Returning Jan. 4, barring breaking news

’60 Minutes’ Documents 80 Percent Drop in Stops

Reporter: Many Ignore Obama’s Hostility to Press

Facebook Pays Outsiders for Data About Its Users

Native Journalist Dissents From ‘Free Peltier’

Mattie Colin Dies, Covered Return of Till’s Body

For Muslim on Campaign Trail, Chilling Talk

Teen Airs Emotional Work on Attempted Suicide

Short Takes

A woman sits on the curb as Chicago police investigate an August scene where gunfire at a birthday party left a man dead and a woman injured. (Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times)

A woman sits on the curb as Chicago police investigate an August scene where gunfire at a birthday party left a man dead and a woman injured. (Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times)

’60 Minutes’ Documents 80 Percent Drop in Stops

Chicago ends 2016 with more than 700 murders and over 4,000 people shot — the worst bloodshed the city has seen in 18 years,” CBS News reported Thursday in promoting a report scheduled for Sunday’s “60 Minutes.”

“Data obtained by 60 Minutes shows that while gun violence spiked, police activity dropped in all 22 of Chicago’s police districts.

“The data, requested through the Freedom of Information Act, shows a decline in the type of police work officers say is critical to curbing crime: stops and arrests. In August of 2015, Chicago cops stopped and questioned 49,257 people. But, a year later, stops dropped 80 percent and arrests fell by a third.

“ ‘We know there’s almost never one simple explanation for any set of data points,’ said 60 Minutes producer Andrew Bast. ‘So we were very cautious to not draw grand conclusions, but at the same time we wanted to find out what relationship this data had to the spike in violence.’

“To understand the numbers, Bast, producer Guy Campanile, and correspondent Bill Whitaker, visited Chicago and found a beleaguered city and police department.

“The discord had been ignited by the 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old who was fatally shot 16 times by a white police officer. The officer, Jason Van Dyke, is awaiting trial for first-degree murder. Dash-cam video of the shooting was released 13 months after McDonald’s death by court order. Public unrest and speculation of a cover-up followed. . . .”

CBS also wrote, “In a climate of increased scrutiny, a dozen beat cops and recently retired officers told 60 Minutes, off-camera, they’d stepped back and the data reflects that. In the above video, Chicago’s former top cop, Garry McCarthy, called the situation a ‘crisis.’ . . . ”

Whitaker’s report, “Crisis in Chicago,” airs on Sunday at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET after NFL late-game coverage on CBS, and 7 p.m. PT.

New York Times reporter James Risen speaks with students at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 2014. He won the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. (Credit: David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

New York Times reporter James Risen speaks with students at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, in 2014. He won the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award for courageous journalism. (Credit: David Leaming/Morning Sentinel, Waterville, Maine)

Reporter: Many Ignore Obama’s Hostility to Press

If Donald J. Trump decides as president to throw a whistle-blower in jail for trying to talk to a reporter, or gets the F.B.I. to spy on a journalist, he will have one man to thank for bequeathing him such expansive power: Barack Obama,” James Risen, an investigative reporter for the New York Times, wrote Friday for the Times SundayReview.

“Mr. Trump made his animus toward the news media clear during the presidential campaign, often expressing his disgust with coverage through Twitter or in diatribes at rallies. So if his campaign is any guide, Mr. Trump seems likely to enthusiastically embrace the aggressive crackdown on journalists and whistle-blowers that is an important yet little understood component of Mr. Obama’s presidential legacy.

“Criticism of Mr. Obama’s stance on press freedom, government transparency and secrecy is hotly disputed by the White House, but many journalism groups say the record is clear. Over the past eight years, the administration has prosecuted nine cases involving whistle-blowers and leakers, compared with only three by all previous administrations combined. It has repeatedly used the Espionage Act, a relic of World War I-era red-baiting, not to prosecute spies but to go after government officials who talked to journalists.

“Under Mr. Obama, the Justice Department and the F.B.I. have spied on reporters by monitoring their phone records, labeled one journalist an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal case for simply doing reporting and issued subpoenas to other reporters to try to force them to reveal their sources and testify in criminal cases.

“I experienced this pressure firsthand when the administration tried to compel me to testify to reveal my confidential sources in a criminal leak investigation. The Justice Department finally relented — even though it had already won a seven-year court battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court to force me to testify — most likely because they feared the negative publicity that would come from sending a New York Times reporter to jail.

“In an interview last May, President Obama pushed back on the criticism that his administration had been engaged in a war on the press. . . . But critics say the crackdown has had a much greater chilling effect on press freedom than Mr. Obama acknowledges. . . .”

Risen’s comments are similar to those made in a 2013 report for the Committee to Protect Journalists, authored by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of the Washington Post.

