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The Martin Luther King Not Seen on TV

 
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2006 06:15 pm
djjd
I got ya.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 10:11 am
JustWonders wrote:
nimh wrote:
I mean, do you see any way in which the dollar question you raise explains the dichotomy Edgar points out in the attention paid to his earlier resp later years? The cost for speeches etc applies to either period, right, so how does it come into play, in your view, in explaining why one period gets more attention than the other?

If it doesnt, then whats the relevancy here of the point you make?

Well, I'm sure there are others besides Mr. Mullane (the author of the article I posted) who regard the actions of the King family towards his material to be affecting his legacy. As the article points out, the family has successfully sued several news outlets and one can only imagine how tedious that could be. Some teachers feel their students are losing out by only getting to view the written text of Dr. King's speeches (recognizing how powerful the videos are), but they're afraid of being sued (even using the written text). <Shrug>

Maybe the thought of being tied up in courts being sued just isn't worth it to some people. Maybe it's a vast conspiracy. Maybe you should ask Dexter(If you make a dollar, I should make a dime)King.

By the way - the article I posted wasn't a direct rebuttal of the article posted by Edgar. Edgar's article by FAIR.org was written more than 10 years ago.

Not a direct rebuttal? It doesnt seem to have anything to do with it, unless there's a link you've failed to clarify.

From your additions now again, I can see that you're making a point about it being highly unsympathetic of the King family to charge fees for the use of his speeches etc - and if it makes you any happier, I fully agree with that.

And? How does anything in that point explain why one specific part of King's career remains so underlit, Edgar's point, or perhaps that it isn't in fact underlit, in your opinion? How does it even relate to the question? In a separate thread, I'd have assented with you that yes, its a bad thing, but here it just seems like a red herring.
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 11:21 am
Edgar doesn't want me cluttering up his thread, so I'll answer nimh and then I'm done, okay?

I don't have a problem with the King family making money on Dr. King's material (beyond being sympathetic to those that find it a hardship to their teaching efforts or whatever - I'm a capitalist at heart). The tone in the article was a bit snarky about it and I may have come across that way in some of my own posts (too lazy to go back and look). (He's not the only one, btw...I think Nixon and several prominent others have made their material "pay-per-view").

FAIR.org from 10 years ago, and Edgar now, seems to think there's some conspiracy afoot to ignore Dr. King's last years. I don't agree. The segment on Meet the Press yesterday didn't validate any of the criticisms of the FAIR article, focusing mainly on the issues that concerned Dr. King in the last years of his life...(watch it, it's excellent). They didn't bring up his speech on Vietnam, probably not because they'd have had to pay for it if they showed it, but most likely because it didn't fit in with what the panel was discussing.

Do I think it would be easier for mass media to examine the work of Dr. King without going through legal hoops in their portrayals? Yes. Edgar disagrees, pointing out that they could do it without using any of the family's copyrighted materials. So if I want to write about his views on Vietnam - regardless of the context - I have to go into it knowing I can't use the speech directly, I can't show the video, I can't play the tapes without making application to the foundation that oversees the licensing agreement. (MSNBC did show part of his Dream speech yesterday - they either got permission or paid or it's ok to use part, but not all of it.)

When the mass media do use the occasion of Dr. King's birth (or any other time) to examine his efforts and accomplishments on behalf of this country, perhaps they focus on those aspects to which they feel the general public can most closely relate.

Or...it's as Edgar and FAIR (and you, apparently) contend, a conspiracy of some sort. We'll each see it differently, but the first question in the FAIR.org article asked why, in light of the fact that all of Dr. King's speeches from 1965-1968 were taped or filmed, "Why are none of those shown on TV today"?

I supplied but one of the possible answers.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 03:19 pm
It doesn't have to be a "conspiracy" you know.



I believe you are saying that, NOT Edgar por his article.

Am I wrong?



Using the word conspiracy is a good way of making the point seem ridiculous.



Given that the speeches from both periods presumably cost the same, then the apparent fact that the later ones are NOT being shown generally implies an editorial decision.


Given American conservatism, especially powerful right now, it may well be that you are right, that the earlier speeches are ones that the media folk think that Americans will, in general, "relate" to better.


This amounts, voila, to an ongoing decision NOT to rock the boat.


