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Mediaite's list of 28 media leaders who died this decade includes no people of color, not even Michael Jackson



Mediaite-died (UPDATE: After my friend and former National Association of Black Journalists president Bryan Monroe complained, Mediaite issued a swift apology and put up this list of five black folks they wish they had thought of when they first wrote the list.

Understand, this is not about hurt feelings or bruised pride, but accuracy. If you're going to include actors and performers among those sad departed this decade who changed media most, leaving out Michael Jackson and Ed Bradley just ain't accurate.

Rant over.)

Wish I could say this idea was mine.

But I first heard about Mediaite columnist Danny Groner's list of 28 media leaders who died this decade from a friend who emailed an Internet listserv of black journalists, incredulous that the list did not include a single person of color.

No Michael Jackson. No Ed Bradley. No Richard Pryor. No John H. Johnson.

This list itself is fine enough, ranging from TV pioneer Milton Berle, Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon and actor Charlton Heston  to legendary cook Julia Child and Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham. But Wendy's founder Dave Thomas? William Hanna from the Hanna Barbera animation team?

Ahead of the King of Pop and TV's most-influential black journalist?

As my friends on the listserv grew more angry, more names flowed: politician Shirley Chisholm, pop singer Luther Vandross, historian John Hope Franklin.

Any list like this one limited to 28 names is bound to leave someone out. And by including actors such as Katherine Hepburn on the list, the definition of media leader was expanded even more.

But this list seemed drawn from a particular perspective which left out a lot of worthy contributions.

Maybe somebody at Mediaite could toss a few more names on the roster.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:03pm]


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