‘You Don’t Even Know How Many Muslims Are in America’

Nance Adds Diversity to Counterterrorism Talkers

‘How Obama Set a Trap for Raúl Castro’

Women of Color at Dow Jones Could See Raises

Peña Leaves MSNBC to Lead Univision Local News

Task Force: Flint a Victim of Environmental Racism

Set-Top Cable Boxes a Diversity Issue, Groups Say

Bob Adelman, Civil Rights Photographer, Dies at 85

Short Takes

Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday. Guthrie asked Ted Cruz, 'How would you define a Muslim neighborhood? Is there a certain percentage of Muslims that have to live there? And do you have to have any particular suspicion that they're being radicalized, or is it just the mere fact that they're Muslims, in your mind, means police officers should be securing and patrolling those areas?'

Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday. Guthrie asked Ted Cruz, “How would you define a Muslim neighborhood? Is there a certain percentage of Muslims that have to live there? And do you have to have any particular suspicion that they’re being radicalized, or is it just the mere fact that they’re Muslims, in your mind, means police officers should be securing and patrolling those areas?” (Credit: NBC)

‘You Don’t Even Know How Many Muslims Are in America’

Media, experts, and civil rights groups are all criticizing Ted Cruz’s call to ‘patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods’ in the wake of terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, seemingly inspired by ISIS,” Nick Fernandez wrote Wednesday for Media Matters for America. “The plan has been called ‘counterproductive and unconstitutional’ and ‘the exact opposite of what we need to do.'”

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the multipronged attack Tuesday on the Belgian capital’s airport and subway system that left 31 people dead and an estimated 270 wounded, according to the Associated Press. Three suicide bombers also died.

On  “CBS This Morning,” the hosts “pressed Cruz on how he thinks it would logistically work to patrol 3 million American Muslims, who are not, as Cruz suggested, ‘ghetto-ized’ in festering radical communities,” Bethania Palma Markus reported for Raw Story.

“Cruz admitted, when asked by co-host Norah O’Donnell that he didn’t know how many Muslims lived in the United States.

“ ‘So you’re saying that law enforcement should surveil a number of Muslims and you don’t even know how many Muslims are in America,’ she said.

“She pointed out that [New York police Chief William] Bratton had explained the United States isn’t like Europe and doesn’t have the kinds of ‘Muslim neighborhoods’ that Cruz is talking about. Cruz was also pressed about whether his anti-Muslim rhetoric bolsters terrorists.

“ ‘There are so many people that say that your comments are decidedly anti-Muslim, and that you’re playing right into the hands of ISIS,’ co-host Gayle King said. ‘You’re giving them ammunition to come after us, to really take action against us.’

“Cruz didn’t answer the question, and instead launched into a tirade against ‘political correctness.’ . . .”

[Media Matters for America reported Thursday that former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani told “Fox and Friends” host Steve Doocy that “some” Muslim neighborhoods should be patrolled. “They shouldn’t patrol every Muslim neighborhood,” Giuliani said.

[“Most of them, like in New York City, most of the Muslim neighborhoods are extremely safe, decent neighborhoods. We do not have a radicalized Muslim population particularly in New York City. Certain parts of New Jersey there’s a radicalized Muslim population and every once in a while in New York. So you’ve got to keep the option open of surveiling mosques. What Catholic priest, what Jewish rabbi, what Protestant minister would care if I had a police officer — they’d like it.”]

Network evening news programs expanded to an hour on Tuesday and “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt broadcast from Brussels on Wednesday. Some writers debated once again why other acts of terrorism resulting in high casualty rates have not received the same media attention.

On Salon, critic Jack Mirkinson complained, “Horrific attacks like the one that took place in Brussels on Tuesday morning tend to bring out the worst in our elite media. The coverage usually combines the blind panic and speculation that accompany any major breaking news story with an unrelenting stoking of our most vengeful, authoritarian impulses. Tuesday’s news channels were filled with the usual scenes: an array of mostly white men speaking ominously of ‘soft targets’ and of endless war. . . .”

