"Let the Fire Burn" had one of the shortest runs of any of the Independent Lens documentaries that I have watched on Kansas City's local PBS station, KCPT.
The film sheds light on the May 13, 1985 destruction of 61 homes (let me say that again--61 homes) that resulted in the tragic deaths of 11 people, including five children! It was discovered that authorities decided to “…let the fire burn” after Philadelphia police dropped military-grade explosives onto the MOVE-occupied rowhouse in that neighborhood.
Coverage of the hearings following the massacre are equally tragic and telling of the pure, unadulterated racial hatred that fostered the killings--bone chilling, even for those for whom this film is a mirror up to their own, though perhaps private, animosities.
I called the station to find out why the film was aired only a couple of times in its first month of showing, and why the film could not be accessed on KCPT's website even though the link to the film says "view full episode."
Well, that was yesterday. Today, the link has been removed altogether.
Yesterday, the head of KCPT's online content (I don't recall her exact title) told me that the film did not load because "they probably didn't have rights to either the film or parts of the film."
Who is "they" and how could KCPT possibly air the film in the first place if the proper rights had not been secured by "those people" before airing it?
If you were unable to catch "Let the Fire Burn" while it was on *public television*, it is now accessible behind the gate of Netflix. SMDH
But, never fear, you can still watch the Jayson Blair story on KCPT. In that film, racial stereotypes (both white and black) are maintained and perpetuated.
Repeating specific stories influences public perception in a specific direction. Limiting access limits knowledge and understanding.
Though I enjoy much of the programing on public television, and KCPT in particular, I will not bite my tongue regarding their participation in the perpetuation of racial stereotypes and pubic ignorance to appease particular audiences.
There, I said it.