Witnesses Saw Heated Argument Near Oval Office

Trump Picks No-News Softball Questioners

Writers See Racial Factors at Work at Grammys

Yale Strips Name of Slavery Advocate; Geraldo Quits

Venezuela’s President Says He Wants CNN Out

CNN Presents ‘First Time I Realized I Was Black’

The Reporter Who Helped Change Sports History

American Muslim on Covering American Muslims

Arizona State Adds Bilingual Journalism Program

Short Takes

Omarosa Manigault with President Trump on Feb. 1. Reporter April Ryan, said Manigault 'physically intimidated' her in a manner that could have warranted intervention by the Secret Service. (Credit: Pool photo by Michael Reynolds)

Omarosa Manigault with President Trump on Feb. 1. Reporter April Ryan said Manigault “physically intimidated” her in a manner that could have warranted intervention by the Secret Service. (Credit: Pool photo/Michael Reynolds)

Witnesses Saw Heated Argument Near Oval Office

Conflict and controversy seem to follow Omarosa Manigault, who stirred up plenty of both as a reality-TV star and a longtime associate of President Trump,” Paul Farhi reported Monday for the Washington Post.

“Manigault, who is now a communications official in the Trump administration, got into a heated argument with a White House reporter just steps from the Oval Office last week, according to witnesses. The reporter, April Ryan, said Manigault ‘physically intimidated’ her in a manner that could have warranted intervention by the Secret Service.

April Ryan (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

April Ryan (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

“Ryan also said Manigault made verbal threats, including the assertion that Ryan was among several journalists on whom Trump officials had collected ‘dossiers’ of negative information.

“Manigault, a onetime friend of Ryan’s, declined to address Ryan’s accusations on the record, offering only this emailed statement: ‘My comment: Fake news!’ She did not specify what she considered false.

“Manigault appeared on Trump’s reality programs, ‘The Apprentice’ and ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ where she became known as a combative personality skilled in undercutting rivals. She also worked on his presidential campaign, appearing multiple times as a surrogate in TV interviews. Trump appointed her director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison in January. . . .”

 

The White House briefing room on Feb. 7 (Doug Mills/New York Times)

The White House briefing room on Feb. 7  (Credit: Doug Mills/New York Times)

Trump Picks No-News Softball Questioners

With their constant complaints about critical reporting — which they insist on branding as ‘fake news’ — President Trump and his minions have shown no reluctance to fabricate factoids or attempt to delegitimize journalism as an institution,” Lloyd Grove reported Monday for the Daily Beast.

“But Monday’s joint White House press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau represented a new breach in what is already, after a mere 24 days of the Trump administration, a dysfunctional relationship between the president and the press.

“At [the] confab in the gold-curtained East Room, Trump called on two U.S. reporters, and only two, from apparently supportive outlets — the Daily Caller and Sinclair Television — and was rewarded with vaguely posed softball questions that made zero news.

“ ‘I think they [the White House communications operation] make themselves look as though they are unable to risk having the president being asked questions that he would find unwelcome,’ said Emmy-winning independent television correspondent Simon Marks of the Washington-based Feature Story News. ‘My concern is the steady chipping-away of the sense of accountability and the chipping-away of institutions at the heart of the democratic process.’ . . .”

Grove continued, “The two lucky reporters were the Daily Caller’s White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, and Scott Thuman, chief political correspondent for Sinclair Television’s more than 150 stations, including the Washington, D.C., ABC affiliate WJLA.

“ ‘How do you see this relationship playing out?” Thuman asked Trump about U.S.-Canadian diplomacy — hardly a national headline-maker — while inviting Trudeau to compare his country’s relations with Trump to those Canada enjoyed with the Obama administration. . . .”

“As the president and his guest exited the East Room, Trump seemed to have heard but ignored the question that has dominated coverage over the past three days, shouted out by ABC News’s Jonathan Karl:

“Does Trump still have confidence in his national security adviser, retired Army General Michael Flynn, who is under fire for allegedly discussing U.S. sanctions before Trump took office with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and then claiming otherwise to Vice President Mike Pence, among other top officials who were publicly embarrassed after going on television to defend Flynn. . . .”

Flynn resigned on Monday night.

