Black Entertainment Television received a "Thumbs
Down" award from the National Association of Black Journalists at its
annual convention. Ouch!
Below is the script from the presentation of the award by television and media critic Eric Deggans:
"BET continued to underserve the African American community in 2006 through its lack of consistent news programming and airing of programs which offered racial stereotypes, the degradation of women and an overall lack of uplifting and positive images of our community.
For example, BET failed to broadcast civil rights pioneer Coretta Scott King’s funeral in its entirety, thereby abdicating its responsibility to provide up-to-the-minute coverage of a singular event in the black community. Instead, the network chose to proceed with its usual lineup of music shows. Two days after Mrs. King’s funeral, BET announced that it was re-running a hour long program on King’s funeral and adding two hours of funeral excerpts. In response, BET says that while their coverage…quote… did not please everyone, the viewing options BET made available were exactly what some viewers were looking for. BET also says their retrospective was watched by more viewers than their smaller competitors, the Black Family Channel and TV One, which aired the funeral in its entirety. NABJ objects to the decision by BET not to present live, continuous coverage of this historic funeral.
Other BET programming such as “College Hill,” which is a stereotypical and derogative depiction of life on the campuses of historically Black colleges and universities, and the new show once known as “Hot Ghetto Mess” exemplify the problematic images BET regularly presents to viewers.
For that reason and the network’s refusal to identify and correct these negative perceptions, BET is the recipient of this year’s Thumbs Down Award."