How To Get Shows Such as "Like It Is" On All The TV Networks

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It was not a voluntary decision of WABC-TV. In fact, the law requires that Blacks in the tri-state area are entitled to six public affairs programs on six different television stations. This means the hiring of six television hosts. Blacks have been short-changed for decades.

[The Straight Arrow]

 
On behalf of "Friends of Like It Is", I have prepared an extensive history of "Like It Is" and the historical and legal rationale for public affairs programming.

For Blacks, this history of public affairs programming started in Jackson, MS in 1954.  It culminated with the landmark decision styled Office of Communication of the United Church of Christ v. FCC.

Very few Black lawyers have any extensive knowledge of mass communications law. Most commercial radio and television stations are white-owned. There are few opportunities for Black lawyers in communications law.  Even Black-owned radio and television stations do business with White lawyers.

No group like "Friends of Like It Is" can effectively challenge the six, commercial television stations without some knowledge of media law and media history. For the past two months, I have spent a considerable period of time doing legal research even though I have been hobbled by a lack of a law library.

This interest also requires a personal investment in legal literature and an office to store these materials and to carry on a business operation. This is better than making no effort at all. All Black people should have a commitment to sustain the struggle of our revered ancestors. A knowledge of law is necessary to identify legal issues and to propose legal solutions. We must save public affairs programming "by any means necessary".

"Here and Now" is arts and entertainment. There is a difference between public affairs programming and arts and entertainment. Only public affairs programming on commercial television is a requirement.

The Public Records Committee of "Friends of Like It Is" reported, at the last meeting, that many of the public records have been suppressed from public consumption. This is illegal and it means that, alternatively, these records must be obtained in Washington, DC. This is a test of our will. Public affairs programming relate to politics and undergird voting rights.  An effort is afoot to stymie Black politics in the tri-state area.

For example, in a letter from Dave Davis, general manager of WABC-TV to Brother Shep McDaniel, Davis wrote:  "'Like It Is' was one of our public affairs programs for forty years, and we were proud to produce and support it all that time". 

The above-referenced legal decision required WABC-TV to produce "Like It Is".  It was not a voluntary decision of WABC-TV. Davis also writes as follows, referring to WABC-TV:  "We believe public affairs programming should be available to all members of the community, on free broadcast television stations like Channel 7".  

I agree. In fact, the law requires that Blacks in the tri-state area are entitled to six public affairs programs on six different television stations. This means the hiring of six television hosts. Blacks have been short-changed for decades.

My hands are full. Since I am not a licensed attorney, I can only do legal research and write on legal issues but not give specific legal advice and litigate actions against six commercial television stations.  An enormous amount of work, however, is required and my presence will only reduce the work that must be done by others.

This is a matter that can be won but we must make sure that we knock on the right door, talk to the right people and raise the right issues.  It will take more than rhetoric and selling wolf tickets.  Petitions and boycotts are the only effective weapons against the television industry.  The linchpin of mass communications is advertising.  We must refrain from endorsing and financing our own oppression.

"Friends of Like It Is" is planning for a necessary and resourceful seminar on mass communications law on January 21, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th Street in Harlem. Everyone is presumed to know the law and every Black person should have a complete knowledge of struggle in the media.  This seminar will make sure it happens.

For more information call 718-834-9034.


"Speaking Truth To Empower."



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