Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Time for action?

Recently I wrote a post which in part said, that we in the African American community pretty much know what problems we face as a group. It seems that over the past few years we have spent a lot of time listing the problems we or at least a significant number of us face.

So since we are aware of the problems I feel it's up to us to Begin to identify solutions. Well I have an idea. It's one that I've mentioned several times on this blog.

This idea involves making an effort to deal with the demeaning and stereotypical images we see on Television and in particular on cable.

On Saturday I placed a poll on the blog asking if you would be willing to give up you cable for six months to protest the negative portrayals of African Americans. I chose six months as opposed to leaving it open ended for a couple of reasons.

First; I think if a vocal group of African Americans ( like bloggers) decide to cancel their cable, large news organizations will pick up on that story. And in order for the protest to work, it must garner attention.

Second; I think that when you are dealing with any sort of negotiations it's important to be reasonable. If the party you are dealing with thinks that negotiating will be futile, than you have defeated yourself. A six month protest is reasonable.

How would this work?

It's very simple, if a significant number of African American bloggers are willing and do cancel their cable TV service and then blog about it. That will get the attention of cable companies and by extension media outlets that own cable channels such as BET.

I believe that the cable operators will fear that the protest might spread to the general African American populace. That for them would be a nightmare scenario, so I believe at that point they would be open to talking about making changes.

One more thing; it does not matter if you don't watch BET or VH1, if you have cable some of your money goes to Viacom which owns BET and VH1.



What do you think? Do you think this would be effective? Would you participate?







12 comments:

Tami said...

I didn't vote in your poll, because I am so torn about this, MDC.

I abhor the programming on Viacom's channels, so I rarely watch them. I do know that my money supports them any way.

On the other hand, cable is more than Viacom. It includes a lot of educational, useful and truly entertaining programs. For instance, with a presidential election looming, one of the places I go to keep abreast of political issues is cable news, particularly Keith Olbermann and MSNBC. We watch Animal Planet, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel with my stepson. There are great documentaries about art and culture on Ovation. My husband, an ex-Navy man, loves the information he gets from the Military Channel.

Is it throwing out the baby with the bath water to focus on eliminating cable vs. supporting a la carte programming and taking to task the purveyors of trash TV?

I'm not sure what I think yet.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

for the record, since i dont know who reads this, dont have cable. But it is rth it for cspan alone. Not o mention i lived 3 yrs without a phone

Baby Please said...

First, I give you credit for even entertaining a "solution." Kudos.

Ima have to cosign with Tami.

But there must be something else.

I think this is potentially a great idea. And who knows, maybe there is a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Hell, we prolly all watch too much new and TV and crap.

I dunno.

But I think you're headed in the right direction.

I liked this post. Wanna say more but rushed at the moment.

wisdomteachesme said...

i'm not giving up my cable for any reasons that i can think of right now in my life.
i love it! plus i have the package deal for cable/internet/phone-(we have time warner here ),,,and i'm saving enough that it works.
if families can't afford cable-that is a different thing. they have to do what they have to do to eat and live.

as tami said, i also know my payments each month go to many areas of "their agendas"- but i am not torn though.
i don't watch the stations i don't like the content of. case closed. but what cable does offer as in positive, educational channels/arts/old movies, etc... is worth it for us.

if you want to put a dent in viacoms power,
buying up their stock options will do that!

i love cable-i love my phone, and i love my computer. and i'm keeping them all. but i have no problems with what others do with their money and what they cut off- it is what it is.
no more than i'm trading in my wonderful jeeps because of the gas prices.
i love my jeeps!

if you don't like certian channels don't watch them-if you want to cut off your cable and get rid of your tv--do it- no need to talk about it-

if you want to get your money back for channels that are offending you whether you watch them or not--then do so.
it is what it is.

i don't like adult porn mags, so i don't buy them-but they have a right to publish them. not a battle i want to give my time to.

Villager said...

Hotep MDC!

It is always good to see someone talking about solutions and not just problems. Your solution is one that would require sacrifice. Is the sacrifice worth the goal (awareness/publicity)?

I dunno.

I do know that it would be a large hurt in Casa Villager if we didn't have ESPN, MSNBC, Disney Channel, TNT and such.

I do appreciate you reaching for solutions...

peace, Villager

clnmike said...

Whew that is a tough one.
As much I cant stand Viacom they are not the only show in town which means other networks that show good programing are going to get caught up in the cross fire.

I would like more people to write to their cable providers and request those networks that offend like Viacom be optional even in a basic package.
I think you should be allowed to pick and choose your networks, that would send a clear message and more importantly hurt those networks were it counts.

SheCodes said...

I would do it. I barely watch television anyway, and pretty much anything I would watch is available online.

By the way, I have cable, but actually made a deal with them about the whole Viacom thing. I told them that my moral beliefs precluded me from financing Viacom, and that I wanted a $4 discount from my monthly bill. I got the discount.

Perhaps those who don't want to boycott outright can do a payment revolt -- deduct $5 from your bill and give it to a reading program for children... or something like that.

Miriam said...

I just wonder if we are quantity-wise enough of a group to make a difference?

Mes Deux Cents said...

Tami,

I would love ala carte but exactly what is the incentive for cable operators to provide that choice?

_____________________________________

Torrance,

You can watch CSPAN on the internet, in fact most of what is available on cable can be seen free on the internet.

I don't have cable either.
___________________________________

Baby Please,

I think that we would be providing better bath water for the baby.

And thanks
___________________________________

WTM,

I already have canceled my cable; I wouldn't ask anyone to do something I wasn't willing to do.

I canceled it back in August of last year.
___________________________________

Villager,

That is the question, is our image worth the sacrifice?

___________________________________

ClnMike,

Ala carte cable is never going to happen. Cable companies won't give up the revenue.

___________________________________

SheCodes,

"By the way, I have cable, but actually made a deal with them about the whole Viacom thing. I told them that my moral beliefs precluded me from financing Viacom, and that I wanted a $4 discount from my monthly bill. I got the discount."

Brava! That is amazing. That is a good solution. It's certainly work able for people who are unwilling to make the total sacrifice.

Thanks
___________________________________

Miriam,

It would not be about the numbers but the ability of bloggers to get attention by blogging about it.

Ehav Ever said...

Not that I have American cable, or even a TV, but I think a protest of cable could give a partial solution. One side of the coin is getting their attention, the other side of the coin is having people in place when the programming is being conceived and funded.

What I would like to see is bloggers getting to the point where they create their own media outlet over the net. For example, there was a blogger I once came across who created her own comedy news shows similar to the daily show. It was really creative and funny. For the life of me I can't remember the name of her blog. She was the news anchor, the reporter, and the producer and she would often act like they were all different people. She would even go on the scene of her stories.

I have been contemplating trying to come up with my own web-cartoon. I just need to find someone who can draw.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Ehav,

I think that we will see more and more blogger created online TV content.

A group like Afrospear seems like they are moving in that direction.

Nicole said...

I'd be in. As you said, you can catch most shows on the i-net now. I think it could make an impact, but only if enough people joined in and blogged the heck out of it plus sent letters to the cable companies, local media, Viacom, etc. Unfortunately, I can't quantify "enough" for you. And, since the blogosphere can be a small world, would we just be preaching to each other?

I went 3 months w/out cable once as a test to myself. It's not as bad as people think (but in fairness, I don't have kids).

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron