Returning Wednesday, Sept. 13

Roker Scolded Radio Host for Calling Storm ‘Hype’

NAHJ Report Sees Little Progress on Evening News

Eric Bolling Out, Charles Payne Back at Fox

38 Ebony Freelancers Seek $70,000 in Back Pay

UNC Editor: DACA Students Still Welcome on Staff

‘Additional Hoops’ Asian American Journalists Face

Editorials Debate Statues of Rizzo, Foster, Columbus

Sessions Wrong in Argument for Police Military Gear

Short Takes

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma Thursday on Sint Maarten, the Dutch part of Saint Martin island. (Credit: Netherlands Ministry of Defence)

The aftermath of Hurricane Irma Thursday on Sint Maarten, the Dutch part of Saint Martin island. (Credit: Netherlands Ministry of Defence)

Roker Scolded Radio Host for Calling Storm ‘Hype’

After spending much of this week telling his listeners that Hurricane Irma was fake news, Rush Limbaugh [has] fled his home base in Palm Beach, Florida, in anticipation of landfall,” Lindsay Kimble reported Friday for People magazine.

“On Thursday, Limbaugh announced he would not ‘be able’ to host his nationally syndicated radio show on Friday due to ‘the security nature of things,’ adding that he was heading to ‘parts unknown.’

“After CNN’s Brian Stelter shared the news on Friday, noting that Mark Steyn was filling in for Limbaugh, [the] Today meteorologist retorted, ‘Wait. What?’

“Earlier in the week, Roker was one of those quick to admonish Limbaugh’s controversial comments that the media is purposefully creating ‘fear and panic’ about Hurricane Irma to ‘advance this climate change agenda.’

NBC's Al Roker warns viewers about the approach of Hurricane Irma. (Credit: NBC)

NBC’s Al Roker warns viewers about  Hurricane Irma. (Credit: NBC)

“ ‘Do not listen to @rushlimbaugh when he says #Irma is not a dangerous #storm and is hype,’ Roker wrote on Twitter. ‘He is putting people’s lives at risk.’

“He added in a second tweet, ‘To have @rushlimbaugh suggest the warnings about #Irma are #fake or about profit and to ignore them borders on criminal. #ShameOnRush.’

“In Limbaugh’s Monday comments about the hurricane, he claimed, ‘There is a desire to advance this climate change agenda, and hurricanes are one of the fastest and best ways to do it. You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic.’

“ ‘You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere,’ he asserted. ‘All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.’ . . .”

In the Caribbean, Hurricane Irma has caused more than $10 billion in damage so far, disaster risk experts said on Friday, the BBC reported.

“That would make it the costliest storm ever to hit the region, the Centre for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology said. . . .”

Wesley Gibbings of Trinidad, president of the Association of Caribbean Media Workers, was asked how Caribbean journalists were faring. He replied by email, “We are actually launching fact-finding missions to the worst affected islands to determine their needs.” Gibbings was honored by the National Association of Black Journalists in New Orleans last month with its Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist Award.

NAHJ Report Sees Little Progress on Evening News

The “neglect of the coverage of Latinos” has “remained practically frozen in time or has worsened,” according to a study released Friday at the convention of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, meeting as part of the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim, Calif.

The study, by retired professor Federico Subervi, a fomer NAHJ board member, analyzed how “the national television half-hour evening network news programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, and the one-hour evening news program on CNN covered Latinos and Latino issues in the years 2008-2014.”

Jose Diaz-Balart was named in 2016 to anchor the weekend "NBC Nightly News."

Jose Diaz-Balart was named in 2016 to anchor the Saturday “NBC Nightly News.”

It said, “Albeit Latinos represent a population of over 54 million that now surpasses 17 percent of the U.S. national total, stories about Latinos and Latino issues constitute less [than] .78 percent of the news in the studied networks.

“This percentage is a meager .41 percent regarding stories exclusively about Latinos.

“Moreover, that coverage continues to remain significantly focused on Latinos as people with problems or who cause problems.

“In addition to the counting of stories and their topics, other measures of that coverage — which included minutes per story, placement of stories, number and balance of sources, among others — also showed little variation from previous similar content analyses.

“Meanwhile, the participation of Latinos as anchors, co-anchors or reporters of Latino stories also remains scarce and with little or no change from decades past. . . .”

The scarcity of Latinos might have diminished somewhat since the study, dated 2015.

ABC News in March of 2015 named Cecilia Vega and Tom Llamas anchors of the weekend edition of “World News Tonight,” for example. Jose Diaz-Balart was named in 2016 to anchor the Saturday evening edition of “NBC Nightly News.”

And in a 2015 interview with Journal-isms when he officially became anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” Lester Holt named Jacob Rascon and Miguel Almaguer as among “our go-to rock-star correspondents. Any one of them could be in line the next time that [anchor] job opens up,” Holt said.

NBC pledged to increase its diversity as a condition of NBCUniversal’s merger with Comcast, which won approval from government regulators in 2011.