Facebook Pays Outsiders for Data About Its Users

Facebook has long let users see all sorts of things the site knows about them, like whether they enjoy soccer, have recently moved, or like Melania Trump,Julia Angwin, Terry Parris Jr. and Surya Mattu reported Tuesday for ProPublica.

“But the tech giant gives users little indication that it buys far more sensitive data about them, including their income, the types of restaurants they frequent and even how many credit cards are in their wallets.

“Since September, ProPublica has been encouraging Facebook users to share the categories of interest that the site has assigned to them. Users showed us everything from ‘Pretending to Text in Awkward Situations’ to ‘Breastfeeding in Public.’ In total, we collected more than 52,000 unique attributes that Facebook has used to classify users.

“Facebook’s site says it gets information about its users ‘from a few different sources.’

“What the page doesn’t say is that those sources include detailed dossiers obtained from commercial data brokers about users’ offline lives. Nor does Facebook show users any of the often remarkably detailed information it gets from those brokers.

“ ‘They are not being honest,’ said Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. ‘Facebook is bundling a dozen different data companies to target an individual customer, and an individual should have access to that bundle as well.’

“When asked this week about the lack of disclosure, Facebook responded that it doesn’t tell users about the third-party data because it’s widely available and was not collected by Facebook. . . .”

Native Journalist Dissents From ‘Free Peltier’

Supporters of Leonard Peltier have held daily vigils outside the White House.

Supporters of Leonard Peltier have held vigils outside the White House.

Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist who has been in prison for 40 years, serving two consecutive life terms,” Carrie Johnson reported Thursday for NPR. “In 1977, Peltier was convicted of killing two FBI agents on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.”

Seth Galinsky, writing from Washington Monday in the Militant, a socialist newsweekly, reported, “Hundreds took part in a week of actions here Dec. 4-10 to press President Barack Obama to free Native American political activist Leonard Peltier, who has been held in prison for 40 years.

“Highlights of the week included daily vigils outside the White House; screening of the film ‘Warrior: The Life of Leonard Peltier’; a national press conference; a public meeting on indigenous rights and environmental issues, including the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline at Standing Rock in North Dakota; and a conference on ‘U.S. Prisons: Conditions of Confinement.’ . . .”

The radio and television show “Democracy Now!” devoted a segment Dec. 21 to Peltier’s case, which “has been championed by Amnesty International, Hollywood celebrities and human rights activists who believe he’s innocent and got scapegoated by the government,” as Johnson reported for NPR.

A support group has declared of the White House vigil, “The encampment will last from Nov 18th until Leonard is freed or when President Obama leaves office on Jan 20th 2017.”

Paul DeMain

Paul DeMain

Paul DeMain, editor of News From Indian Country and a past president of the Native American Journalists Association, is not among Peltier’s defenders. A member of the Oneida Nation who with Richard LaCourse (Yakama) and Minnie Two Shoes (Assiniboine Sioux) reviewed Peltier’s case extensively from 1994 to 2001, DeMain messaged Journal-isms Friday, “Many AIM supporters and others have glossed over all the testimony that came about about LP in regards to the murder case of Annie Mae [Aquash] that brought 3 convictions from 2004-2010.”

Peltier “has continued through his claims of being an innocent man, endangered other people who involved that day, and witnesses who knew the truth. No, can’t support a man who bragged to a bunch of women about his deeds, then denies them to the world — and he endangered all of them — one who was executed in part because of ego. Don’t see any remorse, don’t see any admissions of culpability, don’t see much reason to support someone who is still in denial about what he did, or was part of. . . .”

The work of DeMain and his team is here and here.

Mattie Colin Dies, Covered Return of Till’s Body

Mattie Smith Colin (Provided by Anne Fredd via Chicago Tribune)

Mattie Smith Colin (provided by Anne Fredd via Chicago Tribune)

Mattie Smith Colin, a reporter for the Chicago Defender, was dispatched to a Chicago train station in 1955 to cover the return of Emmett Till’s body,” Joan Giangrasse Kates wrote Friday for the Chicago Tribune.

“A deeply moving experience, covering what would become a flash point in the civil rights movement, Colin eloquently captured the anguish of Till’s mother as her young, black son, slain in Mississippi after reportedly whistling at a white woman, was returned to her.

“This is a portion of Colin’s story in the Defender:

” ‘Oh, God, Oh God, my only boy,” Mrs. Mamie (Till) Bradley wailed as five men lifted a soiled paper-wrapped bundle from a brown, wooden mid-Victorian box at the Illinois Central Station in Chicago Friday and put it into a waiting hearse.

” ‘The bundle was the bruised and bullet-ridden body of little 14-year-old Emmett L. Till of Chicago, who had been lynched down in Money, Mississippi,’ Colin wrote.

