Jesse Jackson is back and that is the subject of this evening's Talking Points memo.
After months of lying low because of a sex scandal and questions about his finances, Jackson has completed a stunning deal with the Toyota Corporation that is worth $8 billion over the next 10 years, money that will be used to expand opportunities for minorities in the automotive business.
Right now, 4.6% of Toyota dealerships in America are minority owned. That is slightly above the national average. The $8 billion will be used to train minorities and improve that ownership figure. Money will also be spent on a variety of other programs designed to employ more minorities and promote sensitive marketing and advertising campaigns.
Jackson won this victory after threatening a boycott of Toyota, which opened the door of charges of racial insensitivity by running a series of advertisements, featuring tooth art, which is in vogue among some blacks. Jackson called the ads stereotypes and said the only thing missing is the watermelon
The Toyota Corporation was clearly intimidated by Jackson's power. And for some black Americans, that's a very good thing, with billions earmarked for minority projects in development. Obviously, there's a great benefit to be had by some, which makes it very difficult to criticize Jackson's methods.
He has shrewdly pulled off a big win for black people, but if history is any indicator, Jackson will also benefit by contributions from the minority concerns that Toyota hires. That'll be difficult to ascertain as the back-end of the Reverend's deals are always shrouded in secrecy.
Talking Points has to admire Jackson's tenacity and his ability to cower corporate and governmental America. There is no question that Toyota's minority record was mediocre at best. So, you can't really defend them. And by providing opportunity for blacks, it is difficult to fault Jackson.
If only the government would do its job here and watch the money that flows into Jackson's nonprofit empire, but the government will not do its job and Jackson himself is defiant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: I have faith in one of the entities. Though most of my work is because I choose to do it. And whenever there's time to file taxes, I always do. These questions are always raised in some way to besmirch my character. You're not asking Mr. Press, his salary, for example. Both of us work and both of us get paid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'REILLY: Well, James Press, the man Reverend Jackson referred to is the CEO of Toyota. And of course, there is no nonprofit money associated with Toyotas, thus Jackson's comparison is invalid.
So it is business as usual in the Jackson camp. He continues to help black Americans and he continues to do very well financially himself. He's got the game down. And that's the memo.
Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
Time now for the "Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Walter Cronkite has weighed in on the Condit-Levy situation, saying that Dan Rather went overboard ignoring the story. Uncle Walter told an NBC reporter that providing just the facts in the case is appropriate, and Mr. Rather should have done that instead of not mentioning the story.
Ridiculous? Well, you make the call on that.
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