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Poll Agrees Trump Was Weak on Charlottesville

CNN Refuses Anti-Media Trump Campaign Ad

With Trump, Resist Making False Equivalency

‘This Virtually Is a Terrorist Movement’

ESPN Sorry for Fantasy Auction of Black Players

2 Black Republicans Say NABJ Slights Conservatives

The Root Adds ‘Very Smart Brothas’

What It Was Like to Be Kicked Out of Venezuela

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Poll Agrees Trump Was Weak on Charlottesville

The mainstream media seemed nearly unanimous Wednesday after President Trump doubled down on his earlier insistence in attributing to “both sides” — white nationalists and counter-protesters — the violence in Charlottesville, Va., that claimed a life.

Media voices portrayed Trump as divisive, unpresidential and an enabler of racists and anti-Semites.

That might have been no problem for white supremacists, but the same could not be said of the general public.

‘”A majority of Americans think President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va., was ‘not strong enough,” according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll,” Domenico Montanaro reported for NPR. Eighty percent of the poll was conducted after Trump’s Tuesday comments.

“Fifty-two percent of respondents said so, as compared with just over a quarter (27 percent) who thought it was strong enough. . . .”

Unlike in past controversies, there was “no rush to the microphones to defend Donald Trump,” “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt told viewers.

Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein said on Wednesday’s “AC360” on CNN, “I think there’s considerable evidence that there is a consensus developing in the military; at the highest levels in the intelligence community; among Republicans in Congress; including the leaders in the business community” that Trump “is unfit to be the president of the United States.”

Roland Martin, speaking on his “News One Now” show on cable television’s TVOne and simultaneously on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” syndicated on radio, delivered perhaps the strongest call to action, at least for an African American with his own national broadcast platform.

This is a president who has no shame,” Martin said. “. . . He is an immoral leader. What this man has done by aligning himself with neo-Nazis and with white supremacists is shameful and should not go unchecked. But it’s not just a question of going unchecked — we must do more than simply tweet and comment on Facebook.

“This is a challenge — this is a declaration of war. . . . For 398 years, black folks have been fighting for this county to ensure that it lives up to its ideals — for 398 years we’ve made it perfectly clear that we’re not going to sit idly by and allow ourselves to be embarrassed and run over and shamed by white supremacists.” Martin noted that Trump had not even called the family of Heather Heyer, who was run over by a car and killed during Saturday’s protests.

Media commentary wasn’t solely about the president. It touched on the kind of nation we were becoming, the “even-handedness” of the coverage, and whether the news media had reflected the true state of race relations.

There were contradictions to raise and to cover, and interested parties to interview, such as World War II veterans and Jews concerned about white nationalists carrying the Nazi flag. There were business leaders, supporters and opponents of Confederate monuments, historians and Trump enthusiasts. In Atlanta, Mark Strassmann of CBS News interviewed Janelle Jones and Lucretia Hughes, two black women remaining loyal to Trump.

Univision showed a video of Chris Baker, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, insulting Univision anchor Ilia Calderón, who is Afro-Colombian, with racial slurs. “To me you are a n**ger. That’s it,” Baker told Calderón, María Camila Montañez reported Tuesday for Latino Rebels.

What about Trump’s statement that statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson might be the next to go, given the accelerated push to remove or relocate monuments to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and other Confederates? Not all media reports answered that question, but those that did explained the false equivalence.

There is a crucial difference between leaders like Washington and Jefferson, imperfect men who helped create the United States, [historian Annette] Gordon-Reed said, and Confederate generals like Jackson and Lee, whose main historical significance is that they took up arms against it,” Jennifer Schuessler reported Tuesday in the New York Times.

On Wednesday, Slate published an open letter from Jack Christian and Warren Christian, Jackson’s great-great grandsons, to Richmond, Va., Mayor Levar Stoney and other officials. They asked “for the removal of his statue, as well as the removal of all Confederate statues from Monument Avenue. They are overt symbols of racism and white supremacy, and the time is long overdue for them to depart from public display. . . .”

There were other questions: What does it say about the nation that the neo-Nazis are so young?

