In May of 2009, I wrote an article discussing the appalling lack of diversity on the iconic television news magazine show, CBS 60 Minutes (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johnny-c-benjamin/we-miss-you-ed-bradley-it_b_207343.html )
A short excerpt appears below:
Ed Bradley asked questions and engaged subject matter that was meaningful to the minority community. But more importantly he did it in the majority world. He was not the correspondent that merely covered Black issues. Ed Bradley probed powerful and relevant people, mostly white, in a manner that was virtually never displayed then and rarely seen now.
The recurring images of an intelligent and articulate black man engaged in meaningful discussion with figures of national and often international importance were more than inspirational. They were educational.
His well televised presence inspired Black America to believe in the potential reality of equality, while simultaneously educating White America to the promise of opportunity. Ed Bradley was allowed access to the living rooms of America that until then had been mostly off limits. He did not protest nor picket. He quietly excelled and gained entrance with ability and dignity.
Why is the message any less relevant today? Why hasn't CBS secured one of the many qualified Black and Hispanic journalists to represent a more culturally diverse America? Or better yet, why have they chosen not to?
Children need the inspiration and America needs the continuing education.
I was truly amazed that anyone read my short narrative and equally humbled when I received a comment from a well informed source (CBS?) that the respected journalist Byron Pitts had been tapped to become a regular correspondent. I was overjoyed that my mostly silent prayers had been answered. I waited eagerly and with great anticipation to what I'd hoped would be a continuation of the legacy of Ed Bradley.
Unfortunately, I like many people whom long for sustainable social progress must continue to wait. Byron Pitts has made pitifully few appearances on the show and is not regularly included in the video roster that begins each episode. For the uninformed observer, like me, he appears to be an occasional or 'special' correspondent not a full-time member of the 'starting' line-up.
In this age of the 24 hour news cycle and never ending 'talking heads' that clearly know everything about everything, intelligent journalism that shares the collective American experience is being drowned out.
Thankfully, the United States is far more than the extremes of right or left, red or blue and racist talk show hosts and tea baggers. I pray that one day soon the powers that shape popular media and subsequent public impression will become more responsible and inclusive.
We still miss you Ed Bradley.
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