Grove was not alone in noting the choice of outlets called upon. On CNN, Gloria Borger recalled that at a previous session, all the chosen questioners had Trump supporter Rupert Murdoch and News Corp as their ultimate boss. “At what point are you walling yourself off from reality and the issues around your presidency?” Borger asked.

“There is a fishbowl quality,” Nia-Malika Henderson, CNN senior political reporter, added. “They [Trump’s aides] want to keep Donald Trump comfortable.”

Reporting on Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Saturday, Larry Buchanan and Karen Yourish of the New York Times wrote, “The first briefing question of Mr. Spicer’s tenure went to a New York Post reporter who wrote a book that was critical of Bill and Hillary Clinton. LifeZette, a website founded by the radio host Laura Ingraham, was first in the second briefing.

“Reporters from conservative outlets like Breitbart, One America News Network and Newsmax are regularly tapped for questions.

“Mr. Spicer also calls on non-mainstream outlets that may be more critical of the Trump administration, including American Urban Radio Networks, a minority-owned radio station, and Telemundo, Univision and other Spanish-language news outlets. . . .”

The new arrangement has sometimes benefitted journalists of color. Chris Ariens reported Wednesday for TVSpy, “The White House press briefing room’s use of four Skype seats continued today as WLWT’s Courtis Fuller got the first question out of the gate. Fuller, who is an anchor at the Cincinnati NBC station, asked about the city’s decision to become a sanctuary city will adversely affect it, in terms of federal funding. . . .” Fuller is a black journalist.

Ariens also wrote, “Norma Garcia[,] anchor at Telemundo’s Dallas station KXTX[,] got the second Skype seat question. She asked about sanctuary cities but in the broader sense about whether the president is committed to comprehensive immigration reform. . . .”


Beyoncé reacts as Adele accepts the “Album of The Year” award at the Grammys on Sunday night. (Credit: youtube.com)

Writers See Racial Factors at Work at Grammys

Even Adele thinks Beyoncé should have won the album of the year Grammy over her,” Lisa Respers France reported Monday for CNN.

“When the British pop star tearfully accepted the ceremony’s top award Sunday night, she shined a spotlight on the woman she said she has loved since she was 11 years old.

” ‘The artist of my life is Beyoncé, and this album to me, the “Lemonade” album, was just so monumental,’ Adele said.

“Certainly for her diehard fan base known as the Beyhive — and for many music critics — Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ was a creative masterpiece.

“But with its racial themes and imagery, some are questioning if the project was ‘just too black’ for Grammy voters.

Kevin Powell, author of the memoir ‘The Education of Kevin Powell’ and a forthcoming biography on rapper Tupac Shakur, thinks so.

“He told CNN ‘Beyonce’s “Lemonade” made a lot of people uncomfortable, because it is so political, so spiritual, so unapologetically black, and so brutally honest about love, self-love, trust, betrayal.’ . . .”

Others agreed. “Though many applaud the British superstar for dedicating her award to Beyoncé, the symbolic gesture does nothing to address the real issue of racism at the Grammys, or the historic problem of Black women standing on the sidelines while others take credit for their artistry,” LaSha wrote Monday for Essence.

In fact, a Black artist hasn’t won Album of the Year in nearly a decade (the last was Herbie Hancock in 2008), and this wasn’t the first time a creatively stunning project was snubbed in favor of a less daring, commercial work,” Britni Danielle maintained in Ebony.


Jason Newton of WTNH-TV in New Haven, Conn., reports on the successful outcome of black students’ decades-old fight to remove the name of John C. Calhoun from a Yale University building. (video)

Yale Strips Name of Slavery Advocate; Geraldo Quits

Fox News personality Geraldo Rivera says he resigned from a voluntary position at Yale University after the school decided to change the name of a residential college that honors a slavery supporter,” the Associated Press reported Sunday.

“Rivera said Sunday on Twitter that he resigned as an associate fellow of Calhoun College. He said the position was an honor ‘but intolerant insistence on political correctness is lame.’

“Calhoun College was named after 19th century alumnus and former Vice President John C. Calhoun, an ardent supporter of slavery. After years of debate, Yale announced Saturday it is renaming the college after trailblazing computer scientist Grace Murray Hopper.

“Yale said in a statement Sunday that it respected Rivera’s decision, but said its choice to rename the college was based on principle, not political correctness.”

