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TOPIC: Everett C. Parker - Media, Race and Bias Crusader

Everett C. Parker - Media, Race and Bias Crusader 23 Sep 2015 16:34 #7737

  • Kristeen H.
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102 year old Everett C. Parker noted Minister, Director of Communications at United Church of Christ and Civil Rights Movement crusader died on Thurs. September 17, 2015.

During the 1960’s Parker began surveying radio and television stations in the South and identified Blacks made up 43 percent of the audience, he made it his mission to hold broadcast stations accountable for presenting racially biased programming and failing to hire blacks and minorities. He discovered Station WLBT-TV in Jackson, MS didn’t cover civil rights news or the black community and was known to use shameful racist programming, derogatory statements about Blacks, yet routinely reported Blacks being taken into police custody.

In 1964 filed Parker filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to deny licensing renewal for WLBT for neglectful broadcasting violating civil rights and failing to serve public interest, as required by law. The F.C.C. conceded the facts but dismissed the petition, claiming they possessed no authority to challenge licensure.

An appeal was filed, and in 1966, Federal Appellate Judge Warren E. Burger recognized the right of the church and viewers to petition the F.C.C. However after a hearing, the commission renewed the station’s license, leading to another appeal. In 1969, Judge Burger, ruled the F.C.C.’s record in the case was “beyond repair” and ordered WLBT’s license revoked, Judge Burger wrote, “After nearly five decades of operation,” “the broadcast industry does not seem to have grasped the simple fact that a broadcast license is a public trust subject to termination for breach of duty.” The decision marked the first time that a license had been lifted for a station’s failure to serve the public interest, and it established the right of ordinary citizens to challenge a license.

“After nearly five decades of operation,” Judge Burger wrote, “the broadcast industry does not seem to have grasped the simple fact that a broadcast license is a public trust subject to termination for breach of duty.”

The decision marked the first time that a license had been lifted for a station’s failure to serve the public interest, and it established the right of ordinary citizens to challenge a license.

Asked in 2012 by the website Broadband & Social Justice how he would like to be remembered, Dr. Parker said, “I want them to remember that I was a guy who fought like the devil for the rights of minorities.”
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