Editor’s note: Over the last 30 years, Jesse Jackson has managed to declare himself – with the help of the mainstream media – the most prominent leader of black Americans. Recently mired in a scandalous extramarital affair, questions about Jackson’s financial transactions and credentials now have made their way to the light of day. Author Kenneth Timmerman explores those questions in his new book, “Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson.” Using groundbreaking interviews by the author and documents just released by the government, Timmerman portrays Jackson as a master manipulator of the public. WND writer and talk-show host Geoff Metcalf recently interviewed Timmerman about many of the facts he uncovers in “Shakedown.”
Metcalf’s daily streaming radio show can be heard on TalkNetDaily weekdays from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern time.
Q: “Shakedown” is an amazing piece of work. You so clearly demonstrate that Jesse Jackson is a ubiquitous and chronic liar about big things, little things, anything.
A: He is a compulsive liar – a bit like Clinton.
Q: He actually makes Clinton look like a second stringer, and he is a world-class liar. The audacity of Jesse is epic. There is so much to cover that this is difficult, which is why people have to buy this book. Let’s start with Jackson’s academic achievements, or lack thereof.
A: He went to the University of Illinois for one year in 1959-1960. He wanted to play quarterback and claims the coach on the team said, “You can’t play quarterback because you’re black.” Obviously, an early encounter with racism, right?
Q: So who did play quarterback, since Jesse didn’t?
A: I went back and checked that, and guess what: There was a black quarterback for the University of Illinois that year, and his name wasn’t Jesse Jackson.
Q: Did he earn the title “The Reverend”?
A: I don’t think so, and many of the black preachers I interviewed for “Shakedown” don’t believe so either. I describe a two- to three-year process for earning that title. Jesse Jackson got himself ordained two months after Martin Luther King was shot. It was essentially a political ordination, a shotgun ordination. He did not go through the long procedure. He was not licensed to preach, as far as I could determine. I went to the church where he was ordained. He did not go through this two-year process. He never submitted himself to the authority of the church. He has never had a church himself, and he has been accountable to no one.
Q: Did he ever get a degree?
A: He did not. He flunked out of the Chicago Theological Seminary after less than a year. But the good news, I guess, is he was finally awarded an honorary doctorate from that same theological seminary more than 30 years later.
Q: And by the way, who was board of that institution?
A: (laughing) I was getting there. In the year 2000, he was finally given that degree after “Junior” – Jesse Junior, the congressman – was put on the board of the seminary.
Q: I’m sure that was just an interesting coincidence.
Q: I know you are getting a lot of questions regarding the epiphany, to some people, that Jesse Jackson’s actions during the assassination of Martin Luther King were not exactly the way Jesse tells the story.
A: It is a pretty extraordinary story. The liberal media has been complicit with Jackson for all of these years since 1968. When they think of Jesse Jackson, most people think of the story he has told and the spin that he has put on it.
Q: If you tell the lie long enough and consistently enough, it eventually becomes accepted as fact.
A: That’s right. And that is the way it has become. The first time Ron Daniels was on with me, he tried to claim that Jesse Jackson had in fact cradled Martin Luther King in his arms, and that is the lie.
Q: Was Rev. Abernathy lying?
A: No, Abernathy told the truth, and it is because of Abernathy that we know the truth.
Q: And what is the truth?
A: Jesse Jackson was not up on the balcony. They even tried to show the picture of Jesse Jackson up on the balcony with Martin Luther King. That picture was taken the day before. It was a publicity shot.
Q: As are most of the things that Jesse gets involved in.
A: That’s right. He goes there for the cameras, and you are going to hear that in this story. He was not up on the balcony with Martin Luther King. He was down in the parking lot talking to a bunch of musicians – Ben Branch and others. When the shots rang out, he fled and hid behind the swimming pool area and reappeared 20-30 minutes later when the television cameras arrived on the scene. That’s when Jesse Jackson told other Southern Christian Leadership Conference staffers, “Don’t you talk to the press whatever you do.”
Q: That’s my job!
A: Yes, that’s my job. Nobody had given him that job. He took that job. Call it “entrepreneurial instinct” if you wish, but on the spot he realized that he had an opportunity to spin the events to create his own persona and create a possibility for him to become a leader in the black movement. He had no prospects at that point.
Q: We know there were pictures all over the place of Jesse with blood on his shirt. Given that Jesse was in the parking lot when Dr. King was shot, where did that come from?
