Donald Trump told the truth the other day.
(No, really, he did. I wouldn’t make that up.)
In a Wall Street Journal interview, Trump said: “I did something good. I made Juneteenth famous.”
And he did, really. Evidence of that comes as networks – big broadcast ones and little cable ones – suddenly altered their plans for today (June 19), when celebrations (a past one is shown here) are planned. That started with the morning newscasts and will continue on into latenight.
Now, we’ll try not to get nostalgic for the days when it wasn’t news that a president had told the truth. Or that (inadvertently, perhaps) he had done something good. Instead, we’ll look to the result:
Trump had announced that he was starting his campaign push with an indoor rally today in Tulsa, Okla. Some people were appalled that – after insulting black protesters – he would choose the holiday that marks the date (June 19, 1865) when Texas slaves belatedly learned they were free …. And he would do it in Tulsa, site of a 1921 massacre of blacks … And, for that matter, that he would pack people into an arena during the coronavirus crisis.
Trump switched the day to Saturday (but kept Tulsa and the arena) and the “something good” lingered. For once, most of us knew about Juneteenth. That includes the TV people, who reacted quickly.:
– News shows. “CBS This Morning,” for instance, scheduled reports on the holiday and the Tulsa massacre. Its evening newscast will look at celebrations and a 93-year-old Texan who has had a long-time walking campaign to promote the holiday.
ABC will go further, with a primetime special. It will view the history of Juneteenth and visit local celebrations … including ones in Tulsa and in Galveston, Texas, where the freedom news arrived.
– Movies: TBS, TNT and TruTV are dumping their usual shows and insertng two movies. At 7 p.m. is “Black Panther” (2018), the superhero mega-movie. At 9:45 is “Just Mercy” (2019), with Michael B. Jordan as Bryan Stevenson, a real-life defense attorney.
In bettween, Anthony Anderson will have a brief special. He’ll talk to Stevenson, Kamala Harris and W. Kamau Bell; also, Andra Day will sing “Rise Up.”
– More movies (and comedy episodes): The three FX channels – FX, FXX and FXM – are simulcasting all day. That starts and ends with movies – “Hidden Figures” (2014) at 7 a.m., “Selma” (2016) at 10 a.m. and “Get Out (2017) at 12:47 and 3:17 a.m.
In between are episodes of Anderson’s “Black-ish” (1-8 p.m.) and Donald Glover’s “Atlanta” 8 p.m. to 12:47 a.m.
– Music and profiles. Ovation, an arts-oriented cable channel, went through its archives of specials. That started at 6 a.m. ET (3 a.m. PT). It includes Nina Simone at 10 a.m. ET, Jean-Michel Basquiat at 11, Pharrell at noon, Prince at 1 p.m, , Rihanna at 2, Beyonce at 3, Halle Berry at 4, Will Smith at 5, Michelle Obama at 6, and then two Angela Bassett movies – “The Rosa Parks Story” at 7 p.m. and “Betty and Coretta” at 9.
– And one thing more: HBO is showing the first season of “Watchmen” for free all weekend on its app. The series is pure fiction, but starts with the Tulsa massacre.