Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fox For A Day

I was pleasantly surprised by the coverage provided by CNN and Clear Channel radio stations, for the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. I was hoping they wouldn't portray Memphis in a negative light as usual. I got my wish to some degree. Al Sharpton and the NAN (National Action Network) have been promoting this week and the surrounding festivities, for the last several months. Mr. Sharpton has been the most active in promoting this week, but Jesse Jackson has been the most visible nationally. With alll the events going on this week all over the city of Memphis. These two have never appeared on stage together. Even though they're here for the same thing. Except at Mason Temple I heard, which was an open door event. It was sponsored by Bishop Blake and the COGIC. All the big preachers got to speak.

Jesse Jackson came and took a large part of the limelight. He received a lions share of the national media coverage. I'm sure Al Sharpton wasn't to happy about that. But due to the fact that Jesse Jackson was standing next to MLK on the balcony when he was shot. He automatically is included in any remembrance or discussion of the historical event. Al Sharpton seems to have made a connection with the King children. But they didn't march with their father. It just doesn't have the same effect as those who were there. Like them, Sharpton has many of his impressions of the civil rights struggle seen largely through the eyes of others. Like most of the things he claims to be so passionate about. I was glad it didn't turn into a media circus, like so many other of his other endeavors have.

Local radio station WDIA started it off with councilwoman Janis Fullilove doing the talking. The call-in number to the station was posted on screen, but they didn't air the live conversation. Which probably was a good idea. Since everybody wanted to vent. With Janis being probably the most recognized member of the Memphis State 109. A group of black students who attended Memphis State in 1968. It was fitting to have her as a interviewer. Since she is a local radio personality. The day wasn't about her personal struggles being reenacted. During a time when all aspects of equality for blacks were uncharted territory. The Memphis 109 represented the local saga on the effects that racism had in education. I'm sure everybody living during that time has a story to tell, but that wasn't the place for disclosure. It would take all day and more. It was getting out of hand. In addition to Janis telling her story. We had two other people bringing up stuff that hadn't been revealed after forty years. Thank God for Rev. Ben Hooks, he kept the discussion focused. It was on it's way to becoming another camp fire meeting.

Bev Johnson had been sick and off work all week long. But anything short of being on a respirator couldn't keep her off the mic that day. I can't say that I blame her. In addition to having the the charge of being the ambassador for WDIA, the oldest black radio station in the country. This could very well have been one of the biggest, if not the biggest show of her whole career. For a local radio personality, this is a once in a lifetime deal. The chance to rub elbows with nationally syndicated talk show hosts and all the dignitaries in attendance. Was a dream come true for Bev Johnson. I don't know how Novella Smith Arnold and Dr. Warren Harper, ended up as Bev's co-hosts. Neither of them were in Memphis during that time, though they both are old enough to have been here. But I have a sneaking suspicion how they got there. Bev wanted to surround herself with people who wouldn't steal the spotlight. Dr. Harper was there to promote blacks seeking counseling as usual. A pet project he and Bev share. I guess Novella was supposed to provide some sort of balance to the trio. She claims to be a Republican, but I don't know about that. If she ever runs for office again and seeks the Republican nomination. I hope they will hold her accountable for some of the things she said.

Finally we had a segment with Andrew Clarksenior from WREC and Wendi Thomas from the Commercial Appeal. Which I must admit was a total surprise. I never expected them to have someone from WREC 600 on the show. I'm sure Clear Channel was responsible for that. They got Andrew from the weekend, instead of Mike or Ben who work everyday. I'm glad they did. Since there is another side that otherwise would've been overlooked. His leniency with the liberal listeners has finally paid off. He is both conservative and black. An enigma in the black community. I think the fact that Andrew was there, kept Wendi Thomas from saying something over the top. She didn't want Andrew and his audience to have a whole weekend uninterrupted to tear her apart.

Even though the celebration is over, people are still hyped. Soledad O'Brien and Roland Martin did a good job. Though I've seen a lot of things that could be addressed. I'll keep it to myself for now. I will say this though. "I was most surprised with CNN." They were like Fox for a day. "Fair and unbalanced."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home