A: The next morning, he flew to Chicago and went on the NBC “Today Show.” In the meantime, he had hired a public relations agent. So here is a guy who is in such grief from Martin Luther King’s assassination that he comes back to Chicago and has the presence of mind to have himself taken from interview to interview in a chauffeur-driven car with a P.R. agent. The P.R. agent takes him to the NBC “Today” show, he appears in a shirt that he claims is smeared with Dr. Martin Luther King’s blood and he says on national television, “He died in my arms” – an absolute, patent lie.
Q: What I don’t understand is why Abernathy and those who were there didn’t jump up and scream, “Slow down! That ain’t the way it went down.”
A: That’s a legitimate question, and I don’t have a clear answer for it. All I can tell you, from what I understood, is Abernathy was too much of a gentleman and did not want to confront …
Q: He paid a price for that.
A: He did. But he did not want to confront Jackson openly. He felt it would divide the leadership of the civil-rights movement at that time. He let Jesse do his thing up in Chicago, figuring, I suppose, that it wouldn’t harm what Abernathy was doing down in Atlanta.
Q: And Abernathy assumed, obviously incorrectly, that he was going to get a piece of the action anyway.
A: Abernathy did assume the mantle of Dr. Martin Luther King’s leadership. He became the new leader of the SCLC, but he didn’t have the charisma and he didn’t have the following that King did.
Q: I want you to explain to our readers how Jesse stuck it to Abernathy with that Black Expo scam.
A: Actually, that’s a really important story that I tell in “Shakedown.” People in Chicago who were around in the late ’60s and early ’70s know the story. I tell you, I sure didn’t.
Q: It was news to me, too, and this wasn’t a mere or simple bureaucratic oversight. There were some very specific Machiavellian legal things that had to be structured and implemented. Please explain the Black Expo scandal, and be sure to mention Angela Parker.
A: Angela Parker was a black reporter from the Chicago Tribune who discovered the rot in the state of Denmark, if you wish. Angela Parker did the research and discovered that Jesse Jackson was fiddling with the money from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Operation Breadbasket. This was after Martin Luther King was shot.
Q: And he was creating corporate shields to isolate things, too.
A: That’s correct, and he did that with his half brother Noah Robinson, of whom I will say more. Angela Parker went down to Atlanta and presented all the evidence to Rev. Abernathy. Abernathy is floored – he just can’t believe it. He comes up to Chicago to the Marriott Hotel at the airport and hauls Jesse Jackson – invokes him – in front of the entire board of the SCLC. Jackson responds with his typical street-hustler reaction. He brings his gang-member friends, and they all come with these big picket signs to meet Rev. Ralph David Abernathy.
Q: With the “Blackstone Rangers”?
A: Yes. And the picket signs read, “Don’t get messy with Jesse.” It was as if he was going to go meet a white lynch gang. He’s going to meet Abernathy, OK. Abernathy presents the evidence in front of him, eventually, and tells Jackson, basically, “You have been embezzling funds from the organization.”
Q: But he didn’t even fire him?
A: No. He suspended him for 60 days. Jackson slams the door and rages out, and within a week, he says, “If they’re going to suspend me, I’m going to leave.” Then he sets up his own organization called Operation PUSH. In the meantime – and this is extremely important because it shows what Jackson does when he is challenged, especially by people within the black community – he singles out at the next weekly meeting of his organization, in front of hundreds of people (some people say thousands of people), Angela Parker, who comes as a reporter to cover the event. He points his finger at her and says, “This woman has been destroying black leadership.” And, of course, she is black. She gets hooted and howled out of the meeting. When she goes back home, she has to have bodyguards because people are picketing her house. She has to change houses. Jackson really unleashed a movement of hate against this woman. And what she did was her job as a reporter.
Q: It is what Jackson does against any opponent. The first thing he does is call them a racist, but he couldn’t exactly call Angela a racist.
A: No. So he said this woman is trying to destroy black leadership. He sicked the dogs on her – there is really no other way of saying it. This is the kind of story I try to tell in “Shakedown.” I think it is so important to know that side of Jesse Jackson the liberal media doesn’t want you to hear.
Q: The other thing that is important is the almost symbiotic relationship he had with criminals – the street gangs.
A: They were criminals. In one of the interviews he did with me for the book, he claimed he was just trying to rehabilitate the street gang members.
Q: Wait a minute, in that Black Expo flap, his deal with the gangs was, “Don’t hassle us and I’ll give you a piece of the action.”
A: That’s right, and in fact, they came and shook him down. Jesse thought he was in bed with the street gangs and that they were willing to go along with him. They wanted a third cut! The funniest story was told to me by one of Jesse Jackson’s friends, Hermene Hartman. She said the treasurer, Cirilo McSween – this wonderful man from Panama, who had been a track star but is short in stature – had been stripped naked and taken out into the alleyway as the gangs were trying to get the money out of Jackson. Taking Cirilo McSween out in the alleyway and stripping him buck-naked is probably what made Jackson turn over the money.
