CNN’s ‘DL Hughley Breaks the News’ Draws Some Fire

Why do the haters always have to hate?  I know it’s their “job”, or so comedian Katt Williams says, but sometimes we need a break from the hateratti. They never let sistah get a moment of peace.  Normally, I ignore their bile-filled rants, but when I read they were gunning for one of my favorite kings of comedy, DL Hughley, and his new gig on CNN, I had to pick up my “sword” — the keyboard — and start cutting beyotches.

Brother and I have history. I’ve been a fan of DL Hughley for far longer than I care to admit. His standup, which is often filled with anecdotal references, hits the mark far more than it misses.  And although I may disagree with his assessment, I appreciate his sometimes thoughtful, although controversial, consideration of socio-political issues.

His success on the small screen has been spotty at best  — a sitcom on ABC later moved to a lesser net, and a late night show on Comedy Central and a glitzy, high profile NBC primetime Aaron Sorkin-produced effort which met an early death.

Never one to give up and always on his grind, brother is giving television yet another shot, this time on CNN with DL Hughley Breaks the News (Saturdays and Sundays 10 p.m. Eastern). And break the news he did, when prior to the show’s debut last Saturday, it was revealed that former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan endorsed Senator Obama for president on the show.

DL Hughley is at his worst when he tries to make broad generalizations as he did in his opening monologue — the “all black people do this” tract that implies that if you don’t, you aren’t really black. He made a reference to Obama’s cholesteral level of 173 and that most, if not all blacks, don’t have readings that low inferring his “white side” must have had undue influence on the outcome.  For most part, the monologue fell flat.  Judging from the reaction of the live audience, they agreed with me.

I did like, somewhat, the use of CNN’s news staff, such as financial guy Ali Velshi, and a group from CNN International, who all seemed willing to play along. One of the funniest bits, did border very close to what might be called buffonery by the high browed among us. Hughley interviewed “Freddie Mack”  a black pimp who was personification of the economic crisis.  “Politicians are pimps. Voters are hos,” Mack declared. A more palatable bit involved Hughley visiting a Sarah Palin rally where he tried to convince attendees of the efficacy of a Hughley/Palin 2012 ticket. It  was not a side-splitter but it was amusing in what it exposed about people who participate in Palin rallies.

Finally, regarding the Scott McClellan interview, Hughley was poised and thoughtful. If I could have less of the Hughley of the opening monologue and more of the McClellan interview Hughley, I might just make this show appointment viewing.

Now that’s about the show.  Now this is why I am upset.  It’s people like Christopher J. Meltzer of The Daily Voice: Black America’s Daily News Source (On what friggin’ planet my brotha?) ripping Hughley and CNN that get on mother’s last nerve (which is frayed at best).  Here’s what Meltzer had to say:

Now, in a shameless show of hypocrisy, CNN — like the slave masters who profited from racism and slavery — has decided that there is still money in racism and found just the Negro to help it cash in. At 10 P.M. on Saturday, October, 25, 2008, CNN premiered D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.

By introducing D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, both CNN and Hughley have picked up where McCain and Palin have left off. During the course of this election, CNN has portrayed itself as having “the best political team on television.” It can now portray itself has having, “the best racism team on television.” (Me: Let’s dispense with hysteria missy.  CNN has the most diverse political team — the most diverse team period — in news – broadcast or cable. If you want to put a foot up someone’s ass for “racism” or being “racially myopic” try the very white, middle-aged NBC/MSNBC).

This is so for at least three reasons. First, in the course of one hour, Hughley and his CNN producers managed to rearticulate the vilest stereotypes of blacks, especially the notion that at our core, black men are pimps and black women hoes. (MeYes, Freddie Mack was a black pimp. But nowhere in the show did he, Hughley, infer that black women were hos. So leave us out of it. Hey, are you calling the former Miss Alaska, a black woman. who was featured on the show, a ‘ho”?  I dare you to say it to her face.)

Second, as if to give legitimacy to its racists portrayals, CNN had former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan endorse Obama after Hughley skinned, grinned and jived while broadcasting black stereotypes worldwide. (Me: Dude, once again, you’ve got it all wrong. Hughley handled the interview well. I agree, he needs to tone down the other stuff but when it came time to stand and deliver, he did so with dignity.) The message was this a “real” news show; even the white man came on here to make an endorsement. (Me: Give the man credit for actually “breaking” news with the annoucement of the endorsement.)

Third, Hughley demonstrated that blacks still suffer from internalized racial oppression. (Me: Speak for yourself son). That is, too many blacks, including Hughley have internalized the racial stereotypes of us created by whites and remind whites that it is not necessary for them to purvey them through mass media, as we will do it for ourselves. (Me: Good grief.) (source)

I am so over these haters. No one goes after Sharpton and Jackson with such vigor when they end up on the wrong side of an issue as they play upon or rather “pimp” the fears and desperation of some blacks. Where’s the outrage against the numerous individuals — black individuals — who kill their own with no remorse. And don’t get me started on people who think that protecting their neighborhood from these thugs amounts to “snitching”.

For Meltzer and his ilk, it’s so much easier to skewer a comedian whose job it isn’t to be politically correct and a cable network, CNN, that has made a concerted effort to shed light on some of the challenges/issues that affect people of color both here and abroad.