Why were four people arrested for their role in taking down a Confederate statue in Durham, N.C., while in Charlottesville, “police have yet to arrest anyone for viciously beating Deandre Harris, a 20-year-old black man, even though photo and video footage of five white men assaulting Harris has been virally circulated on social media and televised news for several days,” in the words of Jessica Corbett, writing Wednesday for Common Dreams.

Was Trump correct to put the so-called “alt-right” and the newly named “alt-left” on the same moral plane, a question reporters asked Trump on Tuesday?

Journalists were gobsmacked that day, as Trump went “rogue” and off-script, reversing his carefully prepared announcement naming white nationalists as culprits in the deaths and injuries Saturday.

Brian Stelter described the scene Wednesday for CNN Money: “Reporters waited in the lobby of Trump Tower on Tuesday for vague remarks from President Trump about infrastructure. White House aides tamped down expectations ahead of time: they said the president was not expected to take questions.

The reporters and aides were both surprised by what came next.

“Trump said ‘both sides’ were responsible for the violence in Charlottesville that left three people dead on Saturday, seemingly equating neo-Nazis with anti-racism activists.

“After the Q&A session, members of the media freely expressed shock, disappointment and sometimes outright disgust.

” ‘Wow,’ CNN’s Jake Tapper said immediately afterward. ‘That was something else.’

” ‘What I just saw gave me the wrong kind of chills,’ Chuck Todd said on MSNBC. ‘Honestly I’m a bit shaken by what I just heard, and I suspect it’s not ‘just me.”

“An editorial in Wednesday’s Washington Post was titled ‘The nation can only weep.’

“MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace wondered if some of Trump’s aides would resign.

“Others wondered aloud about the president’s fitness for office.

“Some hosts and commentators on Fox News were also sharply critical of the president. ‘I’m wondering if it’s actually real life what I just watched,’ 5 p.m. co-host Kat Timpf said. But the channel’s prime time shows spent more time attacking liberals and the media.

“The closest analogue to Tuesday was Oct. 8. That’s the day the obscene ‘Access Hollywood’ tape came out via a story on the Post’s web site. . . .”

CNN Refuses Anti-Media Trump Campaign Ad

CNN has for the second time declined to air a Trump campaign advertisement because of anti-media content,” Steven Perlberg reported Tuesday for BuzzFeed.

“The new ad, entitled ‘Let President Trump Do His Job,’ casts the press as the president’s enemy and features clips of various mainstream media news anchors, including CNN personalities like Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Fareed Zakaria, Anderson Cooper, and John King,” as well as April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.

“Trump’s reelection campaign committee said in a press release that it had attempted to buy placement for the ad on CNN, but that the network had blocked the ad buy. In May, CNN also did not air a Trump ad because it included a graphic that called the media ‘fake news.’ . . .”

With Trump, Resist Making False Equivalency

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the national news media’s misguided sense of fairness helped equate the serious flaws of Hillary Clinton with the disqualifying evils of Donald Trump,” Margaret Sullivan wrote Wednesday for the Washington Post.

“ ‘But her emails . . .’ goes the ironic line that aptly summarizes too much of the media’s coverage of the candidates. In short: Clinton’s misuse of a private email server was inflated to keep up with Trump’s racism, sexism and unbalanced narcissism — all in the name of seeming evenhanded. . . .”

Sullivan also wrote, “At Tuesday’s contentious Trump Tower news conference, the president disparaged reporters, sometimes calling them — as if saying their names — ‘fake news,’ “Earlier that day, he circulated on Twitter a cartoon image of a CNN reporter being run down by the ‘Trump Train.’ Appalling, yes, but nothing new, just another page in Trump’s blame-the-media playbook.

“In response, reporters kept asking questions, bringing the president from his preferred topic of infrastructure to what was on everyone’s mind: racism and violence. Their words were respectful, their tenor insistent.

“It looked about right to me. And yes, it was certainly fair.

“Can journalism be both impartial and forceful? That’s not only a possibility but, more than ever, a necessity.

“In dealing with the false-equivalency president they helped to get elected, the news media may have learned something.