Q: One of things I found fascinating was when you hear the lies over and over again – even though you know they are lies – a certain amount of it almost insinuates its way into your subconscious. For example, the fiction about him being a poor little black boy coming up the tough way. How difficult was his youth? I mean, he was middle-class, wasn’t he?
A: Yes, he was solidly middle-class. His parents were solidly middle-class. His biological father, Noah Robinson – the same name as Jesse’s half brother – was a wealthy black businessman in Greenville, S.C. His adopted father, Charles Jackson, who was very proud, was a World War II veteran and a postal worker. He was very proud of providing for his family. They never wanted for anything. In the ’50s, they had a telephone in their house when, in America at large, that was not terribly common, and in a black community it was a sign of being a solid middle-class citizen.
Q: I was delighted to see you included a previous interview subject of mine, T.J. Rodgers. I really liked him, and you mention him in the book when Jesse tried to shake T.J. down. T.J. told me the board originally said, “Don’t make waves; go along to get along.” But T.J. got ticked off.
A: Yes, he did. Originally, he was going to adopt the “under-the-desk” reaction, which the board had wanted him to do. Then he listened to Jackson coming into work the next morning on talk radio saying what he considered to be outrageous things. He got into his office and said, “Forget this!” He closes everything off, cancels his appointments, calls some people, does some research, puts together an opinion-editorial and then challenges Jesse Jackson to a debate. He said, “Let’s talk about the facts. You’re accusing us of racial discrimination. We have 35 percent minorities in our company and throughout the Silicon Valley. You say we should have 37 percent. What do you know, my friend? Let’s talk about this.”
Q: Actually, Rodgers said he made a standing offer to Jackson: “You send me the resumes of qualified black candidates, and I’ve got more jobs than people to fill them. I’ll hire them.” And he said he still hadn’t heard from Jesse.
A: You are absolutely right. He said, “Please send me those young people who have been through science or tech studying computer sciences. I’ll hire them in a heartbeat.” But that is not what Jesse Jackson is into. One of the myths of Jesse Jackson is that he’s there to help the black community. Jesse Jackson is not doing things to help the black community. What I discovered doing “Shakedown” is that Jesse Jackson is there to help himself first. It’s called “Me-first Jackson” in Chicago. Then he helps his family – beer distributorships for his sons. Then he helps his close entourage, the black-elite friends. And these are a dozen, two dozen people around him who have become hundred-million dollar millionaires.
Q: Before we rip anymore leaves off the onion, please tell our readers who Noah Robinson and Jeff Fort are.
A: Noah Robinson, Jesse Jackson’s half brother, graduated from Wharton School of Business in 1969. He had a promising career ahead of him. Jesse Jackson said, “No, brother, come with me in Chicago. I want you to be my partner.” He brought Noah Robinson into Operation Breadbasket. They subsequently went into business in the Breadbasket Commercial Association and into Operation PUSH as well. Jesse then introduces Noah Robinson to Jeff Fort, who was the head of Blackstone Rangers. This was the biggest – and at the time, the most violent – street gang in Chicago, subsequently convicted of killing more than 200 people. Jeff Fort and Jesse Jackson are closely tied. Noah Robinson gets involved in the gang, he gets lots of business, he becomes a businessman in Chicago – partly with the gangs, partly with Jesse Jackson. He gets lots of contracts with the city government that Jesse helps him get through these minority set-aside programs.
Q: Mayor Daley didn’t like Jackson.
A: No, not at that point. At one point, Noah Robinson boasts they are going to be like the Rockefellers. Jesse is going to do the politics, and Noah is going to do the business side of the family. They are going to be a big family in Chicago. Over the years, Noah goes bad. Jeff Fort certainly goes bad and gets put in prison.
Q: Whenever you kill a couple of hundred people, eventually folks will start to frown on that.
A: He got caught. That was the problem. Even Jesse couldn’t keep him out of jail. Jeff Fort eventually gets put in jail for life in ’86 in a plot where he took $2.5 million from Libya. He was going to blow up U.S. government installations on behalf of Col. Gadhafi (of Libya). Eventually, Noah is arrested in ’88 and convicted of murder-for-hire, drug trafficking and racketeering while Jesse Jackson is running for president. The curious thing about this that I found in researching this book is nobody asked Jesse Jackson the question. Here he is, a candidate for president of the United States, while his half brother, business partner and close associate is arrested and indicted for murder-for-hire and all these other things.
Q: Why, the inimitable malfeasance on the part of the media not to pop that! If it were a Kennedy or Donald Trump, they would excoriate him in the press.
