This talk explains how media outlets, which consumers trust to cut through and expose problems with racism, sexism, prejudice, and bias, instead can contribute to it. Either they fumble to understand the issues at hand or they cynically exploit the controversies to build ratings, revenue, and influence, regardless of the cost to society. It also provides tips on how to recognize when media outlets are practicing the politics of division and suggestions on how to decode what their messages are really trying to achieve.
Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.
Deggans came to NPR in 2013 from the Tampa Bay Times, where he served a TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism, and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012, by Palgrave Macmillan. Deggans is also currently a media analyst/contributor for MSNBC and NBC News. He received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists' A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to "seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers." And in 2019, he was named winner of the American Sociological Association's Excellence in the Reporting of Social Justice Issues Award. Deggans served as the first African American chairman of the board of educators, journalists, and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media in 2019.