“The best way to be fair is not to be falsely evenhanded, giving equal weight to unequal sides. It’s to push for the truth, and tell it both accurately and powerfully.”

‘This Virtually Is a Terrorist Movement’

Richard Oppel

Richard A. Oppel

I’m not sure there’s a lot of similarities between the civil rights reporting of the ’60s and early ’70s and this alt-right movement that’s going on now. I think this virtually is a terrorist movement,” Richard A. Oppel, editor of the Austin American-Statesman from 1995 to 2008, said Tuesday in Nieman Reports.

Oppel, Bill Kovach and Hank Klibanoff, white journalists who have written about or covered the civil rights movement, were asked what journalists can learn from coverage of that movement and the level of reporting that current events demand.

“If I were going to compare it, I would compare it to coverage of Al Qaeda — how are they organized, how do they communicate, how are they financed, what are their political ties,” Oppel continued. “There are similarities to the civil rights period certainly in terms of some of those things and to the question of race and ethnicity and so on but there’s something different here; I really regard these more as terrorists.

“What’s similar [to reporters covering the civil rights movement] is that there’s a risk of bodily harm in coverage of violent groups, but that’s always been the case, whether it’s been coverage of the civil rights movement or coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan or current violent political  protests. So that’s a challenge. . . .”

ESPN Sorry for Fantasy Auction of Black Players

ESPN apologized on Tuesday for a fantasy football segment of an auction draft where black players were sold to mostly white male bidders,” Ray Sanchez reported Tuesday for CNN.

” ‘Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football, and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players,’ the network statement said.

” ‘Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.’

“On social media, reaction to the segment that was part of the 28-hour fantasy marathon was mixed, with many comparing the outdoor scene to a modern-day slave auction. . . . ”

The Sports Journalism Institute, created to increase the diversity in the nation’s sports media, celebrated its 25th class last week at the National Association of Black Journalists convention. (Credit: Wilton Jackson)

2 Black Republicans Say NABJ Slights Conservatives

Two black Republicans have accused the National Association of Black Journalists of slighting conservatives at its national convention last week in New Orleans. NABJ responded that it invited President Trump; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; housing secretary Ben Carson and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, none of whom appeared.

It’s no secret that black conservatives are not well received by the mainstream white media establishment and that most black journalists working in that community reflect the liberal progressive ideology of their bosses,” Clarence McKee, a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters, wrote Wednesday in

McKee also wrote, “Lack of diversity of opinion and viewpoint among black journalists gives the false impression — especially to their white bosses and to the public — that all blacks think alike. If black journalists mimic the same liberal views on politics and other issues as their white liberal counterparts, other than cosmetics, some would ask what difference does their presence make? . . .”

Omarosa Newman at last week's convention. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Omarosa Newman at last week’s convention. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

Raynard Jackson, a Republican operative whose column is distributed by the National Newspaper Publishers Association, made a similar point Tuesday.

Check out the list of speakers from last week’s convention. There is not one, noted Black Republican or conservative speaker anywhere to be found on the NABJ’s speaker list. Not one,” he wrote.

“And hell no, Omarosa Manigault does not count. She is the Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison for the Trump Administration.

“She’s a liberal Democrat, not a Republican and based on what I’ve read, Omarosa’s appearance at the convention was an absolute mess. . . .”

NABJ President Sarah Glover responded to an inquiry with a list of Republican and Democratic invitees. Democrats who appeared included Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, Chirlane McCray, New York first lady; Nina Turner, former Ohio state senator, and Symone Sanders, former spokesperson for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Registered Republicans who attended included Omarosa Newman (formerly Omarosa Manigault) and Sean Conner of Uber. Conner is former African American outreach director for the Republican National Committee and former spokesperson for Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

In addition to Trump, Sessions, Carson and DeVos, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Republican and Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus were invited but did not attend, according to Glover.

In its official response, NABJ said, “As a non-partisan organization, NABJ routinely and purposefully extends opportunities for engagement to newsmakers, people of interest, and organizations on both sides of the aisle. As journalists and media professionals we are charged with seeking and providing when possible, both sides of any story — regardless of the subject. This is what we strive to do at our annual convention and throughout the year with our other programming.”