Subervi’s report conceded that NBC benefited from its affiliation and collaboration with Spanish-language TV network Telemundo. But, it continued, “CNN, in contrast, is worse given that it has almost an hour worth of nightly news in which Latinos could be covered significantly better. As for ABC and CBS, the patterns of coverage are not only limited, but practically unchanged in comparison to what was observed decades ago. . . . ”

The report concluded: “Previous NAHJ commissioned studies akin to this one have invariably been critical of the networks’ news coverage of Latinos, while also expressing a desire to help those media outlets improve their coverage of that community and hire more Latino journalists.

“Those reports were then followed by press releases with highlights of the findings, and occasional brief presentations by the authors of the reports (usually at NAHJ conventions). To this author’s knowledge, no action plans were developed and carried through to bring about prompt, positive change. If specific plans were put into place, the findings of this seven-year study suggest that the findings and recommendations of the NAHJ studies or efforts to change the networks’ modus operandi, may have ‘fallen on deaf ears,’ or simply ignored by the decision-makers at the networks.

“Therefore, the first recommendation of this report is a call for advocacy that promotes, encourages, or somehow actually leads to positive change. Such an advocacy role certainly should be on the agenda of the NAHJ leadership and should also be embraced by other national
Latino and non-Latino organizations. It is far beyond time that the networks not only acknowledge their coverage patterns but also and most importantly develop internal assessments and training programs [that] will produce more inclusive, reliable and balanced news about Latinos
and Latino issues. . . .”

Eric Bolling Out, Charles Payne Back at Fox

Charles Payne

Charles Payne

Sexual harassment investigations at Fox News had on-air hosts coming and going on Friday,” Stephen Battaglio reported Friday for the Los Angeles Times.

“The network has cut loose Eric Bolling, who was suspended on Aug. 5, and has also canceled his daily program ‘Fox News Specialists.’

“The law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, investigated allegations that Bolling used his cellphone to send unsolicited photos of male genitalia to current and former female colleagues at the network. The firm has been handling harassment claims at the 21st Century Fox unit.

“Fox News Channel is canceling the ‘Specialists,’ and Eric Bolling and Fox have agreed to part ways amicably,” a Fox News spokesperson said in a statement. ‘We thank Eric for his 10 years of service to our loyal viewers and wish him the best of luck.’

“Earlier Friday, Fox News confirmed that Fox Business host Charles Payne is returning to his job at the network after he was cleared in an internal investigation of sexual harassment claims lodged by a female political analyst who was a frequent guest on his program.

“A Fox News representative confirmed that the company’s review of the allegations against Payne has been completed and that he would return to his nightly program ‘Making Money’ on Friday night.

“Bolling’s program, ‘Fox News Specialists’ was to have its final airing Friday. His co-hosts, Kat Timpf and Eboni Williams, will remain with Fox News as contributors. An hourlong newscast will fill the 5 p.m. Eastern hour starting Monday. . . .”

38 Ebony Freelancers Seek $70,000 in Back Pay

Ebony's September issue

Ebony’s September issue

A group of 38 Ebony freelancers filed a lawsuit against the magazine Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, claiming they are collectively owed more than $70,000 for their work,” Robert Channick reported Wednesday for the Chicago Tribune.

“The plaintiffs in the lawsuit against Ebony Media and its owner, Texas-based private equity firm CVG Group, include writers, photographers, videographers and graphic designers, all of whom are represented by the National Writers Union.

“The freelancers were ‘regular contributors’ to both Ebony and co-owned Jet magazine, but the publisher ‘failed and/or refused’ to pay the amounts due for their work, according to the lawsuit.

” ‘They had contracts to provide content or services, did that, and weren’t paid,’ said Joshua File, a Chicago-based attorney representing the freelancers. . . .”.

Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of CVG Group, in June blamed the unpaid freelance invoices on an accounting error, and he pledged to pay everyone ‘100 percent’ of what was owed by the first week in July. . . .”

Gibson told Journal-isms by email Friday, “Ebony has no comment on the legal matter.”

Asked about personnel changes, he said, “we will have an update on Ebony in the next couple of weeks.  ”

UNC Editor: DACA Students Still Welcome on Staff

The only requirements I have for people wanting to join The Daily Tar Heel are that they work hard, are willing to learn about journalism and contribute to the nearly 125-year-old mission to accurately report the news,” Tyler Fleming, editor-in-chief of the Tar Heel, student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, wrote Wednesday.

Tyler Fleming

Tyler Fleming

“If you have those three things, our editing staff can teach the rest.

“We welcomed over 100 new writers yesterday, at the same time that Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump Administration would be suspending DACA — an act which helped thousands of students obtain a degree of higher education.

“As the editor of this newspaper and leader of a student organization, I cannot remain silent as powers well above my own aim to limit the people who could potentially work at this paper or attend UNC.

“As long as I am editor of this paper, we will be a home for anyone wanting to tell valuable stories, take photos, design layouts or write opinions — regardless of background, orientation or any other identity.

“I am speaking for myself as the leader of this paper in defense of the values I hold most dear about this paper: an educational mission, a drive to give voice to ignored or marginalized groups and the willingness to be controversial when the time calls for it. . . .”

