Sunday, May 11, 2008

Give Bob Mueller, WKRN credit

Despite my lengthy diatribe below for more diversity on ABC News' "This Week", I need to give credit locally to the ABC affiliate and journalist Bob Mueller. He is host of a Tennessee "This Week" program before George S. begins his national show.

Mueller has consistenly fought to add diversity to his panel of commentators but is facing a tough road. With a sizable African-American population, Nashville should easily feature TV commentary from politicos in this minority group. But Mueller says he has had several potential panelists cancel out. Black ministers would also be a great pool of observers from which to choose.

Yet Mueller says he has had no luck there despite repeated phone calls. Particularly during the controversy with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, black ministers as panelists would have produced needed enlightening.

Then again, perhaps the Wright controversy has deterred ministers from being accessible to mainstream media shows locally. We also must realize that black ministers are among the busiest shepherds in Nashville, serving on local boards and hosting their own radio shows on black-owned media.

I was happy to appear on Mueller's show a few weeks ago to add some diversity in ethnicity and in my Catholicism. It was a great experience. It should be noted that Hispanics are much more difficult to form into a class of belief on issues. Our words should be taken as individuals, not necessarily speaking for a group of people.

The last presidential election split Hispanic voters 55-45 for John Kerry. George Bush's percentage of Hispanic voters was a GOP historical high.

I would hope that for a presidential campaign that will feature the first African-American nominee, local black politicos and ministers will make themselves available to mainstream shows like Mueller's "This Week". I will ask the same of Hispanics like myself.

Our voices are needed, as part of the whole assembly of the American democratic chorus.

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