Send by email

Friday, February 12, 2016

Journal-isms will be on hiatus until further notice.

Co-Moderator Asks Democrats About White People

Obama Live From Illinois on CNN, MSNBC but Not Fox

Ex-Mexican President Laughs at Trump Plan for Border Wall

NYPD to Act After Story on Barring People From Own Homes

Media Begin to Cover Police Killings of Native Americans

. . . Stories About Native Americans Rare, Stereotypical

CNN International Desk Staffers Must Reapply for Jobs

Mizzou “Town Hall” Asks Reporters to Leave

Parents of Ex-Little Leaguers Sue ESPN, Name Smith

Should Al Jazeera America Have Been an App Instead?

Short Takes

Gwen Ifill, co-moderator of Thursday’s Democratic presidential candidates debate on PBS, said, “Let me turn this on its head, because when we talk about race in this country, we always talk about African-Americans, people of color. I want to talk about white people, OK?” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., above, and rival Hillary Clinton responded. (video)

Co-Moderator Asks Democrats About White People

Gwen Ifill came to slay,” Julia Craven wrote Friday for the Huffington Post.

“At Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate in Milwaukee, Ifill, a veteran PBS journalist, flipped the typical narrative of race in the U.S. on Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) with a vital question about what it means to be white in America.

” ‘Let me turn this on its head, because when we talk about race in this country, we always talk about African-Americans, people of color,’ Ifill began, in all her black girl glory. ‘I want to talk about white people, OK?

” ‘So many people will be surprised to find out that we are sitting in one of the most racially polarized metropolitan areas in the country,’ Ifill continued, after reassuring the audience and the candidates that she really did want to talk about white people.

” ‘By the middle of this century, the nation is going to be majority non-white. Our public schools are already there. If working-class white Americans are about to be outnumbered, are already underemployed in many cases, and one study found they are dying sooner, don’t they have a reason to be resentful?’

“Wow. Ifill, who made history with co-anchor Judy Woodruff as the first all-female team to host a major presidential debate, took an important step in advancing mainstream narratives on race and racism. As America becomes less white, many white people are becoming more conservative on race relations. This may explain some of Donald Trump’s appeal to white middle-class voters.

“Alas, the candidates’ responses were typical, reeking of ‘all lives matter’ without deeply engaging the question. . . .”

As noted during the debate, the event represented the first time the majority of those on the debate stage were women. Ifill, Woodruff and Clinton were there, with Sanders the only man.

Ta-Nehisi CoatesIn another development, Ta-Nehisi Coates, author and Atlantic magazine national correspondent, told readers that his statement Wednesday morning on “Democracy Now!” that he would vote for Sanders should not be read as an endorsement.

It is important to say this not just as a writer, but as a black writer,” Coates wrote later Wednesday. “Too often individuals are appointed to speak for black people. I don’t want any part of it. Black voters deserve to be addressed in all of their beautiful and wonderful complications, not through the lens of unelected ‘thought-leaders.’ I was asked a question. I tried to answer it honestly. And that’s really all I have.”

Brian Stelter reported Friday for CNNMoney.com, “About 3.9 million viewers tuned in to the debate on PBS, according to Nielsen ratings data. Around 4.1 million viewers watched on CNN.

“The unusual two-channel combination clearly helped boost the overall audience for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders’ face-off.

“MSNBC’s Democratic debate with the two candidates averaged 4.5 million viewers at the same time last week.

“Six months after the first debate of the 2016 primary calendar, it is clear that there is some measure of ‘debate fatigue,’ more so on the Democratic side than on the Republican side. . . .”

Ifill’s co-moderating would mark “the first time a woman of color will moderate a presidential debate since Carole Simpson did so in 1992,” Ameé Latour noted Thursday for bustle.com.

“Since that 1992 debate, no person of color had served as moderator of a presidential debate up through October 2015. In January 2016, Lester Holt moderated a Democratic debate, marking a step in the right direction.

“The lack of diversity among debate moderators was a subject of controversy in the 2012 election cycle. In 2012, the National Association of Black Journalists publicly decried the lack of Latino and black moderators, and the Spanish-speaking network Univision issued strong protests. . . .”

On Thursday, the presidents of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists issued a statement asking news organizations “to diversify their reporting and analysis teams to reflect those states and the campaign to come.”

“African American and Hispanic voters will play a major role in deciding who our next president will be. It is important that media outlets have journalists of color directly involved in this election cycle to ensure balanced reporting,” Sarah Glover, NABJ president, said in the release.

“Together, African Americans and Hispanics make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s QuickFacts 2014 data. Media outlets should be aggressive about ensuring their staffs are diverse and reflective of the communities they serve.”

Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ president, said, “It is important that news organizations are not only reflective of the communities they are covering, but have journalists that best [understand] those communities. Latinos and African Americans should not be reported on as an abstract block. News organizations should utilize their growing diverse staffs for accurate and fair coverage.”

