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

high-res-bookcover

At a time when political candidates leverage fear of immigrants and Muslims into votes while the nation debates issues of policing and people of color, the need for media coverage more finely attuned to race and prejudice could not be more clear.   

But instead of informing audiences, many of the fastest-growing news programs and media platforms are playing on old prejudices and deep rooted fears to compete for increasingly narrow audiences. Using the same tactics once employed to mobilize political parties, they send fans coded messages and demonize opposing groups as their audience share soars and website traffic ticks up.

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.

Get Your Copy Now

amazon-sm Barnes-noble-smallindiebound-sm

The Daily Show News Team at SXSW: Content From Their Couches

Full Frontal with Sam Bee: The October Surprise

TEDx speech: How to Talk About Race Across Race Lines

Photo credit: Todd Bates

About Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic. He came to NPR from the Tampa Bay Times newspaper in Florida, where he served as TV/Media Critic and in other roles for nearly 20 years. He also serves as a contributor and media analyst at MSNBC/NBC News. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is also the author of Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, a look at how prejudice, racism and sexism fuels some elements of modern media, published in October 2012 by Palgrave Macmillan.

He has guest hosted CNN’s media analysis show Reliable Sources many times, joining a select group of journalists and media critics filling in for departed host Howard Kurtz. In 2013, he was awarded the Florida Press Club’s first-ever Diversity award, honoring his coverage of issues involving race and media. That year, he also received the Legacy award from the National Association of Black Journalists’ A&E Task Force, an honor bestowed to “seasoned A&E journalists who are at the top of their careers.” Eric also serves on the board of educators, journalists and media experts who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media.

Journalist

Eric is the first full-time TV critic for National Public Radio. He served as TV/Media Critic for the Tampa Bay Times, guest host of CNN’s Reliable Sources and freelance contributor to Salon, Huffington Post, and CNN.com.

Pundit

Eric has appeared as a pundit and expert on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, PBS’ The NewsHour, the Tom Joyner Morning Show and many other outlets.

Author

In Race-Baiter, Eric 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.

Public Speaker

Eric is available as a keynote speaker, instructor and thought leader on a wide range of topics, including: race issues, media, pop culture, social media, brand identity, music, online technology and much more.

Previously on social media…

Twitter


For all those who claim that CNN and MSNBC are just as biased toward liberals as Fox News is toward conservatives, consider this: I have never heard of either channel airing doctored photos, like Fox. https://t.co/gG5NG1cAwn

What angers me most, is that critics like me were telling them to hire and empower Black writers/producers BACK THEN. It's not like this was the 1950s. There were already great Black writers working elsewhere. Surely TV's most successful sitcom could spare some $$ for them. https://t.co/O3pHZp91wf

Excited to see my old friend, producer Gregg Pagani, has co-written and produced the new single from Chaka Khan, Woman Like Me. Please check it out; this cut is fire! LISTEN: https://t.co/wUYd8cSQUm

I remain amazed that the option of hiring some Black people as producers and writers never crosses her mind. https://t.co/mvFnGBywYR

Been listening to your solo album One In a Million a lot recently. Love that track; especially the bass line… https://t.co/rRRtgdZZ8P
Deggans photo
Christine McVie @christine_mcvie
#flashbackfriday #fbf with Stevie and Lindsey. Feels like yesterday! Oh, such fond memories... enjoy the weekend. 🕊🎹
*
#fleetwoodmac #christinemcvie #rumours #songbird #songwriters #lyrics https://t.co/S1o7bS3IY3

Was blown away by Abbi Jacobson's series version of A League of Their Own for Amazon, which delves deeply into issues the original film only dared to hint at. Hear my review: https://t.co/gbwhhmF1IG https://t.co/hlbpFDslcm Deggans photo

Tumblr

Super Fly at 50: Why more film and TV shows are not following in footsteps of the blaxploitation classic

Super Fly at 50: Why more film and TV shows are not following in footsteps of the blaxploitation classic

Every so often in this job, you get to pursue a story that involves examining a cherished pop culture moment from your childhood. That’s what it felt like, pulling together this fun, detailed story for NPR about the making of classic blaxploitation film, Super Fly.

The movie celebrates its 50th anniversary… [more]

Many thanks to the ACLU of Florida’s Pinellas County chapter, which gave me its Irene Miller Vigilance in Journalism award last year

Many thanks to the ACLU of Florida’s Pinellas County chapter, which gave me its Irene Miller Vigilance in Journalism award last year

Many thanks to the ACLU of Florida’s Pinellas County chapter, which gave me its Irene Miller Vigilance in Journalism award last year. The plaque just arrived, courtesy of longtime friend Ray Arsenault, and I’ve given it a special space in my office.https://www.instagram.com/p/Cf_t3aCMTRy/?igshid=NGJjMDIxMWI=

Reckoning with the long shadow of TV dads on Fathers Day

Reckoning with the long shadow of TV dads on Fathers Day

As a longtime TV critic, I have written a lot of pieces about dads and television for Fathers Day. Some of them have felt a bit contrived, like this piece on TVs Dumb Dads, which is an evergreen subject; television loves taking characters who actually have the most agency and… [more]

As TV Awards Season Takes Off, Help Me Choose My Votes for Winners of the TV Critics Association Awards

As TV Awards Season Takes Off, Help Me Choose My Votes for Winners of the TV Critics Association Awards

Surprised by the flood of superstars showing up on talk shows, press events, newspaper and magazine profiles, special screenings and social media-worthy, meme-able stunts these days?

You should not. Because the voting for Emmy nominations began yesterday. Which means the awards season for television is taking flight.

In addition to voting for… [more]