Conspiracy or the Obvious: Fewer Black Pundits On the TeeVee

The Missing Pundits from Danielle Belton on Vimeo.

While at Harvard’s Black Policy Conference I got to chat with Democratic strategist and hot guy Jamal Simmons and asked him if he was still under contract with CNN. He informed me he never was. Then I asked him how he was spending his days and he said he was running his own business and initiatives. Yet very few calls were coming from CNN.

I couldn’t remember the last time I saw Jamal’s handsome baldy up on the CNN. Then I started thinking, “Hey? Where’s Amy Holmes? It’s been a while since she enraged me and made me still want to be her friend and braid her hair?” And then I began to wonder where all my favorite black pundits were. Was there a pundit purge when I wasn’t looking?

(More after the jump)

While MSNBC seems to still be nurturing the likes of Michelle Bernard and Ron Christie (and for the life of me I don’t know WHY Ron Christie, he’s the anti-Jamal and I’m not talking politics), CNN seems to be reducing the screen time of every pundit who isn’t Roland Martin, who was recently made host of Campbell Brown’s show.

I chatted with an insider about what the eff is going on here and they came up with the “theory” that CNN’s ratings surge during the election season was really a “black surge.” This individual said the network crammed more black people and black related specials on than you could shake a stick at in 2008 and were rewarded with a crush of black viewers. Now they’ve pulled back as the black viewers have gone away. CNN’s ratings have tanked of recent. But which came first? The black viewer decline or the purge of the pundits they enjoyed watching and arguing over?

Yeah. That’s what I thought too.

It’s not a conspiracy, just the obvious. Obama was elected and CNN went back to the status quo. CNN also fell behind MSNBC in some areas of the ratings. CNN is also pimping things like Rick Sanchez like he’s the future of news. If that’s the future of news, news is DEAD people.

Los periodicos esta muerto. ¡ESTA MUERTO!*

*(And I didn’t do that in Spanish to mock Sanchez, but because it is the only foreign language I took six years of study. I know like two French phrases, but I can scream out “esta muerto” with the best of them.)

So of COURSE all the black pundits saw their time reduced (Donna Brazile and Amy Holmes) or became invisible (Jamal Simmons). Of COURSE. News networks are the slowest to adapt to change. Me, if it weren’t broke, I wouldn’t have fixed the “black” CNN problem. I would have just put MORE black people on. Screw it. No one else is trying to put more of us on. Start a trend. Create a niche. Bring Bernard Shaw back. Hell, bring them all back. Let’s do this thing, CNN. Go the full minority. Hire Lisa Ling. Get Connie Chung out of retirement. Steal folks from Univision. It’s about to go bankrupt anyway. Give Suzanne Malveaux more face time. Hell, hire her family and give all those damn Malveauxs face time. Put Don Lemon back on five days a week. Move TJ and Betty to the daily morning show. Get Soledad out of that closet you keep her locked in, tell her to put down those kids and that Top Ramen and GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO!!!

Like Wolf’s job.

I’d even let Rick stay … as fact checker and hurricane coverage guy. I do enjoy his pompous self blowing like the bag of hot wind he is. But I’ll stop. For some reason that Sanchez brings out the meanie in me.

27 thoughts on “Conspiracy or the Obvious: Fewer Black Pundits On the TeeVee

  1. But wait, who’s that brother on at midday on CNN…almost as moronic and ":blowhard-istic" as Sanchez?

  2. @ ChrisThat’s Tony and I don’t want more of him. Which is why I didn’t mention him in the post. He’s also not a pundit. But yeah, Tony can get annoying.

  3. black folks always complain about there not being enough of a black presence on TV, yet according to the stats we watch the most TV. I say we just turn it off. Cable news is the worst anyway, there is no way anyone is learning from that stuff

  4. Good post. Your video reminded me of those "In Memoriam" segments they do at the awards shows.

  5. @ politicallyincorrectThose people aren’t watching the news, cable or otherwise. It’s more Five Flavors of CSI and House of Payne. I think some watched the news because of the historical nature of the campaign and that did help CNN, but in the end CNN was going to struggle from lack of personality.After all, would they have ever let Glenn Beck be that many magnificent shades of crazy?But people, obviously, could stand to turn the TV off and take a break even though I wish too much news programming was our problem.

  6. Well, during the campaign up through the inauguration the MSM couldn’t get enough SBFs (smart black folks). Now, alas, the time of the Educated Eloquent Negro has passed…So, appropriate video memorial. Actually, I think they will all bounce back. We just need to continue to support them in their other endeavors.

  7. I can’t say I’m sad Amy Holes is out of work ( I know how much you love her Snob, but ugh…), but it’s SHOCKING how quickly the black members of the chattering class have been put to pasture. Seeing Donna Brazille on ‘This Week’ yesterday morning had me thinking this exact same thing.On the other hand, MSNBC continues in its quest to hire as many second generation Irish-American’s as it possibly can. . .

  8. "…GIVE HER SOMETHING TO DO!!!Like Wolf’s job."OMG, YES!!! PLEASE DO GIVE HER WOLF’S JOB. I have never seen a news anchor more wasteful of such a coveted timeslot and so unworthy of such an awesome name. If Sanchez is your catalyst for snarkiness, then Blitzer is mine.

