Richard Prince's Journal-isms™

2 Black Networks Going Live With King Funeral

Send by email
Sunday, February 5, 2006

TV One, Black Family Channel Say Yes; BET No

TV One and the Black Family Channel plan to join C-SPAN, MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel in showing live Tuesday the funeral of Coretta Scott King, spokesmen for the two African American-oriented cable networks said today.

Their decision contrasts with coverage of the funeral of civil rights matriarch Rosa Parks, whose services in November were carried live on the mainstream cable channels but not on those targeting African Americans.

Black Entertainment Television expects to proceed with its regular programming during the services, which begin at noon at the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., outside Atlanta, and could exceed three hours.

The King family announced today that Bishop T.D. Jakes, entertainers Stevie Wonder and Bebe Winans, renaissance woman Maya Angelou and Zanele Mbeki, wife of South African President Thabo Mbeki, would be among the notables attending.

The White House said Saturday that President and Laura Bush would attend, and the Associated Press said former presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton would as well.

New Birth Missionary Baptist was producing the service and making it available to news outlets via a pool feed to be carried by Fox News.

After Parks' death, Greg Morrison, news director of the Black Family Channel, said his network was unaware that a feed was being provided free of charge.

This time, Morrison and Johnathan Rodgers, CEO of TV One, anticipated that the services would be available and said last week they hoped to carry them.

"We are a network for African American adults and her death is obviously significant to all of us," Rodgers said today. The network plans "special commentary to be provided by TV One commentator and award-winning journalist Roland Martin," an announcement said. "TV One's goal is to be a home base for African American adults, and, as such, we think it's important to offer coverage of significant moments in black history," the statement continued, quoting Rodgers.

[Added Feb. 7: Morrison said the Black Family Channel would rebroadcast the service at midnight, without commentary or fancy graphics, because it is a funeral, not a "show." Of the decision to broadcast, he said, "This is our mission. Because if we don't do it, who will?"] plans to stream the event as a live Webcast. While it is not showing the funeral live, the television network plans to include it in its hourly news updates and has scheduled a special on Mrs. King for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT, hosted by CNN analyst Carlos Watson, repeating Sunday.

" is definitely streaming the entire funeral live, which as you might imagine gives millions of BET viewers who work, travel or attend school an accessible option beyond the television screen," spokesman Michael Lewellen told Journal-isms. "If you add in our half-hour tribute special in primetime tomorrow night at 7:30 ET/PT; and an expanded one-hour tribute special at Noon ET/PT this Sunday, our viewers will have much to choose from beyond a single telecast. Also, we will be doing our hourly news briefs tomorrow from the funeral location in Atlanta with BET News senior correspondent Andre Showell."

Here's what other networks said they were doing:

ABC: "World News Tonight" planned to cover a musical tribute to Mrs. King today and the funeral Tuesday. "Nightline" planned to dedicate a segment to Mrs. King that will feature a Vicki Mabrey interview with Myrlie Evers Williams, widow of Medgar Evers and longtime friend of Mrs. King.

CBS: Spokeswoman Sandra M. Genelius said the network would make the live feed available to affiliates, would discuss the event on "The Early Show" and had assigned correspondent Byron Pitts to the funeral.

CNN: Live coverage of the musical tribute to Mrs. King was scheduled to begin at noon (ET) today. In addition, CNN planned live coverage of the prayer service for Mrs. King at 7 p.m. at the New Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street from Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Mrs. King's body lies in honor.

"Tomorrow's service, where thousands are expected to attend, will be covered live by CNN beginning at noon ET," an announcement said.

C-SPAN: "The funeral coverage for Coretta Scott King will air Live on C-SPAN starting at Noon. Since C-SPAN covers gavel to gavel proceedings of the U.S. House of Representatives, we expect to go to the House around 2 p.m. when they are gaveled in for a pro forma session that is expected to recess shortly after 2, when the network returns to funeral coverage," said spokeswoman Jennifer Moire. [Added Feb. 7: It reairs in its entirety at 8 p.m.]

Fox News Channel: "FNC correspondent David Lee Miller will be reporting live re: Coretta Scott King funeral from the Atlanta area, and FNC will present the live pool feed as well as most of the funeral live. We'll be reporting on it throughout the day," a spokeswoman said via e-mail.

MSNBC: Chris Matthews is to anchor MSNBC's live coverage of the service.

National Public Radio: "Morning Edition" interviews NPR correspondent Juan Williams. On "News and Notes," correspondent Emily Cox profiles the King cemetery where Mrs. King will be buried. On "Day to Day," Charles Edwards of Georgia Public Broadcasting profiles the New Birth Missionary Church. "Day to Day" also plans to carry excerpts of the funeral service in later feeds, as will "Talk of the Nation." "All Things Considered" will also feature stories. "In addition, NPR plans to send out the audio of the funeral to its stations – unanchored – and they can use it in any way they would like," a spokeswoman said.

NBC: Extended voiceover on "NBC Nightly News" for Monday; plans not firmed up for Tuesday.

