Enough to Be Dangerous – Fighting Racial Injustice in the News Industry

Mort Meisner has spent a lifetime deeply troubled by racial injustice.

Recent events have left him heart-broken and devastated – yet moved and encouraged by the massive surge of protesters FINALLY standing up for black lives.

Mort is no stranger to this. He spent decades fighting racial injustice in the news industry. And while he made some headway, the Goliath that was blatant racism in some newsrooms, boardrooms, and out on the streets was impossible to slay.

He now shares those unsettling stories in his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, scheduled for release on October 1st of this year.

The Rise of Black Women

If you’ve been living on this blue and green rock for any formidable amount of time (at least 40 years), you can clearly remember a time when the news anchor desks were populated predominantly by white men.

You may also recall the first time you started seeing more women in those positions.

Then there was the strange phenomenon that existed for decades where the desks showcased an older white man with a young black female co-anchor. As Mort recalls in his memoir:

I worked in five different newsrooms. And whether I was in Detroit, Chicago or St. Louis, it was virtually always the same. Black women were making inroads at the anchor desk – usually to sit next to an established white male. Beverly Payne and Doris Biscoe in Detroit were good examples. Similar talent placements were occurring in cities and newsrooms throughout the country. But black male anchors continued to be strangely absent. In fact, black males in TV news were virtually lacking altogether.

What exactly was going on?

The Garbage Men

Away from the anchor desk and in private meetings held by predominately white male management who were seemingly less threatened by female black reporters, it wasn’t uncommon to hear the words “garbage men” being tossed around casually. Even jokingly. And these “garbage men” were in virtually every large city TV newsroom.

You can bet they weren’t talking about sanitation workers though. From Enough to Be Dangerous:

Who were they? The young to middle-aged black males who were talented reporters, but were there merely to fill a quota during changing times in the industry and the country. The whole scene disgusted me. I thought to myself, if someone is good enough to be here, then they should be able to be assigned to cover any story. Thats not how it worked though.

They would ponder which stories they felt black reporters could handle.” It was insulting and degrading. As a white male young pup in the industry at that time, I could listen, watch, and then try to impact change when I had the opportunity.

And impact change, he did.

Mort the Mentor

Having grown up in Detroit and working in the music industry before settling into and breathing life back into dying stations, he couldn’t tolerate the racial inequity.

He was always willing to give any black male reporter who showed talent and promise the chance he deserved. Then he went above and beyond the call of duty to mentor these talented and hopeful reporters.

Not surprisingly, under Mort’s tutelage, many of them went on to hold anchor positions at highly esteemed stations throughout the nation.

The Need for a More Just World

Though he’s proud of his accomplishments, Mort saw fighting racial injustice in the news industry as an absolute necessity.

And he relays those stories in Enough to Be Dangerous with passion, hope, and some sadness, noting how far we’ve come since that time… as well as how far we haven’t.

Enough to Be Dangerous will be released in hardcover, paperback, and ebook in October of 2020 from Two Sisters Writing & Publishing.

In the meantime, stay tuned for updates on how you can pre-order your autographed copy. We promise you’ll be inspired by Mort’s tireless advocating for justice and equality.

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Enough to Be Dangerous – Chronicles Darker Beginnings

Mort MeisnerFor some, the echoes of a difficult and abusive childhood are so haunting that success as an adult is elusive.

This has not been the case for one of the nation’s top TV news talent agents, Mort Meisner. Not by a long shot.

In his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort explores the impact those dark beginnings had on his career, his relationships, his role as a parent, and ultimately, his success.

In Just Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort Rose to Achieve

Because so many factors are involved, it’s tough to say what makes one victim of child abuse thrive while another falters. Especially when they’re reared by the same parents. Mort had a brother, Tony, who was almost ten years his senior.

Tony’s role in the family was distinctly different from Mort’s, as Mort recalls in Enough to Be Dangerous:

It wasnt uncommon for me or my mom to be tossed down the stairs by my dad as if we were rag dolls. I remember clearly Tony punching my father in the face as he tried to pull him off of my mother. My father head-locked my brother and rammed his head into our obsolete Kelvinator refrigerator. The best my mother could do was to retaliate with a slap or a scratch. It was always to no avail. The beatings became worse – and each time the apologies flowed again and again.

Mort had a protector in Tony. He protected his younger brother from the very people who were supposed to nurture them both. His parents. And you can be sure that does a hatchet job on one’s psyche.

An Unsympathetic Mother

Of course, Tony couldn’t be there to protect Mort all the time. And although he’d shielded their mother from their father’s physical abuse as well, she was no stranger to doling out her own form of pain.

In Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort remembers one morning when he overslept and his angry mother awakened him and forced him to put his coat on over his pajamas and head to school:

Not comfortable with the idea of wearing my pajamas to school, I hesitated. She yanked me close to her and zipped the hood, catching my hair in it. I screamed and cried. “Mama, stop!” I pleaded. “It hurts!” Before I knew what was happening, she delivered a vicious smack to my face. Her eyes went dark and glassy. “I hate you,” she said with a low growl. “You are not my little boy. I wish I never had you.”

He was only in second grade.

Suffice it to say, Tony and Mort were living a life that was a far cry from the perfect, happy families that were portrayed on television at that time on shows like Leave it to Beaver. Wally and The Beav they were not.

Each Faced Their Own Struggles

In spite of the abuse, both Mort and Tony would rise to success. They would also both raise children with a determined intention to never treat them as they were treated. In this, they succeeded.

But each would also succumb to drug use to mask their unrelenting, soul-crushing guilt, shame, and pain. Mort would overcome his addiction and continue to strive. Tony, on the other hand, would not. And in the end, Mort would lose the first person who ever protected him.

Get the Whole Story in Enough to Be Dangerous

Want more?

Enough to Be Dangerous will officially be released in hardcover, paperback, and ebook on October 1, 2020 from Two Sisters Writing & Publishing.

Meanwhile, stay tuned for updates on how you can pre-order your autographed copy, as well as get all the 411 about the book launch party and other exciting events. Coming soon!

This book will show you one man’s powerful climb to the top of the TV news industry as a renowned talent agent—advocating for justice, equality, and integrity every step of the way. Mort’s story will shock you and inspire you with a resilience of the human spirit that can transform pain into purpose to heal oneself, then help others.

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