It certainly used to be true that news and entertainment media in the US portrayed blacks either not at all, or only as criminals, servants, or bafoons. Now it seems that the national cable news and print news media focus on crimes committed by whites: wealthy white kids shooting up schools, honkey deviants (including priests) kidnapping or raping children, corporate misconduct, runaway brides, parents killing their kids, cops beatings, celebrity misbehaviors, etc. Perhaps local news in black-majority cities such as Detroit contain lots of black-on-black crime... but such cities are, well, black majority.
Considering that black men comprose just 6% of the US population but commit about half the murders and a quarter or so of the burgleries and rapes, you would think that you would see even *more* of these "negative images." Even TV shows and films no longer exclude blacks, and nor do they depict them exclusively in negative terms -- except for black music videos and youth-oriented films, which earn hearty black viewerships.
Notes righty commentar Larry Elder: "Researchers Linda and S. Robert Lichter watched hundreds of hours of television. They found that networks portrayed blacks as doctors, lawyers or other professionals far more often than occurs in real life. The networks also showed blacks as criminals far less frequently than occurs in real life."
In another article, he cites a study claiming that "roughly 12 percent of film and movie jobs go to blacks. Black directors get about five percent of the jobs, up dramatically from ten years ago. And blacks account for nearly 12 percent of all roles in commercials."
A third Elder essay claims that: "According to the Screen Actors Guild, blacks, who comprise 12 percent of the population, are cast in 14.8 percent of all roles on television and in movies. ABC says that 33.6 percent of new network hires went to minorities. Forty-one percent of Fox's prime-time series actors are minorities. CBS says that 29 percent of its actors are black." In this article he notes that despite these claims of both discrimination and negative portrayal, blacks watch 50% more TV on average than honkies, which is more consistent with an inclusive, positive media portrayal than with an exclusive, negative one.
I remember watching TV and the movies in the '70s. No films other than "blaxploiotation" or the occasional "Sounder" contained any black folks in meaningful roles; TV presenting nothing except a few shows like Good Times and Sandford & Son, which presented blacks in projects or a junkyard, respectively; and news media had only the rare anchor or correspondant. Times have changed indeed as I flip the channels now, or survey the movies.