Mediaite’s list of 28 media leaders who died this decade includes no people of color, not even Michael Jackson

deggans_12-7This column was originally published by the St. Petersburg Times. We have asked permission to cross-post it here.

Wish I could say this idea was mine.

But I first heard about Mediaite columnist Danny Groner‘s list of 28 media leaders who died this decade from a friend who emailed an Internet listserv of black journalists, incredulous that the list did not include a single person of color.

No Michael Jackson. No Ed Bradley. No Richard Pryor. No John H. Johnson.

This list itself is fine enough, ranging from TV pioneer Milton Berle, Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon and actor Charlton Heston to legendary cook Julia Child and Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham. But Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas? William Hanna from the Hanna Barbera animation team?

Ahead of the King of Pop and TV’s most-influential black journalist?

As my friends on the listserv grew more angry, more names flowed: politician Shirley Chisholm, pop singer Luther Vandross, historian John Hope Franklin.

Any list like this one limited to 28 names is bound to leave someone out. And by including actors such as Katherine Hepburn on the list, the definition of media leader was expanded even more.

But this list seemed drawn from a particular perspective which left out a lot of worthy contributions.

Maybe somebody at Mediaite could toss a few more names on the roster.

[Editor’s note: The post will be updated by the end of the day.]

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