My Take On the Media
Seems that more and more people are giving up on the mainstream media as a source of information. I made that decision a long time ago, but for different reasons...sort of. Although it's fairly obvious that the media has a liberal slant, I can't say that I think it's deliberate. Well, maybe it's deliberate, but I don't think it's necessarily malicious. I was one class short of a minor in Af-Am Studies, concentrating on Black portrayals in the mass media, so this is something I know a little bit about. I used to be like many of y'all, getting mad and disgusted and frustrated at the presentation of things on so-called news, but then it finally sunk in: the "news" is just entertainment in disguise. That's why it's so much about having a telegenic anchor; ze (instead of he/she. Gender neutral and good for Scrabble.) has to have a face the people can trust. Not that ze has to be trustworthy or any of that, just look like it. Same thing with the other people on the set. They have to seem like they get along, otherwise the viewers won't watch. I critique it, but I participate too. That's one of the reasons I don't like the news down here in Washington, because I think the newscasters are corny; if banter was breakaway pants, they still couldn't pull it off. Moreover, and more to my point, as an aspect of entertainment, the "news" exists solely to ensure its own survival. Period. Conservatives may say that it has a liberal bent, progressives may say that it has a conservative bent, but if anything, the media is like a paperclip, bending all ways at all times. I think it tends to go one direction more than another, but that's mostly because of where I sit. Here's a for instance: For all my conservative friends out there, if you still look at local network news, watch how Black folks come across, Black males in particular. You think Christians get it bad, look at my phenotypical demographic. See if you can count how many Black faces are attached to local crime vis a vis any demographic. Not that Black males are the only criminals in your town, mind you, and you needn't consider that the majority of the victims of Black criminals are Black themselves, just read the blurbs and look at the pictures. What I'm saying is this: the stories that get told on the news are intended to provoke the viewer into feeling that something is not right. Because at the same time that they're showing these supposed-to-be scary Black dudes, look at the pictures of the victims. Even though statistically, the ones who are getting done in look like the perpetrators, that's not what you normally see on the "news." That's not a compelling story because unless a young Black male has an angle, like being a promising student or athlete or something, there's less of a likelihood that the ordinary viewer will care. Again, if you think I'm exaggerating, just watch for a few days, preferrably with the IB muted. Look up statistics about who does what to whom, and then think about all the other crookedness that's going on in your area that didn't make the IB news broadcast. What are the stories didn't make the show because they were covering the Friends finale or because the anchor got artificially inseminated and felt the need to share it with the viewers?(yeah, that actually happened in Philly. Why did she hafta be Black?!) So what? Well, to a Nationalist, that's incontrovertible evidence that the media, controlled by conservative interests is engaging in a systematic plot to devalue the lives of Black males. I don't think that's the case, but I also know if the news was really objective, it wouldn't look like that. If you watch the news like they watch the news, you'll see the pictures they see, whoever "you" is and whoever "they" are. What I really think is going on is that the media is "conservative" in their presentation. That is, they tell the same stories the same way because that's what they think people are comfortable with and that's what they think will keep the people coming back-- so they can do what? Sell soap, beer, cars, and fast food. Ultimately, that's the point of anything that comes on the television. Any idea, social, political, or otherwise, is secondary to that.