If you’ve paid attention to previous episodes of The Axiom Amnesia Theory with Heit & Cheri, then you know that the media plays a huge role in the information we all receive, and how we interpret that information–news in particular.

In this 90-minute edition of the show, the duo tackles a variety of topics related to Black media, Black-owned businesses, the impact of social media as the new trendsetter for what the mainstream media covers, why we fear division so much, and what the pursuit of capitalism has to do with all of this.

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Segment 1

  • How society and media are connected and the effects in terms of how we communicate. We now have this “wild card” of people on social media and communicating via other technological means that has an unpredictable effect on the outcome of our communication.
  • What is the Black media? It’s “programming” for Black people.
  • Critiscm of NewsOne for their editorial staff posing with candy and encouraging people to mail the empty bags to the Sanford Police Department in protest of their handling of the Trayvon Martin case.
  • Cheri wrote a Facebook status regarding NewsOne, which read as follows: NewsOne was supposed to be the answer to BET–a place that would exhibit some forward thinking. While they may not rival coonery on BET’s level, they continue to advocate plantation thinking. That’s really not much better. Raise the bar and demand better…
  • From a mainstream view, in terms of direct image, NewsOne is better than BET. Nevertheless, there seems to be a lack of consideration when it comes to the messages they choose to send to and about the Black community.
  • People didn’t really THINK about the implications of the decision to purchase candy and tea as a show of solidarity with Trayvon Martin’s family.
  • There’s nothing wrong with rallying and marching, because it doesn’t damage the community. However, the call for people to buy candy and tea is taking money from people who actually care about the conditions and giving it to people who do not.
  • Mars, Inc. released a statement regarding the purchase of Skittles and gave a boilerplate statement. They didn’t take a side, but rather just gave the appearance of support.
  • A discussion of how Blacks tend to advocate things that disempower us. Buying Skittles and tea is just another example of this.
  • How can we blame the individual, when the Black media has failed at their responsibility. The community looks to them to be valid and credible, yet in NewsOne’s case they are capitalizing off of the case and giving ill advice.
  • NewsOne rarely provides the whole story in such a complete way that you can use them as a real resource. The stories they share are shaping a culture, yet they constantly drop the ball and have people paying attention to the wrong things.
  • NewsOne is supposed to be a place where you can find serious journalism, however the gossip blog Bossip seems to be getting it right more often than they do. They actually do a better job as bloggers than the supposed professional journalists of NewsOne. Their content is more relavant than NewsOne in many cases.
  • When it comes to historically Black publications, they tend to be owned by non-Blacks from the beginning, or they sold out to the mainstream at some point.
  • Seventies Soulchild’s voice message regarding NewsOne and Black media. She gives the history of Black voices and other publications. She also gives her take on why we have a problem with Black Media today.
  • Discussing that many publications that started off Black-owned, eventually sold out and were no longer owned by Blacks.
  • The loss of editorial control of the messages being pushed by Black publications. Blacks don’t control the messages anymore, the new owners do.
  • Hip-hop as an example of how talent is commandeered for profit/capitalism. Those with the money entice the talent by providing a larger platform for the artist. The tradeoff is this entity get control over the overall message that springs forth.
  • The dilemma of whether or not to sell out in order to expand the base to which your message is shared.
  • The example of when BET was sold, and part of the purchase price included the peoples’ confidence in the brand.
  • The example of how Al Sharpton and Melissa Harris-Perry were given shows, and the networks use them to draw in Black viewers. Although they may have these great ideas and political skills, they must now contend with the network producers, who have an impact on the messages they put out and the stories they cover. The person whose name is on the show doesn’t have ultimate control over the content of the show–the network that owns the show does.
  • The advertisers and network owners’ impact and control over the messages sent on media programs.
  • Deciding on whether to believe what we’re being told through the lens of from which the message comes and who owns the entity sending the message.
  • An example of how a person contacted Axiom Amnesia, wanting us to join their “network” of Black shows. The person presented it as Axiom Amnesia would gain if they joined, trying to entice them with promises of expanding their base.
  • Reflection on something that Immortal Technique said about how these people (managers, promoters, etc.) try to pull the talent in with the offer of greater exposure. This is really no different than pimping someone else–getting them to do all of the footwork for free.
  • The racket is that these “networks” don’t create the content in many cases. They simply organize things and get paid off of the hard work of others. The minute the person goes off the script, the network will cut them loose.
  • It is interesting how these networks say they love how edgy some of the artists are, yet they try to smooth the rough edges to get them to conform to agenda.
  • They want to make money off of you and they want to shut you up in some cases. If your message is one that they don’t want to see out there, they will invite you into their network so that they can control your message.
  • Networks appeal to the fact that money is an issue. It can be expensive to fund a dream. The “pimp” comes in and makes a profit off the hard labor of others.
  • These pimps try to suggest that it is all about getting the message out, when much of the motivation is clearly money.
  • In the last week, there have been two or more sites that have stolen content and placed it on their gawdy, ad-ridden sites. Axiom Amnesia works to make sure that the content is free of charge, because we believe that information should be free. People should not be forced to watch ads to get information they’re seeking. Essentially, these sites forced people to view ads on stolen content–that’s capitalism at work!
  • Feedback from Desiree on NewsOne and Black media. Her opinion is that NewsOne is really no different than BET because there is no forward thinking, and really no thinking at all. They simply take stories that they see people talking about and try to put a Black spin on it.

