Sunday, August 03, 2008

T.I. vs GOTV

I have seen two television shows run segments on the Hip Hop Caucus’ decision to use famed and sometimes troubled rap artist T.I. as their spokesperson for their 2008 get out the vote campaign.

These media outlets have taken shots at the organization and their choice of national spokesman because T.I. who has had run-ins with the law is actually not able to vote in the upcoming election. These half assed reports and the producers who allow them to take shots at T.I. and the Caucus are good examples of poor media and the most shallow of reporting jobs.

Rather than chide T.I. and the Caucus perhaps they could dig deeper and try to inform the public that it isn’t ironic that T.I. can’t vote and is urging others to do so, but that T.I. represents and extremely large number of American citizens who have been disenfranchised from the electoral system because of their past criminals records – so many of them being poor people and people of color. Yes, two groups who don’t sit in the producer or reporters chair often enough and thus we get shoddy pieces on television that boost stereotypes and border on racism that are being passed off as news stories.

It is historic fact that the laws prohibiting ex felons from voting expanded and began to be increasingly enforced after African American men were first given the right to vote. In Northern states the laws were put on the books mostly to decrease the number of poor people overall from voting. The trend to suppress the voices and the votes of poor people and racial and ethnic minorities continues.

The revolution won’t be televised because there are too many people running news rooms and television shows that are more inclined to cover stories on the most surface of levels rather than to do anything as radical as to explain not just what is happening but why it is so.