RTDNA Blasts ‘Possible “Fake News” ‘

Trump Launches Personal Attack on Mika Brzezinski

Eric Trump Joins His Father’s War on Media

Russell Named Editor of Commercial Appeal

Memphis Paper Explores Runaway Gun Violence

Critic Says Enough With Nude Pregnant Covers

Black Lives Matter Said to Be Losing Traction

Chicago Papers React to Cops’ Indictment

Tips on Covering Marginalized Communities

Short Takes

Support Journal-isms

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy White House press secretary, acknowledged that she didn’t know whether the video she was receommending was 'accurate or not.'

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy White House press secretary, acknowledged that she didn’t know whether the video she was recommending was “accurate or not.”

RTDNA Blasts ‘Possible “Fake News”’

The RTDNA Voice of the First Amendment Task Force asserted today that White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders crossed an ethical line Tuesday when she urged Americans to view a video published by the controversial group Project Veritas that shows a CNN producer criticizing the network’s coverage of possible collusion between President Trump’s supporters and Russia,” the Radio Television Digital News Association said Wednesday.

“Sanders, who urged Americans to watch the video during Tuesday’s White House press briefing, acknowledged that she didn’t know whether the it was ‘accurate or not.’ But she cited it as evidence that news organizations are knowingly engaged in reporting ‘fake news’ about the President and his administration. . . .”

Moreover, Brian Stelter reported later Wednesday in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter, “The president posted James O’Keefe’s anti-CNN videos on his official [@realdonaldtrump] Instagram page, promoting the videos to millions of followers.”

“Trump allies in the media continued to attack. O’Keefe’s videos were a top story again on Fox News, with Tucker Carlson at 8pm, ‘The Five’ at 9pm, and Sean Hannity at 10pm all leading with it .. . .”

The real Time cover, left, and the fake one. (Credit: Washington Post)

The real Time cover for that week, left, and the fake one. (Credit: Washington Post)

RTDNA also wrote, ” ‘This White House consistently questions the truthfulness of responsible journalism it doesn’t like. We get that. We don’t like it, but we get it. What we have trouble grasping is why an official spokesperson for the President of the United States would promote a video, the veracity of which she admits she can’t verify,’ said Dan Shelley, RTDNA Incoming Executive Director, who spearheads the task force.

” ‘Sarah Huckabee Sanders crossed an ethical line by decrying ‘fake news’ in one breath, and then spreading possible ‘fake news’ herself in the next. This has gone beyond the incredible to the absurd,’ Shelley added.

“Project Veritas and its founder, filmmaker James O’Keefe, have been widely discredited in the past for using clandestine video and deceptive editing to portray journalists and others in a negative light. . . .”

One such video circulated in 2009, as Paul Farhi recalled last October for the Washington Post. O’Keefe “and an associate posed as a pimp and prostitute to infiltrate ACORN, a community social-services agency. The resulting video showed ACORN members offering the pair advice on how to set up a brothel. It also showed outtakes of O’Keefe and his partner dressed in the flamboyant attire of street hustlers, suggesting they had appeared that way when they spoke to the officials. In fact, the footage of the pair in costume was spliced into the video after the ACORN meetings, a fact the video didn’t mention.

“Congress subsequently defunded ACORN, leading to its demise. O’Keefe was later sued by one of his subjects, who claimed his privacy had been invaded by the surreptitious filming; O’Keefe settled the matter for $100,000, admitting no guilt. . . .”

On Friday, David Leonhardt and Stuart A. Thompson of the New York Times “catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office,” referring to Trump.

On Tuesday, the Post’s David A. Fahrenthold reported that a framed copy of Time magazine with Trump on the cover “displayed in at least five of President Trump’s clubs, from South Florida to Scotland,” is a fake.

Time is asking that the fake covers be taken downKalhan Rosenblatt reported Wednesday for NBC News.


An NBC spokesman responds.

Trump Launches Personal Attack on Mika Brzezinski

In a tweet that was immediately condemned by critics as sexist, President Trump launched a highly personal and graphic attack on MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski’s appearance on Thursday,” Christina Prignano reported for the Boston Globe.

“Trump claimed that he didn’t watch their morning show, ‘Morning Joe,’ but heard its hosts were critical of him. He said the pair had spent time at Trump’s private club, Mar-a-Lago, at the end of the year and then claimed the host was ‘bleeding badly from a face-lift.’ . . .”

Republican senators Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., as well as an NBC spokesman called the tweet beneath the dignity of the office, but White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump, saying, “This a president who fights fire with fire.”

Eric Trump Joins His Father’s War on Media

Eric Trump bashed CNN’s Jim Acosta Wednesday after the reporter tweeted criticism of the White House for only taking questions from conservatives in the briefing room,” Josh Delk reported for the Hill.

Jim Acosta

Jim Acosta

“ ‘Does this feel like America? Where the White House takes q’s from conservatives, then openly thrashes the news media in the briefing room,’ Acosta asked in a Wednesday tweet.

