I can’t help but wonder if CNN is flexing its Media Muscle right now. A lot of African American oriented blogs and radio talk shows are discussing the motives and validity of the network’s ambitious adventure to provide the world insight into our culture. The general consensus seems to be that this was truly a missed opportunity to provide a substantive cultural look at Blacks in America, although other people feel that indeed some purpose is served because somewhere the light bulb is going off in someone’s head.
Not only is this presentation being heavily covered in almost every aspect of the African American society, mainstream media has also given great attention to the topic. A frenzy has been created that has encouraged everyone to watch (Hey, American Idol’s over right?) and prepare themselves for the next day’s water cooler conversation. I can’t turn my head or radio station without some mention of “Black In America”. So now that CNN has our attention, what is the real purpose behind this documentary? I feel that they truly missed the mark on the goal they purported to fulfill, but what I’m not sure of is whether or not this was done with an underlying mission in mind. Yeah, it’s time for the conspiracy theory talk… just feel me out for a moment.
Just shy of about two months ago CNN was dubbed the “Clinton News Network” because many people asserted that it’s presentation of Democratic Primary related events were unfairly biased towards the Clintons. For whatever reason there seemed to be a very sincere loyalty to the Clinton campaign, and CNN’s unbridled media flex muscle, strong enough to shape the opinions of its faithful demographic and others, was working to tilt the election scale undeniably towards the Clintons. From this premise, can we assume that the network’s news was not fair and unbalanced, and this loyalty that was so strong would last even beyond a candidate selection by the Democratic Party? If so, then a special such as “Black In America” would be very timely.
It is very well possible that the Nation may have it’s first African American president, but media slip ups continue to plague honest campaign efforts. Is it any coincidence that even though Obama professes to be a Christian, the media continues to sew the ideas of a connection between him and fundamental Islamic extremists? Is it by chance that The New Yorker created a “satirical” cover reinforcing these stereotypes when I’m sure those guys are more than smart enough to understand that there are many people that will simply believe what they see with no absolutely no personal interpretation? I won’t even get into that Jeremiah Wright fiasco that the media birthed. With all of this preceding “Black in America”, why can’t one believe that as Obama gains momentum against McCain, a major network would market and present the world a contemporary view into life in America as a Black person and merely reinforce stereotypes and negative statistics that would otherwise been seen nightly on one of their news broadcasts? Great amounts of money were spent to create the attention this series has gotten. Was this to subconsciously cause a connection between the ills of Black America and the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee? This could have a lot of social dis-associative power.
Many will read this and point out that it had been stated that this was done 18-22 months in advance and was done to acknowledge the 40th year anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Can we consider that yes, this footage could have taken close to two years to shoot, but we’re dealing with a network that runs a 24 / 7 news machine that edits on the fly to keep up with a fast paced world. It could be that commentary for the show was recorded a few different ways so that they could adapt this documentary to the message that was to be sent in the social climate of the time it aired. I’m just speculating.
Forty years later and Blacks in America have made significant positive strides, but this show doesn’t accurately reflect so. Obama is currently making unprecedented advances in his current trip to Europe, The UK and The Middle East, trying to repair and strengthen relationships with the leaders of this world. He is very peaceful and respectful in his approach and has been very warmly received. What better way to commemorate the 40th year of King’s assassination than to fairly present the potential of the ultimate dream come true. Why continue to focus on the negative? Unless there are some ulterior motives…
What do you think?