Deaf dumb and blind

Deaf, dumb and blind to the diversity of the African-American community, WABC TV’s “Here and Now” show was criticized by us in two letters to WABC TV’s General Manager. Read More

Separate and unequal

The Obama Administration’s Education Department has attempted to carve out a race-based exception to civil rights laws, for endorsing “support” programs like the “Black Male Initiative” at CUNY… Read More

free speech bullying

When the White House blamed an obscure online video for the recent attack on its consulate in Benghazi, we decried the government’s “queries” and arrest of the video’s maker as an assault on Americans’ free speech rights. Read More

soft on civil rights

The New York Civil Rights Coalition is calling on Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to remedy his department’s lax enforcement of civil rights laws. Read More

 

SPOTLIGHT: WABC TV’S “HERE AND NOW” PUSHES SKIN COLOR/IDENTITY POLITICS

Disgusted with the WABC TV show “Here and Now” constantly pushing stereotypes of “the black community” – and with its treatment of blacks as one – dimensional in politics, art, culture and ideology – we sent two letters protesting this media bias to the General Manager of WABC TV, Dave Davis. The text to our latest letter follows.

February 24, 2013

Dear Dave Davis:

We wish to register our concern and continuing objection to what we regard as bias in covering race and black community issues on your revamped “LIKE IT IS” show, now titled HERE AND NOW. Indeed,we discern very little difference between the political and ideological diatribes that made LIKE IT IS so notable and objectionable (by way of biased coverage and racial rhetoric) and your current show, HERE AND NOW.

Today’s (Sunday, February 24, 2013) HERE AND NOW was another example of WABC-TV proselytizing in favor of skin color deification and so-called racial/cultural differences in a format supposedly about policies and community issues facing African Americans. HERE AND NOW repeatedly, it seems to us, through the actions of its producers and programmers, presents a one dimensional viewpoint–the stereotypical “black perspective” (which, I take, is the opinion of the producers) about controversial questions and public policy matters of particular interest to blacks. On today’s show, HERE AND NOW, once again, invited three panelists with the same point of view about historically black colleges. No consideration or invitation was extended to anyone with an opposing point of view–and no opposing point of view was offered. Rather, three “coordinators” of the New York City Omega Black College Tour were “interviewed” (actually cheered on) by your host, Ms. Sandra Bookman who, also, during the broadcast, encouraged viewer support for what she regarded as a worthy cause, by way of fund support for historically black colleges and the “important” work of the New York City Omega Black College Tour program. The guests also encouraged fund support–but that was to be expected; it was not my idea of legitimate public affairs programming for the host of the show--who represents management and WABC TV–to particpate in the fund raising drive on behalf of the Omega Black College Tour, thereby encouraging and steering black students to the historically black colleges and universities.

Whether there ought to be or whether black students should be encouraged to attend racially identifiable colleges–an important policy question for the 21st century–was an issue never posed much less considered in the programming decision to have three advocates of historically black colleges who on their own, and with the support of WABC TV’s Bookman, sought broad support for the idea of black colleges during the show. Your show and its producers, and the host of the show, simply presumed there is no other point of view within the black community or larger society worthy of consideration–such as whether black colleges are indeed outmoded and serve as relics of a discredited past in America, an era when colleges were organized around race and when blacks were excluded from the mainstream colleges and universities. Indeed, I do not recall Sandra Bookman even asking how many black students–a considerable minority of them–that the historically black colleges serve nowadays. The overwhelming majority of black students, one would never know from watching your show, avoid racially-identifiable historically black colleges–for their own and compelling reasons, especially in a society where we supposedly value diversity and interaction of students with persons from different economic and cultural backgrounds. Your Ms. Bookman–as is usual–tilted the conversation away from hard and sophisticated policy questions into proselytizing on behalf of societal, community and fund support for these racially-identifiable institutions of higher education.

It is shameful how this media bias shapes and perpetuates misconceptions about the so-called black community and misses the diversity of opinion within the black community; HERE AND NOW constantly presents a one-dimensional view and propagates race-consciousness as a value of and for blacks to emulate and propagate. WABC-TV’s role in siding with racial idiocy and ideology will not escape scrutiny much less criticism and dissent for much longer.

I do not get the sense that there is any adult supervision when it comes to the producing of HERE AND NOW–indeed, when it comes to race matters and race-oriented programming on your station. It appears that when it comes to exacting standards of objective journalism or even critical inquiry on important questions and issues, your station’s minority affairs programming–such as HERE AND NOW–reinforces stereotypes and misinformation about the black community in the guise of offering the “black perspective.”

I encourage your personal intervention to ensure broader representation on the show of all sides of controversial subjects such as this one; if the ordinary standards of journalism and critical inquiry do not apply to HERE AND NOW, and its host, I’d like to know why not, from you, the management of WABC TV. I do not regard it as relevant or satisfactory the disclaimer at the end of the show that the show may or may not reflect the views of WABC TV’s management. It seems to us that the show does indeed reflect a point of view–a bias, from the standpoint of programming decisions that exclude points of view dissimilar to the producers’ on such subjects as this–i.e. the efficacy or archaic nature of racially-identifiable colleges and universities in 21st century America.

Sincerely yours,

Michael Meyers
Executive Director