even the slightest perception of a conflict of interest."

The LA Times stands by its story. Betsy Sharkey, TV and radio editor for

the Times, said sources within NBC have reconfirmed the paper's


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