TV One to cover DNC and after-parties but not RNC

TV One plans to cover the Democratic National Convention and even the Wrap Parties, but CEO Johnathan Rodgers has no plans to bring the Republican National Convention to his audience. According to the Associated Press, TV One reaches 43.7 million households—almost one half of homes in the US with TVs. The network targets African-American adults. Rodgers told the AP and other news media, “We are not a news organization.” He said if Sen. Hillary Clinton were the nominee, TV One wouldn’t cover it. Rodgers based his reasoning on the fact Sen. Barack Obama’s nomination is a “historic event.”

A reporter covering the Television Critics Association press tour asked questions about TV One’s decision to only present one political party convention. Scott D. Pierce, covering a panel discussion for The Deseret News, wrote, “TV One will cover the Democratic National Convention because — and only because — the party’s nominee is black.” Obviously confused, Pierce added, “But no one on the panel seemed to want to answer a perfectly legitimate question about whether TV One’s coverage wouldn’t create the sort of racial divide that Obama has sought to avoid — that a ‘black’ TV channel covering the convention only because of the candidate’s race flies in the face of the candidate’s effort to be ‘post racial.’” Pierce said Michael Eric Dyson, host for the Wrap Parties, remarked, “I think we don’t want to be post-racial. We want to be post-racist.”TV One is described as a venture of Comcast, Radio One, Inc., Bear Stearns, Constellation Ventures, Syndicated Communications and Opportunity Capital Partners.

Many readers placed comments about TV One’s decision on various websites. Most readers called the network’s decision racist. A few readers rationalized all blacks are Democrats anyway, so what’s the problem?

Rodgers’ comments about his decision kept stacking up on news sites. “It’s not normally part of what we would do, but we will be covering the Democratic convention all the time,” he told The NY Daily News.

Rodgers talked about initial plans for the network in a 2004 interview with PBS. As the network was rolling out programming in major metro areas, he told interviewer Tavis Smiley that programming would cover “dramas, sitcoms, documentaries, reality shows and public affairs.” The term ‘public affairs’ is defined by Encarta as: “issues that affect people generally, or issues arising from the relationship of the public to an organization such as a government body or a financial institution.”

To read more commentary by Kay B. Day, visit The US Report.