Dozens of Advertisers Have Fled ‘The Factor’

Sage Steele Out as Host of ESPN’s ‘NBA Countdown’

ESPN Issues Guidelines on Political Statements

Univision Eliminates Jobs of 100 Employees

3 Editorial Boards Oppose Sessions’ Rollback Efforts

White House Fosters Pro-Trump Media Ecosystem

ASNE Honors ‘Bias on the Bench’ for Public Service

NABJ Delivers 3-Year, Ford-Funded Strategic Plan

Monique Oliver, Television Journalist, Dies at 45

Short Takes

BMW has suspended its advertising on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” program in the wake of reports that O’Reilly and Fox had settled five complaints made by women who have worked with him at the news network since 2002. (Reuters video)

Dozens of Advertisers Have Fled ‘The Factor’

Bill O’Reilly’s future at Fox News is the number one topic among Manhattan media executives, entertainment agents and journalists,” Tom Kludt reported Wednesday for CNNMoney. “But the network is keeping mum. Seemingly the only place where it isn’t being discussed is on Fox News.

“Neither O’Reilly nor Fox has said much about last weekend’s report in the New York Times about settlements with five different women who accused the host of sexual harassment or verbal abuse. The matter has only been addressed briefly on Fox’s air, and O’Reilly hasn’t discussed it in the two editions of his show, ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ that have aired since the story broke.

“Fox’s strategy of silence might make sense for now, given that O’Reilly is more than just a profit center for the company: he is an institution there, almost inseparable from the network, and long seemingly invincible. Then again, that’s exactly what media observers said last summer when Roger Ailes was sued by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson for sexual harassment. Ailes resigned two weeks later. . . .

“Now, though, even as more than 40 advertisers have dropped his show, O’Reilly and his network aren’t fighting back publicly. [By Wednesday night, the number had risen to 52. Click here for updated tally.]

“Fox News’ relatively subdued response has driven speculation throughout New York media about whether the longtime king of cable news could be on the way out — and whether such a scenario is even plausible. . . .”

Media analyst Andrew Tyndall does not think so. He wrote Wednesday in the Hollywood Reporter  that “the fiscal importance to FNC of The O’Reilly Factor derives from its audience size rather than its advertising revenues, even after these defections. . . .”

That size allows Fox News “to charge cable operators top dollar, which is the true source of its fabulous profitability. . . .”


Sage Steele Out as Host of ESPN’s ‘NBA Countdown’

Sage Steele (Credit: Creative Commons)

Sage Steele (Credit: Creative Commons)

In a move that took many by surprise, ESPN announced Michelle Beadle as the new host of NBA Countdown on ESPN and ABC,” Ricardo A. Hazell reported Wednesday for the Shadow League.

“. . . This much-coveted position was occupied by Sage Steele, a ten-year veteran of the network and a one-time media darling of the worldwide leader.

“However, her actions have fallen under scrutiny on several occasions over the past year or so. Last year she allowed her own political views to guide her actions when cutting short a statement that Arcade [Fire] lead singer Win Butler attempted to make about the presidential election while interviewing him following the All-Star Celebrity Game after he won MVP.

” ‘We’re talking about celebrity stuff, not politics,’ said Steele.

“The sportscasting personality has espoused conservative views in the past and supported the election of Donald J. Trump to the White House. Additionally, there was her spoiled, privilege-soaked Instagram post complaining about her itinerary being interrupted because of protests over the Trump travel ban. Fellow ESPN-er Dan Le Batard got on her heels about that. Additionally she doesn’t sit very well with many [whom] she shares similar ancestry with, black people. . . .”

ESPN Issues Guidelines on Political Statements

“ ‘Our audiences should be confident our original reporting of news is not influenced by political pressures or agenda.’ That’s the gist of new guidelines from ESPN that cover its employees’ discussing politics ‘in any public-facing forum,’ ” Deadline Hollywood wrote over a story Tuesday by Erik Pedersen.

