My Beef With BET

CBS News anchor Scott Pelley recently interviewed Black Entertainment Television founder Robert L. Johnson about what government could or should be doing to help improve the failing economy. Mr. Johnson, 65, offered reasonable and solid advice, the same reasonable and solid advice most any well-heeled CEO might offer up, while neither he nor Mr. Williams explored the questionable morality surrounding how Mr. Johnson earned the billion-plus dollars he profited after selling BET to Rupert Murdoch’s Viacom in 2003. I hope he is enjoying his millions. It is blood money. Whatever apologist nonsense enables Mr. Johnson to sleep at night will never balance out the reality of twelve year-olds being jumped intothe Crips of the Folk every day of the week. Of young black girls dressing like hookers and young black boys eager to get into drug dealing so they can live like the evil caricatures Mr. Johnson broadcasted for twenty-three years. And, while I can’t stop Mr. Pelley from interviewing this guy, I and the rest of America don’ t have to act like Idi Amin is Benjamin Franklin.

The saddest part is, as Mr. Pelley did, most of Black America likely considers Mr. Johnson an American success story. I am struggling not call him Adolph Hitler, who transformed Germany by means of a culturally homogenous quasi-religion. Calling anybody, even Mr. Johnson, Hitler would be unfair. Hitler, after all, didn’t teach Germans to hate themselves.

Mr. Johnson is certainly no Hitler, though he might have been the guy passing out the Nazi arm bands. Black America has been wearing its own version of Nazi arm bands—Ebonics, the idiotic sagging pants, a distinct cultural lexicon regardless of what region of the nation you visit— for more than a generation, now. Mr. Johnson is not the architect of this phenomena, but he was for many years its chief enabler.

Complete Essay Is Here

1 Comment

  1. Thelmon Baggett says:

    Mr. Johnson is promoting a plan to assist “job creators” produce jobs. I saw that today on one of the msnbc programs, probably Al Sharpten’s PolitiNation.