“You don’t have to do that. Really, you don’t.”
In the following cases, a deliberative judgment was made about what kind of media message should be aired or broadcast. And in each case, the judgment made was a poor one because it failed to be sensitive to the experiences/struggles of minorities or oppressed peoples. What’s bad is that each idea was given the green light. Hence, for a moment at least, the people in charge of creating and disseminating these messages through media thought these were good messages to convey.
1. I do not like Sarah Palin. I believe she cannot win an argument by appealing to reason and the rules of logic. However, Martin Bashir’s comments about Sarah Palin imply that it’s okay to degrade a woman if she says asinine things about slavery. What’s wrong is this: Bashir thought initially, before reprimand and resignation, that such comments were apt and should be uttered about Sarah Palin.
2. Sacramento radio talk show hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty use the acronym “F.A.G.S” to signify “Friends of [the] Armstrong and Getty Show.” This is a deliberate choice by Armstrong and Getty to use shorthand for the word “faggot” without owing up to the fact that others may take this “acronym” as an insulting phrase. “Get over it and don’t be so politically correct” is what I suspect their reply would be by pointing out this fact.
3. CBS’ played ToTo’s song “Africa” over a montage of Nelson Mandela’s memorial footage. Someone thought about this, approved it as a “good idea”, and then made it happen. Toto’s song “Africa” is not African music. Nor does it speak to Nelson Mandela’s experiences and history.
What alarms me about these three cases is that the people in charge of creating the media message thought about it and gave the go ahead to say insulting or insensitive things. I guess I’m just befuddled because there had to be some point where it occurred each person who came up with the idea the thought that, “This might not be a good idea. We really don’t have to do this.” Even so, that person pulled the trigger and broadcast the idea.