“Separate guidelines now are in place for ESPN staffers working on news stories and those who provide commentary.  . . .

“ESPN Public Editor Jim Brady posted on the sports giant’s ombudsman page today a 1,400-word breakdown of its new guidelines and what they mean to viewers and readers.

” ‘The timing of the release of the election guidelines is a bit unusual — such guidelines are rarely released right after a presidential election; they’re usually updated near the beginning of a presidential campaign,’ he wrote. ‘But we are living in unique political times, which ESPN apparently recognized, which explains the revised guidelines for discussion of political and social issues.’ . . .”

Among the guidelines:

“Original news reports should not include statements of support, opposition or partisanship related to any social issue, political position, candidate or office holder. . . .

“Writers, reporters, producers and editors directly involved in ‘hard’ news reporting, investigative or enterprise assignments and related coverage should refrain in any public-facing forum from taking positions on political or social issues, candidates or office holders. . . .”

Univision Eliminates Jobs of 100 Employees

Univision today executed layoffs at stations across the country, leaving scores of on-air talent, videographers, producers and editors without jobs,” Veronica Villafañe reported Monday for her Media Moves site.

“Sources tell Media Moves about 100 employees were eliminated nationwide from news departments as well as other divisions.

“Here’s an initial list of casualties:

“At Univision New York, weekday anchor Jorge Viera, producer Lawrence Linares and news operations coordinator Gina Alvarado Zapata were among those affected by the cuts.

“In Houston, sports anchor Enrique González, reporter Angélica Gómez and cameraman Mauricio García.

“In Phoenix, executive producer Patricio Gutiérrez.

“In Los Angeles, reporter Luis Zaragoza.

“In San Francisco: sports anchor William Bonilla . . .”

Disparate policing of African Americans and whites extends even to cyclists. A Chicago Tribune investigation found that police issue tickets to cyclists twice as often in black neighborhoods as white. (Credit: Russell Mondy/Flickr Creative Commons)

Disparate policing of African Americans and whites extends even to cyclists. A Chicago Tribune investigation found that police issue tickets to cyclists twice as often in black neighborhoods as white. (Credit: Russell Mondy/Flickr Creative Commons)

3 Editorial Boards Oppose Sessions’ Rollback Efforts

Attorney General Jeff Sessions‘ signal that he wants to roll back the Justice Department’s police-reform efforts did not sit well with editorial boards in three affected cities — or, on Wednesday, with a federal judge.

Ryan J. Reilly wrote Tuesday for Huffington Post that Sessions “has ordered a wide-ranging review of the Justice Department’s efforts to rein in rogue law enforcement agencies, putting the future of police reform in doubt.

“In a March 31 ‘Memorandum Supporting Federal, State, Local and Tribal Law Enforcement’ that was released Monday, Sessions set out several principles for the Justice Department’s posture toward local law enforcement.

“While local agencies should ‘protect and respect the civil rights of all members of the public,’ the memo states, ‘local control and local accountability are necessary for effective local policing,’ and managing non-federal law enforcement agencies ‘is not the responsibility of the federal government.’ . . .”

However, Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector reported in an early story Wednesday for the Baltimore Sun, “A federal judge on Wednesday denied the U.S. Justice Department’s request for a 90-day pause in the Baltimore consent decree case, calling it ‘untimely’ ahead of a scheduled public hearing Thursday — which will now proceed.

“U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar said the federal government’s request to cancel the hearing ‘at the eleventh hour would be to unduly burden and inconvenience the Court, the other parties, and, most importantly, the public.’ . . .”

Editorial boards in St. Louis, Chicago and Baltimore said they wanted the Justice Department involvement in their cities.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorialized Tuesday, “Sessions’ unfortunate decision could undermine a lot of hard work in the 25 cities whose police departments — including Ferguson’s — worked with the Obama administration’s Justice Department. In 14 cases, consent decrees were reached with federal judges serving as monitors.

