Start Snitching

Wilkerson, Murray, and just about everyone else forever hold their peace
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 7, 2009

There's a new theater in the multilateral conflict spurred by bribery charges leveled against former state senator Dianne Wilkerson. In addition to battling feds, reporters, and legislators, Wilkerson has now — not-so-publicly — turned her guns on the Black Ministerial Alliance (BMA), some members of which, she first alleged in a closed December 17 meeting, conspired with State Senate President Therese Murray to oust her in exchange for secured state funding, among other things.

But since Dorchester Reporter news editor Pete Stidman broke that story on December 24, using first-hand accounts from sources who attended Wilkerson's pre-holiday assembly at the Eliot Congregational Church of Roxbury, not a lot of noise has been made concerning the disgraced state senator's very serious allegations. Why has so little ink been spilled about this rift, which potentially threatens to devastate Boston's black community? No, it's not a media conspiracy; rather it's what inevitably happens when aggravators on all sides clam up.

The Phoenix covered an inconsequential December 30 meeting at the Roxbury YMCA, where no official delegates from the BMA or the Wilkerson camp were present. This past Sunday, the Boston Globe dropped a mostly second-hand rumor round-up pegged to a Christmas Eve letter that Wilkerson sent to Boston-area clergy in which she claimed she felt "assaulted" by clerical leaders who pushed her to surrender her State Senate campaign this past Halloween.

And Tuesday, Globe columnist Adrian Walker — after being denied substantial comment from several parties, much as this paper was — finally wrote what so many journalists have been thinking: this silence is unfortunate, not just for writers, but for the public.

At this juncture — since the armies engaged in this accusatory warfare are remaining so elusive — observers and columnists have no choice but to make assumptions. On that note: even if BMA leaders did conspire with legislators and investigators to railroad Wilkerson, it's in everybody's best interest to stop snitching and avoid the media. In that scenario, Wilkerson gets remembered as a martyr (to some degree), while the pols, feds, and ministers involved are on record as innocent, and everybody gets to blame reporters for not doing their jobs.

Related: Incumbency, Socialist studies, Dianne's special deal, More more >
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