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NPR transcript accidentally casts Poland in negative light in debate



Published: Thu, June 27, 2013 @ 12:08 a.m.

By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

POLAND

A transcript of a National Public Radio interview with the NAACP’s president quotes him saying his organization “would have been very happy for Congress” to get involved in the voting process in “Poland, Ohio,” as it has in other states to ensure the black vote is counted.

But when you listen to the audio of Tuesday’s interview with Benjamin Todd Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, he actually says, “Well, and quite frankly, we would have been very happy for Congress to expand the formula to pull in Ohio for instance” for federal election oversight. The interview was in reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a core provision of the Voting Rights Act.

The mistake in NPR’s “All Things Considered” transcript was discovered Wednesday by The Vindicator, but not after the newspaper sought comments from officials with the national and local NAACP as well as the village and township of Poland.

Steven E. Mickel, head of the Youngstown branch of the NAACP, was the first person contacted who said it had to be a mistake. It was virtually impossible that Jealous would specifically mention Poland when talking about voter suppression of blacks as there are very few minorities there, Mickel said.

Mickel said he contacted other NAACP leaders he knows to inquire about it, and no one could come up with a reason Jealous could have possibly made a reference to Poland.

The Vindicator contacted NPR on Wednesday to point out the error, which prompted a correction.

“Like most news organizations, our transcripts are created on a ‘rush’ deadline,” wrote Cara E. Philbin, an NPR spokeswoman, in response to an email from the newspaper. “As noted at the bottom of all NPR transcripts, ‘rushed’ transcripts do leave room for human error and, occasionally, must be updated accordingly. To me, this is clearly an instance in which the transcriber, who is, likely, unfamiliar with the context of the discussion, simply misheard Mr. Jealous, and transcribed accordingly.”

The supposed Poland comment had Township Administrator James Scharville and Village Mayor Tim Sicafuse scratching their heads. Of the 14,960 residents in the township, there are 58 blacks, 0.4 percent of its total population, according to the 2010 census. In the village, there are 2,555 residents with only 6 blacks, 0.2 percent of its population.


Comments

1NoBS(1968 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Imagine that - a racist president of a racist organization made a racist comment! And, because it wasn't a white celebrity who made the comment, it will be swept so far under the rug nobody will think it ever happened.

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21970mach1(1005 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

But when THUG has baseball bat intimidating whites in Philly, that's ok. Very disgusting.
Said THUG just got arrested recently too. Not his fault though I'm sure.

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3redeye1(4576 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

When you have a black racist in the White House, his type of people can get away with saying whatever. It's their right ,,which the whites no longer have

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4greene(167 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Once again, the Vindy has no editors. The story is that the NAALCP accuses the State of Ohio is racist.

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5msweetwood(161 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

I get concerned about the reading/comprehension skills of some folks when I read comments on Vindy.com sometimes ...

And, uhm, Greene, I would love to edit "The story is that the NAALCP accuses the State of Ohio is racist" because it frankly makes no sense.

Mark Sweetwood
Managing Editor

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6walter_sobchak(1928 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

msweetwood,
I get concerned about reasoning skills when I read the Vindy editorial page also. While "greene" may be grammatically incorrect, his comprehension is correct. On its face, Mr. Jealous indeed is calling Ohio racist since we need to be "pulled in" by the formula used for federal election oversight, similar to the reconstructed South. This can only mean that some crackers are suppressing the black vote since the NAALCP believes racism is only a one-way street.

One thing is for sure, with only 6 blacks in Poland village, it wouldn't take much to suppress them.

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71970mach1(1005 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

msweetwood:

I think "greene" was being sarcastic because the story actually did and does list the NAACP.

I think he was trying to say it SHOULD say NAALCP (National Assc Advancement LIBERAL Colored People).

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8LtMacGowan(646 comments)posted 1 year, 4 months ago

Yeah got to keep those poor and disadvantaged people out of the nice areas. Keep them bottled up in ghettos.

Also it appears nobody actually read the article. NPR made the mistake. It was the local NAACP who contacted them with the correction.

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