“These agreements are not anti-police; they are pro-Constitution. . . .”

Under the headline, “Forget about Sessions and keep pushing Chicago police reform,” the Chicago Sun-Times wrote Tuesday, “It is on City Hall alone now to push ahead and fearlessly reform the Chicago Police Department.

“On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made it clear that the U.S. Department of Justice has no interest in working to reform local police departments across the country, regardless of how seriously a department might tread on civil liberties. This is a man who dangerously believes effective policing is in conflict with constitutionally sound policing. . . .”

The Baltimore Sun said Tuesday, “Baltimore’s mayor, City Council, legislative delegation and police department support moving forward with the consent decree, so it is clearly consistent with local control of law enforcement.

“If, on the other hand, the Trump administration is looking to force American law enforcement back toward ‘tough on crime’ zero-tolerance policing practices, as the president suggested during the campaign, it is going to run into a problem with crafting policies that are based on ‘timely and reliable statistics on crime and criminals.’

“Tactics like stop-and-frisk searches and strict enforcement of nuisance crimes have been tried here and elsewhere, and the results aren’t encouraging. . . . police wasted tremendous amounts of time searching black Baltimoreans, alienating huge swaths of the population without fostering public safety. . . .”

White House Fosters Pro-Trump Media Ecosystem

The pro-Trump ‘Upside-Down’ media is working hard to go mainstream, and it’s doing so with help of a powerful ally: the White House,” Charlie Warzel reported Tuesday for BuzzFeed.

“On a Monday jammed with political news, one of the biggest stories on Twitter — especially in conservative circles — was a report that former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice requested to unmask the identities of Trump associates. The story — a sourced piece of reporting attributed to a well-placed government official — didn’t come from the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal.

“It was written by new right blogger, motivational author, and self-described semi-troll Mike Cernovich, who claimed that the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets sat on the story ‘to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama‘ (an allegation the Times called ‘100 percent false’).

“Cernovich’s report, published late Sunday, was later confirmed Monday by Bloomberg. Written by Eli Lake, the Bloomberg piece offered no credit to Cernovich, but it didn’t matter. The pro-Trump internet exploded with praise for the blogger, who previously propagated the Comet Pizza Pizzagate rumors and championed accusations that Hillary Clinton had Parkinson’s disease. Among his peers, Cernovich’s scoop was viewed as perhaps the highest-profile win yet for an insurgent new media group that’s built its own ecosystem to tell Donald Trump’s story. . . .”

“People think the face of crime is a black man,” said LeRoy Pernell, a law professor and former dean at the Florida A&M University College of Law. He was included in the Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune’s “Bias on the Bench” investigative series (Credit: Dan Wagner/Sarasota Herald-Tribune)

ASNE Honors ‘Bias on the Bench’ for Public Service

The Sarasota (Fla.) Herald-Tribune’s “Bias on the Bench” investigative series “has won the American Society of News Editors’ Batten Medal, which honors achievement in public service journalism,” the Herald-Tribune reported on Tuesday.

“Bias on the Bench” also was a finalist for ASNE’s Dori J. Maynard Award for Diversity in Journalism, which went to the Washington Post’s Eli Saslow for “White Flight of Derek Black,” [PDF] which judges called “a superbly written tale of a man born into white supremacy who walks away from the white nationalist cause that he was born to lead.”

The Sarasota newspaper said its “December series, written by investigative reporters Josh Salman, Emily Le Coz and Elizabeth Johnson, found judges throughout Florida sentence black defendants to harsher punishments than whites charged with the same crimes under similar circumstances. ‘Bias on the Bench’ has sparked proposed legislation in Tallahassee that would require the Florida Legislature’s Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability, or OPPAGA, to use sentencing data compiled by the state’s court system and correctional agency to check for patterns of prejudice. . . .”

