Talking Points: Jesse Jackson

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. 


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.


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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