Obama Live From Illinois on CNN, MSNBC but Not Fox

President Obama took a sentimental but also substantive journey to Springfield, Illinois nine years to the day he announced there that he was running for president,” James Warren wrote Thursday for the Poynter Institute. “He started with private meetings in the legislature with old buds, including poker-playing Democrats and Republicans of old.

“He then addressed the legislature and conceded his failure in bridging political divisions. He noted, too, ideologically driven media divisions. ‘And you’ve got a fractured media. Some folks watch Fox News; some folks read The Huffington Post. And very often, what’s profitable is the most sensational conflict and the most incendiary sound bites.’

“CNN and MSNBC were airing his remarks live. Fox did not. MSNBC later broke away from the speech (which was at least 15 minutes too long) in which he mentioned the perils of calling one another ‘idiots and fascists.’

“Fox, instead, opted for reports from New Hampshire and even an interview with Monica Crowley, an acolyte of former President Richard Nixon who likened Donald Trump and Ted Cruz to Nixon but in utterly positive ways. That might have been a first.

“Fox thus missed a notable, even poignant return to the building where Abe Lincoln labored and where Obama began his legislative career. The Fox station in Chicago did not, with reporter Mike Flanneryrunning a solid piece last night that tied it into political dysfunction in Illinois. . . .”

The U.S.-Mexican border, with the United States on the left. (Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection)

Ex-Mexican President Laughs at Trump Plan for Border Wall

For the first time, Donald Trump has disclosed that his proposed wall on the border with Mexico — which has become one of the centerpieces of his campaign — would cost about $8 billion,” columnist Andrés Oppenheimer wrote Wednesday for the Miami Herald. “If so, it would be the biggest waste of money in recent history, even if it were paid for in Mexican pesos.

” ‘The wall is probably $8 billion, which is a tiny fraction of the money that we lose with Mexico,’ Trump told MSNBC on Tuesday, after months of refusing to estimate how much his wall proposal would cost.

” ‘It’s a very simple calculation,’ Trump said. He explained that the border is 2,000 miles long, ‘and of the 2,000, we don’t need 2,000, we need a thousand, because we have natural barriers.’

“Asked how he would pay for the wall, Trump repeated his claim that he would get Mexico to pay for it. Pressed on how he would get Mexico to pay for it, he responded simply, ‘You tell ’em, “You’re gonna pay for it.” ‘

“Needless to say, there was a collective explosion of laughter from the Mexican side of the border.

“When I called former Mexican President Vicente Fox to ask about Trump’s proposed wall, he responded, ‘He’s crazy!’

“He added that Trump would trigger a nationalistic counter-reaction in Mexico, isolate the United States from one of its biggest trading partners and hurt the U.S. economy. ‘He’s a false Messiah who says things that people like to hear, but that are irresponsible,’ he said.

“There are at least five reasons why Trump’s border wall would be, to use one of Trump’s favorite terms, stupid.

“First, there is no serious study showing that there is currently an avalanche of undocumented immigrants to this country. . . .

“Second, about 40 percent of migrants who enter the U.S. illegally don’t do it by crossing the Mexican border, but come in by plane and overstay their visas, U.S. officials say. . . .

“Third, the number of undocumented Mexicans moving to the United States is unlikely to increase in the future for demographic reasons. . . .

“Fourth, a wall along part of the border would push potential migrants to cross through more remote — and dangerous — border areas, raise the fees of people smugglers, and ensure that large numbers of undocumented people stay in the United States. . . .

“Fifth, Trump’s proposed wall, along with his statements depicting most Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, his vows to re-negotiate the NAFTA free trade deal with Mexico, and his calls for the deportation of 11 million undocumented people, would almost certainly trigger a nationalistic, anti-American reaction in Mexico, the rest of Latin America, and much of the world. . . .”

NYPD to Act After Story on Barring People From Own Homes

The NYPD is going to be ‘changing very quickly’ a key part of its process initiating nuisance abatement actions after a Daily News and ProPublica investigation of the little-known tactic,” Ginger Adams Otisand Sarah Ryley wrote Thursday for ProPublica and the Daily News in New York.

“Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Wednesday that he’s taking a ‘fresh look’ at the part of the process that allows the NYPD to get an order from a judge locking residents out of their homes before they’ve had a chance to tell their side of the story in court.

“Judges approved the NYPD’s requests for such orders 75 percent of the time, according to the joint Daily News and ProPublica exposé that first ran online Friday.

“ ‘We have been very happy to work with all of our elected officials to take a look at other things that we might want to adjust,’ Bratton said Wednesday, his first public response to the investigation since it was published.

“ ‘One of those areas that we have adjusted very quickly in conversations … is the issue of ex parte elements of this program, which we will be changing very quickly.’

