Times’ Eric Deggans’ Race-Baiter debuts today

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Today, Tampa Bay Times nationally known media critic, Eric Deggans, formally releases his book, Race Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation..

“It will surprise no one that my first book involves the intersection of media, race and society,” said Deggans. “For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the ways in which our obsessions and dysfunctions as a society are reflected in our pop culture and media—especially on the topic of race difference.”

Deggans has unique knowledge of the media landscape in America, and as not only a columnist at the Times,  but also via regular appearances on National Public Radio, CNN and a variety of other local and national media platforms.

The Times published an excerpt of the book’s introduction, which starts with Deggans trying to engage Bill O’Reilly on the question of why he called Deggans a race baiter on his show years ago, at a press conference just before a speech he was to give in Sarasota earlier this year.

The excerpt begins:

“The first and only time I met Fox News Channel star Bill O’Reilly, he looked at me like I owed him money.

The situation was, I will admit, an uncomfortable one. He and a publicity executive at Fox News had already turned down an interview request for this very book, despite the fact that he inspired the title. And though he planned several stops around my St. Petersburg, Fla., home base to tout his own book in early 2012, sharing a cup of joe with me was not particularly high on his to-do list.

That’s because we have, as a therapist might say, a bit of history.

At various times on his top-rated evening cablecast, O’Reilly has called me “dishonest,” “racially motivated,” and “one of the biggest race-baiters in the country” for criticizing the way he talks about race on his program.

So as I planned this tome on how race issues and prejudice play out in media, I wanted to talk with O’Reilly. And he didn’t want to talk with me.”

Click here to see the balance of the excerpt.

Here are scheduled events where you can meet up with Deggans, hear him talk about his book and perhaps get him to autograph a first edition for you:

  • Nov. 1 – Speech and book signing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. 7 p.m. Miller Auditorium at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL. More details here.
  • Nov. 8 – Appearance at BookMark bookstore, 220 1st. Street, Neptune Beach, FL 32266, 904-241-9026.
  • Nov. 11 – Book signing at 6 pm at the Studio@620 in St. Petersburg, featuring a reading, discussion of the issues raised by the book, a signing and a performance by former St. Pete Times music critic Tony Green and his amazing band Jes’ Grew.
  • Nov. 12 – Book signing at 6pm at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia Ave., Tampa, FL 33609. It’s a great chance to support an amazing independent bookstore at the city’s heart. More info on that event can be found here
  • Nov. 13 – Interview and signing at the University of South Florida in Sarasota, Selby Auditorium. 6 p.m., 8350 N. Tamiami Trail.
  • Nov. 15 – Appearance at the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists’ Griot Drum Awards, 6 p.m., at the Nielsen headquarters, 501 Brooker Creek Blvd., Oldsmar, FL. Will include a signing. More details here.
  • Jan. 26 – Speech at St. Petersburg Main Library for the Friends of the Library Association. 2 p.m. Main Library Auditorium, 3745 Ninth Avenue North, St. Pete. There are light refreshments at 3 p.m. for everyone attending.
  • Tampa book signing at 6 p.m. the next night, Nov. 12, at Inkwood Books, 216 S. Armenia Ave., Tampa, FL 33609. It’s a great chance to support an amazing independent bookstore at the city’s heart. More info on that event can be found here.

Article contributed by Daphne Taylor Street. You can reach Daphne by email at daphnestreet@daphnestreet.com

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.