Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NPR's Farai Chideya Talks With Black Bloggers

The Guests Trashed Michael Moore's Efforts

Bloggers Jasmyne Cannick, Michael David Cobb Bowen, and Rob Fields had the pleasure of being featured on Black Entertainment Radio NPR's News & Notes program today. The interview eventually focused on Michael Moore & his recent interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. Each blogger took their turn throwing jabs at the filmmaker, basically labeling him a joke regarding his film (without evidence or justification to support their view).

But what really raised my blood pressure was the way that all the guests accepted CNN's version of "The Facts" (without doubt), taking the networks critique of Sicko as gospel. They simply bought into the notion that Moore "did not have his facts straight" as Mr. Fields put it, and that Sicko is purely "propaganda" as Mr. Bowen proclaimed. Fields also refers to the War in Iraq as "This Iraq Thing". lol Wow! Jasmyne Cannick went as far as saying that she didn't care about Moore or his film. The problem of healthcare was not an important issue, at least not for her.WHAT??? And this was coming from a so-called Black Blogger? Anyone who has been paying attention knows that Black Americans as a group are greatly impacted by this broken healthcare system. Only Hispanics have poorer healthcare. But when it comes to healthcare, I see Hispanics & Blacks as being in the same boat. And we have all heard about the disparities in access, good care, and outcomes. Blacks fare worse in just about all major categories. About 45 Million Americans don't have healthcare, and another 35 million or more have periods where they go without coverage, bringing the total of people without adaquate care to just over 80 million. (according to a 2004 estimate). Black mortality is higher across the board. Even when African Americans have decent insurance, there are still disparities in care, although some sort of Universal coverage for all would save lives because of the preventive care that could be provided. More on disparities. (1) And let's not forget about 12 year old Deamonte Driver who died earlier this year from a preventable Dental condition. Here is what the ADA (American Dental Association) had to say about this tragedy. There are tons of other Deamonte Drivers out there who have not received major media attention.

And this was not important to her???

It was clear from the discussion that the panel really didn't know what they were talking about regarding Moore or Healthcare. Instead of attempting to comment on a subject that they knew nothing about, they should have passed on answering the question. They were clueless to the fact that Moore has a staff that makes sure his information is in order and he was able to rebutt CNN twice after his initial Wolf Blitzer interview. (1) (2) It turns out that CNN didn't have its facts straight. Its hit piece was biased and inaccurate. But I guess these Black bloggers were not concerned enough to find this information out (information which was available before the show).

They label these issues as unimportant....or as hoaxes, because they don't want to invest the time to find out what the hell is going on. For many Black Bloggers, these issues aren't "juicy" enough to warrant attention. But at the drop of a hat they will turn around and create 10 postings of the most ignorant, nonsensical bull---- that you could imagine, especially nonsense of the urban/entertainment variety. It's downright embarrassing. At least 2 of these bloggers were more of the entertainment variety.... not serious bloggers. Who the hell chose these 3???

Listen To The Segment, Taken from NPR's News and Notes, Wed. July 11th.

This is why I hate being considered a "Black Blogger". Because I quickly get thrown into the same box with the kind of people interviewed by NPR. I have to deal with being compared with the nonsense that they put out. There is this cloud of ignorance that hangs over the Black blogosphere that prevents these bloggers (not all, but many) from seeing the bigger picture on all sorts of issues. In this case, the kind of mentality that persists with some Black bloggers is- since the person bringing the message isn't Black (i.e. Michael Moore on Healthcare)
well then it must not be important to me. This kind of ignorance and short-sightedness is pervasive in the Black Blogosphere, and it causes Black Bloggers to miss out on so many other events going on in the World.

Black Bloggers (not all, but many) think too small. They create these well defined boxes that dictate what is important to them, and they never seem to be able to step out of these boxes that they have created for themselves (and for others). They tend to concentrate on race based issues, not understanding how non-racial issues might impact the stories that they are concerned with.

