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VIDEO: Eric Deggans hosts CNN's Reliable Sources, as the critic gets critiqued



The reviews are in, mostly over Twitter. And some of the feedback is, well, interesting.

There were too few female guests. A final thought on race-baiting in media included a plug for my own book. Guests didn’t have enough time to talk. And one fan tweeted that my goatee – referred to as a “pasty white flavor savor” (sic) – was distracting.

After an incredibly fun and fast-paced hour guest hosting CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources Sunday, I found out what it was like to get reviews instead of give them. And sometimes, it’s a lot more comfortable being on the other side of the snarky tweets.



But the experience of building an hour of television was invaluable for someone who spends so much time critiquing TV news. Charged with presenting six segments which reviewed the media news at hand with depth and a bit of style, a team of ace producers at CNN took me under their wing for three days and showed me how to make television out of a hash of interviews, video clips, photo stills and ideas.

And while admitting a definite bias here, I think we had some interesting stuff. Dan Rather talked about getting to know the family of slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers after covering his death and how the March on Washington 50 years ago was initially intended, in part, as a tribute to Evers. Paul Delaney, a veteran of the black press in the early 1960s, talked of how even black-focused newspapers disagreed on how much to cover the civil rights movement.

CNN anchor Don Lemon urged people not to ignore the problem of crime in black communities in an effort to avoid stereotyping. The Poynter Institute’s Kelly McBride offered unique insight into ESPN’s decision to stop participating in a Frontline documentary about head injuries in the NFL. And The Washington Post’s Wil Haygood talked of cold-calling 57 men named Eugene Allen in the area to find the man who had served eight presidents and would inspire the film, The Butler.

Nerve-wracking as it was – I’m sure the people next to my hotel room were wondering why this guy kept talking to himself like a newscaster all the time – I met a ton of amazing people and got to cover the March on Washington Saturday, interviewing Jesse Jackson and MSNBC anchor Toure.

For a media nerd who cares about race and social justice issues, it doesn’t get much better than that. But I’m still not getting rid of my “flavor savor.”

Check out the videos below and let me know what you think. Or click here to see all the videos on the Reliable Sources blog, along with my essay on how racial clichés can lead to inaccurate news coverage (it's drawn more than 10,000 comments, so far).

[Last modified: Monday, August 26, 2013 8:05am]


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