A: It was 1988. What if it had been George Bush, the father, or Dan Quayle, who gets his National Guard records taken out? Here you have another candidate, Jesse Jackson – a Democrat, a left-wing extremist – and his half brother gang member goes up for murder-for-hire, and nobody asked the questions.
Q: It is beyond amazing. Let’s talk a little about his personal finances, because WorldNetDaily reprinted your segment about the blind trust on his home. Who fronts the money for that?
A: I couldn’t find out. I pulled all the records.
Q: Well, you could find out if Jesse and his wife would agree to permit it.
A: That is absolutely correct. You have to ask them, and they have to agree to it. The house was bought in 1970. They didn’t buy the house; it was bought for them. Today, it’s a million-dollar house in an exclusive enclave in the south side of Chicago. It is not middle-class; it is upper-middle class. It’s not a gated community, but I can tell you it’s set off from the badlands in a very serious way. It was put in a blind trust. To this day, nobody knows who actually put up the money to buy that house for them. In the same way, when Jackson bought a house – a three-story, 15-room mansion in Washington, D.C., from Howard University in a sweetheart deal – nobody could tell, according to the documents I pulled, who paid the mortgage, the refinancing and all the rest. It wasn’t Jackson. Somebody was always picking up his bills.
Q: I reread your book, because, frankly, despite the fact that Jesse is a dirt bag, you have to give him points for the very cool way he has been able to, and continues to, finesse that corporate blackmail to this day.
A: (laughing) You are absolutely right. I have seen him in action. I went to some of his conferences, and I’ve read reports of other conferences.
Q: I mean, T.J. Rodgers is in the minority.
A: Oh, absolutely! Most corporate CEOs have given in. Look, according to Jesse Jackson, Bill Gates is going to host his conference in the Silicon Valley this year.
Q: Once upon a time, corporate executives would tremble if “60 Minutes” showed up on their doorstep. That’s chump change now; don’t let Jesse show up, because he’s going to get his hand deep in their pockets.
A: And it’s big money. When Viacom was trying to – and they did successfully – merge with CBS but wasn’t sure it would be able to, Jackson originally was filing papers with the FCC to block the merger, like he did with so many other corporations. You’re talking about mergers in the range of $50 billion to $100 billion – huge deals requiring federal approval. And in these federal approvals, you have the possibility for interest groups such as Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH or Citizenship Education Fund to say that they object and to give reasons for their objections.
Q: And let’s be clear here, they don’t object because of any effort to help the poor, downtrodden ghetto resident. They object so that they will be bought off with a piece of the action.
A: Let the readers judge. What happened in this particular case with Viacom, and in so many others, is Jackson and his groups objected. The companies went nuts and sought to have “negotiations” with Jackson. They wound up paying off huge sums of money – hundreds of thousand dollars – to Jackson and his groups. And guess what? All of a sudden, those objections disappear.
Q: And from the corporate standpoint, it is cheaper than being involved in a 10-year lawsuit where lawyers are eating up billable hours.
A: You better believe it. I’ve had a number of CEOs come to me and say paying Jesse Jackson $400,000 or $500,000 was the price of doing business. By the way, I think that shareholders have something to say to corporate leaders who do that.
Q: This is extortion. Jackson doesn’t use a gun, but he might as well. But from the corporate side, the CEO’s responsibility is to maintain the value of the stock.
A: The CEO’s responsibility is not to let himself be extorted and not to pay an inordinate high price for the extortion.
Q: If they can pay Jesse $500,000 to buy him off instead of $5 million to lawyers …
A: And that is exactly the calculation that many of these CEOs have made. I think the record is pretty clear. I tried to lay it out in “Shakedown” so people could see it and judge for themselves. Look at the facts, look at the documents. I present quite a bit of that.
Q: I’ve got to ask you this, because Jesse Jackson has had a tough year. Between Bill O’Reilly badgering him incessantly and now your book, is Jesse at the end of the road?
A: I wouldn’t count him out. He’s a politician first and foremost, and politicians have a way of coming back.
Q: It is fascinating that his followers still buy into this stuff, though.
A: He still has very faithful followers, but the question is, will the liberal media continue to support him? Wait and see – so far they are. No. 2, will the corporate CEOs continue to pay him off? That seems to be diminishing somewhat. And No. 3, and most importantly, I think, will the black community continue to stay silent about him? I wrote this book because black pastors came to me and said, “You’ve got to write this book. We can’t do it. We can’t talk out against him.” So I tried to give voice to them in my book. Now, I hope that would give them courage and let more leaders of the black community come forward and speak their mind about Jesse Jackson.