Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is a "Black Television News Channel" on the horizon?

I came across this article about the potential formation of a "Black Television News Channel" in order to give blacks a voice that is often missing in political and social discourse. The last black Republican to serve in the house, J.C. Watts, spoke to the Associated Press and expressed concern over the general portrayal and lack of critical examination of key issues in the black community as illustrated in the recent coverage of Rev. Wright and Barack Obama. Watts states in the article:

"We hope to be the single destination for reliable, credible, informational resources for the African-American community...The critical thing is to allow the community to create a platform to be involved in the economic, social and political debates taking place across the country."

I think this idea has some good potential to help give voice to such a large community that is too often misrepresented and too often ignored. Regardless of your view on Rev. Wright, it was clear that his thoughts and views were limited to what was heard in sound bytes. Much of the coverage the corporate media gave to the issue showed Rev. Wright in blips of less than thirty seconds and had outside analysts speaking with authority on Trinity Church and Black Liberation Theory. This leads to misrepresentations and misleading framing surrounding issues that are often bigger than the perceived story. Bill Moyers had Rev. Wright on his program for an extended interview that examined the history of Trinity Church, the idea behind Black Liberation theory, and other ministries that Rev. Wright led during his tenure as pastor. In other words, it put the issues in greater context.

History is all too often written through the eyes of the victors which leads to marginalization of dissident voices and mischaracterization of history through suppression of greater context. If this proposed new channel can give voice to a community that is not adequately represented in the greater discourse, then it can only help us to better understand the society in which we live. The better informed we all are and the more context we give issues in society, the more educated our society can become.

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