MediaWatch: February 1989

Vol. Three No. 2

Underwriting the Urban League

On January 24 the National Urban League released its annual report on "The State of Black America." ABC, CNN, and NBC considered it worthy of prominent coverage. According to CNN's Bernard Shaw, the annual analysis proved, "the Reagan Administration made no progress to date in narrowing the economic gap" and "blacks were three times as likely as whites to be poor, and two and a half times likely to be jobless."

ABC's Bettina Gregory offered a harsher assessment: "The study concludes racial inequality actually increased during the Reagan years...This group blames all this on fewer jobs for unskilled workers and cuts in federal programs to help the poor....They say white America enjoyed a year of prosperity while black Americans were driven into poverty and despair." CNN did have Jeff Levine's January 15 report on black achievements to offset the Urban League study. But ABC and NBC didn't deem the positive side newsworthy.