Airing Dirty Laundry

Airing Dirty Laundry

Airing Dirty Laundry

Airing Dirty Laundry

Excerpt

Publication of the hardcover edition of Airing Dirty Laundry provided opportunities for me to face some of those in the media whose broadcasts about African Americans I found disturbing. Most of these encounters, though sometimes contentious, were civil. But in general there seems to be little room for reason in the public discussion of violence and race. Of course, a growing number of commentators have agreed with my conclusions in Airing Dirty Laundry that the media trash blacks in order to improve their ratings and that crime pictures starring blacks provide entertainment. Michael Deaver was right when he said on a "Freedom Forum" panel, carried on C-SPAN on April 29, that "TV news is entertainment and not news," and its promoters don't care how much damage the portrayal of blacks may cause to blacks and to race relations, so long as they make a profit.

A December 10, 1994, broadcast of ABC's "Nightline" brought me face to face with Jeff Greenfield, some of whose comments, I feel, have promoted an irrational white fear of what the media have dubbed black violence. During the closing minutes of the broadcast, Greenfield insisted that black-on-black violence was the country's paramount crime issue. Though he defended his position passionately and theatrically, he never responded to my questions about white-on-white violence—of . . .

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