Separately, Vann R. Newkirk II, writing Friday in the Atlantic, weighed in on the well-publicized clash between moderator Ed Gordon and Newman, writing, “The NABJ is bound by nonpartisanship, and by the the journalistic expectation that personal political views are cast to the side when it comes to engaging with all political leaders on the issues. But black journalists, like all journalists, are also bound by commitments to their communities and to the truth. That’s the conflict that played out on stage, and in the audience, on Friday.”

The Root Adds ‘Very Smart Brothas’

Danielle Belton has been promoted to editor-in-chief of The Root as Henry Louis Gates Jr., who co-founded the online magazine in 2008 with Donald E. Graham, then chief executive of the Washington Post Co., moves to a different role in the parent company. Belton had been managing editor.

In addition, The Root is providing a new home for the Pittsburgh-based website Very Smart Brothas.

The Root is so named in part because of Gates’ interest in tracing ancestries. The Alphonse Fletcher Jr. University Professor at Harvard University and director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, Gates will now additionally chair the Creative Thread Foundation, which “will aim to create talent pipelines and mentorship opportunities for uncovering and promoting talent and projects that reflect the new American reality,” according to a July 26 announcement from Fusion TV.

Others on the board are actresses Viola Davis, Meryl Streep and Jodie Foster, producer-director Ezra Edelman and Residente (aka René Perez Joglar), a Puerto Rican rapper, writer and producer.

The Root is now owned by the Gizmodo Media Group, which includes Fusion. Gates becomes The Root’s chair. Belton was named managing editor of the Root last year. She becomes editor-in-chief over The Root and its subsites, which include The Grapevine, its entertainment and social media vertical, and VSB.

Belton said by email, “The Root is beyond excited to have VSB’s co-creators Damon Young and Panama Jackson join our growing team as senior editors. They’re among the sharpest, most insightful, funniest voices online and we are honored to have them and their site, Very Smart Brothas, join The Root on Gizmodo Media Group’s publishing platform, Kinja.

“VSB is publishing as a sub-blog to The Root, allowing us to provide even more premium content to our readers. Damon and Panama bring a fresh perspective on everything from pop culture to politics to race and gender, and we welcome VSB’s vibrant, always engaging audience as part of our growing family online.”

Young’s first piece under the new arrangement was “Procter & Gamble Release an Ad About ‘the Talk,’ and White People Respond With the Wettest, Saltiest, Stupidest White Tears Ever,” published Aug. 3. On Aug. 10, he wrote, “Shit Bougie Black People Love No. 34: The NABJ Convention.”

Journal-isms” also appears on The Root.

What It Was Like to Be Kicked Out of Venezuela

Nicholas Casey

Nicholas Casey

In Venezuela, “New York Times reporter Nick Casey has been following the economic-turned-humanitarian-turned-political crisis for the last couple of years,” Meg Dalton wrote Aug. 10 for Columbia Journalism Review.

“The journalist paints a grim picture from his time on the ground in Venezuela, echoing the experience of Hannah Dreier of the Associated Press. For Casey, the Venezuelan crisis is also personal. He covered the country for 10 months before the Venezuelan government barred him from returning to Venezuela after a vacation. The government no longer allows the Times to have an office in the country.”

“. . . I haven’t been able to get back into my apartment,” Casey said in a Q-and-A.

Casey was asked what journalists have missed in their reporting on Venezuela and what advice he would give fellow foreign correspondents covering the crisis.

He replied, in part, “People always see the collapse of Venezuela as having to do directly with socialism. I don’t agree. I think there’s a lot of different ways to run a country. One way you can’t run your country is making it entirely dependent on oil. That has nothing to do with politics, but everything to do with why Venezuela is in the situation that it is now. When the price of oil is high, it’s boom times. When oil prices start to slump, as it has now and will probably remain for some period of time, it becomes a starving time. That’s an economic answer, not necessarily a political one.

“The mistake, which I think is often missed, is the fact that Venezuela has done nothing to try to produce something that’s not oil. This is largely the reason there’s no money in Venezuela right now. . . .”


Short Takes

Lori Stokes says goodbye to viewers of WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News” on Wednesday. (video)