Photo credit: Todd Bates

About Eric Deggans

Eric Deggans is NPR’s first full-time TV critic, serving as critic, media analyst and guest host. 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 is also an adjunct instructor at Duke University and a member of the National Advisory Board at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is 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 and served as a moderator for discussions organized by the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Arts, The National Book Festival, the Chautauqua Institute and the South By Southwest conference. He has earned the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Indiana University – the institution’s highest alumni honor. In 2019, Eric became the first African American to serve as chairman for the jurors who select the George Foster Peabody Awards for excellence in electronic media at the University of Georgia; his one-year tenure capped a total six years he served on the board of jurors.



Eric Deggans at NPR
Eric Deggans at NPR2 days ago
Wonderful piece from my colleague @elizblair, on the Native American and Mexican American roots of Redbone, whose triumphant anthem "Come and Get Your Love" - featured in the Guardians of the Galaxy - first peaked on Billboard's charts 50 yrs ago. READ:
Eric Deggans at NPR
Eric Deggans at NPR3 days ago
As former chair of judging panel for the Peabody awards, I was excited to join one of the first episodes of their new podcast, We Disrupt This Broadcast, talking history of Black centered TV in 1990s and how it inspired hit Abbott Elementary. LISTEN:
Eric Deggans at NPR
Eric Deggans at NPR3 days ago
Lots of reasons I didn't jump to join the gigantic conversation about O.J. Simpson when he died last week. But I did stumble on this great convo with @NPRMichel about the excellent ESPN documentary, O.J.: Made in America. LISTEN:
Eric Deggans at NPR
Eric Deggans at NPR3 days ago
Had really compelling discussion w/comic Mike Birbiglia and director Eddie Schmidt on comedy and Peacock's special Good One: A Show About Jokes. We talked on Hasan Minhaj, questions of truth in comedy, why he calls himself an "autobiographical comedian."



Eric is the first full-time TV critic and media analyst 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


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.


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.

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

Black Stories. Black Truths. — Eric Deggans — NPR TV Critic

TEDx speech: How to Talk About Race Across Race Lines

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


In Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation, Eric describes how some media outlets have weaponized messages of fear, division and social conflict. They exacerbate old prejudices and deep-rooted fears about women, people of color, immigrants, Muslims and other marginalized groups, seeking a loyal audience, advertising dollars and political power.

Gone is the era of three-channel television, when every outlet fought to serve a wide spectrum of American viewers. Today, many pundits, bloggers, podcasters and cable news anchors aim instead for a passionate niche of fans. When that process illuminates a previously overlooked group, it is a wonderful exercise in equality. But when it segments viewers along race, class and gender lines, resisting America’s proud legacy of progress through diversity, then problems arise. Deggans experienced this phenomenon firsthand when he was called a “race-baiter” by then-Fox News Channel anchor Bill O’Reilly.

The term “Race-Baiter” — once applied to those who unfairly leveraged racism against minorities — has been recast by some to describe anyone who criticizes prejudice in modern media. The conflict at hand: a debate on whether systemic racism and prejudice still affects marginalized groups in America.

The book also features an interview with conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart conducted five months before his death and an interview with pundit Tucker Carlson years before he would become Fox News Channel’s biggest star.

Well ahead of the current drive to diversify fictional TV shows, Eric details how the nation’s four largest TV networks were nearly sued by the NAACP for their lack of onscreen diversity. Before CBS declared 50 percent of its contestants on unscripted “Reality TV” shows like Survivor and Big Brother would be non-white people, Race-Baiter dissected how racial politics made it much harder for contestants of color to succeed on those shows.

Race-Baiter sounds the alarm for a more civil discourse, showing that the more we talk past each other, the further we drift from solutions to our very real problems.

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