“Eric Trump, one of President Trump’s sons, fired back, quoting Acosta’s tweet and adding, ‘Does it feel like America where one of the networks (@CNN) gives debate questions to their preferred candidate ahead of time?’ ”

“Trump’s message was a reference to a campaign dustup over the fact former CNN contributor and Democratic operative Donna Brazile used her position to forward questions to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s team ahead of a televised town hall event,” a characterization Brazile has categorically denied.

As Paul Farhi reported Monday in the Washington Post, “The Trump White House has imposed some of the most draconian restrictions on the news media in recent memory, from banning TV cameras during its daily briefings to cutting back the length and frequency of its sessions with reporters. The State Department and Pentagon have made similar cutbacks. . . .”

(Credit: Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

Russell Named Editor of Commercial Appeal

Major Garrett recalls how he and Mark Russell — college roommates embarking on careers in journalism — interviewed on the same day, almost back-to-back, for a coveted position with the Wall Street Journal,” Tom Charlier reported Wednesday for the USA Today Network – Tennessee.

“Returning to their room after the on-campus interview at the University of Missouri, Garrett was confident of his chances while Russell was anything but. ‘I totally bombed that interview,’ he told Garrett.

“But when two letters arrived from the prestigious newspaper, it was Russell who landed the job while Garrett opened another of the 67 rejection notices he would collect. Instead of being content with his own success, however, ‘Mark never stopped being my advocate, never stopped cheering me on,’ recalls Garrett, now 54 and chief White House correspondent for CBS.

“On Wednesday, some 33 years later, it was Garrett’s turn to cheer as his good friend and former roommate was named executive editor of The Commercial Appeal.

“Russell, also 54, has been serving as interim executive editor and head of opinion/engagement for the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee. He replaces former editor Louis Graham, who left last month to become executive director of content strategies at ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Russell becomes the first African-American to lead The Commercial Appeal — no small footnote for a 176-year-old newspaper that was long known for reflecting Old South attitudes toward race but now serves a city nearly 63 percent black. . . .”

Tonia Givand, 9, center right cries as her mother, Kataya Givand, buckles her grandson into a car seat after rushing to her oldest daughter's Memphis apartment to get her children and grandson after a shooting there. More than 15 bullet casings were found just feet from her daughter's apartment. (Credit: Brad Vest/Commercial Appeal)

Tonia Givand, 9, center right, cries as her mother, Kataya Givand, buckles her grandson into a car seat after rushing to her oldest daughter’s Memphis apartment to get her children and grandson after a shooting there. More than 15 bullet casings were found just feet from her daughter’s apartment. (Credit: Brad Vest/Commercial Appeal)

Memphis Paper Explores Runaway Gun Violence

It’s not the annual Forbes list to make. Yet, year after year, there sits Memphis near the top of those damning lists of America’s most dangerous cities,” the Commercial Appeal editorialized over the weekend.

“It’s our Scarlet Letter. Our moment to deflect and drag out that tattered refrain about bad science: some cities don’t even report their numbers, we say. Or they underreport.

“The rankings are, in fact, dubious: there is so little consistency in how crime data is gathered and reported by cities across the U.S. the rankings are nothing but estimates.

“But it’s largely irrelevant whether Memphis is the nation’s most dangerous city, or its 10th most dangerous, because 7,000 people have been murdered on her streets since 1960.

“Seven thousand.

“The Commercial Appeal launches a special explanatory series today on these pages — ‘Wounded City’ — not to defame the city or unnecessarily spread fear but to aim a hot light on the massive challenge we face as a community. Somehow, perversely, we seem to accept our runaway gun violence as normal.

“How many times have you heard these three words to explain the carnage?

” ‘It’s Just Memphis.’ . . .”

(Credit: Annie Leibovitz./Vanity Fair)

Critic Says Enough With Nude Pregnant Covers

Serena Williams is pregnant. In case anyone hadn’t heard the news, or had missed the breathless tale of how Williams won the Australian Open during the early weeks of her pregnancy, the fact is made plain on the August cover of Vanity Fair, which features the tennis champion in the buff,” fashion critic Robin Givhan wrote Tuesday for the Washington Post.

“One hand cups her breasts and the other is positioned in the small of her back. The body posture suggests confidence, but it also captures a hint of nonchalant impatience. Come on, take the picture! Williams is wearing a waist chain, a flesh-colored thong and a single twinkling stud in her ear. That’s it.

“The photograph, by Annie Leibovitz, is lovingly lit, elegantly framed and deeply admiring of its subject. Congratulations, Serena! And to your fiancé, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, too.

“But really, it would have been fine to skip this strange celebrity ritual, this complicated stew of personal indulgence, brand tending and sociopolitical me-too-ism. Yes, pregnancy is beautiful and powerful and worthy of celebration. You are womanly. You are phenomenal. God bless. But it has become virtually impossible for a celebrity to go through a pregnancy without getting naked for the cameras, her fans and — presumably — herself. . . .”

