Deadline

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Don't Attack BET
White media outlets can't throw stones.

Recently BET canceled three of their news shows and one of their video shows. That leaves one news program and 14,000 video shows. They also made Comic View into a comedy show.

News sources around the country attacked BET for denying African Americans of news. HUH?
To be clear: No news source attacked BET. They reported that other people were upset. They pointed the finger without being the pointer.

The obvious question: Is BET the only channel that black people watch? Don't they have 400 channels like the rest of us?
The reality: BET was the only channel that was airing news and news programs for African Americans.

That's not what it's about
BET's decision was purely economic. They must have felt that not enough people were watching those shows and they could make more money with other programming. That's the same reasons that other news sources don't have minority news. Why should BET lose money if other news sources don't want to?

BET's job is not to inform African Americans. Its job is to make money. It's a TV station, not a civil rights organization. It's a shame that there aren't more news sources on TV for African Americans, but the blame shouldn't be put on BET.

There is a theory that Paramount bought the channel to make it a music video channel. The theory is that they bought the channel and are trying to make it into an "urban" partner with MTV.

Viacom/Paramount owns:
MTV: Young white kids and people in their 30s who don't know that it's over.
VH1: Apparently for no one, but originally for white people in their late 20s on up.
CTM: Country music.
So why not add BET to their radio station of cable channels?

If you don't like it, you can: write letters, boycott the station, or watch the news shows, giving them great ratings.

Other stations for African Americans are starting up. Viewer loyalty and pressure can be put on them to have more news shows than annoying videos.

To avoid a witch-hunt: This is about the media, not race. This is not about me, but about the media. Put the soapbox down.

This may prove my point about the news coverage of the lack of news coverage. If taken quotes from the almighty book, only read on special nights in the Spring.


From the Hollywood Hagaddah

The incredulous son would ask: "Why don't news sources who reported this 'upset' put on or print more news and news programs geared toward minorities themselves?"

You should answer: "Advertisers feel they don't want to reach minorities. Advertisers decide what goes on the news."

The son who doesn't know how to ask a question would then ask:
"Wouldn't you think that this would open up an opportunity for other news sources to pick up the ball and start running? It would make sense that at least locally in LA, KCAL could pick up the ball. The station is owned by the same megacorp as BET and Paramount. They run 3 hours of prime-time news every night. THREE HOURS! How many times can you say 'A rapist was caught... A cat was found... A car was chased'? Since Paramount owns both stations, they can share money and resources. Repurpose the BET on KCAL."

You would answer: "That wasn't even a question. Take your flat bread and go to your room. Be careful the sullen son."


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