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A City Council member in Washington has charged Capital Cities/ABC and WJLA-TV, the network's local station, with airing unfair portrayals of blacks while reporting on the city's drug problem. Nadine Winter, in a letter to Capital Cities/ABC President Thomas Murphy, said that coverage of the city's drug-related crime wave by the network and the station represents "a vicious pattern of seemingly calculated malicious maligning of the district's black community in general and young black males in particular." Winter, who is black, said repeated broadcasts portraying blacks as drug dealers and users has hurt employment and job-training prospects for local blacks. "Basically, we're surprised and disappointed that she would reach this conclusion," responded WJLA President Mike Moore. "Certainly, we'll take the matter seriously and discuss it internally and with the network." The city's population is 67% black. According to police statistics, 350 of the record 372 people slain in the city in 1988 were black, and through May 2 of this year 149 of the 170 killed were black.

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