CNN Host: 'Media Profit By Playing Off Prejudice and Encouraging People's Fears About Race'

Eric Deggans, the TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, made a bold statement Sunday guaranteed to anger liberals and their minions in the press.

Hosting CNN's Reliable Sources, Deggans finished with a message about the media's role in stoking racial tensions in America saying, "I'm convinced one aggravating factor is media outlets that profit by playing off prejudice and encouraging people's fears about race difference" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

ERIC DEGGANS, HOST: I close today with a message for you, the viewer.

Walking among the crowds Saturday at the commemoration of the march on Washington, I was struck by how many different kinds of people had come together to honor 50 years of civil rights history.

So why does some media still find it so hard to help Americans talk to each other across racial lines?

I'm convinced one aggravating factor is media outlets that profit by playing off prejudice and encouraging people's fears about race difference. I even wrote a book about this, called "Race Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation." It's part of a syndrome I call the tyranny of the broad niche. That's what happens when media outlets court the biggest part of a splintering audience at the expense of other groups.

And there may be one cure, changing the audience itself. There's some pretty simple guidelines for positive conversations on these issues, recognizing that no one person or group owns this discussion, avoiding insults and belittling people, understanding that talking about race doesn't equal racism and accepting that we all fall prey to prejudice sometimes and that doesn't necessarily make you a bigot.

Watching anti-abortion activists hold signs peacefully right next to immigration reform protesters at Saturday's march, I got the feeling the crowd there already learned these lessons and the truth is, in today's media environment, you have more power than ever. You can reject outlets focused on harmful, destructive arguments and embrace accurate, fair discussions.

No viewership, no readership, equals no profits and suddenly that kind of programming disappears. Now maybe, just maybe, it's time for the audience to help save media from itself.


Two lines bear repeating: "I'm convinced one aggravating factor is media outlets that profit by playing off prejudice and encouraging people's fears about race difference" and "You can reject outlets focused on harmful, destructive arguments and embrace accurate, fair discussions."

I indeed agree.

However, exactly what mainstream media outlets in America today aren't "playing off prejudice and encouraging people's fears about race?"

Can you think of any?

As such, Deggans was encouraging a boycott of virtually all media including CNN who is just as guilty as most.

Taking this further, if Deggans thinks the solution is people boycotting race-baiting media outlets, he could start by not hosting Reliable Sources.

But I'd rather him not do that, for Deggans did a very good job today, and was by far the best of the replacement hosts for the recently departed Howard Kurtz.

Yet there was something Deggans ignored, and that is the role the Democratic Party plays in this race-baiting, as well as charlatans such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.

But I'll cut him some slack on that given this being a program devoted to media and not political analysis.

*****Update: NB reader kk41192 reminds us of this fabulous quote from Booker T. Washington:

There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs. There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don't want the patient to get well.

Can you say Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.