Not Enough Connecting the Dots With Trump

Is FCC’s Repeal Good or Bad for People of Color?

To the End, Fats Domino Was a New Orleanian

Chicago’s Black Poor Pay 20 Percent More for Water

Study Shows Racial Disparities in Plea Deals

Writer Subpoenaed in Laquan McDonald Case

Telemundo Announces Investigative Unit

Female Editors, Too, Were Silent on Harassment

Kaepernick Book Deal Spotlights a Black Editor

Blacks Take Discrimination as a Fact of Life

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In this widely circulated photo, a vehicle plows into a group of protesters at the "Unite the Right" demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., in August. (Credit: Ryan J. Kelly/Daily Progess, Charlottesville)

In this widely circulated photo, a vehicle plows into a group of protesters at the “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Va., in August. President Trump was criticized for saying there was violence on “both sides” and referring to the “alt-left” as if it were equivalent to the white supremacists and neo-Nazis of the “alt-right.” More recently, Trump has been accused of disrespecting  Myeshia Johnson, the widow of slain Army Sgt. La David Johnson, and Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., who represents her. Both are African Americans. (Credit: Ryan Kelly/Daily Progress, Charlottesville)

Not Enough Connecting the Dots With Trump

In the 2016 election, which age ranges of white supporters did Trump win?,” David T.Z. Mindich, chair of the journalism department at the Klein College of Media and Communication at Temple University, wrote Monday for the Poynter Institute.

“Which economic brackets? And which gender? If you answered all, all and both, you are correct. If you did not, what does your mistake say about the ability of journalism to paint an accurate picture of reality?

“One of the most sweeping and thoughtful critiques of the media comes in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ just-released book, ‘We Were Eight Years in Power’. Coates argues that journalists missed an essential truth when we diminish Trump’s support among whites.

‘Coates argues that after the recent election, journalists lessened the consequences of whiteness and by extension, white supremacy. The reason why journalists discount the enormity of Trump’s support among whites is because to do otherwise would call into question the American self-image of goodness. This is a similar argument to the one Coates made in his writings about the shootings of unarmed black men: Many white Americans need black victims to be guilty because it protects an image of a fair America.

“This misperception grips even thoughtful, enlightened writers like Nicholas Kristof and George Packer, Coates writes, and he suggests that the mainstream news media suffers from widespread delusion about whiteness. Can a democratic nation’s free press operate under a mass delusion about race? . . .”

Mindich also wrote, “If Coates is right, Trump’s advocacy of white privilege and his erasure of [President] Obama are the central features of his presidency. Imagine for a second that Trump’s perceived advocacy of white rights is not considered by his supporters to be a bug, but a feature.

“That would explain why his outrageousness never seems to hurt his base. If many among his wide, white base voted for a racial realignment, then the wackier Trump is, the more muscular a white supremacist he could be. . . .”

After recounting an anecdote from the lynching era of the 1890s in which whites clung to myths about black men’s lasciviousness despite the reporting of anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells, Mindich wrote, “When a writer as careful and probing as Coates tells us that we might be suffering from a widespread delusion, we should pay attention to the charge and understand that historical precedent suggests it is possible, that journalism as a whole can suffer from a widespread insensitivity to racial issues.

“What should journalists do today? First, unlike the mainstream journalists of the 1890s — who rejected charges of bias — we should use the charges of Coates and others to goad ourselves to examine our perspectives.

“When the media of a majority culture sees the world, it often perceives it as race-neutral, the ‘color of water,’ to borrow a phrase, used in a different context, in James McBride’s best-selling memoir. But today’s journalists, with less overt racism and far more access to different perspectives, need to face the issue of race forthrightly.

“The second thing today’s journalists should do is to connect the dots. The 1890s saw a relentless string of lynchings, and the era’s press was better at listing the horrors than finding the golden threads.

“Journalism has often been a better strobe light than a searchlight. But when we list Trump’s endless tweets, proclamations and imbroglios, we could do a better job of seeing them as pieces of a whole.

“When Trump maligns an American judge of Mexican heritage; defends neo-Nazis; attacks two Gold Star families, one Muslim and one black; or views Puerto Rico’s population as being too lazy to help themselves after a hurricane, we must avoid seeing these as distinct incidents.

“Connecting the dots of white supremacy would challenge journalistic objectivity and require a level of self-awareness that is difficult to achieve, but reporters, above all else, are charged with creating a true picture of the world. And we must not avoid grappling with all the racial issues that hide in plain sight. . . .”

Is FCC’s Repeal Good or Bad for People of Color?

Federal regulators have voted to eliminate a longstanding rule covering radio and television stations, in a move that could ultimately reshape the nation’s media landscape,” Brian Fung reported Tuesday for the Washington Post. The vote was 3-2 with the two Democrats strongly dissenting.

Mignon Clyburn

Mignon Clyburn

“The regulation, which was first adopted almost 80 years ago, requires broadcasters to have a physical studio in or near the areas where they have a license to transmit TV or radio signals,” Fung explained. “Known as the ‘main studio rule,’ the regulation ensured that residents of a community could have a say in their local broadcast station’s operations.

“Tuesday’s vote by the Federal Communications Commission lifts that requirement. With the rise of social media, the agency said, consumers now have other ways to get in touch with their local broadcasters. . . .”

There was division over whether the repeal would help or hurt people of color.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat who is African American, said that by voting to eliminate the rules for all stations, regardless of size, location and financial circumstances, the FCC had signaled that it no longer believes broadcasters need to have a local presence in their communities.