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

At '68 Funeral, Coretta King Stood Up for Black Press

One of the iconic images of Coretta Scott King at the funeral of her husband, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in 1968, earned its photographer, Moneta Sleet Jr. of Ebony magazine, a Pulitzer Prize. But it might not have happened had Mrs. King not intervened.

The photo, showing a veiled Mrs. King clutching her young daughter Bernice, fills the cover of a coffee-table collection of Sleet's photographs published in 1998, two years after Sleet's death. Inside, Sleet explains how he got the photo.

"There was complete pandemonium," he said in "Special Moments in African-American History, 1955-1996" (Johnson Publishing Co.). "Nothing was yet organized because the people from SCLC were still in a state of shock. We had the world press descending upon Atlanta, plus the FBI, who were investigating the assassination.

"We were trying to get an arrangement to shoot in the church. They were going to pool it. Normally, the pool meant news services: Life, Time and Newsweek. When the pool was selected, there were no Black photographers from the Black media on it. Lerone Bennett and I got in touch with Mrs. King through Andy Young. She said if somebody from Johnson Publishing is not on the pool, there will be no pool.

"We . . . made arrangements with AP (the Associated Press) that they would process the black and white film immediately after the services and put it on the wire. Later, I found out which shot they sent out . . . The day of the funeral, Bob Johnson, the Executive Editor of Jet, had gotten to the church and he beckoned for me and said, 'There's a spot right here.' It was a wonderful spot.

"What I noticed . . . this was prior to the funeral -- was the little girl fidgeting there on her mother's lap. I could relate to that, being a father and having a child close to the same age. Mrs. King was sitting there, stoic and stately, but it was specifically the child who I was thinking about at the time."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

"Other Woman," Finances Figure in King Columns

"Just moments after the news of Coretta Scott King's death, the first inquiring e-mail arrived: How long would it be before the woman some King scholars have for years privately thought of as 'the other wife' either stepped forward or was identified by some unprincipled news outlet?" David J. Garrow, author of "Bearing the Cross," the Pulitzer-winning biography of Martin Luther King Jr., wrote Sunday in the Los Angeles Times.

Garrow does not name the woman, but he goes on to say that Mrs. King did not truly come into her own until after her husband died.

Meanwhile, Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald discussed another impolite subject: what he termed Mrs. King's blind spot. "I interviewed Coretta Scott King once. It cost $5,000," his Friday column began.

"I don't mind the King family making money. But not at all costs, and certainly, not at the cost of Martin Luther King's dignity. Granted, dignity is subjective and you might draw the line in a different place than I. But I suspect most of us would agree that when a martyr, minister and American hero becomes a TV character hawking cellphones with Homer Simpson, that line has been well and truly crossed."

Columnists of color wrote about different parts of Mrs. King's legacy:

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

2 See Referees as Third Team at Super Bowl

"The inevitable finally happened," sports columnist Jason Whitlock of the Kansas City Star wrote in his morning-after Super Bowl analysis. "A group of middle-aged executives trying to keep pace with a group of highly trained 20-something athletes destroyed America's sports holiday.

"Make no mistake about Super Bowl XL, the performance of referee Bill Leavy and his crew overshadowed Pittsburgh's heroics and Seattle's blunders."

"Pittsburgh's one-for-the-thumb Super Bowl will be remembered as the game when physically overmatched referees and heads-buried NFL executives flipped non-Steelers fans an XL middle finger.

"The Steelers shook off a terrible first quarter and whipped the Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL."

Whitlock's column was headlined "Throw a flag on the officials." Michael Smith of voiced the same sentiment. "The officials who performed well enough throughout the season to earn the privilege of working Super Bowl XL performed Sunday as though they were trying to make it up to the Steelers by giving them the game -- not just any game, but the biggest game," he wrote.

Other sports columnists of color took a different tack. "While the Seahawks agonize over their blunders, the Steelers get to celebrate a victory in which they didn't play particularly well," wrote Michael Wilbon in the Washington Post.

In the New York Times, William C. Rhoden marveled that "Pittsburgh's second-year quarterback sensation, Ben Roethlisberger . . . became the youngest quarterback, at 23, to win the Super Bowl."

Rickey Hampton, columnist for the Flint (Mich.) Journal, said, "It was a fairy tale ending for Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. After 13 seasons, the Detroit native will retire a champion. He was a team leader and a role model in Pittsburgh. He took pay cuts, a reduced role in the offense and never complained."

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Fox News, Philly Inquirer Show Muhammad Cartoon

Fox News and the Philadelphia Inquirer joined ABC News in showing the Danish-drawn cartoons that have prompted rioting in Muslim countries because they depict the Prophet Muhammad.

"The Inquirer's senior editors decided at Friday's afternoon news meeting to publish the most controversial image. It is being published 'discreetly' with a note explaining the rationale, said Amanda Bennett, The Inquirer's editor," the Inquirer reported on Sunday.

"This is the kind of work that newspapers are in business to do," Bennett said in the story.