UPDATE

Last night, I decided to check out the show after a long hiatus.  It seems that Hughley changed the format a bit, dispensing with with almost all of the race-centered potentially offensive bits and focusing more on conversation/debate tinged with humor.  The result is a far more thoughtful and entertaining show.  Good for DL.   And it seems that he’s not doing to bad in the ratings. According to TVNewer, “D.L. Hughley Breaks The News has increased its total viewership by 78% since its launch in October 2008, and increased among adults 25-54 by 96% compared to a year ago.”  (source)

UPDATE #2

Well, the aforementioned bit of happy news was short-lived.  It was announced that DL Hughley Breaks the News has been canceled. For more details, click here.


3 thoughts on “CNN’s ‘DL Hughley Breaks the News’ Draws Some Fire

  1. D.L.- do all of us black brothers a favor and get your act together! You are an embarassment to me- why would you have a pimp skit and permit the words b***ch and w***e? This is not the 1970’s man…go back to your standup routine if that’s the route you are going to take.

  2. I don’t think CNN should add comedy to their programming. What we need is more intelligent analysis and commentary by people who have a deep understanding of the issues (including their history and global impact). If wit is part of that analysis and commentary, so much the better . . . but I don’t know of any comedian who has the prerequisite understanding.

  3. OPEN: LETTER
    Racial and Political Hate Crime

    Mr. Jeffrey Bewkes
    CEO, Time-Warner
    1 Time Warner Centre,
    New York, NY 10019

    Dear Mr.Bewkes

    On Saturday, October 26, 2008 many others and I were gathered in my home for an informal social event. My television was tuned into CNN’s Larry King’s show, which we all later learned that CNN was to present a news satire starring D.L. Hugley, a once respected comic.

    As the show unfolded the sounds and feelings of pain and righteous indignation openly erupted among all of my guests, and as an African-American male I even felt pity. Apart from its macabre lack of humor, it had the psychological impacts of a 1960’s church bombing in a time when America’s collective consciousness is progressing in ways never thought imaginable in those times.

    It was an emotionally horrific and traumatic hate crime against the millions of African-Americans watching D. L. Hughley “Breaks The News”. The show presented characters and images of people of color as morally corrupt, jiving, intellectual inferiors, including Mr. Hughley who is uniquely unqualified as a performer dealing with political content under the cloak of comedy. CNN has racially shocked America’s soul back 70 years using old film clips of the late Sammy Davis, Jr from a humiliating and dangerous era for African-American people and performers and others who stood with them for equal rights.

    |As Americans, we are all hurt and diminished by CNN’s total lack of social responsibility. TLFAE is demanding that Time-Warner/CNN cease and desist with the production and programming of the D.L. Hughley “Breaks The News”. We also assert that this malicious and intellectual assault was based upon CNN’s own political agenda by showing the world negative images of African-Americans as we proceed closer to November 4th.

    All Americans should be outraged and are deserving of a public apology for this thoughtless act of political and racial terrorism. We are currently seeking legal counsel for class action proceedings and organizing a global boycott of CNN and all of Time-Warner products to enforce these demands. We hope that your response is both swift and judicious.

    Govern yourselves accordingly,

    Mr. Ira Robinson
    President,
    Toussaint L’OvertureFoundation for Arts & Education
    Email: the4ththeatre@yahoo.com.

    Cc: JNew on Klein, President, CNN/US

    Dear Mr.Bewkes

    On Saturday, October 26, 2008 many others and I were gathered in my home for an informal social event. My television was tuned into CNN’s Larry King’s show, which we all later learned that CNN was to present a news satire starring D.L. Hugley, a once respected comic.

    As the show unfolded the sounds and feelings of pain and righteous indignation openly erupted among all of my guests, and as an African-American male I even felt pity. Apart from its macabre lack of humor, it had the psychological impacts of a 1960’s church bombing in a time when America’s collective consciousness is progressing in ways never thought imaginable in those times.

    It was an emotionally horrific and traumatic hate crime against the millions of African-Americans watching D. L. Hughley “Breaks The News”. The show presented characters and images of people of color as morally corrupt, jiving, intellectual inferiors, including Mr. Hughley who is uniquely unqualified as a performer dealing with political content under the cloak of comedy. CNN has racially shocked America’s soul back 70 years using old film clips of the late Sammy Davis, Jr from a humiliating and dangerous era for African-American people and performers and others who stood with them for equal rights.

    |As Americans, we are all hurt and diminished by CNN’s total lack of social responsibility. TLFAE is demanding that Time-Warner/CNN cease and desist with the production and programming of the D.L. Hughley “Breaks The News”. We also assert that this malicious and intellectual assault was based upon CNN’s own political agenda by showing the world negative images of African-Americans as we proceed closer to November 4th.

    All Americans should be outraged and are deserving of a public apology for this thoughtless act of political and racial terrorism. We are currently seeking legal counsel for class action proceedings and organizing a global boycott of CNN and all of Time-Warner products to enforce these demands. We hope that your response is both swift and judicious.

    Govern yourselves accordingly,

    Mr. Ira Robinson
    President,
    Toussaint L’OvertureFoundation for Arts & Education
    Email: the4ththeatre@yahoo.com.

    Cc: Jon Klein, President, CNN/US

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