Among other awards, “Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press will receive $2,500 for winning the Mike Royko Award for Commentary/Column Writing, which recognizes excellence in writing by an individual that expresses a personal point of view,” ASNE said Tuesday. Henderson won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2014.

Jamycheal Mitchell (Credit:

Jamycheal Mitchell (Credit:

In addition, “Brian Colligan of The Virginian-Pilot will receive $2,500 for winning the Burl Osborne Award for Editorial Leadership, which recognizes editorial writing that is excellent journalism and makes a difference in a community,” ASNE said.

Colligan “led The Virginian-Pilot’s editorial campaign on ‘The Jailhouse Death of Jamycheal Mitchell [PDF] with passion and grit,” the judges said. “He took up the mantle of a mentally ill man, jailed for stealing $5 of snacks from a convenience store, who never got his court-ordered psychological evaluation but rather was found dead in his cell 101 days later. Colligan pressed for investigations and transparency and reminded readers at every turn of the injustice done to this man.

“More than anything, this campaign got results. . . .”

NABJ Delivers 3-Year, Ford-Funded Strategic Plan

The National Association of Black Journalists unveiled a three-year strategic plan Tuesday that focuses on financial and organizational stability, jobs, training and professional development, advocacy and convention selection.

The jobs section says, “NABJ will develop robust affirmative action programs to secure more hiring and promotions for its members, develop job databases for members and prospective employers, and cultivate business startup and ownership skills for members.”

The plan was developed with a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.

Barbara Raab, the foundation’s program officer for creativity and free expression, said in NABJ’s news  release, “The ability to produce news that is relevant to all of our nation’s communities necessitates newsrooms that are as diverse as our country. It is very encouraging that the NABJ will emerge as a stronger, more resilient organization. . . .”

NABJ has an annual budget of approximately $2.5 million and reports a membership base of 3,500. President Sarah Glover said in the release, “As we move to the next phase of work and adoption of the recommendations, NABJ will grow its footprint as a sound nonprofit association, digital journalism leader and strong advocate for media diversity and press freedom.”

Monique Oliver, Television Journalist, Dies at 45

Monique Oliver

Monique Oliver

Monique Oliver, a television news writer and producer and a past president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, died March 30 in Newark, N.J., of complications from lupus, her sister, Doreen Oliver, said on Wednesday. She was 45.

Oliver, a New Jersey native who most recently lived in Atlanta, worked in various East Coast cities as she pursued her career, according to an obituary prepared by the family.

“She was a fierce and inspiring spirit,” Sarah Glover, president of NABJ, wrote on Facebook. Glover succeeded Oliver as president of the Philadelphia association. “Honored to have served with her — we were a feisty pair,” Glover wrote.

Glover later added, “She was a steadfast journalist, loyal friend, dedicated NABJ member and fierce leader. Monique did not hesitate to tell you where she stood and she spoke up for diversity. . . .”
The obituary said Oliver was born and raised in New Jersey, spending her childhood in Newark and Montclair. A 1990 graduate of Montclair High School, she graduated from Carleton College in Minnesota in 1994.

She started her career at ABC News in New York, working on shows such as “20/20” and “World News Now.” She moved to WVEC-TV in Virginia Beach, Va.; WTVD-TV in Durham, N.C.; WPVI -TV in Philadelphia; and Turner Broadcasting and WGCL-TV in Atlanta.

Oliver chaired the Carleton College Alumni Association in Atlanta and Philadelphia, and was national president of the Terry Family Reunion. “She loved her family and lived an adventurous and committed life, running a marathon, being active in her church, New Life Presbyterian of Atlanta, and mentoring young people,” the obituary said.

“In November, she moved back to NJ to be closer to her family.”

A wake and viewing are to be held on Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church (aka Old First Church), 820 Broad St. in Newark . The funeral follows at the church on Saturday at 9 a.m.

Short Takes

Podcast debuts Thursday.

Podcast debuts Thursday.


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