Here we have an editorial decision sans "conspiracy"...which I consider quite a likely scenario....and which has exactly the same effect of not having Americans see the full spectrum of King's opinions...ones which would be more challenging to a current audience, but without your addition of a "conspiracy".
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 03:27 pm
JustWonders wrote:
Or...it's as Edgar and FAIR (and you, apparently) contend, a conspiracy of some sort.

I don't think either Edgar or me said there is a "conspiracy"; that's your playful addition I believe.

I can, however, easily imagine Edgar's point that an important part of King's life/legacy is neglected, possibly because its fundamental criticism of even-now enduring elements of US government and society are just too ... awkward for the tastes of broadcasters, editorialists or those in charge of solemn commemorations.

Which would be a shame, and something of a warning call to all of us, so kudos to Edgar for bringing it up.

(Basically, I'm echoing dlowan here.)
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 03:32 pm
yeah, onlyy it sounds weird from under water.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 03:58 pm
LOL!
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JustWonders
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 04:42 pm
Well, the word conspiracy occurred to me because Edgar's article suggested all mass media were in cahoots, somehow, to ignore a certain period of time relating to Dr. King's life.

Actually, I think it's a combination of the difficulty in obtaining research materials and also perhaps the media taking it upon themselves to decide the "relevance" angle of reporting on Dr. King's life.

Dlowan brought up a good point though, about the global-reach of Dr. King's message. Is it only the US mass media that are guilty of perpetrating these sins of omission? Do the teachings and efforts of Dr. King get any wider recognition internationally?

Taylor Branch's book is brand-new, btw. It will no doubt hit the best-seller list soon and I consider non-fiction authors part of the "media".

<Go back to the "rat", nimh>
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 04:49 pm
Does the article SAY "cahoots"?

(I'll read it when I get home.)

"Dlowan brought up a good point though, about the global-reach of Dr. King's message. Is it only the US mass media that are guilty of perpetrating these sins of omission? Do the teachings and efforts of Dr. King get any wider recognition internationally?"

That's interesting.

In terms of quickie mention of him, I would say our TV would just use feeds from its American partners, so the same footage would be shown. So, I imagine the sins of omission would be identical here.....I do wonder, though, if British and European TV would have higher standards? I suspect the Beebs might, for instance.



But, in terms of fuller coverage, we certainly get stuff like "Eye on the Prize"...which I think was a pretty full picture, right?
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jan, 2006 05:51 pm
The speaches are readily available. In fact, I listened to MLK's very last speach on Pacifica radio today. That is because, these people want us to know all about it. All of it is easy to find. What I have said more than once here is that the media of television and newsprint ignore the last years, and most Americans as a result are totally unaware of where Martin was heading. He fits their vision of what he ought to be that way.

I pay attention to the network television news daily, as well as radio and newsprint. Why? Because it gives perspective how the minds of average voters are made up.

Later, I check online sources and read what a2k members are saying.

Pablum is what they spoonfeed the public in regard to MLK. You didn't need to read my thread to gather that.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 10:46 am
Quote:
We find ourselves today in an odd place: In a country in which we routinely repeat the phrase "God bless America" with no sense of shame; in which conventional politicians all clamor to be "tough" on national security and support bloated military budgets; in which the shopping mall is the real temple where people go to worship -- in that country, King is a hero. That means the King who condemned not only racism but nationalism, militarism, and materialism has to be pushed aside, forgotten -- "whitewashed," if you'll allow the term. King's radical political analysis and vision have to be rendered invisible if we are to name a holiday after him. After years of calling him a traitor and a troublemaker, white America is willing to allow King is to serve as the icon for a national quest for racial justice, but only so long as we don't actually listen to what he had to say or take it seriously.

Now that he is safely dead
Let us praise him
build monuments to his glory
sing hosannas to his name.
Dead men make
such convenient heroes: They
cannot rise
to challenge the images
we would fashion from their lives.
And besides,
it is easier to build monuments
than to make a better world.


-Robert Jensen
(journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin)
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2006 06:12 pm
And that's the way it is.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2006 05:40 pm
Remember me, Dr. King said, as a "drum major for justice." He was arrested, stoned, knifed, wiretapped, scorned and hated during his life. Then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover loathed King, and the Bureau sought to discredit him even after his death.

