Greatness Cannot Be Denied
Have you ever known someone was destined for greatness the first time you “met” him or her?
You might not have even met them in person, but had some type of business interaction with them and they set themselves apart from the get-go.
Journalist Yamiche Alcindor is one of those people for me.
Coming out of college, Alcindor applied to write for RegalMag.com.
Alcindor even signed the contract to write for RegalMag.com before taking a job somewhere else like USA Today.
Who could fault her for that?
But even though she never wrote an article for ReaglMag.com, I kept her signed contract because I knew she would be a standout for decades to come in journalism.
Never has her talent and tremendous professionalism and work ethic been on better display than with her tough questioning of President Donald Trump during the coronavirus pandemic.
Unfortunately, President Trump has never grasped the simple concept that journalists get paid to report the truth and keep their readers/viewers/listeners informed about what is going on in the world around them.
The job of a journalist is not to become friends with the people they cover.
The job of a journalist is not to write nice or mean articles about someone.
The job of a journalist is not to ask softball questions so that our leaders can look good and go unchallenged.
Our job is to hold our leaders accountable and report the truth, which includes the good, the bad and the ugly.
Journalism is sometimes regarded as the fourth branch of government.
The executive branch executes the law.
The legislative branch creates the law, with the exception of law that comes from judicial decisions.
The judicial branch interprets those laws and sometimes creates laws too.
And the journalistic branch holds all three of those official branches accountable, asks the tough questions of those branches that the people want answered and calls any so-called leader out if they are full of you know what.
Imagine America if journalists did not expose the racism that civil rights leaders faced by police chiefs during the 1950s and 1960s.
Imagine America if journalists did not expose former President Richard M. Nixon during the Watergate scandal.
The young Alcindor has done her part to continue the mission of real journalism.
Alcindor has done that marvelously as she challenges Trump on all of the nonsense that comes out of his mouth at his daily press briefings that have become like a broken record of monotonous mumbo jumbo.
The bad thing about Trump is that he does not even know whom he is dissing when he talks bad about the journalism profession or fake news because some of those journalists that he disses might be some of his supporters once in the voting booth.
But if a person is a real journalist they do not let their personal and political preferences stop them from being professionals.
A real journalist holds people accountable regardless if the person is someone they like or not.
I have done my share of political interviews in the past like interviewing former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Those brothers might have had my support or empathy, but that did not stop me from asking Mayor Nagin about the slow response in rescuing people in the “Big Easy” after Hurricane Katrina.
As a movie critic, most of my high profile interviews over the last few years have been with celebrities like filmmakers and movie and television stars.
I am a fan of many of the celebrities I interview.
However, I am so interested in getting the job done, as opposed to trying to be their friend, that I do not let my fandom stop me from asking the tough questions.
I try not taking pictures with celebrities, unless they ask for the picture, because I do not want to be seen as anything other than a real and serious journalist.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a true fan of media mogul, Tyler Perry.
I have been a fan since watching the movie, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman.”
I have seen him live on stage, almost on the first row at Toyota Center in Houston.
Furthermore, I own many of his hit movies.
However, when I got the chance to interview him, my fandom did not stop me from asking the brother some thought-provoking questions about his latest film on Netflix, “A Fall from Grace.”
Years earlier, I interviewed David and Tamela Mann who star in many of Perry’s movies, television shows and plays.
I think David Mann is hilarious.
However, that did not stop me from asking him about some of the criticism that his famous character Mr. Brown has received in the African-American community, with some calling it buffoonish.
Furthermore, my fandom did not stop me from asking Mann if he thought playing Mr. Brown would lead to him being typecast in Hollywood.
Perry and Mann might have left the interview thinking that I was another hater.
I do not care.
I am doing my job as a journalist.
With all due respect, I am not trying to be their friend in that situation.
I have plenty of friends and do not need any more.
All I care about is asking the questions that people want answered.
More importantly, I am trying to avoid the cookie-cutter questions that many journalists ask high-profile interviewees.
I can never speak for another person, but my guess is that Alcindor is simply trying to do the same things.