Media Quiet After Trump Launches Urban Council To Invest $100 Billion in Black Communities


It’s been a busy few weeks in media land, what with Michael Cohen’s sentencing and talk about whether President Donald Trump will be impeached, or Michael Flynn’s sentencing and talk about whether President Donald Trump will be impeached, or Jamal Khashoggi’s death and how that relates to whether President Donald Trump will be impeached.

Mind you, I’m not necessarily saying this isn’t newsworthy. While I don’t think the special counsel needs to be covered with a breathlessness usually reserved for the first few hours after a plane crash (except elongated to 24/7 status), there have been some pretty serious developments in the past few weeks that have changed the complexion of things.

That being said, this doesn’t give the media a pass on reporting other aspects of the Trump presidency — particularly those that might paint it in a favorable light.

For instance, you basically had to actively search to find any mention of the Opportunity and Revitalization Council, a $100 billion initiative to deliver growth in urban communities.

“With the creation of today’s council, the resources of the whole federal government will be leveraged to rebuild low-income and impoverished neighborhoods that have been ignored by Washington in years past,” the president said at a Wednesday event in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, where an executive order establishing the council was signed.

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“Our goal is to ensure that America’s great new prosperity is broadly shared by all of our citizens. Our country is doing better than ever, economically, and we’re able to do that.”

The council will be led by Ben Carson, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Today, the nation’s unemployment rate is at a 49-year low. Jobless rates among African-Americans down to a record low of 5.9 percent. Wages on the rise,” Carson said. “While we can all be proud of these achievements, one challenge has remained: There are still communities in our country that have seen little or no new investment in generations.”

According to The Baltimore Sun, the new program will offer breaks on capital gains taxes to investors in distressed zones — obviously a huge boost to predominately black and minority neighborhoods, which are still lagging in indicators like wage growth.

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The opportunity zones, Carson said, “are home to approximately 35 million Americans. The Department of Treasury estimates that the Opportunity Zone legislation could attract over $100 billion in private investment, which will go a long way to spur on jobs and economic development.

“This kind of medicine is precisely what a doctor would prescribe to heal communities where nearly 1 in 3 people live in poverty, and unemployment is nearly twice the national average.”

Pastor Donté Hickman, who the president said is “helping lead a groundbreaking project in the newly designated opportunity zone,” hailed the initiative.

“As pastor of the Southern Baptist Church, and through our Mary Harvin Transformation Center Community Development Corporation, in partnership with other faith-based stakeholder institutions, developed the East Baltimore Revitalization Plan, addressing development needs of over 100 acres just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital,” Hickman said.

“Mr. President, I want you and every agency and potential investor to know that in Baltimore — and in particular, Broadway East, Baltimore — that we have the plan, we have the property, we have the people, we have the professional expertise, and we have the prospectus to jumpstart your urban initiative.  Baltimore is prepared to be a demonstration project for a national urban revitalization strategy.”

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I think we can all agree this is a pretty big deal. Not only will it take a $100 billion step toward alleviating poverty in urban communities, it does it with investment as opposed to handouts. All of this without any tax money.

So why is it so difficult to find news about this anywhere?

Yes, I understand, the special counsel is a big ratings driver. So are arguments between the president and Democratic leadership, especially when they’re conducted in front of an array of reporters and cameras. However, if you’re the news, at some point you have to cover — well, the news. This is part of it.

The New York Times had a relatively short (at least for them) piece about it. Vox, with the predictability of the monsoon season returning to India, covered the story thusly: “Ivanka Trump reportedly advocated for a tax break she and Jared Kushner could profit from.”

See, because they’re in real estate, and this could help real estate. Clearly their primary incentive here. There was certainly coverage to be had, mind you, but it wasn’t front page stuff — and try to find it on MSNBC.

At some level, so-called objective news outlets have to cover the full spectrum of stories. That’s all conservatives ask. And, even with that low bar, we’re constantly disappointed.

CORRECTION: The original headline of this story claimed that a “Media Blackout” on this topic existed, which was an exaggeration of the truth. Many establishment media outlets, including The New York Times (as we mentioned in the article) and CNN covered this story, and The Washington Post ran an Op-Ed by Secretary Ben Carson on the topic in December. These outlets did not necessarily feature the story prominently on their websites, but they certainly didn’t “black it out,” as we stated. The Western Journal failed to research the story adequately prior to publication, in violation of our editorial standards. We have adjusted the headline and removed a specific reference to CNN from the article, and we apologize for publishing incomplete and misleading information, particularly in our headline.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture