Media Learn to Cope With a Prevaricator-in-Chief

Right-Wing Media Hit Trump After Health Bill Loss

Not Just Reporters Care About Trump’s Returns

News Outlets Stonewall on Political Teams’ Diversity

In Scalding Death, Getting Away With Murder?

Jay Z to Tell Trayvon Martin Story in Film, on TV

Google to Train Howard U. Students in Silicon Valley

Journalist Free After Fleeing Yemen’s Forgotten War

Kenyan Police Accused of Harshly Beating Journalist

Short Takes


Members of the Congressional Black Caucus report on their meeting Wednesday with President Trump. They answered his question, “What do you have to lose?” (Credit: NBC News)

Media Learn to Cope With a Prevaricator-in-Chief

Donald Trump is not on the cover of Time this week, and that must gall him,” Will Oremus wrote Thursday for Slate. “The president is the subject of the magazine’s cover story, the promise of which apparently persuaded him to grant it an exclusive interview. But instead of Trump’s visage, the cover features a single three-word question in bold red type: ‘Is Truth Dead?’

“It’s a callback to Time’s famous 1966 cover — ‘Is God Dead?’ — and as such, it’s an eye-catcher. Time isn’t what it once was, but it still has a prominent perch on newsstands across the country. And this week, its top story highlights a side of Trump that much of the mainstream media have until recently failed, or neglected, to properly convey: his fundamental dishonesty.

Time's latest cover

Time’s April 3 edition

“The question on the magazine’s cover refers to Trump’s apparent ability to lie, dissemble, and distract from the truth — and to not only get away with it but to ride those lies to the world’s most powerful office.

“The story within by Time’s Washington bureau chief, Michael Scherer, rightly takes Trump’s dishonesty as its premise, then asks: How exactly does it work, and why, and can it possibly keep working now that he’s president?

“It’s a good story, thoughtful and — though Trump would never admit it — fair in the sense that it examines its subject’s penchant for prevarication without exaggerating, distorting, or moralizing.

“More revealing still is the full interview transcript, which finds Trump inadvertently proving the story’s premise at every turn. The money quote, which is also the cover story’s kicker, is Trump in microcosm.

“Caught in a contradiction over his wiretapping claims, the president throws up one red herring after another, like a panicked homeowner hurling kitchen appliances at an intruder, before resorting finally to this: ‘Hey look … I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not.’

“This is as clear a distillation of Trump’s epistemology as you could hope for. Simply put: Might makes right.

Time is not the only mainstream publication to belatedly shine its light full-blast on Trump’s mendacity. . . .”

Right-Wing Media Hit Trump After Health Bill Loss

President Trump faced an onslaught of criticism Friday for his failure to repeal and replace Obamacare —and the harshest treatment may have come from right-wing media,” Dylan Byers reported Friday for CNNMoney.

“Many conservative websites seemed even more eager than progressive sites to stress the ‘catastrophe’ or ‘humiliation’ that was the failure of the American Health Care Act.

“The scrutiny from the right, like its opposition to the bill itself, is a reminder of the challenge Trump faces in passing legislation through the House and Senate that will also satisfy his right-wing base.

“It is also a reminder that the same conservative media that helped carry Trump to the White House can be a powerful adversary if and when Trump fails to satisfy their expectations.

“On Friday, Trump faced heavy scrutiny from Drudge Report, Lifezette and other sites which had been some of his most ardent cheerleaders. . . .”

Not Just Reporters Care About Trump’s Returns

The only ones that care about my tax returns are the reporters,” President Trump has famously said, suggesting that his victory as president was evidence that voters were not concerned.

But state legislators around the country are proving Trump wrong.

While President Trump has been focused on battles inside Washington and around the world, quietly creeping up on him are potentially large political fights in state capitals across the nation,” James Pindell reported Thursday for the Boston Globe.

“The effort to pass legislation requiring presidential and vice presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns in order to appear on individual state ballots began as a novel bill in Trump’s home state of New York. It has now ballooned to half the nation. On Tuesday, Delaware became the 25th state to introduce a bill nearly identical to New York’s. . . .”

News Outlets Stonewall on Political Teams’ Diversity

“. . . It’s important to quantify the question of who reported the 2016 election, and whether political teams’ race and gender diversity had any impact on newsrooms,” Farai Chideya wrote Friday for Columbia Journalism Review.

“As a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, I’m researching the subject by conducting interviews with reporters and experts, and using the newly released MIT Media Lab analytics tool MediaCloud, and data from the firm Media Tenor.

Farai Chideya

Farai Chideya

“But the most important data point for this project — numbers from newsrooms on their 2016 political team staffing — has been the hardest to collect because very few managers or business-side staff are willing to disclose their data.

“One company admitted off the record that they were not responding to diversity requests, period. The Wall Street Journal provided the statement that it ‘declined to provide specific personnel information.’

“An organization sent numbers for its corporate parent company, whose size is approximately a thousand times the size of the entire news team, let alone the political team. Another news manager promised verbally to cooperate with the inquiry, but upon repeated follow up completely ghosted. . . .”

Chideya also wrote, “Judging from the spate of articles about the lack of diversity in President Trump’s cabinet, journalists know that there’s merit in reporting on race and gender metrics… except when they’re our own. . . . If we journalists can’t turn as unsparing a gaze on ourselves as we do on others, it speaks poorly for us and the credibility of our profession. . . .”


(Credit: WPLG-TV Miami)

In Scalding Death, Getting Away With Murder?

Key whistleblower “Harold Hempstead got ‘ghosted,’ ” the Miami Herald editorialized on Tuesday. “The rest of us, it seems, are being gaslighted.

“No one will be prosecuted for the death of Darren Rainey, the mentally ill inmate at Dade Correctional Institution who was put in a burning-hot shower — for two hours — then found dead in that small, confined space.

“It was all just an accident. No malice, no intent.

Darren Rainey

Darren Rainey

“The Miami-Dade state attorney’s office says that there was not enough credible evidence to charge anyone, including corrections officers who were able to manipulate the shower’s water temperature.

“However, just about everything leading up to this unsatisfactory conclusion made the — for all intents and purposes — exoneration of anyone culpable for Rainey’s death a foregone conclusion, too.

“It is now 2017. Rainey died in 2012. A schizophrenic troublemaker, he soiled himself and his cell. He was walked to and locked in that shower, which several inmates said was used to punish those who misbehaved. Others, in supervisory positions, said that they were aware of no such thing.

“The vicious, and suspicious, nature of Rainey’s death was only compounded by Miami-Dade police. The department treated the case as an unexplained in-custody death, writing it off until two years later, when Herald writer Julie Brown got wind of Rainey’s mistreatment and other abuses in state prisons. Then, and only then, did a police investigation kick into gear. . . .”

The editorial concluded that “no one should be unfairly accused in a misguided pursuit of justice. That in itself is an injustice. But no one should get away with what looks for all the world like murder.”

Trayvon Martin's parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, give details on their new book, "Rest in Power," celebrating their son's legacy. (Credit: The Real)

Trayvon Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, discuss their new book, “Rest in Power,” which celebrates their son’s legacy. (Credit: The Real)

Jay Z to Tell Trayvon Martin Story in Film, on TV

Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter and the Weinstein Company are partnering on an ambitious series of film and television projects about Trayvon Martin, Variety has learned,” Justin Kroll and Brent Lang reported Thursday for that publication.

“The indie label and the rap icon won a heated bidding war for the rights to two books — ‘Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It’ and ‘Rest in Power: The Enduring Life of Trayvon Martin.’

“The 2012 shooting of the 17-year-old Martin sparked a national debate about racial profiling and inequities of the criminal justice system that brought about the Black Lives Matter movement. The African-American high school student was killed by George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old mixed race Hispanic man, who was a member of the neighborhood watch in his Florida community.

“He claimed he shot Martin, who was unarmed, in self defense after the two became involved in a physical altercation. Zimmerman’s acquittal on a second-degree murder charge inspired protests around the country.

“ ‘Suspicion Nation’ is by Lisa Bloom and recounts her experience covering the trial for NBC. She looks at the mistakes made by prosecutors that caused them to lose what she describes as a ‘winnable case.’ ‘Rest in Power’ is by Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. It tells a more personal story, looking at Martin’s childhood and the aftermath of his death.

“The plan is to make a six-part docu-series with Jay Z producing as part of a first-look deal he signed with the studio last September. The indie studio will also develop a narrative feature film. . . .”

Google to Train Howard U. Students in Silicon Valley

Google has partnered with Howard University to launch a school branch right on the company’s campus, where undergraduate students will have a chance to learn from Google engineers in addition to the university’s own faculty,” Jacob Kastrenakes reported Thursday for theverge.com.

“The new campus, called Howard West, ‘is now the centerpiece of Google’s effort to recruit more black software engineers from historically black colleges and universities,’ says Bonita Stewart, Google’s VP of global partnerships, who is herself a Howard graduate.

