The dismissal of talk-show host Garrard McClendon prompts me to question the media's commitment to diversity. After trying and failing for so long to put together news rooms that reflect our demographics, have we just given up?
CLTV cancelled "Garrard McClendon LIVE" two weeks ago when McClendon and the Chicago Tribune could not reach an agreement on what McClendon would be paid. At that point, McClendon had already worked for nine months without a contract.
There are few black male commentators working in the Chicago market. Cliff Kelley on WVON is the only one that immediately comes to mind. Since Chicago has such a large African-American population, the absence of the black male perspective is insulting.
McClendon, who taught school for 17 years and holds a Ph.D. in education, told me that he basically thinks he was being paid under scale. When McClendon went on the air in 2008, he was not a union member, and was living his dream. I'm sure at that time he was just glad to be on TV.
McClendon was stunned that after working so long without a contract, CLTV, which is owned by the Chicago Tribune Company, pulled the plug rather than pay him what he felt he was worth.
Several groups have mounted a campaign to bring back "Garrad McClendon LIVE, hoping the pressure will force CLTV back to the bargaining table.
If it doesn't, it will be CLTV's lost and someone else's gain.