May 29, 2009

The Real Outrage and Shock - Media Treats the Hoax Lightly

"Bonnie Sweeten you just blamed two Black guys carjacked you and your daughter, where are you going next?" I'M GOING TO DISNEY WORLD!!!! -my tweet on twitter


Don't bother watching the entire video, media's coverage of this hoax never mentions the damaging effect that this accusation has on the perception of Black men. Most media outlets ran the story as fact on Wednesday. Even the husband thought the hoax was true!

Now who's there to express the outrage of a Caucasian falsely accusing African American men of a crime? It sure isn't most Black radio stations.

If you've following the back and forth of the Performance Royalty Tax debate, many radio listeners could care less about the predicament Black radio stations find themselves. In particular most people feel no love towards Radio One and it's founder Cathy Hughes. Many people feel that Radio One turned their backs on the Black community years ago by adopting a business practice that resembles large media corporations. Many folks feel that Black radio should suffer because of what has been programmed to the community the last ten years. They call it karma. They want to see Black radio die a slow death.

But Black radio is not just Radio One. There are a few independent Black radio stations left in America that do serve the community. It's the main reason I do not support a Performance Royalty Tax. There are a few lone voices out there and this incident the other day that triggered an amber alert across the Philadelphia area is the main reason why Black radio stations and media should not be allowed to just die off.

Maybe one day Radio One will get their act together. But part of serving the community is giving the people in it a voice or outlet to express their opinion and bringing forth information that otherwise does not get covered in the mainstream media, not just playing today's Hip Hop, R&B and Classic Soul.

Radio, it seems would best serve it's own interest if it began to emulate social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. It's all about building a community. However large media conglomerates' model for success is to duplicate the same programming all across the country to maximize profits.

Today's column in the Philadelphia Daily News from Elmer Smith and a report on CBS3 news Philadelphia, are the only mainstream media outlets to cover the damaging aspects of Sweeten's accusations. And that's simply not enough. So where do we turn? Maybe a small independent Black radio station, or a Black newspaper, the Sunday morning public affairs program at 6:00 A.M. on your local urban station ...or your social network of Internet friends and followers that give voice to the issues of the day. Urban radio you're missing an opportunity.

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