WEST PALM BEACH — A black activist blasted The Palm Beach Post at a meeting of the West Palm Beach City Commission, accusing the Atlanta-owned outfit of racism.
The always entertaining Willy McCray, an outspoken critic of Mayor Jeri Muoio, blasted the dwindling newspaper during a period of public comments about the poor maintenance of city parks in black neighborhoods.
McCray, a deputy with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, wanted to discuss unsanitary conditions in city parks, including dirty standing water in ponds and overflowing garbage cans — something he equated to “a form of racism.”
McCray then went after Palm Beach Post reporter Tony Doris, demanding that the paper assign another reporter to the city beat.
“They need to get a new Palm Beach Post reporter here,” McCray said, “because you only print what the mayor asks you and what the commissioners ask you to print … I expect you to investigate the city and not be a puppet for the mayor.”
With Muoio trying to get McCray off Doris’ back, McCray continued: “The Palm Beach Post doesn’t care about black people or else they would investigate. I hope they (black people) stop buying your newspaper.”
Eventually, Muoio cut McCray off — something she does routinely — with what could be one of her most condescending exchanges with McCray in her two-term tenure.
“You make me sad,” Muoio told McCray. “You make me sad because you’re a really smart guy, and you could use those brains to help us. And all you do is stand there and criticize. Some day, you’ll realize that if you help the black community, it’ll be a better use of your time.”
Meanwhile, the Post couldn’t assign someone new to the city beat if it wanted to. The so-called daily newspaper is stretched so thin because of budget cuts that Doris and his colleagues each cover five beats.
But if McCray is accusing the Post of race-motivated benign neglect, he might be onto something here.