Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Advice for Amber and John H. Johnson

Good evening, we'll start off with Democracy Now! which I hope everybody watches or listens to.

August On Pace to Be One of Deadliest Months of War For U.S.
Meanwhile August is shaping up to be one of the deadliest months so far for U.S. troops in Iraq. 44 U.S. soldiers were killed in the first 10 days of the month alone. The week beginning Aug. 3 marked the fourth deadliest week of the war for U.S. forces.

'Marine of the Year' Faces Attempted Murder Charges
In Massachusetts, a decorated Marine who served in Iraq is facing attempted murder charges after he fired a shotgun from his apartment window at a group of revelers outside a nightclub. Just last month the Marine -- Daniel Cotnoir - was named 2005 Marine of the Year by the Marine Corps Times. After he won the award Cotnoir posed for a photo with Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Cotnoir has reportedly been suffering from post-war stress since serving in Iraq where he worked as a mortician preparing bodies of U.S. soldiers for burial.

A lot of e-mails with advice for Amber. Yesterday, I told you about Amber. One of her best friend's is Foxized by her father and thinks that Amber's speaking out against the war is not supportive. Wally wrote that besides asking the friend to list what she thinks "supports the troops" but also to explain why she thinks Amber's beliefs don't. Bobbie thinks Amber needs to "keep being upfront about what she stands for because a lot of it is probably just that her friend hasn't heard that point of view because we've heard such a narrow range of views in the media." My bud Tony thinks Amber should back up her views with stuff on Iraq because he doesn't think that her friend probably knows much beyond the Operation Happy Talk and purple fingers crap. But what most of the e-mails wondered was if Amber was in school (she's in high school). If the person writing was in high school, like Kristi, Jock, Delia, Heather, Genie and Damon, they were talking about how when the occupation started, the whole school seemed like a war rally but that in the two years since, the mood changed big time. Too many deaths and too many lies is what Damon thinks changed it and Genie thinks it's because "we may be kids but we know right from wrong."

And that's what I saw on my school campus and see on my college campus now. And there's a Common Ills community member named Maria and she teaches and she's talked about that over at The Common Ills for months now, about how it's us kids who woke up and saw the obvious quick. She's talked about how it might have something to do with you got a group of people learning about their country and what it's supposed to stand for and at the same time that we're learning about democracy, self-rule, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and facing forming our own opinions and all, it's easier for us to look at the Bully Boy and say, "The emperor has no no clothes on" than it is for a lot of our parents.

It's also why people who might have seemed like brave voices in March of 2003 strike us as hopelessly out of touch if they've got the same message they had all that time ago. There's been a shift in us and a shift in the country and it's the tipping point thing that Ruth talked about at The Third Estate Sunday Review and in her Ruth's Morning Edition Report and that The Third Estate Sunday Review and The Common Ills has been talking about for some time. Things are changing and Elaine had a great thing about that last night.

And I want to note my buddy Cedric writing about Howard Kurtz yesterday and how Kurtz dismissed the lack of big coverage on the death of John H. Johnson with nonsense about how Johnson didn't anchor a TV show:

See, some people are noting it. Amy Goodman and the folks of Democracy Now! covered Johnson last week and are again this week and Susan of Random Thoughts gets it and Trey and Marcia and C.I.
As for Howard Kurtz, he's a bigger stooge than my cousin who just got patterns shaved into his scalp that make his head look like one of those stickers you put down in the tub to prevent someone from falling.
With Vernon, I said, "What the heck were you thinking?" With Kurtz, he obviously doesn't think. Peter Jennings got massive coverage and John H. Johnson very little coverage because, according to Howard Kurts, Peter Jennings was on TV. And because he was an anchor of an evening news program. So that means no one of my race gets that kind of coverage, right Zowie Howie? I mean, I don't hear that CBS is looking to replace Rather's white rabbit replacement with a brother. And Brian Williams looks like he applies man-tan. So we don't have a black anchor on the evening news of any of the big three broadcast networks. By Zowie's logic, we, therefore, don't get any coverage.

You're only matter, Zowie Howie says, if you're on TV. Of course he would say that since he is on TV. If you lose your TV outlet, do you no longer matter, Zowie?
Most Americans don't know who John H. Johnson was, according to Howie. I'm guessing he doesn't know many black people other than maybe his servants. What Howie's saying is that not many white people he knows know who John H. Johnson is. A lot of important people die that your average person of any color never heard about and I kinda thought that was what the press did, let you know someone important passed but I guess I was wrong. Howie tells us it's all about if you are on TV or not.
Howie needs to leave his, what did C.I. call it?, "restricted comfort zone." I love that. Restricted zone. That's Howie Kurtz. And black people get restricted right out of his area.

Democracy Now! did a thing on John H. Johnson's memorial today so I'll close with that:

ROLAND MARTIN: Well, I think first of all, we need to broaden the scope of John H. Johnson's influence. I do not consider him to be the greatest black publisher in the history of our industry. I consider him to be one of the greatest publishers. I think if there was a Mount Rushmore of the media magnates, I believe that John H. Johnson's bust would be alongside Henry Luce, David Sarnoff, Bill Paley, Ted Turner, and the other icons of our industry.
For me personally, I had a chance to sit with him and his daughter, Linda Johnson Rice, who is now the C.E.O. of Johnson Publishing Company, a couple of months ago. I had an opportunity to talk with him, talk about his vision and how he built the company. But the first time we met was in 1990, when I was an intern at the Houston Defender, and it was interesting, when John H. Johnson came through the office, I mean, it was as if royalty was there, because that's how so many people looked at him and held him with such high regard. Clearly one of the greatest giants we have ever seen in this industry, and his impact goes far beyond the pages of Ebony and Jet.