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Race Baiting: How the News Media Sell Hate

American media have changed in the last several decades because of the progression of technology, increasing competition and decreasing regulation.  American audiences have more choices as a result, and news outlets have had to react to these changes by creating new kinds of programming to attract an audience.

One way they’ve done this is through the talk show, where individuals express strong opinions in an effort to create controversy and attract an audience. These talk shows are taking the place of the 20th century model of news outlets reporting news with objectivity and complexity.

Author Eric Deggans, journalist and media critic, has written a book called “Race-Baiter: How the Media Wield Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation”, decoding the way media outlets, particularly talk shows, portray race. In the book, Deggans argues that ‘hate sells’, and that these new news programs use fear and bigotry to attract their audiences.

“The news was defined as something that you reported on,” Deggans said. But now, Deggans said, news outlets like Fox News changed cable TV forever by substituting news reporting with talking about news.

“We have to understand media within the context of multi-national capitalism” said CSUN Professor Teresa Williams-Leon. She said American media don’t necessarily offer news and information anymore; it’s really about entertainment and selling products, led by talk show hosts who speak their personal views, and interview ‘experts’ from think tanks with political agendas.

But Community Advocates, Inc. V.P. Joe Hicks said audiences have more choices in today’s media world.

“Democracy has basically taken over now,” Hicks said. “I don’t need to just go to ABC or CNN to get my news. I can go on blogs, I can go on all kids of websites.”

 

Moderator and reporter: Tommy Fuller

Anchor: Natalie Gonzalez

Producer: Amber Canyon

Reporters: Emily Davies, Bijan Nasseripourtowsi and Ammons Smith

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