Monday, July 26, 2010

Pondering a recent analysis of diversity in media…

Yesterday I watched the Sunday political chats for the first time in a long time.

Shall we?

Things this bitch noticed while watching the Sunday political chat shows…

The round table chat segments lack diversity…big time.  It’s as if producers are working from a 1955 handbook where they can easily check diversity off their to-do list by inviting black men and a white woman on the show.

I’ve long lamented the lack of diversity on shows discussing all things political.  The panels these shows put together rarely feature young people and producers seem unable to find an extra chair that would allow Hispanics and black people to appear on a show at the same time.

This shit jumped out at me yesterday because the chats were discussing how the media treated the Shirley Sherrod story.

Watching Michael Eric Dyson and Cornell West on Face the Nation…two black men who made some good points but who failed to address the role members of the black boys club at the NAACP played in throwing Ms. Sherrod under the bus or the unique experience of black women in the workplace that all too often includes being asked to add teaching Racism 101 to our job descriptions…yeah, watching that shit was frustrating as hell.

But twas also par for the course.

The mainstream press continues to fumble diversity…and, as a result, the panels they put together offer up weak ass analysis because key players aren’t at the table.

And Lawd have mercy, I was fascinated by Sunday’s edition of Reliable Sources where Howie Kurtz had Matt Lewis, Jane Hall and Joan Walsh on to discuss the Sherrod story.

Kurtz then had a segment with Carole Simpson on to discuss the lack of diversity in prime media slots.

Although I enjoyed the discussion of why people of color aren’t even on the short list for prime anchor slots and are too often segregated to the weekend anchor slots, I was more than a little disturbed that black women weren’t featured on the panel to discuss the Sherrod story.

And if women of color can’t get a seat at the table to discuss a high profile story about a woman of color, it’s no wonder we aren’t even on the sort list for invitations to discuss the economy or the war or political tensions with Iran.

Shit.

And I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired of high profile journalists tossing up their hands and indulging in token discussions of the impact the lack of diverse voices has on journalism.

Journalists are journalism.

Don't they have the power to change that which they sometimes critique but rarely take action to change?

Blink.

9 comments:

Mocha said...

And here I was...sitting 90 miles away from you in Springfield, IL wondering the SAME. DAMN. THING.

It's like they're all stuck in a vortex that sucks out their judgment when they are critiquing the fact that we lack diversity. And thank GOD for Dowd pointing that out to us as well in her article in NY Times yesterday. Whatever would we do if that White woman didn't tell us who is and who isn't Black Enough?

Disgusted in St. Louis said...

I tried to stop watching the Sunday morning bobble heads because I can't afford a new TV (picture: remote sticking out of shattered screen), but I'm cursed like a hypnotized moth to the phosphorescent flame.

The main thing that has disgusted me through out of the SCLM coverage of the Sherrod story has been the universal condemnation and blame pointed at the Obama administration and NAACP while only crickets in regards to Breitbart's and Faux News' promotion (self projection, perhaps) of the racist story.

Howard Dean called them out on Faux News where he was opposite Newt Gingrich. Newtie did what he does best: lie and blame Blacks (or Jews or Gays), in this case Obama and Jealous. Run, Newt, Run!

Blue said...

But token discussions are the only discussions of which they are capable.

Carole Simpson. I loved Carole Simpson as an anchor - the only time I watched ABC News was on Sunday nights or when she'd fill in.

Royal Ranch said...

Dear ABB,
I think I must be your exact polar opposite, probably even politically. I live on top of a mountain in Colorado, am a mother of three, a wife and an entrepreneur of llama based businesses. But I am one pissed off white woman as to the mess our country is in right now. I have been reading your blog for a few months now and have been waiting for just the time to comment. Your posts on racism are wonderful. I too am sick of people denying the fact that we are all racist, and it is time to wake up. Living in an all white community I see my very few, okay, one-ha!, black neighbor as the cool human being that he is, and I hope he does the same for me. But I do see his differences, and if I said I didn't, I'd be lying.
I also really appreciate your no BS attitude. You walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. You get out there and do what needs to be done and not just sit around and complain about it.
So although we are polar opposites in most everything, you just might be my black twin, LOL!

Shark-fu said...

Hi there Royal Ranch! Thank you for your thoughts and for reading a bitch's blog.

I appreciate your honesty and it speaks to the kind of inner work we all need to do.

So, thanks for sharing and welcome to the discussion!

Roderick said...

Shark-fu, love your blog. I've been lurking for a long time and this is my first post.

I have to disagree with you on one point. Since Obama's election I have noticed that CNN has added Roland Martin and Eugene Robinson is a regular to-go on Chris Matthews, Countdown and Rachael Maddow.

OTOH both of them only became prominent AFTER the first African American president was elected. So as you can tell I have some conflicted feelings about how the media seems to want to hear from that black voice when it's convenient ( when discussing racism) or when forced to do so due to circumstances.

This Shirley Sharrod situation has pissed me off for days and I am finally calming down but I would still enjoy kicking Brietbart fat azz.

BTW, Shark-fu you have me ROTFL sometimes with the way you use words. Keep up the excellent work!!!!!

Shark-fu said...

Hi there Roderick!

Most of the new POC are on as contributors or pundits, not as regular anchors who have an editorial say in what the topic is.

It's great to see them and I even enjoy Amy Holmes on CNN although we only agree on the joy of natural hair (wink)...but CNN has a lot of ground to make up and they aren't getting any credit for pundits of color who do not actually get that much air time.

Confession - I'm not so fond of Roland Martin, but I love Gene Robinson.

Miss Trudy said...

I was talking to a Mayan activist woman the other day, here in Guatemala. She told me she had been reading up on African American women's issues and she had felt SO identified! She said "We share so many of the same problems with black women in the United States, why is it we are not talking?" There are Hispanic/Mayan activists in the US, after all.

Interesting about diversity. Many people assume all African Americans and Hispanics are politically liberal and socially conservative. I have had many students who are 'minorities' and don't fall under these political rubrics.

Nevertheless, people in the media seem to operate under those parameters. I am sure this happens with the people in charge of getting fodder for these political talk shows: "Get me a liberal black guy, a liberal white woman, two chickens and red hen ... make sure they are all middle class or affluent, of course!"

Yes, you are right, no young people--no real activist old people either--seldom any lesbians or gays, or blue collar union organizers, and two "people of color" at the same table ... say Hispanics and Blacks, or Native American and Asians, or whatever ... is like "overkill"... don't put too much pepper into that stew, lest you ruin it, right? *sigh!*

Roderick said...

Ok I got you Shark-fu.

Carry on!!!