La. Black Legislators Walk Out After Backlash

Trump Suggests Locking Up Reporters

Trump, Turkish Autocrat in Cozy Meeting

Mexican Journalists Demonstrate After Slaying

50 Percent at Gizmodo Group Are of Color

Cosby Disputes Old Show-Biz Saying

Sides to African Culture Lost in the Noise

Kardashian as Baartman? Black Twitter Says No!

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Black members of the Louisiana House of Representatives walk out of the chamber at the Capitol in Baton Rouge on Monday, after the body voted 65-31 to approve and send to the Senate a bill making it more difficult to remove monuments to Confederate leaders. (Credit: Sarah Gamard/ Manship School News Service) Black members of the Louisiana House of Representatives walk out of the chamber at the Capitol in Baton Rouge on Monday, after the body voted 65-31 to approve and send to the Senate a bill making it more difficult to remove monuments to Confederate leaders. (Credit: Sarah Gamard/ Manship School News Service)

La. Black Legislators Walk Out After Backlash

With the support of the Times-Picayune and media outlets near and far, black and white, crews in New Orleans Tuesday removed the third of four post-Civil War symbols that Mayor Mitch Landrieu has ordered to come off public property in the city.

The expected removal, executed after court challenges from monument supporters failed, prompted a backlash Monday from white members of the Louisiana House, who passed a bill that would make it harder to remove the symbols.

Jarvis De Berry

Jarvis DeBerry

That, in turn, led to a walkout by black House members and to a Times-Picayune column Wednesday by African American Jarvis DeBerry headlined, “Pro-monuments bill is a naked attempt to neuter black political strength.”

Do black people have the right to make decisions that displease white people?” DeBerry wrote. “We can distill the Confederate monuments down to that single question.

“Must the people and the elected representatives in a majority black city consider the feelings and opinions of white people who either a) never lived in that city or b) white flighted themselves out if it?

“Monday’s vote in the Louisiana House suggests that that’s what the House believes. The New Orleans City Council, which represents a city that is 60 percent black and 33 percent white, voted 6-1 in December 2015 to remove from city property four monuments that glorified the Confederacy and a group of Reconstruction-era white supremacists who attacked an integrated New Orleans police force.

“The House, whose members represent a state that’s 63 percent white and 33 percent black, voted 65-31 to make it tougher for cities and parishes in the state to remove such monuments. The bill by Rep. Thomas Carmody, R-Shreveport, would require a vote of the people — and not their elected representatives — to take down a monument to anybody who fought in one of our country’s wars.

“Look at that symmetry. Louisiana is almost two thirds white, and two thirds of House members who voted Monday supported monuments that were put up to intimidate black people who entertained uppity thoughts.

“The Louisiana House’s Black Caucus walked out of the chamber in disgust Monday after most of their white colleagues cast a pro-monument vote. House Speaker Taylor Barras, R-New Iberia, pleaded for those black lawmakers to come back. But to no avail. . . .”

Trump Suggests Locking Up Reporters

President Trump has called reporters dishonest, said the media is ‘the enemy of the American people,’ and mused about making it easier to sue journalists,” Dylan Byers reported Wednesday for CNN Money. “And, according to a new report, he has gone even further than that in private, telling then-FBI Director James Comey that Comey should consider locking reporters up.

“Trump said this to Comey during a meeting in the Oval Office in February, according to a New York Times report Tuesday. The request came during the same meeting in which Trump is said to have asked Comey to drop the federal investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, potentially interfering with the investigation into alleged ties between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian officials. . . .”

The Times report by Michael S. Schmidt said, “The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.”

That was followed by another Times report Wednesday by Matthew Rosenberg and Mark Mazzetti that said “Michael T. Flynn told President Trump’s transition team weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign, according to two people familiar with the case. . . .”

Amid the mounting disclosures, “The Justice Department appointed Robert S. Mueller III, a former F.B.I. director, as special counsel on Wednesday to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials, dramatically raising the legal and political stakes in an affair that has threatened to engulf Mr. Trump’s 118-day-old presidency,” the Times’ Rebecca R. Ruiz and Mark Landler reported.

Other journalists’ copy included “obstruction of justice”  and “impeachment.”

Police fought two separate two groups that clashed violently outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence on Tuesday in Washington. (Credit: VOA Turkish/Twitter)

Trump, Turkish Autocrat in Cozy Meeting

President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan showered each other with praise after a series of meetings at the White House Tuesday,” Conor Finnegan reported for ABC News.

Trump failed to raise the issue of Turkey’s jailing of journalists — at least 81 are behind bars — and, near the Turkish ambassador’s residence, Erdogan’s bodyguards beat protesters demonstrating against the Turkish regime.

“The Oval Office meeting was an honor returned to Erdogan, who was not given such a welcome in the later years of the Obama administration,” Finnegan wrote. “After once praising him as a reformer, [then-President Barack] Obama began to sour on the prime minister turned president after he began consolidating power, cracking down on public protests, and jailing any political opposition and journalists.

“Trump, for his part, made no mention of those issues, instead reminiscing about the history of American-Turkish alliance and thanking Erdogan for his visit. Trump was one of the few world leaders to call Erdogan and congratulate him last month after he tightened his reigns even further in a national referendum. . . .”

After the violence in Northwest Washington, “D.C. police arrested two men, one from Virginia and one from New York, and said they are pursuing charges against additional suspects since the melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence at Sheridan Circle,Peter Hermann and Perry Stein reported Wednesday for the Washington Post.