“Ex parte is a Latin term for a decision made by a judge without all parties present.

Zachary Carter, head of the city Law Department, said the agency will review the process to ensure such orders are ‘only sought in cases of appropriate urgency.’

“The Law Department, which is tasked with reviewing the court filings and settlements in nuisance abatement actions as the NYPD’s co-counsel, has not yet clarified what constitutes ‘appropriate urgency.’ But the Daily News/ProPublica found the NYPD’s requests for lockout orders were based on information that was, on average, six months old for residences, despite claiming illegal activity at the location was ‘ongoing.’ . . .”

Native Lives Matter movement supporters march in February 2015 in Rapid City, S.D. (Credit: Sean Ryan/Rapid City Journal)

Media Begin to Cover Police Killings of Native Americans

On a cold winter’s night, a few minutes after 6 p.m., police in Rapid City, South Dakota were called to a house in the Lakota Community Homes development where Allen Locke and his family were living,”Jon Marcus wrote Thursday for Nieman Reports.

“Locke, 30, was drunk, his wife said, and she wanted him out of the house until he sobered up.

“The responding officer, Anthony Meirose, found Locke on the kitchen floor. As Locke stood up, the officer noticed a steak knife in his hand. Meirose told investigators that he heard Locke say ‘It’s a good day to die,’ and that he ordered Locke several times to drop the knife, according to a report from the South Dakota Division of Criminal investigation (DCI).

“When he didn’t, Meirose fired five shots at him. Locke was pronounced dead at the hospital. The South Dakota DCI determined that Locke had lunged at the officer, though his wife says she witnessed the incident and disputes this. No charges were filed against Meirose.

“The killing of Allen Locke on that cold night just before Christmas in 2014 got little attention outside Rapid City. Nor, in the year or so since, has there been much widespread coverage of the killings of Paul Castaway, shot in Denver in July by police who said he was threatening his mother, though she argues that deadly force was unnecessary in this incident; William J. Dick III, a 28-year-old suspected armed robber who died in Washington State after a U.S. Forest Service agent shocked him with a Taser; orLarry Kobuk, 33, who died after being restrained by officers booking him into the Anchorage Correctional Complex on charges that he stole a car and drove it with a suspended license.

“All of these people were Native Americans.

“The day before his death, Locke, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe of Pine Ridge, and about 100 other people took part in a march in Rapid City calling for better treatment by police of Native Americans. ‘Hands up. Don’t shoot,’ the protesters chanted under gray skies and in chilly temperatures. There is, one speaker at the rally said, ‘an undeclared race war here in South Dakota.’

“Police kill Native Americans at almost the same rate as African-Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 1999 and 2013, an average of .29 per 100,000 Native Americans were killed by police, compared to .3 per 100,000 for blacks and .11 per 100,000 for whites.

” ‘America should be aware of this,’ argues Chase Iron Eyes, a lawyer and a leader of the Lakota People’s Law Project, which runs a publicity campaign called Native Lives Matter. But for the most part, America is not aware of this.

“That may be changing, albeit slowly, as both mainstream media and Native American-run digital outlets begin to cover American Indian issues more robustly. . . .”

. . . Stories About Native Americans Rare, Stereotypical

Stories that mention Native Americans remain comparatively rare, according to Christopher Josey, who conducted research on this topic as a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois,” Jon Marcuswrote Thursday in his Nieman Reports piece.

“His 2010 review of the top 20 Internet news sites by traffic, from The Daily Beast to The New York Times, found that Native Americans accounted for .6 percent of the people portrayed in news coverage on those sites, though Census figures show that the 5.2 million Native Americans make up 1.7 percent of the U.S. population.

“When they were mentioned in stories, Josey says, Native Americans were often portrayed in stereotypical situations — as the owners of and workers in casinos, for example. ‘By neglecting them in coverage and showing them in stereotypical ways when they do,’ he says, ‘news media are communicating that Native Americans are not a vital part of the national conversation on race.’ . . .”

The story quotes Native journalists Mary HudetzJason BegayMark Trahant and Tristan Ahtone, all of whom have all been active in the Native American Journalists Association. Scott Gillespie and Jill Burcum of the Star Tribune of Minneapolis and Sari Horwitz of the Washington Post are quoted as non-Native journalists who have reported on Native issues.

CNN International Desk Staffers Must Reapply for Jobs

More than two dozen staffers at CNN Atlanta will have to reapply for their jobs as the International Desk undergoes a restructuring,” Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVNewser.

“The news, first reported by CNN Commentary, is part of a larger plan by CNNI svp and managing editorDeborah Rayner to assure coverage across the globe. So, while several positions will move to Hong Kong and London, Atlanta staffers will experience title changes, requiring them to apply for the new jobs. Insiders say this does not involve layoffs and the changes do not affect CNN or CNNI programming. . . .”

