SUNDAY NITE TALK, 8.26.07 – Groff, Ellison & Keys in the ASCENT Chamber discuss Katrina’s 2nd Anniversary and the forgotten plight of New Orleans; GOP defections & a new strategy for Iraq?; is Howard Dean miscalculating on Florida?
SUNDAY NITE TALK, 8.19.07 – Groff/Ellison in the ASCENT Chamber discuss Democratic Presidential contenders bum rushing Obama; why there is no national policy to address the housing/credit crisis; what’s up with Israel turning Darfur refugees away?; Fred Thompson’s impending announcement: is it too late or just right?
SUNDAY NITE TALK, 8.12.07 – Groff/Ellison on ASCENT Chamber discuss GOP straw poll “shakedown;” the impact of changing primary dates; and the SCLC and Michael Vick.
What we’ve been seeing over the past several months is a candidate who is just as eager to put his foreign policy platform out there as he is at distinguishing himself from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). That moment has arrived as Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are all reacting to Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) comments on American anti-terrorism policies in locations such as Pakistan.
We were first skeptical of Obama’s insistence on a rhetorical back-and-forth with the Clinton camp over his diplomacy-and-rogue-regimes statement at the recent YouTube debate. The initial thought was that he should rise above it rather than get entangled in a barb trading fest with someone who probably wanted that. Yet, the new set of comments regarding military action in Pakistan (based on “actionable intelligence”) suggest a game plan was in the works all along.
There’s no endorsement of these statements. We’re simply impressed by the fact that a Black Presidential candidate is presently dominating the foreign policy discussion in this campaign, particularly since conventional wisdom would assume the Black candidate would only focus on domestic or social/economic justice issues. Admittedly, we prefer that not be the case. Which is what sets this particular African American Presidential candidate apart from previous African American Presidential candidates.
However, we are taking note of the fact that media coverage in New Hampshire and Iowa hasn’t made any big mention of the raging debate over these comments and the potential impact it will have on the race. Concerns in these top primary states seem fairly localized in relation to the candidates.
Reasons are beginning to stack up on why several of us, at least, won’t be brandishing XM satellite sets anytime soon. For one: despite Mel Karmazin’s pitch that the XM/Sirius merger will bring greater content a la carte, we eye this pretty suspiciously and see it as another version of commercial radio – only this time, you pay for it. Why? Because, at the end of the day, someone else is still suggesting what you should listen to, hence all content is still getting filtered. Think you’ll get a good plate of that head-bopping, boom-bap, purist underground hip hop sound you won’t find on a top urban commercial station? Maybe a taste, but not the buffet. We prefer underground college radio and the great selection on Internet that was until RIAA rammed royalties through FCC hyper-lobbying.
But, a more sinister trend has appeared at XM regarding its Black talk line-up, also known as The Power. Within a span of only two months, we’ve witnessed the firings of two African American talk show hosts, one conservative, the other liberal or Afrocentrically progressive over reasons that remain suspect. The former, Casey Lartigue, Jr., is the more publicized incident – we peeped how the Black conservative/libertarian gets an Outlook column in the Washington Post, but activist Mark Thompson (aka Matsimela Mapfumo) does not. Of course, Thompson’s no stranger to fall outs with Radio One (the content provider for XM’s Power), but there is a hint of disparity in coverage that doesn’t go unnoticed. In addition, nothing is said about longtime radio activist Ambrose Lane being shut out as well.
Lartigue, Thompson and Lane were known to provide some thought-provoking, cutting-edge content during their collective radio tenure. Something different and non-partisan. Some of it agreeable, some of it disagreeable. But, you must admit that they had folks thinking. Not certain what this means for independent-minded, lactose-free Black talk content on XM and whether this means that Black talk is pretty much going the way of hip hop – meaning that the only African American talking heads worthy of play are those with political clout or “platinum” profiles. One of the reasons much Black policy and political discourse remains stale is because the conversations are cookie-cutter, predictable and, frankly, not all that diverse. This problem is just as prominent in Black talk as it is in mainstream talk. The filtering thought police strikes again?
Maybe. But perhaps it’s just a reflection of the times and our shifting priorities.
SUNDAY NITE TALK, 8.5.07: Groff/Ellison & Robinson discuss our crumbling infrastructure; the GOP’s quest for the perfect candidate; Obama’s foreign policy; & the increasingly tense tone in Congress.