“Eleven people were injured, among them a police officer. Some were kicked and stomped, their heads bloodied. . . .”


Mexican Journalists Demonstrate After Slaying

Media and rights groups have demanded the Mexican government catch the killers of the fifth and most high-profile journalist murdered this year in the country,” Al Jazeera reported Wednesday, citing news services.

Javier Valdez, 50, was shot dead in broad daylight on Monday in northwestern Sinaloa state. The awarding-winning journalist was one of the most prominent reporters on Mexico’s deadly ‘drug war’.

“On Tuesday, the front pages of the country’s major newspapers carried pictures of Valdez as journalists demonstrated in the centre of the capital, Mexico City.

“President Enrique Pena Nieto said he had ordered ‘an investigation of this outrageous crime’. He vowed to defend press freedom, ‘fundamental for our democracy’.

“Press rights group Articulo 19 said that was the first time Pena Nieto had reacted publicly to one of the recent wave of journalists’ killings, which they consider a sign of rising pressure on the president. . . .”

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) said in an email that more must be done to protect reporters in Mexico . . .,” Catalina Gonella reported Tuesday for NBC News  Latino.

50 Percent at Gizmodo Group Are of Color

Journalism is still overwhelmingly White,” Benjamin Mullin reported Wednesday for the Poynter Institute. “But that won’t change if news organizations don’t talk about it.

Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti

“It was in that spirit that Gizmodo Media Group on Wednesday sent a report to employees that included a detailed breakdown of racial and gender diversity across the company.

“Gizmodo Media Group, a subsidiary of Univision that owns all of the former Gawker Media brands plus Fusion and The Root, broke down diversity at various segments within the company.

“The analysis is ‘a good way for us to all to feel accountable’ about building ‘a staff that reflects the diversity of the audiences we want to continue to serve,’ Gizmodo Media Group CEO Raju Narisetti wrote in a note to staff accompanying the report. . . .”

Among other findings, the report shows:

“Fifty percent of the employees identified themselves as White. By comparison, 83 percent of employees at daily newspapers and digital sites identified themselves as non-minorities in the 2016 American Society of News Editors Survey. . . .

“Seventy-two percent of Vox Media employees identify as White, and 64 percent of BuzzFeed’s U.S. staff is White. (Although Poynter does not release a regular diversity report, our staff is overwhelmingly White.) . . .”

Cosby Disputes Old Show-Biz Saying

I decided I think it’s time for me to do something so that the people who still have faith in me, people who are still wondering what I sound like, as opposed to the National Enquirer, which is very interesting reading when they write about me,” Bill Cosby said in his first extensive interview in more than two years, Eric Levenson reported Tuesday for CNN.

“Cosby several times brought up what he described as unfair coverage by the news media.

” ‘There’s an old show business saying, “Look, it doesn’t make any difference as long as they spell your name right,” ‘ Cosby, 79, said.

” ‘Well, I want to raise my hand and say I want to really debate that strongly.’ . . .”

New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman, in Somalia crossing a river with rebel fighter Commander Peacock, a "heavily armed dreamer" (Credit: Kenya Buzz)

New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman, in Somalia crossing a river with rebel fighter Commander Peacock, a “heavily armed dreamer.” (Credit: KenyaBuzz)

Sides to African Culture Lost in the Noise

Jeffrey Gettleman, East Africa bureau chief for the New York Times and 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner for international reporting, is promoting his new memoir, Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War and Survival.

What’s the one thing from your reporting that you wish more people knew about what’s really happening in Africa? (audio) host Joshua Johnson asked Gettleman Wednesday on the NPR show “1A,” which originates at WAMU-FM in Washington.

“. . . The thing that I would want to share is that, even though there’s a lot of conflict, even though there are many troubles, even though we’re talking about a famine, and a lot of people’s lives are on the line, there is a spirit and a sense of interconnectedness in Africa that makes me really enjoy living and working there,” Gettleman replied.

“That people are more open-hearted and have more time for each other.

“You can even see it in the way handshakes are exchanged on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, a big, busy city. People come up to each other, they shake hands, and they continue to hold each other’s hands while they start their conversation; they don’t just retreat and drop away.

“And so I think we have this perception of Africa as a very violent, turbulent place and we forget that there are, you know, other sides to the culture there that get lost in this noise, which is often really grim and disturbing. . . .”

Kardashian as Baartman? Black Twitter Says No!

Kim Kardashian, left, and Sarah Baartman (Credit:

Kim Kardashian, left, and Sarah Baartman (Credit:

The New York Times came under fire recently for labeling Sarah Baartman, an enslaved woman from South Africa known for her curvy proportions and exaggerated buttocks in the 1800s, ‘a Kim Kardashian of another era,’ ” reported Wednesday.

“One of the publication’s theater critics, Ben Brantley, penned a review on Venus, an Off-Broadway revival of the play chronicling Baartman’s life.

“Baartman, also known as the Hottentot Venus, was forced to perform in sideshows and freak shows in Europe at the time, but eventually moved to France where she reportedly died due to an impoverished lifestyle. After her passing, her remains were preserved, dissected and displayed for public viewing up to the 1970s.

“Social media rightfully took massive offense to Brantley’s comparison of Baartman’s natural physique and inhumane treatment to Kim Kardashian’s allegedly surgically enhanced behind and outwardly privileged lifestyle. . . .”

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