The Cosby camp later attacked Brown for unethical reporting, contending that he didn’t “indicate” that he was interviewing the entertainer for publication. Brown has essentially scoffed at that attack: “There is no way that he did not know that this was for publication,” he told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin this afternoon. A story in the New York Post summed up the interview as did this piece in the Washington Informer.
As Brown chatted with Cosby in the brief call, he pointed out that the Washington Informer, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, “has treated [Cosby] fairly. In fact, the Washington Informer had published two stories that used his fans and their response to the allegations — they were pro-Bill Cosby, and he said he appreciated that very much; he said he would have his team treat me like royalty because of it.”
Under Brown’s byline, the Washington Informer on Nov. 19 published a piece titled “D.C. Residents Defend Bill Cosby.” To substantiate that claim, the piece cites the feelings of three District residents:
• Sandra Meyers, who said, “The media builds you up only to tear you down, especially if you’re a black man who has made the kind of impact that Bill Cosby has. I still eat Jell-O pudding pops with my kids.”
• Ameena Patrick, who said, “What Bill Cosby brought to television cannot be taken away from him, and it can’t be taken away from black America.”
• Rashawn Hooks, who said, “None of the [allegations] have been proven in court. I don’t think Cosby should dignify these things with a response…”
To its credit, the story details the case against Cosby and gives plenty of space to the allegations of Barbara Bowman, who accused Cosby of drugging and raping her in the mid-1980s. But it doesn’t wrap up without a sunny note from one of those three fans: “He’s never been arrested. He’s never been charged,” the story quotes Hooks as saying. “Just because someone says he did something, doesn’t mean that he did, and the only thing we do have to go on is all of the good [Cosby’s] done, which is enough for me.” That’s some pro-Cosby neutrality.
In a piece on the interview scoop, Brown notes that the Washington Informer’s “mission continues to be that of its founder, Dr. Calvin Rolark, to make a difference by publishing positive news about African-Americans.”