We are in an environment now in which there is a massive need for Black-owned media to filter through the wave of right-wing misinformation and disinformation being disseminated to the Black community.
There is serious harm with misleading headlines that begin as right-wing propaganda being passed as news to the Black community through social media. We have seen the effect of misinformation and disinformation with platforms like Facebook in recent years and how it has reached Black audiences on issues such as the Covid-19 virus and the safety of different vaccines. In this era, the importance of Black-owned media
platforms committed to true journalism such as “
“Roland Martin Unfiltered,” hosted and created by longtime journalist Roland Martin, can not be understated. Just this past Wednesday, an absurd headline was circulating that the Biden Administration is providing ‘’crack pipes’’ to people. One of the original sources of this story is the ultra-conservative news site, The Free Beacon.
This story was spread by right-wing media such as Fox News which various Black media platforms include on their gossip pages,
The Shade Room is a gossip site that has millions of Black followers and is reposted under the headline, ‘’Biden Administration Reportedly Finalizing $30M to Give Out Crack Pipes to Drug Addicts.’’
The goal of these false headlines and propaganda has always been to misinform audiences and dissuade them from voting for their betterment.
The truth behind this story is that it has to do with the Harm Reduction Grant Program, a part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan, and is a part of drug overdose prevention. Additionally, this is the kind of program many states, including Republican-led states, have always implemented. More can be read about the aspects of this program and what the grants are for on the HHS.gov website.
The Shade Room has subsequently deleted the original misleading story following and posted an updated story referencing the misleading reports. Folks on Twitter (who tend to be more politically inclined users than the much larger Instagram audience that The Shade Room has) let their voices be heard about the recklessness of what The Shade Room posted.
One user responded to their Twitter post and said ‘’Your website is a detriment to our community and you should be banned from Twitter for spreading misinformation that could be harmful to people and their health @Twitter.’’
Any type of ‘’journalism’’ that simply regurgitates misleading right-wing headlines and disseminates it to audiences is incredibly dangerous and is a disgrace.
But for any Black media platform specifically, this could be particularly damaging to the already disenfranchised African American community. These platforms have a massive responsibility and are doing the exact opposite of upholding the legacy and critical work that Black media has been committed to for generations.
The history of Black media with the various Black newspapers across the country throughout the 19th and 20th Century were dedicated to providing the news of importance directly affecting the Black community, and informing and educating readers on the implications of what was happening.
“Roland Martin Unfiltered” appears to be one of if not the only Black-owned news
platform with a large following to be continuing in that rich legacy of Black newspapers. His show airs on Youtube every weekday from 6 pm to 8 pm. EST.
It is essential that we continue to uplift Black-owned media like “Roland Martin Unfiltered” and especially continue to hold Black media platforms whether they have huge followings or not to give truthful news and not dangerous misinformation. We must also hold these platforms accountable as this is critical work that affects the community at large.