"We're running this in order to give people a perspective of what the controversy's about, not to titillate, and we have done that with a whole wide range of images throughout our history," she said.

The New York Times reported Saturday, "Major American newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, did not publish the caricatures. Representatives said the story could be told effectively without publishing images that many would find offensive.

"Most television news executives made similar decisions. On Friday CNN ran a disguised version of a cartoon, and on an NBC News program on Thursday, the camera shot depicted only a fragment of the full cartoon. CBS banned the broadcast of the cartoons across the network, said Kelli Edwards, a spokeswoman for CBS News.

"Only ABC showed a cartoon in its entirety, lingering over the image for several seconds during Thursday's evening news broadcast and on 'Nightline.' 'We felt you couldn't really explain to the audience what the controversy was without showing what the controversy was,' said Jeffrey Schneider, a spokesman."

"Fox News Sunday" also showed one of the cartoons. Spokesman Paul Schur told Journal-isms, "It was tough to discuss the protests against the cartoon without showing one of the cartoons."

In a panel discussion on that show, commentator Juan Williams said, "the idea that the U.S. State Department would say it's wrong to engage in any kind of activity that might provoke religious and ethnic hatred, and to cite the – you know, in response to this event – I don't understand it.

"First of all, it's not our fight. We don't have a dog in this fight. But secondly, I can only take that as evidence of their being so, you know, shell-shocked over the treatment of Muslims, given what we're doing in Iraq, that they're suddenly saying, 'oh, this is an opportunity for us to look good in the eyes of the Muslim world.'

"I just think it's short-sighted. You know, Bono, at the prayer breakfast this week, said he hopes that – let us all pray I don't say anything that we come to regret. I pray that I don't say anything offensive to Muslims here this morning, but I've got to say it looks to me like evidence of a very weak religion when people somehow can't stand a cartoon.

"You know, I mean, in the American tradition, you know, we have everybody from H.L. Mencken to Richard Pryor making fun of people."

In a parallel discussion at the Washington Post, in its internal critiques, local columnist Courtland Milloy took the opposite view. Milloy, who gave permission for his comments to be used here, wrote:

"When I was growing up in Shreveport, La., in the 1950s, racist politicians used campaign fliers featuring cartoons of blacks as monkeys. Blacks were pretty teed off about it. Local newspapers reproduced the cartoons with stories about the controversy – in white papers as well as the black paper. Blacks believed the black papers had their best interest at heart and rallied around the coverage. But they saw the white papers as furthering the interest of the racist pols. As for the Post, there is ooh so much that the paper refuses to cover or publish (even the word hell has a tough time getting into this paper). So what is the motive for running this? Why not direct readers who want to see it to a Website, like"

MESSAGE BOARDS: Feel free to post a comment on this subject and view those from others.

Short Takes

  • The National Association of Hispanic Journalists has commissioned the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University to analyze coverage of Latinos in Newsweek, Time and U.S. News and World Report, the association announced Thursday. "The study will explore news trends and portrayals of Latinos and Latino-related issues by these magazines. Results of the research will be unveiled at NAHJ's 24th annual convention, June 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.," the announcement said.
  • "Officials at the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C., have refused to accept delivery of 443 signed appeals calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Shi Tao, a journalist unjustly imprisoned for 'leaking state secrets,'" the Committee to Protect Journalists announced today. Ron Allen of NBC News, Keith Richburg of the Washington Post, Gwen Ifill of PBS, Mark Whitaker of Newsweek and Manuel Vasquez Portal, a formerly imprisoned Cuban journalist, were among those signing.
  • Lonnie Isabel, who was laid off as deputy managing editor at Newsday last year, told friends today that he had decided "to accept in principle a job as associate professor at the new graduate school of Journalism at City University of New York. It appealed to me to be a part of a start up in Manhattan and to become a founding faculty member. I also look forward to working at a university of the people, affordable by those of lesser means. This also gives me the chance to do something I haven't done in almost 30 years of daily journalism – write longer non-fiction and perhaps some fiction," he said.
  • Knoxville College plans to announce today that Samuel F. Yette, author of 1971's "The Choice: The Issue of Black Survival in America," will join the college as a writer-in- residence. The veteran of both the black and mainstream press, and of academia, is now based in Silver Spring, Md.
  • The Panafrican Association of Journalists, founded in France in 2002, now has about 30 members, Louis Keumayou, a Cameroon national who is president of the group, told Journal-isms Sunday. The Paris-based association's next general assembly takes place Feb. 13. The group has a message board, in French. Keumayou said members are mainly correspondents from African media in France or those who simply write about African issues.
  • Rhonda Stewart, an arts reporter at the Boston Globe who had been at the paper four years, is leaving the paper today to pursue freelance opportunities in Washington, she told Journal-isms today. Stewart worked at before joining the Globe. The paper, owned by the New York Times Co., underwent a series of buyouts and layoffs last year.

Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact and tell us who you are.

About Richard Prince

View previous columns.



Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.