On March 14, Michael E. Miller of the Washington Post reported, six Islamist militants fired on beachgoers in the Ivory Coast resort of Grand-Bassam. The attack on this tourist destination left 22 people dead, 14 of them civilians, and wounded 33 others. The militants were also killed, according to the Interior Ministry.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) claimed responsibility for the attack, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors radical Islamist websites,” Miller wrote.

A journalist of color posted Miller’s story on Facebook and asked, “Where’s the hashtag and Facebook profile pic filter for this?”

On Mashable, Suna Vidinli wrote from Istanbul, “As the Eiffel tower in Paris, the Trevi Fountain in Rome and the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin all lit up in the colors of the Belgian flag after Tuesday’s bombings, those of us in Turkey felt, once again, how starkly different the world media covers terrorist attacks in our country.

“Only a few days ago, an ISIS suicide bomber claimed at least five lives in the heart of Istanbul. And earlier this month, 36 people were killed in Ankara, with six attacks hitting Turkey since July, killing scores. And while the forces and dynamics behind these attacks deserve separate attention, the way in which international community covers these attacks is disappointing. . . .

Steve Sack's cartoon for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis contrasts coverage of terrorist acts in Europe with those elsewhere.

Steve Sack’s cartoon for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis contrasts coverage of terrorist acts in Europe with attention given those elsewhere.

“When a terrorist attacks happens in this part of the world, we don’t see the same international attention.

“None of the recent ISIS attacks in Turkey brought the colors of the Turkish flag to world capitals.

“Breaking news coverage lasted a few hours only, if that. Turks desperately started ‘Je Suis Istanbul’ on social media but it never gained enough traction for a global trend. . . .”

That’s not a new observation. After the attacks in Paris in November killed at least 130, Dionne Searcey and Marc Santora noted in the New York Times, “Boko Haram, the militant group that has tortured Nigeria and its neighbors for years, was responsible for 6,664 deaths last year, more than any other terrorist group in the world, including the Islamic State, which killed 6,073 people in 2014, according to a report released Wednesday tracking terrorist attacks globally. . . .”

For Mirkinson, the issue was the focus of NBC’s morning anchors. “A particularly nauseating example of the media’s approach to such matters could be seen in a pair of interviews that NBC’s ‘Today’ did with presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In particular, both interviews contained such irresponsible and morally bankrupt conversations about torture that you wanted to throw something at the television.

“Trump was, of course, despicable, offering not even a single word of condolence to the victims of the attack. But what was worse was the questions Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie put to him. Challenging they were not. All of the ‘Today’ show’s queries were framed so as to get Trump to illuminate just how far he would go in his efforts to combat such attacks, rather than grilling him whether that approach was either right or proper. . . .”

Malcolm Nance, counterterrorism expert, on MSNBC. "I keep Malcolm's book at my bedside table," the network's Rachel Maddow says in a blurb for his latest volume.

Malcolm Nance, counterterrorism expert, on MSNBC. “I keep Malcolm’s book at my bedside table,” the network’s Rachel Maddow says in a blurb for his latest volume, a look at the Islamic State.

Nance Adds Diversity to Counterterrorism Talkers

While television’s national security talking heads are overwhelmingly white men, Malcolm Nance, an African American counterterrorism expert, is at last bringing diversity to the ISIS discussion. Nance contributed a sound bite to the “NBC Nightly News” and spoke on MSNBC on Wednesday, and he appeared Tuesday on CNN, MSNBC and the “Marketplace” public radio program.

“From what I’ve seen in the news, he’s the only POC [person of color] speaking as an expert on ISIS,” Lauren Jackson, a publicist for Nance’s newly published 505-page book, “Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe,” told Journal-isms Wednesday by email.

According to a brief biography, Nance “is a former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school, who has himself been waterboarded as part of the training. A long-time intelligence specialist who speaks five languages, including Arabic, Nance has been deployed on counterterrorism operations in the Balkans, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. . . .” He is also author of the 2007 book, “The Terrorists of Iraq: Inside the Strategy and Tactics of the Iraq Insurgency.”