Jingyi Cui, Adelaide Feibel and Ryan Gittler, reporting Monday for the Yale Daily News, the student newspaper, used the new name for the school. “Out of 24 Hopper students surveyed by the News, four have heard of Rivera, but none knew of any connection between him and their college.

“ ‘I actually wasn’t even aware that Rivera was an associate fellow of the college, so to hear of his resignation was news to me in more ways than one,’ said Kyle Ranieri ’18, a student in Hopper College. ‘Now that I know he was a fellow, I’m glad to hear he is leaving. Rivera is a sensationalist with very misguided perspectives on the world.’ . . . ”

The Yale Daily News applauded the renaming in an editorial on Saturday. “Since the 1970s, Yalies have spoken out against the legacy of John C. Calhoun, class of 1804. In 1992, a black student gave an impromptu Commencement address damning Calhoun’s racist beliefs.

“In the fall of 2015, thousands of community members mobilized against Calhoun and for a better Yale. After University President Peter Salovey opted to retain the name, hundreds of faculty signed a petition calling for the reversal of his decision.

“As of today, the college on the corner of Elm and College streets will, officially, be Formerly Known as Calhoun. Hopper College will take its place, named for the pioneering computer scientist and groundbreaking military leader Grace Hopper GRD ’34.

“We at the News are relieved to see the elimination of ‘Calhoun,’ and we commend the administration for admitting it made a mistake 10 months ago. Calhoun is not principally remembered for his work as a statesman — he’s remembered for his white supremacy. He passionately promoted slavery as a ‘positive good,’ and no student should have to live under his roof. . . .”

Venezuela’s President Says He Wants CNN Out

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday he wanted CNN out of the country, alleging it misrepresents the truth and meddles in issues that are not of its concern,” Fox News reported Monday.

” ‘CNN, do not get into the affairs of Venezuelans. I want CNN well away from here. Outside of Venezuela. Do not put your nose in Venezuela,’ said Maduro during a political act.

“He made the comment after blaming the U.S. network of distorting the facts when reporting on irregularities at a Caracas public high school. ‘Some media like CNN tried to manipulate. They cannot manipulate! That is our business, of the Venezuelans,’ he said.

“The threat also came a few days after CNN en Espanol broadcast and posted online an in-depth investigation into how officials of the Venezuelan Embassy in Iraq allegedly sold Venezuelan passports and visas to suspected terrorists. . . .”

Meanwhile, two Brazilian journalists investigating a continent-wide corruption ring were detained over the weekend in Venezuela, according to press reports, the Committee to Protect Journalists said on Monday.

“The international media must be able to cover issues of public interest and report on sensitive topics without fearing retaliation and persecution from Venezuelan authorities,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, from New York. “We call on the government of President Maduro to put an end to this systematic practice of obstructing news coverage and to stop interfering with the work of the press.”

CNN produces a black history project. (Credit: CNN)

CNN produces a black history project. (Credit: CNN)

CNN Presents ‘First Time I Realized I Was Black’

In W.E.B Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk, he talks about the first time he realized his skin color made him different,” CNN recalled in an announcement Friday. “CNN has turned that simple narrative into a powerful compilation of personal stories on race.

“Featuring over 25 celebrities and artists like Doug E Fresh, Jason George, Montel Williams and CNN talent like Kamau Bell, Van Jones, Don Lemon, Sara Sidner and Stephanie Elam, the project showcases some of the most prominent voices and their stories about the moment they realized they were black – and how their skin color affected how people saw or treated them.

“Explore the interactive featuring animated videos and opinion pieces online and across CNN’s television and social platforms. . . .”

The Reporter Who Helped Change Sports History

On a January afternoon 71 years ago, Halley Harding crowded into a conference room at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and posed a question that transformed the NFL,” Nathan Fenno reported Jan. 28 for the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles Rams running back Kenny Washington is pictured on Sept. 3, 1946.

Los Angeles Rams running back Kenny Washington, pictured on Sept. 3, 1946.

“The outspoken columnist for the L.A. Tribune, a weekly black newspaper, wanted to know if the Rams would employ black players.

“The question, by one account, drained the color from the face of Rams general manager Chile Walsh. He had just pitched the powerful nine-member public commission in charge of the Coliseum on the virtues of the franchise leasing the facility. The NFL champion Rams, approved by league owners three days earlier to relocate from Cleveland to L.A., viewed the 103,000-seat stadium as an ideal home.