Supporters of Philando Castile march last weekend in St. Paul, Minn., after St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting last year of Castile. (Credit: Anthony Soufflé/Star Tribune)

Supporters of Philando Castile march last weekend in St. Paul, Minn., after St. Anthony, Minn., Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was cleared of all charges in the fatal shooting last year of Castile. (Credit: Anthony Soufflé/Star Tribune)

Black Lives Matter Said to Be Losing Traction

Black Lives Matter is still here,” Darren Sands reported Wednesday for BuzzFeed. “Its groups are still organizing. But Black Lives Matter is on the verge of losing the traction and momentum that sparked a national shift on criminal justice policy. . . .”

Sands also wrote that “many of the movement’s young activists — some of whom had never organized before joining — lack experience in dealing with the realities and challenges of a national effort, and the tricky alliances and factions involved in many political movements. Some have also come up against the hard reality of full-time activism and don’t know what to do: . . . ”

Chicago Papers React to Cops’ Indictment

Don’t lie,” the Chicago Sun-Times editorialized on Tuesday. “If you do, you could be prosecuted and go to jail. That has long applied to the general public in police investigations. Cops cannot be exempt.

Killed in October 2014 when Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times.

Killed in October 2014 when Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot him 16 times

“Tuesday, a grand jury and Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes delivered a message to Chicago Police officers about their obligation to come clean when fellow cops go astray or rogue.

“It came via a damning indictment of three current or former cops involved in the investigation of the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by then-Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. Detective David March and Patrol Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice for allegedly engaging in a cover-up to protect Van Dyke, who faces murder charges.

“We are not making a judgment against the officers. That is up to the courts. We know, however, that reforms in the Chicago Police Department are long overdue.

“The indictment alleges that March lied when he wrote in a case incident report that ‘McDonald committed aggravated assaults against the three officers, finally forcing’ Van Dyke, ‘in defense of his life, to shoot and kill McDonald.’

“Police video contradicts this depiction . . .”

The Chicago Tribune editorialized Tuesday, “Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to believe Chicago can put this all behind it without the federal consent decree that he had pledged to sign. He says a memorandum of agreement, without court oversight, can get the job done. . . .”

The Tribune concluded, “No, it isn’t. That is something the mayor has to swallow hard and accept. If he wants to someday live in that city, he’ll follow through on his promise and get that consent decree.”

Tips on Covering Marginalized Communities

Reporting from the Investigative Reporters & Editors conference in Phoenix, Francisco Vara-Orta of Education Week wrote Saturday that “Friday’s ‘Sourcing people of color: Going beyond the community leader’ panel, moderated by Manny Garcia of the USA TODAY Network, Diego Santiago of Telemundo, Maria Polletta of The Arizona Republic, and Warren Trent of KTVK/KPHO-TV offered a variety of helpful tips for journalists wanting to improve how they cover historically marginalized communities.

“Below are some of their suggestions:

Work to build trust. . . .

Speak up. . . .

Show up. . . .

Get comfortable with criticism. . . .

Don’t assume. . . .

Cheryl W. Thompson

Cheryl W. Thompson

Meanwhile, “IRE members elected six directors to the IRE board on Saturday evening at the organization’s annual conference in Phoenix,” Doug Haddix reported for the organization.

“The newly elected members are: Matt Apuzzo, The New York Times; Ziva Branstetter, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting; Matt Goldberg, KNBC-TV; T. Christian Miller, ProPublica; Steven Rich, The Washington Post; and Cheryl W. Thompson, The Washington Post and George Washington University.

“The board then selected members of the executive committee. They are: Matt Goldberg, president; Cheryl W. Thompson, vice president; Ellen Gabler, secretary; Andrew Donohue, treasurer, and Lee Zurik. . . .”

Thompson told Journal-isms by email, “More than 1,600 investigative journalists and students from 25 countries attended the four-day conference at the Marriott Desert Ridge Resort in Phoenix. Speakers included Marc Lacey, National Editor with the New York Times; Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson, former editor of the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team; and Manny Garcia, executive editor of the USA Today Network.

“Dozens of journalists offered tips on everything from how to investigate hospitals to how to make your investigation go viral.

“Awards for the best investigative work were handed out at a Saturday luncheon. Winners included the Chicago Tribune for stories that uncovered a system allowing many of the state’s most vulnerable to be mistreated; and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for ‘The Panama Papers.’ ”

Also attending the conference was Lex Haris, CNN’s investigations editor, Paul Farhi reported Tuesday for the Washington Post. “In hindsight, his timing was terrible.

“While Haris was away, his group published a story on CNN.com that reported — citing a single anonymous source — that Senate investigators were looking into a meeting between a member of President Trump’s transition team, Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci, and an executive of a Russian investment fund before Trump took office. The story seemed to advance the narrative of ties between Trump campaign officials and people close to Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

“One problem: When challenged on the particulars of the story, CNN acknowledged that it couldn’t stand by it. It retracted it and apologized to Scaramucci on Saturday. On Monday, Haris and the editor and reporter of the piece, Eric Lichtblau and Thomas Frank, resigned from CNN. . . .”

Short Takes

A victim of white rioting in East St. Louis, Ill. (Credit: Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Bowen Archives)

A victim of white rioting in East St. Louis, Ill. (Credit: Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, Bowen Archives)

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