Discussing Donald Trump’s calls for the torturing of terror suspects, Nick Wing reported Wednesday for the Huffington Post, “Malcolm Nance, head of the Terrorism Asymmetrics Project and a former U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officer, pushed back against Trump’s claim that he would have supported waterboarding Salah Abdeslam, the alleged plotter of last year’s attacks in Paris, who was arrested in Belgium earlier this week.

‘Donald Trump right now is validating the cartoonish view that [ISIS] tells their operatives and that they tell their terrorists that the United States is a racist nation — xenophobic, anti-Muslim — and that that’s why you must carry out terrorist attacks against them in defense of their version of Islam,’ Nance told MSNBC.

“Nance said such interrogation techniques would be considered war crimes, and that ISIS was ‘probably cutting videos’ of Trump’s comments to use for propaganda. He also argued that such interrogation wouldn’t have produced any actionable intelligence — torture rarely does — because ISIS would have kept Abdeslam out of the loop after he was compromised in November. (Later reports indicated that Abdeslam was linked to the plot, though it’s unclear exactly how much he would have known about Tuesday’s attack.)

“ ‘[Trump’s rhetoric] is detrimental to the counterterrorism and anti-terrorism missions around the world,’ continued Nance. ‘There are intelligence officers right now that are going to have to contend with their partners over what’s being said during the U.S. presidential race. It‘s irresponsible and it needs to stop.’ . . .”

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk to the motorcade after touring Old Havana on Sunday. (Credit: Pete Souza/white House)

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk to the motorcade after touring Old Havana on Sunday. (Credit: Pete Souza/White House)

‘How Obama Set a Trap for Raúl Castro’

In Cuba, just having a news conference is news,” Edward-Isaac Dovere reported from Havana Monday for Politico under the headline, “How Obama set a trap for Raúl Castro.”

President Barack Obama jokes that he likes news conferences and wants to do more of them, and let them go on longer. That tends to be less the case at the White House than abroad, when Obama’s trying to make a point about a repressive regime by turning to the news media.

“He did it in China in 2013 by giving a New York Times reporter a question to President Xi Jinping right after the government in Beijing had kicked out a reporter from the newspaper. He did it in Ethiopia last year, when he forced the journalist-jailing prime minister to stand next to him for a long news conference during which Obama talked about the country’s record on human rights and held forth on American politics.

“Monday afternoon here in Havana, he did it to Raúl Castro, right in the Revolutionary Palace, letting him be pressed with questions for the first time — ever — and joining in himself. And not just that: He had to answer for the political prisoners whom the government rounds up almost daily — yet denies even exist.

“Cubans watching on state television, which broadcast the whole thing live and in full, had never seen anything like this. Neither has the White House press corps. Or anyone who works at the White House.

“The awkward photo that ended the event, with Obama looking like he had a limp wrist because he resisted Castro’s attempt to raise their hands together in victory as they walked out of the room, couldn’t change what had happened in what’s likely to be the most important hour of the president’s two-day trip here.

“The negotiations continued until the final hours and came down to White House officials counting on Cubans watching American movies and TV. U.S. officials pressed their Cuban counterparts early Monday morning, according to one American familiar with the discussions, and leveled with them: You’ve seen how this goes. The president finishes speaking, everyone shoots a hand in the air and the president takes a question. It’ll be really embarrassing if your president is just standing there or walks out. . . .”

In the Miami Herald, columnist Andrés Oppenheimer praised Obama’s calls for democracy and human rights, but added, “don’t fool yourself: It will be drowned in an avalanche of Castro government propaganda in the coming weeks and might soon be a faint memory in most Cubans’ minds.”

He also quoted José Miguel Vivanco, head of Human Rights Watch’s Americas department and a supporter of Obama’s opening to Cuba, who said that “Obama could have done much more to highlight the reforms that are urgently needed to end” Cuba’s police state.

