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Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Plays the Fool Once Again

Says He Fears Jesse Jackson May Have Him Killed (!)

December 14, 2001

Time for some comic relief:

I previously brought to your attention an individual named the Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, proclaimed an African-American "leader" by the conservative press. Obviously also boasting a direct link to God and therefore qualified to determine whether someone is entitled to call themselves a man of the cloth, Rev. Peterson was at the time demanding that Jesse Jackson cease using the title "Reverend."

Fast forward to the present.  If I gave out a Fool of the Week award, the hands down winner this week would again be Rev. Peterson. 

As you may know, this past August Jesse Jackson won an agreement from Toyota to spend "$7.8 billion over the next decade to develop more minority-owned dealers, increase spending with minority suppliers and promote diversity."  Among other things,

  • "Toyota pledged to spend $700 million annually with ethnic minority-owned suppliers, up from $453 million this year, and $50 million with minority advertising agencies and media.
  • The company will also hire a new African-American agency to join its two existing agencies by Sept. 1.
  • Additionally, the automaker will spend $25 million to recruit and finance new minority dealers and $2.2 million in philanthropic support for minority groups. About $7 million will be set aside to train minorities for good-paying jobs at dealerships."

Pretty good, huh?  Not to African-American conservatives like Rev. Peterson.  They condemn Jackson as a "racial hustler" and a "shakedown artist," labeling his interactions with Toyota as "extortion."

So who shows up at a Jesse Jackson/Toyota event to demand his share of the "extortion" money?  That's right, Rev. Peterson.  If it's extortion money, why does he want a part of it?

But that's not the (entire) comic element here.  Rev. Peterson claims he was shoved by Jesse Jackson's son, and that became a huge story on wacky-right  Bill O'Reilly, whose obsession with Jesse Jackson should be analyzed by a psychiatrist, did a segment with Rev. Peterson on his Fox News hit show The Factor. 

Rev. Peterson is a publicity hound, and even at this point in the story his attempts to garner media coverage by attacking Jesse Jackson are merely annoying and pathetic.  What crosses the line into the truly absurd is this:

The next day a headline blared "Civil Rights Leader Fears for Life After Jesse Jackson Confrontation."  Wow, I thought, what else happened?  What evidence does Rev. Peterson have to back up that charge?  None, it turns out.  Most appropriately, Rev. Peterson's ridiculous charge was made on the radio show of that master of the half-truth, Sean Hannity:

"After leaving that meeting Monday I realized that these people are so mean and desperate that they would take me out," Rev. Peterson told WABC Radio's Sean Hannity.

Then Peterson warned, "Sean, if anything happens to me I want you to make sure you turn this tape over to the authorities and have them look into Jesse Jackson's organization or anybody that's connected with him.

"Jackson may not personally do it himself," Peterson said, "but I personally believe that he would order it done."

Talk about delusions of grandeur.  Does Rev. Peterson really believe that even were someone willing to commit murder, they would bother to whack an "important-only-in-his-own-eyes" grandstander like him?

Moreover, what an outrageous slur to make against Jesse Jackson, who risked his own life over and over again doing civil rights work in the Deep South with Martin Luther King, Jr.  It could have been Jackson who was shot on that balcony, not Dr. King.  It could have been Jackson, not Medgar Evers, who was shot to death.

Rev. Peterson not only wants to bask in some of Jackson's well-earned public attention, he apparently also craves the gravitas and respect that accrues to those like Jackson who put their lives on the line.

Sorry Rev. Peterson, you have to earn that status.  Simply making ludicrous allegations that you fear for your life doesn't cut it.  It just marks you as a fool.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More on Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson vs.
Jesse Jackson

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