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Citizens Blast Local Media

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Community organizers on Detroit's east side are protesting the license renewal of local television stations. Channels 2 (WJBK), 4 (WWJ) and 7 (WXYZ), along with the Detroit News, have been accused by outraged citizens of engaging in biased reporting of criminal incidents in the community and racist attacks on local black leaders.

"A prime example," Dorothy Spidell, executive director of A Family Is Waiting (AFW), a community service that is spearheading the drive, told The Sun, "is when Channel 2 calls black criminals who commit crimes 'punks,' but refers to white criminals as 'men.'

"All of the local stations involved have no representation of blacks or minorities on prime-time news programs at 6 or 7pm," Spidel added. "As far as I can see, most of the black broadcasters do spot announcements, special project reports, or fill in for the regular white broadcasters. Blacks are anchorpersons only in the morning or on weekends."

Aiding Spidell in her efforts is Leodis Brown, administrative director of AFW. He says they have 300 signatures from community residents calling for an immediate investigation of the above charges. And Brown says that's not all the support they have.

"Black people are tired of being labeled apathetic persons who sit back and allow young gang members to take over our city. We plan to fight this to the end to get more responsible journalism in this city," Brown told The Sun.

Brown cited such instances as media reports claiming that downtown was unsafe due to police layoffs, and the publishing of alleged gang members' names in The News.

AFW has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, along with the signed petitions, calling for action on the matter.