“ ‘What Obama did not do was talk about the specific ways in which the Castro government denies these freedoms, such as blocking access to websites of independent journalists, denying rights to labor unions, threatening and detaining people to prevent them from participating in peaceful protests and political meetings, and using an Orwellian law to imprison critics for up to four years for ‘pre-criminal dangerousness,’ ” Vivanco said.

“Also to his credit, Obama met with leading Cuban dissidents at a private meeting at the U.S. Embassy after his speech. Among those attending were Berta Soler, a leader of Ladies in White, activist Guillermo Fariñas and Cuban Human Rights and National Reconciliation Commission founder Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz.

“Shortly before Obama’s trip to Cuba, Sánchez had cautioned me in an interview not to buy into speculation that a nationally broadcast speech by Obama would have a big impact in Cuba. He reminded me that there are no independent newspapers, nor radio or television stations on the island, and that Internet service is scarce and censored. . . .”

Women of Color at Dow Jones Could See Raises

Black women and Latinas, found to be on the wrong side of a pay gap at Dow Jones Co. properties, could see a raise if Dow Jones CEO William Lewis keeps a promise he made on Wednesday to address inequities.

The Dow Jones unit of the Newspaper Guild-Communications Workers of America reported on March 8 that after 25 years, “there has been little progress” in the pay gap between men and women in its jurisdiction, with black or African American women ranking lowest and Hispanic women or Latinas next to lowest.

On Wednesday, Lewis sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to employees that said, “Recently our union published information showing a pay gap between women and racial minorities and their white and male counterparts.

“Any pay disparity relating to an employee’s race or gender is troubling and inconsistent with the standards I strive to maintain at Dow Jones. We must, as a matter of urgency, address these issues head on.

“I have asked the Executive Leadership Team to do a thorough review of our current hiring, development and compensation programs to ensure diversity and equality are prioritised. This will include a deep analysis of recruitment and remuneration practices across all segments, roles and regions of our organization.

“This analysis will allow me to accurately benchmark staff in all roles. I will be transparent about these efforts and the results.

“Improvements will then follow.”

The Guild unit, the Independent Association of Publishers’ Employees, represents 1,400 rank-and-file workers in the United States and Canada at such Dow Jones properties as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, Factiva and Dow Jones Newswires in all departments, including sales, production, administration, technology and news.

Lewis is also publisher of the Wall Street Journal.

Peña Leaves MSNBC to Lead Univision Local News

Chris Peña

Chris Peña

Univision News Wednesday announced the appointment of Chris Peña, senior executive producer at MSNBC, as senior vice president of local media television news, TVNewsCheck reported.

“Peña joins the Company to lead Univision News’ efforts in enhancing collaboration between network news and local news operations.

“He will be responsible for implementing local news editorial guidelines; serve as mentor for Univision’s owned-and-operated local television station news directors as well as liaison between them and Univision Network News and Marketing. Peña will work with general managers, news teams and senior management across the company to ensure the Company continues to deliver the best in local news to the multicultural audience it serves.

“Peña comes to UCI from MSNBC where as senior executive producer he oversaw weekend live news programming, standby breaking news operations and led newsgathering resources with NBC News Group as well as the editorial efforts of multiple programs. . . .”

Peña also had been executive editor of NBC Latino, a stand-alone site until 2014, when it was absorbed into the larger NBC News portal.

“Univision News also named Lourdes Torres to SVP of political coverage & special projects. In her new role, Torres will expand on the work she has done over the years delivering political coverage across all platforms,” TVNewsCheck reported.

Meanwhile, the editors of Media Life, continuing a series, entitled “Catching the next big wave: Hispanic media,” reported that while “Univision has been the No. 1 Spanish-language network in the United States for decades,” its ratings are declining.

“More Spanish-language networks have launched, and No. 2 Telemundo has become more competitive.

“This season, Univision’s average among adults 18-49 is down 27 percent, while Telemundo is up 20 percent.