You cannot fully understand something like Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath if you don't understand what is happening 6000 miles away in Iraq. You cannot fully understand 9/11 if you don't understand U.S. Foreign policy that preceded it or the history of Al Qaeda. You cannot separate domestic policy from Foreign policy. This is how we can wake up to a 9/11 and people are dazed, asking why do they hate us... and then they proceed to swallow (hook, line & sinker) at least 3 years of media propaganda about Iraq and the War On Terror.

Too many Black bloggers are unwilling or unable to connect these dots because they have such a narrow view of the World. They see things in a vacuum. Unfortunately, many of these bloggers (not all, but many) have brought their ignorant BET culture into the World of blogging.

I did not identify as a "Black Blogger" when I started out, for the reasons that I have mentioned. I did not want to be pigeonholed. I did not want to identify with the kind of ignorance & shortsightedness that was on display in the above NPR interview. But because of the lack of support that I received from the "White Blogosphere" I found that it would be best for me to identify with my own ethnic group....thus this blog morphed into more of a Black identified Blog (not my original plan). However, I still don't really consider it as such, and I make sure that I cover a wide range of subjects here. And I was lucky to connect with great co-bloggers WHO ARE ABLE TO SEE THINGS OUTSIDE OF THE "BLACK BLOGGERS" BOX...(pure luck).

I actually tend to have more in common with Progressive, Moderate and Independent White Bloggers than I do with Black Bloggers. And I only enjoy reading a handful of Black Blogs... they know who they are.

But with the kind of ignorance that I heard from the Black Bloggers on NPR, I am not surprised that the White Blogosphere still does not take us seriously.

I was once a regular listener of NPR's News and Notes. I stopped listening a few months ago when the program changed its format. The Roundtable segment (the bread and butter of the show) was eliminated as part of the change, among other things. It quickly became clear to me what the NPR producers were trying to do... they were trying to attract a younger audience to the show. They dedicated the entire month of June to Hip Hop. The show has now turned into Black Entertainment Radio. Therefore... I turned them off and have not been a regular listener since. However, I occasionally will check the website for programs, so that I can catch information for my blog. All Things Considered is now my favorite NPR program.... no compromise on quality there.

The quality of the show really took a hit after the loss of Tavis Smiley and then again after the loss of Ed Gordon. I think Chideya is a smart lady.... but she is working far below her capacity. There seems to have been a deliberate effort to "dumb down" the show... the NPR interview above is a perfect example of that. Chideya must do a better job of challenging her guests and the listeners. The show has become an insult to my intelligence.


You can follow this story at NPR's News and Views Blog.... Be sure to check the comments and feel free to join in.


Rob said...

Hi, Angry Independent.

Thanks for listening yesterday. you raise some valid points. There was a bit of "head in the sand" vibe going on during the discussion. However, as to my comments, let me clarify: No, I have not seen "Sicko", so I can't comment on the film. That said, my main point about healthcare was that at the very least, Moore has generated some conversation. Given Americans seem to be generally more concerned with Paris Hilton that substantive issues like healthcare, it's great that he's instigating debate. People hated him for Farenheit 9/11, but he turned out to be right. Most likely, the same will be true in this case.

I actually don't think you and I are that far apart on this. Looking forward to checking out your site further.


The Angry Independent said...

My response was nothing personal.

But I had to speak my mind.

Tiffany said...

The black blogosphere is much more diverse than these three POLITICALLY CONSERVATIVE bloggers who are also black.

They do not speak for us all, and I'd actually argue that they are an anomaly both amongst black bloggers (who, from those I know skew liberal or moderate).

But I don't see why you should have a problem being known as a "Black Blogger" because you are of a different political stripe. Those disagreements just reinforce the fact that we are not a monolith.

j. brotherlove said...

This post hits on some great points. While the opportunity to hear different voices each week is noble the problem is the topics (current news) aren't tailored to the guests' areas of specialty.

I have opinions about foreign polkicy but I'm hardly an authority on the topic. I guess that's the double-edged sword with the format; you never know if you're going to get flashes of brilliance or... the other stuff.