Can We Talk?

Broadcasters can be a part of the solution

The growing racial tensions over officer-involved shootings that have racked the country in recent days—from Dallas to Minneapolis to Baton Rouge—are not going to be defused without a concerted effort on the part of everyone involved, which is everyone in this country.

As the President has said, there is a problem that needs addressing, and as a commentator said this week on CNN, it isn't just African-American parents who need to have "the conversation" with their kids or African-American preachers who weigh in from the pulpit on Sunday morning.

Video of many incidents has started to go live on Facebook, making social media an integral part of these individual stories and the larger issues they illuminate. Even so, local broadcasters remain a powerful medium for community news and public service and can be a part of the solution, or at least part of figuring out what that solution is.

Broadcasters, and cable news outlets, should get together to televise—and roadblock if necessary—a town hall meeting or meetings between communities and the police sworn to protect and serve. Nightline at one time had something of a corner on the kind of thoughtful, interactive approach to important issues, so perhaps Ted Koppel could be enlisted to moderate such an effort.

Presidential candidates could drop their gloves and agree that it is no time to point fingers at anyone, but instead join hands to find a way to heal and move forward.

And perhaps network news magazines could rest the "cheerleaders murdered over spring break" investigation stories for a spell to focus on the issue of race relations in this country.