What Do Fox News and the Black Media Have in Common?

Media-blitz…Neither was included in President Obama’s Sunday health care talk show pr blitz.

So President Obama went on the Sunday talk shows regarding his healthplan–ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Univision, yes Univision.  Which on the whole, I don’t have a problem with, except for the fact that there’s no Black media on this list whatsoever.  And like the President himself said on the David Letterman Show, he was Black before the election.  So what gives?  And before someone says he did CNN and Roland Martin’s on CNN, Roland, who is a friend, didn’t do the interview and even if he had, CNN isn’t a part of the Black media.

Now I don’t know whether or not BET and TV One even requested to interview President Obama regarding his health care plan.  Sunday morning programming on Black networks typically consists of one praise-a-thon after another.  Can I get an Amen? I thought that with the election of President Obama networks like BET and TV One that cater to Black audiences would revive or in some cases develop their news departments in an effort to go back to telling our stories from our point of view unapologetically.   But it must be said that if the president can do mainstream and Spanish language television media to push his health care plan, the Black media should be included.  Black people have just as much to lose or gain as anyone else depending on the plan that passes.

The Black press has been first to answer the call of every Black civil rights organization, Black business, Black church, Black preacher, Black leader and truth be told, many white leaders, when Black people’s support was needed to push causes and issues, including the election of President Obama. Their reputation for leadership and service is one that is unchallenged, unmatched, and unquestioned, which has earned them the trust of the Black community.  A trust that doesn’t always extend to the mainstream media.

So if the President is trying to garner support for his health care plan, it only makes sense to me that the Black media would be included much in the way that Univision was included for the benefit of Latinos. If the Black media was important enough to be used to push for the election of the President, they should be important enough to report on the President’s legislation and be included with the other networks on big pr blitzes like this past weekend’s.

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The images in the Los Angeles Times’ on Monday below the fold of the President sitting and speaking with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, Univision’s Jorge Ramos, NBC’s David Gregory, and CNN’s John King, was just a stark reminder of the lack of diversity in news media as it relates not only to Blacks but women as well and the fact that news execs still obviously feel that the majority of American’s trust their news coming from men.

Now I’ve said it, but I wonder if those execs over at BET and TV One are going to say it.

Jasmyne Cannick

Reprinted with permission from JasmyneCannick.com

Published by the LA Progressive on September 24, 2009
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About Jasmyne Cannick

Jasmyne is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the intersection of pop culture, race, class, and politics as played out in the African-American community. An award-winning journalist who previously worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as a press secretary, Jasmyne was selected as one of ESSENCE Magazine’s 25 Women Shaping the World and is a regular contributor to National Public Radio’s “News and Notes.” She is currently working as a political consultant in California on local and state campaigns.