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CNN Goes Uncle Tom
2001-06-27 12:36:43


We're Professionals, Dammit!
 
Got tight last night on absinthe. Did knife tricks.
-- Ernest Hemingway

 

John Lee Hooker died for your sins.

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.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.

eatme@pigdog.org


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