‘Additional Hoops’ Asian American Journalists Face

Michael Luo

Michael Luo

The issue, when it comes to Asian-Americans and journalism, is whether we count when people talk about diversity,” Michael Luo, a former New York Times metro-desk editor now overseeing the New Yorker magazine’s website, told David Uberti of

“This was an issue at The Times. The Times was making a big push around diversity as I was leaving, and still is now. But one question that a lot of Asian-Americans at The Times had was, “Are Asian-Americans part of that diversity push?”

“We were doing better, in terms of number of reporters and editors, than African-Americans and Latinos, specifically. But the biggest beats at the newspaper are overwhelmingly white: Covering the presidential campaign, the White House, Congress.

“When I was on Capitol Hill, I was one of the only Asian-Americans in that place. When I was on presidential buses and planes, there weren’t very many Asian-Americans. One of the things we were trying to make sure of at The Times was that Asian-American representation was still an important concern.

“Do you think that’s how it permeates into coverage as well? Not being counted?” Uberti asked Luo in the Aug. 31 interview.

“The thing with Asian-Americans is this sense of being the other — not quite feeling like we belong. That’s very real. Jay Caspian Kang had this great piece in The Times magazine about a hazing death at an Asian-American fraternity. He wrote about how being Asian-American is a bit of an artificial construct — that different people within that category often have very little in common, other than a shared experience of discrimination. It’s obviously a different kind of discrimination than what African-Americans or Latinos have experienced, but it’s definitely there.

“I moved a bunch of times as a kid, but I always lived in these mostly white suburban areas. And even though I was captain of the soccer team or had a lot of friends, that lingering sense of otherness was always there. That’s a social feeling.

“When I first started in a newsroom, I was part of this minority training program at The Los Angeles Times. And a big thing they taught us was that the work is important, but so is how you navigate the newsroom. It’s like any other social ecosystem. There is an in-crowd. And there has always been, for me at least, this nagging sense that, as an Asian-American, there’s just additional hoops you have to jump through. I don’t want to overstate it. But it makes a difference when you’re building relationships and trying to navigate an organization. . . .”

 Artist Jerrel Sustaita works on his painting of the Robert E. Lee statue at Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas on Thursday. He said, "I might not be able to do it tomorrow." (Credit: Jae S. Lee/Dallas Morning News)

Artist Jerrel Sustaita works on his painting of the Robert E. Lee statue at Robert E. Lee Park in Dallas on Thursday. He said, “I might not be able to do it tomorrow.” (Credit: Jae S. Lee/Dallas Morning News)

Editorials Debate Statues of Rizzo, Foster, Columbus

We applaud the Dallas City Council for its brave and historic decision to finally remove Confederate memorials from this city,” the Dallas Morning News editorialized Wednesday.

“It was important for city leaders to make a strong statement that these tributes to our country’s racist past no longer belong in our public spaces. They voted to immediately remove one of the most visible of these towering relics — the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park. Another — the Confederate War Memorial near City Hall — shouldn’t be far behind. . . .”

The editorial was followed by a temporary restraining order preventing the removal of the monuments, lifted a day later, and a column by Leona Allen, a native of the city, member of the editorial board and an African American.

What those statues represent is not what I want my city to stand for,” she wrote. “I love this place because I’ve experienced the good of people of all races here, seen them working together to make this city better. There are serious problems that need to be addressed. . . .”

Confederate statues were not the only ones opinion writers were denouncing or defending, though. Elsewhere, debates took place over those of Christopher Columbus, Stephen Foster and former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo.

Sessions Wrong in Argument for Police Military Gear

The Trump administration made false assertions to justify an executive order expanding police forces’ access to military equipment such as tanks and grenade launchers,” Isaac Arnsdorf reported Sept. 1 for ProPublica.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced . . . that President Trump would make defensive gear available to police again by undoing a policy from the Obama administration. Trump then signed an executive order whose title emphasized that branding: ‘Restoring State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement’s Access to Life-Saving Equipment and Resources.’

“ ‘He is rescinding restrictions from the prior administration that limited your agencies’ ability to get equipment through federal programs, including life-saving gear like Kevlar vests and helmets and first-responder and rescue equipment like what they’re using in Texas right now,’ Sessions said in the speech.

“But that’s not what the Obama administration’s restrictions did, according to documentation from a unit inside of Sessions’ own Justice Department, the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

“Kevlar vests were never subject to any restrictions. Most helmets weren’t, either. Riot helmets (defined as those with shields over the face), Humvees and helicopters that are sometimes used in rescue missions, were still available to police forces as long as they explained why they needed them and certified that they had protocols and training in place so officers would use them safely. That requirement was dropped for riot helmets last October.

“ ‘Kevlar vests were never on any lists. That part is simply lying about what we did,’ said Roy Austin, who worked on the Obama policy as a deputy assistant to the president for the Office of Urban Affairs, Justice and Opportunity. ‘He was being untruthful about helmets as well.’ . . .”

Short Takes

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