By Raynard Jackson
With the continued consolidation going on within the media (radio, TV, newspapers), there is never-ending debate over the issue of ownership and diversity. But how do you define ownership? Is ownership the issue or editorial control or both?
As members of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) like to remind me, Black media is by definition Black-owned and operated. The NNPA is composed of approximately 200 Black newspapers in the United States and the Virgin Islands. They have a combined readership of nearly 20 million and the organization also has a digital presence in BlackPressUSA.com , which enables newspapers to provide real time news and information to its national constituency.
There is no question that these newspapers are wholly owned and operated by Blacks, unlike media outlets such as The Grio, The Root, Essence magazine or Black Entertainment Television (BET). These outlets are merely White media masquerading as Black-owned media. The Grio is owned by NBC, The Root is owned by theWashington Post, Essence is owned by Time, Inc., and BET is owned by Viacom.
Each of these outlets is run by Black people who serve as the public face of their White-owned companies. Each of these outlet’s owners are all liberal and that seems to carry over into the work they produce.
So, with these corporate owners and their designated staffers from these Black outlets all being politically liberal, there seems to be no thought or interest in diversity of views. For the most part, Blacks crave to inclusion and then turn around and excluded those who do not agree with them politically.
The Black operators have effectively created a false narrative that they represent the views of the Black community. Nothing could be further from the truth. They represent the views of some of the Black community.
If you the Republican National Committee (RNC), it makes more sense to cultivate strong relationships and spend money with Black newspapers instead of those sickened by an identity crisis. The reason is quite simple.
Black newspapers are not beholden to white, corporate masters. Black newspaper owners are a better reflection of the true thinking within the Black community and their newspapers better reflect the full range of thinking within the Black community. Do you really think it is a coincidence that these Black outlets that are owned by white corporations are aggressively pushing a homosexual agenda or amnesty for illegals? This is in keeping with the agendas of these corporations.
You do not see these issues pushed within Black newspapers. Some individual owners may support these issues on a personal level, but it is rarely reflected in their newspapers. These corporations have invested in Black media outlets not to promote issues of relevance to the Black community, but to push an ideology and promote a cause, i.e., liberalism, homosexuality, amnesty.
Why is diversity of thoughts beneficial? Is diversity of ownership within media necessary?
What can we extrapolate from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) report that stated, “As of 2011, whites owned 69.4% of the nation’s 1,348 television stations? That’s up from 63.4% in 2009, when there were 1,187 stations.” The report continued, “While white ownership increased, most minority ownership decreased. Blacks went from owning 1% of all commercial TV stations in 2009 to just 0.7% in 2011. Asian ownership slipped from 0.8% in 2009 to 0.5% last year. Latino ownership increased slightly from 2.5% to 2.9.” “Females owned 6.8% of all commercial TV stations in 2011, compared to 5.6% in 2009.
The same report indicated that Whites own almost 80 percent of all AM and FM radio stations, with more than 70 percent owned by men.
So, I think ownership and diversity are Siamese twins; you can’t separate one from the other. Only when Blacks own their own media outlets can they control the message that comes out of their outlets. When Whites are masquerading as Black media, their goal is to push an agenda; and in the vast majority of cases, it is antithetical to the thinking in the real Black community.
Black newspapers provide a variety of issues within the Black community, liberal and conservative. The philosophical diversity of their ownership is more diverse with Black newspapers than in all the other media combined (radio, TV).
So, if the RNC is trying to establish a dialogue and a relationship with the Black community and they are trying to maximize the effort; there is no question that Black newspapers, including their websites, provide the most bang – and authenticity – for the buck.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @raynard1223.