“Juniors and seniors in Howard’s computer science program will be able to study at Howard West for a three-month period; the university says they’ll be provided with ‘a generous stipend to cover housing and other expenses in Silicon Valley,’ which will be paid for by Howard and private donors. Students will also earn school credit. . . .”

Journalist Free After Fleeing Yemen’s Forgotten War

Ahmed Al Jaber, former deputy editor-in-chief of Yemen’s state-owned SABA news agency, has received a French visa as a refugee thanks to the international solidarity and the efforts of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)’s French affiliates,” IFJ reported on Thursday.

Credit: TopNews.in)

(Credit: topnews.in)

“Ahmed was forced to flee Yemen in October 2015 after being threatened with an arrest warrant by the Houthi rebels, who took control of the capital Sana’a in September 2014. Now he is waiting for his wife and 4 children to join him in France and hopefully, to return to his country as a journalist once the war is over.

“In the IFJ headquarters in Brussels, Ahmed gently tells his story, half in French, half in Arabic. He still remembers the day the Houthis stormed the building of the SABA news agency in Sana’a, where [he] has working as the deputy editor-in-chief of the news department employing more than 90 journalists and media workers.

“He said that the Houthis didn’t use any physical violence against SABA workers but that they were forced to publish an article saying that the police were friends with the rebels and that they were working together. Then, the workers were asked to leave the building. That was the last day Ahmed worked as a journalist after 17 years as a news professional.

“Ahmed is now living in Paris, where there is ‘plenty of energy’, and survives thanks to the assistance provided by the French state. However, he can’t work as a journalist in order not to put at risk his family who remain hidden in Yemen until the French authorities allow them to join him in Europe.

“The UN [estimates] that around 10,000 civilians have been killed in a poorly-reported war since the end of 2014 following clashes between the Houthis, the Saudi led-coalition and the Al-Qaida group. The coalition has launched persistent air strikes against the strategic positions of the rebels, often affecting civilians’ lives. The Yemeni Syndicate of Journalists (YJS), an IFJ affiliate of which Ahmed was a member, reported that 20 journalists have also died.

“The YJS also reported more than 100 press freedom violations in Yemen in 2016, including 42 cases of journalists’ abduction, detention, prosecution and disappearance; 17 dismissals; 23 cases of assault on journalists and media houses; 48 cases of blocking websites; 16 cases of attempted murder and 12 cases of torture. In addition, journalists are also accused by all warring parties of affiliating with rival parties and serving their interest and, as a result, they face the threats of being killed and tortured on a daily basis. . . .”

Kenyan Police Accused of Harshly Beating Journalist

Seven armed Administration Police officers brutalised The Standard journalist Isaiah Gwengi for five hours inside a dingy police cell in a revenge attack for his investigative articles on their abuse of human rights,” John Oywa and Olivia Odhiambo reported Friday for the Standard in Nairobi, Kenya.

Rushdie Oudia reported Thursday for Kenya’s Daily Nation, “Standard Group Nyanza Bureau Chief John Oywa said the journalist has been writing stories on police brutality, extortion and illegal charcoal business, a matter that has put him on the war path with the authorities for a while now. . . .”

Gwengi was interviewing human rights activist Rodgers Ochieng, who was also reportedly beaten, Oudia wrote.

The Standard story continued, “During the ordeal, Mr Gwengi was stripped naked and taunted for fighting the Government using a ‘mere pen.’ The officers made fun of him, saying journalists who wanted to write about them should get guns instead of using small biros,” or ballpoint pens.

“The officers from the Quick Response unit also squeezed Gwengi’s private parts to ascertain whether he was circumcised. When he protested, they kicked him in the stomach and whacked him on the face.

“To stop him from begging for mercy, they inflicted more pain on the Bondo-based writer, clobbering him on the back of his head using a gun butt. When he started bleeding profusely, they loaded him into their vehicle alongside human rights activist [Rodgers] Ochieng, who was arrested with him, and drove the pair to the nearby Usenge Police Station.

“Commanding Officer Meshack Abuluma, alarmed by the pair’s injuries, refused to book them in and insisted they should be taken for medication first. Armed to the teeth, the crack AP squad drove to the nearby Got Agulu Sub-County Hospital, where a clinical officer was instructed to administer first aid before the two were returned to the station. . . .”

Inspector General of Police Joseph Boinnet has “called for investigations over the matter, saying no one will be spared if found guilty,” Joseph Muraya reported for Kenya’s Capital FM.

Short Takes

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