Jump to content

Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation


Recommended Posts

Has anyone heard of or read this book? The author, Deggans, is a popular critic out of Tampa Bay'

Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation

by Eric Deggans

Hardcover: 288 pages

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (October 30, 2012)

Gone is the era of Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite, when news programs fought to gain the trust and respect of a wide spectrum of American viewers. Today, the fastest-growing news programs and media platforms are fighting hard for increasingly narrow segments of the public and playing on old prejudices and deep-rooted fears, coloring the conversation in the blogosphere and the cable news chatter to distract from the true issues at stake.

Using the same tactics once used to mobilize political parties and committed voters, they send their fans coded messages and demonize opposing groups, in the process securing valuable audience share and website traffic. Race-baiter is a term born out of this tumultuous climate, coined by the conservative media to describe a person who uses racial tensions to arouse the passion and ire of a particular demographic. Even as the election of the first black president forces us all to reevaluate how we think about race, gender, culture, and class lines, some areas of modern media are working hard to push the same old buttons of conflict and division for new purposes.

In Race-Baiter, veteran journalist and media critic Eric Deggans dissects the powerful ways modern media feeds fears, prejudices, and hate, while also tracing the history of the word and its consequences, intended or otherwise.


Eric Deggans serves as TV/Media Critic for the Tampa Bay Times, Florida's largest newspaper. Some people call him the most critical guy in the place, because he's served as TV critic, Pop Music Critic and Media Critic at various times. He also provides regular commentaries on TV for National Public Radio and writes about media issues for the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University.

Raised in Gary, Indiana, he earned a degree in journalism from Indiana University, working at newspapers in Pittsburgh, Pa. and Asbury Park, N.J. before landing in Florida. A drummer for more than 30 years, he performed in a band signed to Motown Records in the late 1980s and still plays the occasional show with local artists. He has won awards for his journalism from the Florida Society of News Editors, the National Association of Black Journalists, the Society for Features Journalism and American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors; his work also has appeared in the Washington Post, Seattle Times, Chicago Sun-Times, Ebony magazine and Rolling Stone Online.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never heard of this book. I wish Kam or somebody would read and review it. I'm just curious as to what new can be said about this subject. We all know how manipulative the media is. Black folks claim it race baits via coded subliminal messages, and Conservatives claim it is shamelessly skewed toward liberalism.

Are people still naive enough to not recognize ploys that are directed toward a certain consumer or audience, and aren't both black and white advertisers and journalists guilty of this? Moreover, how obligated is the media to not do what it takes to gain attention and make the money it takes to stay viable?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

They not only use certain code words, but they also use demographic info and statistics to divide people and alarm them.

I can give 2 examples of how the main stream media puts out information to divide the nation along racial lines.

1. Every year they put out information about how the White population of America is declining and the Black and Latino population is increasing.

What is the purpose for constantly feeding the public this information unless they are trying to signal those who don't like these facts to take action?

I know for a fact that this belief that the Black/Brown population is crowding out the White population is the MAIN factor behind the anti-abortion stance so many White conservatives have taken in recent decades.

If abortion clinics were only located in the inner cities, you wouldn't hear a peep out of them.

2. After the recent election, the media constantly breaks down who voted for whom along racial lines making a point to show that while most Whites voted for Romney..... Blacks, Latinos and Asians voted overwhelmingly for Obama thus securing his presidency.

They've been putting this information out over and over again as if to tell Whites, "If you don't want this to keep happening over and over you had better make haste and do something about it"

To some, this information makes it look as if people of color are "conspiring" against Whites.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...