Segment 2

  • Social media and blogs have a huge impact on what the mainstream media decides to cover. Social media and blogs had been covering the Trayvon Martin case WEEKS before the mainstream started talking about it.
  • Mainstream media commandeers the stories and discussions from social media and blogs, and they don’t have to do any footwork to profit from these stories.
  • Mainstream media can put “tests” out there to see what’s hot and what’s not. They use social media to let the determine what people will latch on to. If it’s hot they cover it further on their shows and websites.
  • The media used to give us the story. Now, the media lets social media and blogs give them the story, then they commandeer the story and manipulate it to advance their message and profit.
  • A journalist from a major news outlet contacted Axiom Amnesia wanting an interview for an opinion on the impact of social media on the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke situation. He was trolling the blogs and social media for ideas and information to create a story.
  • Social media and the Internet has made the world a much smaller place. One person can feel so insignificant, but they can light the spark that leads to some of the biggest movements we see today.
  • Protesting and being behind a cause is the “in” thing to do these days. An example of how Occupy Wall Street spawned Occupy The Hood.
  • It only takes one thing to propel a person to the forefront of the masses’ attention. Examples of Antoine Dodson and Velma Hart, who told Barack Obama, “I’m exhausted of defending you,” as she questioned him about jobs.
  • People who have “made it” tend to have proteges whom they groom in order to pull the next person along.
  • When you have mentors, the thing that inevitably happens is you have to subscribe to their ideology. They are there to show you how to assimilate (give you the ideas, techniques, and behaviors) in order to “make it” and eventually get where they are or beyond.
  • It can be very different when you have a completely different ideology/perspective than someone else to then come together and unite toward a common goal. By default, people choose to unite with people who have similar ideas.
  • With mentors, it’s not always about having the same ideas. Sometimes it’s about a particular thing that a person does well, or it can be their gender or race that is seen as an advantage in getting a certain message across.
  • Within the different Trayvon Martin causes, we’ve seen some new faces emerge as the next generation of so-called Black leadership.
  • In the Trayvon Martin case, the supposed credibility of skin tone came into play when Zimmerman’s faux Black friend, Joe Oliver, came forward to proclaim that Zimmerman is not a racist. Everyone was supposed to believe this because it was a Black person who said it.
  • The idea that rallying and marching is ingrained as the “Black response” to perceived injustice. The so-called Black leaders tell the masses what to do. This is how the whole mailing Skittles and wearing hoodies came about. People are looking for what the proper action in response to the injustice should be.
  • Many times Black leaders will take their cues from what the masses are talking about, and they jump on the bandwagon. This occurred in the Trayvon Martin case. In fact, this was evident in the Trayvon Martin case when we saw many people who called for Al Sharpton and other big names to get involved and help mobilize the masses.
  • Now that we have a bunch of people together, what else can we do to help? In general, the idea that seemed to come from the leadership was to promote support and promote Black businesses.

Segment 3

  • The debate over the “buy Skittles” campaign related to the Trayvon Martin case.
  • Challenging the idea that you’re doing no harm by continuing the same destructive practices. An example is people defending buying Skittles and other commercialization of the Trayvon Martin case.
  • People say “buy Black and suport Black businesses” because this will help to make Blacks rich as well. However, this continues the same idea of holding on to capitalism. The point is to help people to become successful in the context of capitalism.
  • Does it feel better to get screwed over by a Black person than someone of some other race? The mistakes made by many Blacks is thinking that someone will have their best interest because they have the same skin color.
  • In many cases, these Black business owners choose to move away from the community. Those tax dollars don’t support the school systems in the community.
  • The issue of professionalism in Black businesses–perceptions of quality, treatment, etc. Do these businesses value Black dollars? The idea that you treat us like you don’t want our business when I’m trying to give it to you. Heit & Cheri give some examples of other issues when trying to “buy Black.”
  • Buying Black tends to cost more, and some people cannot afford it.
  • Many Black businesses are not in the Black community and it doesn’t necessarily benefit Blacks to buy from them, except for the feeling of knowing you are buying from a Black business. Are they helping the community by targeting those who can afford the products the least and enticing them to buy expensive clothes and other things they can’t reasonably afford? Examples of P. Diddy and Russell Simmons are given.
  • The hypocrisy of many Black celebrities and business owners who want to come to the forefront to speak on social issues, yet they haven’t been in the trenches. In many cases they haven’t lived in the hood in decades.
  • Acknowledging that it is difficult for those who become wealthy or powerful to resist the trappings of their newfound positions. Part of the idea is how we are socialized as children, and the belief that we should aspire to become rich business people, rather than challenging the structure that perpetuates the lines of division that exist.
  • Why are we so afraid of division when we are already divided? We have been able to make incremental advancement despite not being unified. Why do we preoccupy ourselves with saying that we all must be together and think the same way? Why can’t it be that the people who are on board with the program move in the direction that they see fit. You will never have everyone on the same page, so why should that stop us from moving forward?
  • Every revolution throughout history has some bloodshed and martyrs, but everyone is not comfortable giving their life for a cause.
  • In the end, a lot of these issues come down to the idea that people have accepted capitalism and refuse to challenge it.

Audio Credits:

“Born Into War” – Purple Crown aka Tajh Abdulsamad
“Leaders” – Nas Nas and Damian Marley (featuring Stephen Marley)
“New World Order” – Curtis Mayfield