“But Harding refused to allow the politicians, lawyers and publicity men in the conference room to overlook the NFL’s unwritten ban on black players for the previous 12 years. His impassioned words helped trigger the NFL’s reintegration a year before Jackie Robinson broke major league baseball’s color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. . . .”

Fenno also wrote, ” ‘There was nothing breezy about the intensity of his campaign,’ Charles J. Livingston of the Associated Negro Press wrote after Harding died in 1965 at age 56. ‘To quote one of his ardent fans, “Halley blasted the hell out of ’em.” ‘ ”

American Muslim on Covering American Muslims

Dilshad D. Ali

Dilshad D. Ali

The story that has dominated coverage of Muslims in America this past year, especially these past few months, has been the rise of Islamophobia and how President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric is affecting the American Muslim community,” Dilshad D. Ali wrote Jan. 31 for Nieman Reports.

“(This is followed closely by articles on hijab and Muslim women’s dress, the story that just will not die.) Now, the dominant story is President Trump’s executive order barring refugees and others from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“However, when you are a Muslim who manages coverage of Muslims in America, the responsibility of properly covering this story grows exponentially.

“I’ve been covering this beat as a reporter and editor for 15 years. It’s taken me that long to develop the knowledge, know-how, intuitiveness and connections to properly cover this changing beat. Being a Muslim has helped immensely in building trusting relationships with sources and leaders. Even now, though, as managing editor of the Muslim Channel at Patheos, a multi-faith news and blog site, I’m still learning and growing as the community shifts and changes.

“Because of my Muslim background, I am privy to perspectives that seem too often missed by mainstream religion reporters. Why, for example, do we discuss Islamophobia and the American Muslim community as a monolith? There are sub-communities within Islam that grapple with this issue in vastly different ways, from Black Muslims dealing with the implications of racial profiling and religious profiling to immigrant communities who may not understand their rights well enough. In fact, the term shouldn’t be American Muslim community but rather American Muslim communities.

“Is Islamophobia really the story we should be covering? There are other social and civil justice issues Muslims are working on, such as the Black Lives Matter movement. Reporters should be facilitating relationships with Black Muslim organizations invested in this movement, like the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) or Sapelo Square.

“And what about the pushback against the #MuslimBan from the Trump administration? Islamophobia may be the catalyst, as many Muslims are saying, for the #MuslimBan, but reporters may want to explore further the impetus for this executive order. . . .”

Arizona State Adds Bilingual Journalism Program

The latest addition to Arizona PBS speaks Spanish,” Alexa Buechler wrote Sunday for the State Press, the student newspaper at Arizona State University.

“The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication added a new professional program called Cronkite Noticias, a newscast featuring six bilingual journalists who write and broadcast for the Spanish-speaking community in Arizona.

“The program airs on UniMás, an English and Spanish television network owned by Univision, every Friday at 4 p.m.

Valeria Fernandez, a bilingual multimedia journalist, leads the new program as an adjunct Cronkite faculty member.

“Fernandez said she hopes to build from her students’ experience with English newscasts by producing newscasts and digital content in Spanish. . . .”

Short Takes

Théoden Janes

Théoden Janes

I’ve written about race in both light and heavy ways for the Observer, but this was a landmark moment for me: It was the first time in 10 years in Charlotte that a reader clearly assumed things about me based solely on my picture,” Théoden Janes wrote Friday for the Charlotte Observer. “Then a week later, it happened again. . . .” He also wrote, “One theory, popularized by legal experts and civil rights activists, is that President Trump’s campaign rhetoric emboldened schools of thought about ‘different’ cultures that were once on the fringe in America. That may or may not be true, and that may or may not be fair. But to me, this much is clear: Now more than ever, we’d be better off forming opinions about people based on what they say and how they say it, and not on how they look.”

paulorogerionunes-Etiopia
“A few years ago I had the opportunity to do a Fulbright program in the U.S. and I saw closely the important work that the journalist Richard Prince is constantly developing to give visibility to the issues that are important for the global Black community. The work he develops has inspired me a lot to develop projects here in Brazil and keeps me updated on what happens to my African sisters and brothers around the world. He is a fantastic role model for young Black journalists.”

Paulo Rogério Nunes of Brazil, shown at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, covering the African Union Summit. Paulo is a media entrepreneur, activist, blogger and affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

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