“One big problem has been the network’s programming model, largely shared by Telemundo. Telenovelas run for months, airing each night in the same timeslot.

“So if a novela isn’t working, it could be months until another show takes over the slot. The most recent run of Univision novelas has been lackluster compared to past years. . . .”

Task Force: Flint a Victim of Environmental Racism

Darryl Wilson is tired of fighting and scraping just to get what most Americans take for granted: clean, safe drinking water,” Kristen Jordan Shamus reported Thursday for the Detroit Free Press.

“He wants to leave Flint for awhile so someone can replace the pipes and fixtures in his house and the city’s lead and lead-soldered service lines that are leaching the toxin into the water. But he doesn’t have the money. He can’t drive.

“He’s stuck — just like thousands of other people in a poor, majority African-American city where people cried out for more than a year about odd-smelling, discolored water, rashes, stomach aches and hair loss. They say and experts agree, they are victims of racial, economic and environmental injustice. . . .”

Shamus also wrote that, “the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, which today released its final report of a four-month review of the crisis, was resolute. Race played a factor, even if not overtly, in the man-made disaster.

” ‘Environmental injustice is not about overt acts of racism; it’s not about motivation; it’s not about deliberate attacks on a certain population group; it’s not about overt violations, attacks upon civil rights,’ said Ken Sikkema, a member of the task force, senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and former state representative and state senator.

” ‘It’s about equal treatment, in this case, equal environmental protection and public health protection regardless of race, national origin or income as one pillar of it. And the second pillar is meaningful participation in government decision making.

” ‘In both cases, clearly what happened here is a case of environmental injustice.’ . . .” [Updated March 24]

Set-Top Cable Boxes a Diversity Issue, Groups Say

The National Urban League has told the FCC it should take no action on its navigation device/set-top ‘unlocking’ proposal until it has conducted a study of its impact on diversity,” John Eggerton reported Monday for Broadcasting & Cable.

According to the FCC, “Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers are chained to their set-top boxes because cable and satellite operators have locked up the market. Lack of competition has meant few choices and high prices for consumers — on average, $231 in rental fees annually for the average American household. . . .”

In January, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler circulated a proposal “that could tear down anti-competitive barriers and pave the way for software, devices and other innovative solutions to compete with the set-top boxes that a majority of consumers must lease today.”

The Urban League letter was “signed by more than a dozen diversity advocates, including Al Sharpton of the National Action Network, Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and the director of the NAACP’s Washington office, Urban League et al pointed to the lack of diversity in the Silicon Valley companies they said the FCC proposal would empower,” Eggerton wrote. “Could unlocking the box result in less diversity and fewer successful minority programmers and content producers?” the groups asked.

The Rev. Joe Carter, expecting a visit from the Ku Klux Klan after he dared to register to vote, stood guard on his front porch in West Feliciana Parish, La., in 1964. (Credit: Bob Adelman via the New York Times)

The Rev. Joe Carter, expecting a visit from the Ku Klux Klan after he dared to register to vote, stood guard on his front porch in West Feliciana Parish, La., in 1964. (Credit: Bob Adelman via the New York Times)

Bob Adelman, Civil Rights Photographer, Dies at 85

Bob Adelman, a photographer known for his sweeping, dramatic and intimate coverage of the civil rights movement, was found dead in Miami Beach, Fla., over the weekend,” James Estrin reported Monday for the “Lens” blog of the New York Times. “The Miami Herald reported that a friend discovered him at his home Saturday with a head wound.

“Mr. Adelman, 85, a philosopher-turned-photographer, forged a career committed to social activism as well as aesthetics. As the national photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality and later for Look magazine, he documented the movement in Birmingham and Montgomery in Alabama and the 1963 March on Washington.

“In 2014 he was named, in essence, a photographer in residence at the Library of Congress, a position created to draw attention to the importance of the medium in American life. He spoke then with James Estrin about his life and career. The conversation has been edited. . . .”

Short Takes

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