“Colin also was at Till’s funeral, where his mother insisted on an open casket to expose the horror of what had happened to her son. Images of his mutilated body were printed in the Chicago Defender and made international news.

” ‘Mattie was a gifted and highly intelligent writer whose heart was open to the truth,’ said Col. Eugene F. Scott, the publisher of the Chicago Defender during the 1990s. ‘She had empathy and character, and could tell the kinds of stories that nobody else could.’

“Colin, 98, who also worked for the Chicago Park District and the Department of Streets and Sanitation before retiring at age 93, died Dec. 6 . . . in Chicago after a recent stroke. . . .”

For Muslim on Campaign Trail, Chilling Talk

Sabrina Siddiquil

Sabrina Siddiqui

I recall the day when Ben Carson stated in an interview he did not believe a Muslim should be president of the United States,” Sabrina Siddiqui wrote Wednesday for the Guardian, under the headline, “Reporting while Muslim: how I covered the US presidential election.”

“I went about my task of gathering reaction from the other 16 Republican presidential contenders almost robotically, until the tears dropped on my keyboard as I typed.

“That same week, I kept myself composed when offering political analysis of the moment on MSNBC. But I nearly lost it again later when my cousin’s daughter, raised as my niece, bounded over to me at a family party.

“She was seven years old at the time and typically watched my television appearances to see what I was wearing or to admire the glossy makeup and hair.

“But this time she had a question.

“She asked: Is it true someone said we can’t be president?

“I felt as though someone had punched me in the gut. . . .”

Teen Airs Emotional Work on Attempted Suicide

Madison Legg

Madison Legg

Viewers of Rocky Mountain PBS will get an intimate look at the issue of youth suicide Thursday with the debut of a partnership between the station and a Colorado organization for young filmmakers,” Sara Wise reported Dec. 15 for current.org.

“RMPBS’s news show Insight will feature an excerpt of the film Under the Wire, created by Madison Legg, a 17-year-old from Colorado Springs. In her film, Madison talks with her brother, Jacob, about his attempt at suicide in 2014.

Insight is a new 30-minute investigative news program in the vein of Frontline or ABC’s Nightline. Rocky Mountain PBS President and General Manager Laura Frank said she knew Under the Wire was a perfect fit for the ‘Surviving Suicide’ episode of Insight as soon as she saw it.

“ ‘It captures one of the most emotional scenes I’ve ever seen on film,’ she said, referring to a scene in which Madison and her brother talk through the day he attempted suicide. ‘So, we said, “Let’s build our next Insight show around this film” . . .’ ” The show can be viewed online.

Short Takes

Dorothy Gilliam, the first African American female reporter in the Washington Post newsroom, celebrates her 80th birthday Monday at a party given by her daughters, Melissa, left, Leah and Stephanie. The event, attended by about 60 people, took place at the Hay-Adams hotel overlooking the White House. Gilliam was a Post editor and columnist, co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and president of the National Association of Black Journalists. (Credit: Mary Layton)

Dorothy Gilliam, who in 1961 became the first African American female reporter at the Washington Post, turned 80 on Nov. 24 and celebrated Monday at a party given by daughters Melissa, left, Leah and Stephanie. The event, attended by about 60 people, took place at the Hay-Adams hotel overlooking the White House. Gilliam was a Post editor and columnist, co-founder of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and president of the National Association of Black Journalists. (Credit: Mary Layton)

  • Egypt confirmed on Sunday that it had arrested an Al-Jazeera news producer, accusing him of ‘provoking sedition’ on behalf of the Qatar-based broadcaster that it considers a mouthpiece of the banned Muslim Brotherhood,” Reuters reported Monday. “Judicial sources said Mahmoud Hussein, who was detained on Friday, was being held on charges of disturbing public security and spreading false news. . . .”
  • Angolan authorities should immediately drop charges against two journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Thursday. “Rafael Marques de Morais, who runs the anti-corruption website Maka Angola, and Mariano Bras, of the weekly, O Crime, were charged with ‘crimen injuria,’ which is similar to insult laws, the journalists told CPJ. . . .”

 

les-payne

” ‘Journal-isms’ as managed by Richard Prince is a vital sentry on the wall during this time of transition for the craft — as well as for the republic. Though corporate greed has narrowed the reach of standard media, technology allows broader participation by independent players.

” ‘Journal-isms’ is such a player of principle guarding against the erosion of a ‘free press’ that Thomas Jefferson foresaw as a threat to citizens making sovereign decisions in a democracy. Additionally, Prince’s online journal stands forceful vigil against an even more insidious, internal threat — the media’s historic devaluation of African Americans as sources of news and also their exclusion as gatherers, decision-makers, editors and presenters of news and analysis.

” ‘Stay Woke’ indeed.”

Les Payne, retired editor and columnist, Newsday; co-founder and fourth president, National Association of Black Journalists

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