Lauren Cone, a CNN spokeswoman, told Journal-isms Thursday by email, “What Chris Ariens posted on TVNewser yesterday is accurate.”

Mizzou “Town Hall” Asks Reporters to Leave

A ‘Concerned Town Hall’ meeting advertised to ‘black students and students of color’ at the University of Missouri on Wednesday turned out to be less-than-inclusive to white reporters attempting to cover the event,” Jennifer Kabbany reported Friday for the College Fix, which describes itself as “a news and commentary site dedicated to higher education news.”

“The gathering was organized by Concerned Student 1950, which led protests on campus last fall accusing the institution of racism; it describes itself as seeking the ‘liberation of all BLACK collegiate students’ on Twitter.

“As the meeting began Wednesday night inside the A. P. Green Chapel at the public university, a student organizer announced: ‘If there are any reporters in here, can you please exit? That was my nice warning.’

“That according to a video of the event taken by Mark Schierbecker, a student at the school and freelance videographer who contributes to The College Fix.

“His video shows a white male reporter from the mainstream city newspaper, The Columbia Tribune, introduced himself and say ‘we will definitely respect your privacy. Just curious, um — why are you guys afr — why are you guys asking us to leave? …’

” ‘Um, just because I asked you to,’ came the reply. ‘We just want to discuss some things.’

” ‘Sure, OK, that’s totally fine,’ the reporter replied, handing over his business card before he exited the chapel. Two white females also left the room.

“Schierbecker, however, politely declined to leave, repeating ‘my personal preference is to stay.’ . . .”

“The town hall ended promptly within minutes of starting when students decided to relocate the forum to a more private location.”

Although the headline and first paragraph of the College Fix story mentioned white reporters, Shierbecker messaged Journal-isms on Sunday, “I believe it was all journalists” who were asked to leave.

“There was one black man there taking photos of me with a DSLR, but he may have been with Concerned Student 1950. As you saw in the video though, they seemed to only want confirmed white allies there.” Schierbecker wrote.

Parents of Ex-Little Leaguers Sue ESPN, Name Smith

Stephen A. Smith

Parents of former Little Leaguers from Jackie Robinson West filed a lawsuit Thursday against Little League International, ESPN and officials from the local league, alleging, among other things, that they profited off the disgraced team while knowing of its ineligible players,” David Matthews and Mark Konkol reported Thursday for dnainfo.com.

“The lawsuit by Jackie Robinson West’s former coach Darold Butler and other team parents also names former league presidentBill Haley, Evergreen Park whistleblower Chris Janes, the suburban Little League Janes represents and ESPN commentatorStephen A. Smith.

“The complaint says Butler and other team officials were diligent submitting boundary maps and player addresses throughout the team’s captivating 2014 run, which they allege Little League publicized for their gain without making parents aware the team fielded ineligible players who lived outside JRW boundaries.

“Jackie Robinson West won the U.S. Little League title in 2014, but it was stripped last year after Little League International ruled JRW officials allowed ineligible players to make the roster. The complaint filed Thursday falls on the anniversary of JRW’s title stripping. . . .”

Matthews and Konkol also wrote, “The lawsuit also alleges ESPN defamed Butler and others by saying they fabricated residency documents and deliberately assembled JRW’s ineligible team. The lawsuit specifically names ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who said on national television that Butler ‘threw’ his players ‘into the wind.’

“An ESPN spokesman did not have an immediate comment. . . .”

Should Al Jazeera America Have Been an App Instead?

In January, the deep-pocketed Al Jazeera Media Network announced the shutdown of its United States cable news channel, Al Jazeera America (AJA),” Joe Mohen, a digital media entrepreneur, wrote Friday for Broadcasting & Cable.

“Industry pundits have found a range of reasons for the meltdown: internal disputes, discrimination, racism, bias, and even the decline of its price of oil. All of these explanations are wrong. AJA failed for one reason: It had a fatally flawed strategy. The network is textbook example of a business with an excellent product that still failed, entirely because it chose the wrong distribution channel.

“When AJA launched in 2013, it was already too late to launch a new cable channel. Cable is in permanent, irreversible, secular decline. Just as launching a successful new magazine is almost impossible nowadays, so too is launching a new cable brand. Had it been distributed as an app like Netflix, it would have likely succeeded and became the first big 24-hour OTT network backed by a linear TV company. But Al Jazeera hired the wrong advisers and consultants, dinosaurs who did not see fundamental shifts. . . .”

Short Takes

Follow Richard Prince on Twitter @princeeditor
Facebook users: “Like” “Richard Prince’s Journal-isms” on Facebook.

  • Send by email

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

Send tips, comments and concerns to Richard Prince.

To be notified of new columns, contact journal-isms-subscribe@yahoogroups.com and tell us who you are.

About Richard Prince

View previous columns.