Congressman Stumbles Into Hip-Hop-Style Beef With BET Founder

Congressman Stumbles Into Hip-Hop-Style Beef With BET Founder

Published February 11, 2008

Posted Oct. 1, 2007 – BET founder Robert Johnson blasted a Democratic congressman from New England last week for comments he said were “rooted in liberal White paternalism.”

In a letter to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who along with Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) chaired a congressional hearing last Monday on the degrading images in hip hop, Johnson said Markey’s characterization of BET programming was unfair and uncalled for.

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Markey, chairman of the House Telecommunications & Internet Subcommittee, said he was disappointed with BET’s offerings. The Massachusetts Democrat, who called the network's programming "cheap and tawdry," also said that while he was pleased that BET has announced a new lineup of programs, the network still has along way to go.

Further, Johnson said, when BET kicked off 27 years ago, it had the lowest cable fees and lowest ad rate.

"I don't recall you calling the cable operators and advertisers up to Capitol Hill and chastising them about putting more money into BET so that we could produce your so-called sophisticated program," Johnson vented, noting that the Boston lawmaker was asked to donate to Markey’s Senate run, which he did.

What do you think about Johnson’s comments? Click "Discuss Now," to the right, to post your comments.

Written by BET-Staff

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