Media Ignores Black, Latino Views on Iraq
by Randy Shaw‚ Jan. 12‚ 2007
Forty years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s murder, America’s media still deems African-Americans, Latinos and other people of color unqualified to express views on the nation’s most riveting issue—the Iraq War. CNN’s wall-to-wall coverage of the lead-up to Bush’s Wednesday night speech had anchorperson Wolf Blitzer surrounded by several other pundits/reporters, all of whom were white. And those selected to give their insights were not generals or ex-military leaders, but political hacks like Paul Begala and Bay Buchanan, neither of whom have any basis for providing special insights on Iraq. The media refuses to acknowledge the war’s racial component, and representatives of the African-American and Latino communities whose members are dying for George Bush’s fantasies are deemed unfit to comment upon it.
I do not watch television news at home, but get more than my fill from the bank of televisions where I work out. CNN, MSNBC, various local and national news shows and even Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are on display, so I get a cross-section of who is being asked to comment on national and international events.
In the hour before Bush’s Wednesday night speech, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and his staff interviewed what was designed to represent a broad cross-section of opinion on the “surge” strategy. To my surprise, the leading alternative to the right-wing FOX News did not feel obligated to include even a token African-American, not even the Juan Williams-type moderate who can be trusted to parrot the mainstream line.
No, CNN’s reporters and interviewees were as white as major league baseball teams before Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers sixty years ago. In fact, the scene was right out of the South of the 1950’s: a whites-only setting where folks discuss decisions that disproportionately affect blacks, Latinos and people of color.
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