  9. @ Mr. NofaceWolf’s bland monotone drives me INSANE and I STILL don’t see what the draw is. He’s not colorful like Dan Rather. He’s not handsome and robotic, Anchorman 3000 like Brian Williams. He’s not personable like Ted Koppel or Kronkite. He, quite frankly, has no purpose.

  10. I don’t like pundits in general. I don’t watch cable news because of them. Maybe if CNN didn’t play hue politics they could find better anchors. Local news has kick azz black anchors of all shades and so does the international news. Maybe they should give black bloggers a call, y’all are way more interesting. Amy Holmes I can’t respect b/c I don’t think she even believes what she is saying and Soledad is not dumb, but she does not know enough about black history and politics to provide commentary.

  11. @ Politically Incorrect — I’m not too crazy about pundits either, and during the election I was looking for some news coverage instead of just pundits all day. I did notice that all of a sudden Donna was gone as well as Jamal. Roland brought on Alfred Edmond from Black Enterprise for a panel last week and he looked sooo happy to be there. But for the newscasters, I can’t stand Tony either. For some reason he just bugs me to no end. And Soledad bugs me too. After that whole Black in America thing, she can stay in whatever place CNN has her in.

  12. Well, the good news is that Roland Martin seems to be coming into his own on CNN. He’s doing a fine job subbing for Campbell Brown.

  13. Snob, Great post. But before I comment I have to correct your Spanish… So, it’s "Los periodicos estan muertos." But maybe you mean the newspaper business in general, which would make it singular and you might be right. I agree with you about Amy Holmes–she’s alternately annoying and insightful–and you should really try to pitch that idea you had about having a minority women discussing politics and only politics. Like you said, CNN should just do a WB and go minority full throttle to get viewers…but once they get viewers they’ll drop all the minorities like hot potatoes. Remember Wayans Brothers, Steve Harvey Show and all the black fare WB used to carry back in the day–the 1990s– to rave ratings? Once they got ratings they "retooled" the network–Dawson’s Creek and Smallville were the beginning–and now it’s all white with Gossip Girl and the new 90210.

  14. UGH @ Ron Christie. He is the WORST.I’m not much of a CNN watcher. As a Left Wing youth I dig the crazies @ MSNBC, but I should check out what Roland’s up to. . . .

  15. I’ve been thinking about a post like this. Actually, a JJP poster asked the question, and I had been thinking about how to put it, ,but you’re on the mark, Snob. don’t be shocked to see this at JJP soon.

  16. @willet784dont forget The Game and Everybody Hates Chris, which sadly, may both be coming to an end on the CW. *Sigh*. We’ll always have Tyra….

  17. cnn has also decided to go full throttle on the fox lite bandwagon in the last few months; all of their new additions have been conservatives (perino, matalin, fleischer etc.), and aside from their perpetual token liberals Begala & Carville, they’ve gotten rid of most of the liberals they used to have on regularly. during the campaign, democrats were the center of attention and everyone was looking for their very own smart black person to plop on air; it fit their post racial fantasy land where obama’s success made black pundits the new popular kids at school. now that the election is over, the beltway press has reverted back to their status quo preserving, conservative frame based MO, and black commentators have gone back to being on the sidelines because they aren’t central to that. the only time you see black commentators these days, is if they are conservative leaning, critical of black people (especially obama) for one reason or another, or when they do one of those silly "oh hey we’ve been reminded that the obamas are black for ___ reason" stories, and they want the perspective of real live black folk.

  18. And what is wrong with 60 minutes. Why aren’t folks complaining about the lineup there? Pathetic.

  19. Great post, Snob! I just heard that Mary Matalin and I believe her hubby James Carville are getting slots on CNN. So after Campbell Brown comes back, I think we’ll be seeing a lot less of Roland too. And Willet784-don’t forget Fox- In Living Color, Martin, Living Single, New York Undercover-once they crossed over, it’s all about white folks.

  20. Good post, Snob. Thank God for YouTube… because if BET and TVOne can’t support intellectually aggressive content and talent for our community, YouTube sure as hell can. Hollah at me, Black Agenda Report! LOL

  21. well, Snob…once you move here, we can try to get you some facetime at MSNBC with Rachel M. Now how much fun would *that* be?

  22. I don’t want to see Connie Chung after she performed that not-a-strip tease on the piano while singing off key, a while ago. I thought, "this woman must have lost her mind." There is more than enough craziness in the world, thank you.I applaud the "Replace Wolf Blizter" movement. Replace him with anyone. Chuckles the Clown. Anybody.

  23. Uhm … did you just type "The newspapers is dead! They is dead!" in Spanish? ;)Yeah, the minority thing is lacking in the MSM but I think MSNBC is actually the biggest culprit. At least CNN and FOX (washing mouth) has their token Blacks and Latinos. MSNBC has Tamron Hall and …

  24. I think they need to get rid of all the pundits black and white…all they do is argue with each…sometimes quote a statistic out of thin air with no citation…they are glorified opinion givers…replace all the punditry with more journalism…more indepth interviews…more investigative journalism…that’s what this country desperately needs…not more and more pundits arguing back and forth with each other…it’s absolutely mind numbing and brain draining to watch that (at least that’s my opinion, lol).

  25. Donna’s back on today!Did someone at CNN read your post? I’ve seen more black people on television in the last twenty four hours than the entire period since January 21st. Maybe it’s just for the 100 days segments…we’ll see.

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