The challenge we have with today’s news media is that far too often it is driven by ‘expert’ punditry. We see this all the time where people holding lofty titles like ‘Professor’, ‘journalist’ and ‘doctor’ are invited onto shows as pundits and are assumed to be the definitive expert in the topics being discussed. As a result anything they say is taken as fact and hence gets repeated and passed along to others as gospel.
Far too often people holding other perspectives that are widely shared by members of particular communities are excluded from these discussions which leaves folks who do not fully understand or critically think about media matters to assume the following;
1-There are no other perspectives to consider but those of the pundit
2-When other perspectives are presented they are ‘alternative’ at best and on the fringe and out of sync at worse.
3-If a person who looks or says he/she is a member of that marginalized or often excluded community does appear on a mainstream news show what they say is given addition weight and taken as the predominant view of the community.
Over the years I’ve heard these types of handpicked leaders say outrageous things on behalf of the community ranging from ‘we are against immigration reform’ to ‘racism and discrimination has ended and we no longer need to talk about such matters’. We’ve heard age old myths that have long been proven wrong like ‘The majority of Black people are in jail as opposed to college or the majority of Brown people in this country are here illegally. We’ve heard conservative women come on shows and say things like; fighting for equal rights to pay is not needed at this time.woman should stay home and take care of family. I am still hearing handpicked Black pundits pushing outdated assertions like; Black people from the hood don’t do well in school because they are afraid of appearing to ‘act white’ . Can we please require this myth which first emerged in the late 80s when during an interview with film maker Spike Lee?
We can take these misperception closer to home-with false assertions like; President Obama is a Muslim or President Obama is a socialist.
This continued misrepresentation of communites has spawned the media reform and media justice movements that has pushed for major changes and overhaul of systems in place that routinely assualt people who do not have a seat at the table where they can speak to the masses and provide a counter or more balanced view.
In the clip below we will show you haw this works and one of the rare times someone in mainstream media returned to the airwaves to correct what was uttered, widely heard and subsequently listened to and believed. This centers around the debate that took place the other day between conservative pundit Pat Buchanan who appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and made the outrageous assertion that this country was built by 100% white people. He said that the Civil war, World War I and II were fought by all white people and basically rewrote American history. This was a conversation between two white people and Buchanan’s remarks went unchallenged and uncorrected until yesterday when Rachael Maddow came on her show and spent 10 minutes correcting the assertions made by Buchanan.
As I said this rarely happens. As you listen to this keep in mind how many people were left believing what Buchanan said was fact. Hopefully we all learn to think about what is presented on the news more critically. Check out the clip below.