Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why BET - yet again - ain't s---t

This entry was going to be about the loss of Coretta Scott King, about how the country said farewell to a strong, determined classy lady, a woman who lived through more than most of us can imagine.

But, instead, it's about BET. And why, yet again, BET ain't shit. Here is a letter posted on the Poynter media gossip web site. It's a blog that media types use as a reference to discuss the inner workings of the profession.

Here is an excerpt of a letter that caught my eye:

"...The three TV cable news networks are broadcasting the funeral services of Coretta Scott King. (Even DC's ABC affiliate is interrupting it's normal daytime programming.)

Upstart urban network TV One is broadcasting it live.

But Black Entertainment Television -- who has dramatically downsized its public affairs programming over the years -- is instead airing the "I'm On It" video by the Purple Ribbon All-Stars. Sure, you can go to and watch the streaming coverage, but has BET so committed itself to the hip-hop generation that there is no time to honor the individuals who worked selflessly to give them the opportunities they have?

I'm glad that the Purple Ribbon All-Stars are "On It." (I'm not quite sure what that "it" is.) Because BET is certainly not on this story. "

BET is certainly not on this story. As usual. Yet again, Black Entertainment Television dropped the ball. Yet again, they're too concerned with rump shaking videos than the death of a major American icon and human being. Yet again, a piece of ass gets more play than public affairs.

Look. I've heard all the arguments: BET is what it is and we shouldn't expect more from it. BET doesn't have an obligation to be socially responsible because they're a for-profit corporation. BET should be supported by black people because it's rare to have such a sizeable, influential, POWERFUL black corporation.

I don't buy any of that crap. We SHOULD expect more from BET. They DO have an obligation to at least TRY and present some decent broadcasting. If that powerful black corporation wants my support, then they've gotta present me with viewing options that I like. I'm a black, salaried, educated professional. I don't need - or want - to watch videos all day. I want shows that represent things I'm interested in.

Know what really sad in all this? BET doesn't have to be as triflin as it is. They are a billion dollar conglomerate, and have the wiggle room in their budget to make room for at least a few decent programs.

Instead, all they do is cut: They cut Tavis Smiley. They cut BET Tonight. Last year, they cut their news department all together, claiming that they were still committed to public affairs programming.

Yeah right. Reginald Hudlin, who directed some cool flicks like "Boomerang", took over as president of BET last summer. When he took over, he said that he and the network were committed to broadening BET's programming, ensuring quality.

We'll see. So far, they've bombed, and Coretta King's funeral was a major screw up. By the way they played it, I wondered if those running the network on that day even knew who Coretta Scott King was.

But, after thinking about it, I realized that of course they knew who Coretta King was.
They just didn't care.

1 comment:

lj said...

Yeah, that's why I pretty much stopped watching that Channel.