His ministry was controversial because it was committed. On his last birthday, he spent the morning organizing an inter-racial coalition for a poor people's campaign that would march on Washington and demand a real war on poverty. He stopped for lunch with his family and friends. His staff brought in a cake. That afternoon, he talked with his staff about his opposition to the war in Vietnam. Soon after, he gave his life marching in Memphis for sanitation workers who were on strike.

In a relay race, one runner takes up the baton where the other leaves off. Dr. King understood this. In his last speech in Memphis, he talked about the threats on his life. "It doesn't matter to me now..." he said, for "I know we will get to the Promised Land. I may not get there with you but I am certain we will get to the Promised Land." If we truly want to commemorate Dr. King, we will take up his mission and his march for justice.

That would start with Americans joining together to empower the "least of these." Dr. King realized the freedom sympathy had many movements. The first was the fight against slavery that ended finally after a terrible Civil War. The second was the fight against segregation - legal apartheid - that Dr. King led and won. The third, following immediately, was the movement for the right to vote, which resulted in the Voting Rights Act, only forty-one years ago. Then came the movement for economic justice, and Dr. King was leading this when he was struck down.

Now that movement is more vital than ever. Inequality has reached levels not seen since the Gilded Age. This administration and the right-wing majority that controls Congress lavish tax breaks on billionaires even as they raise the price of college loans for students and parents, cut home heating for the elderly, and raise the cost of health care. Led by Tom DeLay, now indicted for money laundering, the Republican majority in Congress invents new loopholes for CEOs with millions in annual salaries, even as it opposes raising a minimum wage that now cannot sustain a family of three above the poverty line. That same majority pocketed millions in drug company campaign contributions and then passed a drug bill that prohibits Medicare from negotiating a better price for seniors.

"A time comes," Dr. King said in his historic address to Riverside Church opposing the war in Vietnam, "when silence is betrayal." Surely now on Iraq, Dr. King would be calling on religious leaders to stop "the prophesying of smooth patriotism" and move to the "high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history." Dr. King decried the fact young men were sent to Vietnam to "guarantee liberties in South East Asia which they had not found in Southwest Georgia."

Today, he would condemn an administration that dispatches young men and women to Iraq to fight for democracy in a country that does not want them there, even as in their own communities, jobs disappear, opportunity dries up, and their right to vote is still under assault.

The moral mission of Dr. King that we pay tribute to this month should help us evaluate the priorities of our nation. As a Christian minister, Dr. King had a manger-up view of the world, not a mansion-down view. He called upon us to stand up for justice. He called for non-violence confrontation with injustice. He understood that if citizens of conscience stand up, we can move mountains, and make America better. No one did more to make America whole. And his example calls us to action on this day.

Jesse Jackson
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Dartagnan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2006 05:51 pm
Edgar, thanks for raising this issue. I, too, recall, when King broadened this message to address economic inequities and the Vietnam War, and I also recall how it pissed some people off.

And, truth be told, because the media does insist on the brief "feel-good" eulogy every year, all we're reminded of a few sound bites. Everyone wants to feel smug about how "we" overcame bigotry in the country, but it's still impolite to discuss the poverty and economic injustice that's still with us.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2006 05:57 pm
For sure. Thanks, Dart.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2006 06:23 pm
Hey edgar - where'd ya get the Jackson quote? Very good.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2006 06:33 pm
It came in a newsletter from the Rainbow Coalition site.
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snood
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:50 pm
Just wanted to 'bump' this discussion after I went back and re-read it. Edgar makes some points that deserve and need to be resurfaced around every MLK Day - at least.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Jan, 2009 07:54 pm
@snood,
snood wrote:

Just wanted to 'bump' this discussion after I went back and re-read it. Edgar makes some points that deserve and need to be resurfaced around every MLK Day - at least.


Thank you, snood. I posted in the other thread, but overlooked this one.
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edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 13 Jan, 2018 10:18 am
Time to resurrect this thread. Some on a2k have been speculating on King in the age of Trump. I am sure he would be horrified and work against Trump's racism and counter politics. Of course, in the fifty years since his death, the press and other forces for negativism might have lessened his influence considerably.

I think we older folks and some idealistic young might be interested. His influence in black communities likely would have swung the last election to Clinton. I think his interests today would include racism, voter suppression, income inequality, never-ending-war, oligarchy. Hopefully he would author more great articles and speeches.
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