Link Round Up: Politics Plus a Little Extra

by Racialicious Special Correspondent Latoya Peterson

Special Note: Carmen is still out of the country with limited internet access. Wendi and I forgot to ask for access to the team mailbox and the del.icio.us inbox. If there are any articles that I miss or you think should be shared, feel free to drop me an email or leave the link in the comments.

*John Hockenberry writes for The MIT Technology Review on the sad state of television news:

In the New York offices of NBC News, one of my video stories was being screened. If it made it through the screening, it would be available for broadcast later that evening. Producer Geoff Stephens and I had done a phone interview with a reporter in Baghdad who was experiencing the bombing firsthand. We also had a series of still photos of life in the city. The only communication with Baghdad in those early days was by satellite phone. Still pictures were sent back over the few operating data links.

Our story arranged pictures of people coping with the bombing into a slide show, accompanied by the voice of Melinda Liu, a Newsweek reporter describing, over the phone, the harrowing experience of remaining in Baghdad. The outcome of the invasion was still in doubt. There was fear in the reporter’s voice and on the faces of the people in the pictures. The four-minute piece was meant to be the kind of package that would run at the end of an hour of war coverage. Such montages were often used as “enders,” to break up the segments of anchors talking live to field reporters at the White House or the Pentagon, or retired generals who were paid to stand on in-studio maps and provide analysis of what was happening. It was also understood that without commercials there would need to be taped pieces on standby in case an anchor needed to use the bathroom. Four minutes was just about right.

At the conclusion of the screening, there were a few suggestions for tightening here and clarification there. Finally, an NBC/GE executive responsible for “standards” shook his head and wondered about the tone in the reporter’s voice. “Doesn’t it seem like she has a point of view here?” he asked.

There was silence in the screening room. It made me want to twitch, until I spoke up. I was on to something but uncertain I wasn’t about to be handed my own head. “Point of view? What exactly do you mean by point of view?” I asked. “That war is bad? Is that the point of view that you are detecting here?”

The story never aired.

*Talking Points Memo (under TPMmuckracker) has published “The Great List of Scandalized Administration Officials“. It is about 43 names long.

*TAN posted this piece last week and I am still at a loss for how to respond. Mediocre black chicks indeed. (Yes, I am aware it is humor. But there are some messy undertones here.)

But while I was looking for the North star to find my way home, the facts hit me like
Courtney Love’s face in the morning: I haven’t dated any mediocre black girls. And I do have to acknowledge that blonde/white/gold/peach/light turns my head faster than Darkness, even if it isn’t a superlative blonde, peach or whatever. And that fact bothers me. If an enlightened assimilated negro like myself can’t shake off his programming how can I expect to hold others up to these racial-profiling demands?

*The Washington Post has published a new twist to the same-sex marriage debate: same sex divorce rights.

*Sylvia Arthur writes for Clutch Magazine on skin lightening trends in Africa. The sample advertisement included in the article makes me want to cry.

*Speaking of Jared Diamond, dnA has a good analysis of his recent NYT piece.

*And I was waiting for dnA’s analysis on Richard Cohen’s latest column in the Washington Post. dnA, did you have a chance to check out Anne Applebaum’s piece as well?