Hoods off to CNN for their day-after omission of John Lee Hooker's death
from both their Headline News and website "Top Stories" rotation. Meanwhile,
Archie Bunker's check-out gets second billing, behind a lead story about a
survey of minority males regarding racial-based traffic stops. To quote Ice-T,
"Goddamn, what's a brother gotta' do to get a message through to the Red,
White, and Blue?" Clearly, something is still amiss in the South.
CNN, which hails from Atlanta, likes to pride itself on its liberal
stance. Political bigwigs on both sides know where to go for their coverage:
Dems head for CNN, GOPer's head for MSNBC. Sure, media coverage is still
jaundiced, but the offset balance serves to maintain the machine. Hell, CNN was
acquired by Time-Warner, one-half of which used to be considered the bastion of
liberal mainstream publications.
Not only did CNN make an ass of itself this morning through its story
selection, but they did so using a black female anchor. I could only wonder if
she was actually aware of what was happening as she did it. Some news anchors
are pretty savvy people, but some of them would have trouble counting their
toes and coming up with the same number twice; sex, race, and gender having
absolutely no bearing on this phenomenon.
Every other news outlet I polled this morning seemed to have gotten it
right: celebrity deaths go together in story rotations. Major newspapers ran
the obits 1-2 on their front pages, giving equal play to both men. Admittedly,
their careers had comparable influence in our culture. Hooker was a seminal
bluesman who laid the foundation for future white boys like Elvis and John
Lennon. Hooker was so hard to copy that no one even tried; truly a class by
himself, with all the class and grace of a true legend. O'Connor had the
bravery to step into the socially self- deprecating shoes of a blue-collar
Queens bigot at a time when the baton of Civil Rights had been passed
posthumously to uncertain legatees. Played off a feminist daughter and a
liberal son-in-law, Archie Bunker touched our sensibilities in a way
unparalleled since the show's final episode in 1979. And yet, when it comes to
who's really on top, CNN chimes in on the mighty whitey.
So just what happened here? Was some news editor asleep at the controls,
or is there a KKKape a the helm? Is CNN paying mere lip service to race issues
in America with their trumpeting of the racial profiling poll? Shouldn't a
balanced, conscious news organization give equal shrift to amazing blacks, as
well as amazing whites? You'd think so, but the truth is sadly otherwise.
I abhor race-baiters like Rev. Al Sharpton and Louis Farrakhan. Their
rantings make me sick, and it's obvious that Dr. King meant nothing to them.
They are cults of personality bent on exploiting horrible events for their own
grandeur. And sometimes the usually good-hearted Rev. Jessie Jackson goes a
little too far in his sensitivities. But on days like this, in times like
these, I can understand how all of them still feel the foot of the Mighty
Whitey holding them tightly to the ground.
In the spirit of problem solving, I wrote to CNN on via their website.
About an hour and a half after I did so, the front page of the site changed,
and a banner noting the passings of both Hooker and O'Connor had been placed on
the top. Elation washed over me-perhaps I'd had some effect after all (though
CNN probably received a flood of e-mails like mine). However, half an hour
after that, the site was changed again; this time, it had gone back to the
original format, and no mention of Hooker's death was made at all. (NOTE: Even
MSNBC, tool of Bill Gates in the ongoing anti-trust actions, had the good taste
to do a side-by side on the entertainers' check-outs.)
So there it is. Equal time for equal achievement? Not in Atlanta,
apparently. Cultural racism? You make the call.