Instead of taking a sledgehammer to the main studio rule, the FCC majority could have exacted a more measured approach, such as a revised waiver process, that considers market size and economic hardship,” Clyburn said.

Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai

Doing away with the rule, which was established in 1940, benefits the largest broadcasters, especially Sinclair, which is set to swallow Tribune Media to become even more of a behemoth. The commissioners voted 3-2 along party lines to eliminate the rule,” Dade Hayes wrote Tuesday for Deadline: Hollywood.

Dana Floberg of the advocacy group Free Press added Wednesday, “Sinclair is a perfect case study of how rampant broadcast consolidation can harm communities. For years, Sinclair has leveraged its enormous size to shutter newsrooms, pioneer shady sharing-agreements that allow the company to evade ownership limits, and force local stations to air propaganda-style ‘must-run’ right-wing commentaries.

“Eliminating the main studio rule will make all of that worse. Already, we know traditional and new media outlets alike are failing to adequately invest in marginalized communities, especially communities of color, low-income communities and rural areas. . . .”

However, the Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council said in a statement Tuesday that “the rule disproportionately worked to the deep disadvantage of diverse broadcasters [PDF].”

“Diverse entrants into the broadcasting industry were relegated to serving large markets with inferior, often suburban stations each requiring its own main studio, while non-minority broadcasters who got into broadcasting decades earlier could serve these markets with several stations each operating from a single downtown studio. MMTC demonstrated that this ‘tax on Blackness and Brown-ness’ drove capital away from multicultural entrepreneurs.

“Second, through its operation of donated stations that were used to train multicultural and women broadcast managers for ownership, MMTC has come to realize that the Main Studio Rule is unnecessary. While the FCC should ensure that all broadcasters provide program service that meets local needs, the methods by which they do so should be left to the discretion and creativity of broadcasters. Public broadcasters, LPFM [low power FM] stations, and internet stations have chosen to invest in programming rather than in ‘brick and mortar’ studio buildings that few visit or utilize. Technology has rendered the rule unnecessary and overdue for repeal.”

Meanwhile, FCC Chairman Ajit Paisaid he’ll move to weaken or kill local media ownership restrictions next month, potentially clearing the way for more consolidation among companies that own TV and radio stations,” Todd Shields reported Wednesday for Bloomberg.

To the End, Fats Domino Was a New Orleanian

We can all be sure that the Lord called Fats Domino home Tuesday morning; otherwise, he’d still be around New Orleans,” Jarvis DeBerry wrote Wednesday for NOLA | the Times-Picayune.

“In 1998, when the R&B and rock ‘n’ roll pioneer was 70 years old, President Bill Clinton invited him to the White House to give him the National Medal of Arts. That’s a pretty big deal.

“Domino didn’t budge. His spirit, he said, didn’t tell him to travel.

“Domino, who was one of the original inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, died Tuesday morning at 89.

“Back in 1998, reporter Keith Spera made the mistake of assuming that Domino didn’t go to Washington to accept the award because he didn’t want to go to Washington to accept the award. ‘I didn’t say I didn’t want to go,’ Domino corrected him. ‘My spirit told me not to leave New Orleans until I make up my mind to travel again. We’ve got to pay more attention to the spirit, and pay more attention to God.’

“As most New Orleanians know, the legendary musician Antoine Dominique Domino Jr. didn’t voluntarily leave his home in the Lower 9th Ward even when the biggest, strongest storm in a generation seemed to be headed the city’s way. He was one of many people who was trapped by rising waters when the levees fell apart, and he was eventually pulled out of a second-story window into a rescue boat. The man who sang ‘Walking to New Orleans’ never seemed to want to go away. . . .”

NPR veteran Gwen Thompkins, another black New Orleanian, delivered a tribute on that network. “Between 1950 and 1963, Domino hit the R&B charts a reported 59 times, and the pop charts a rollicking 63 times. He outsold Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly — combined. Only Elvis Presley moved more records during that stretch — and Presley cited Domino as the early master,” she said.

“So how did a black man with a fourth-grade education in the Jim Crow South, the child of Haitian Creole plantation workers and the grandson of a slave, sell more than 65 million records?

“Domino could ‘wah-wah-waaaaah’ and ‘woo-hooo!’ like nobody else in the whole wide world — and he made piano triplets ubiquitous in rock ‘n’ roll. . . .”

Thompkins also told this story: “By 1960, Domino’s audience was overwhelmingly white. In South Carolina, the Ku Klux Klan gave his band directions — by the light of a burning cross.

“The late saxophone player Herbert Hardesty was driving the Domino bus on that occasion.

” ‘So I had to make it tight,’ Hardesty recounted. ‘In about five minutes, I came to Ku Klux Klan. They said, “Well, where’s Fats Domino?” I said, “He’s not here.” They said, “What are you guys doing?” I said, “I’m lost, I’m trying to get back to the highway.” And they were very nice — the Ku Klux Klan treated us very nice!’ . . .”

New York public television station WNET-TV announced that filmmaker Joe Lauro’s 2016 documentary “American Masters: Fats Domino and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll” was streaming on the American Masters website.

The documentary is to be shown on WNET on Sunday at 11 p.m. Check local listings for repeat broadcasts nationwide on PBS.

Chicago’s Black Poor Pay 20 Percent More for Water

Lake Michigan water rates have been surging throughout the Chicago region in recent years, squeezing low-income residents and leaving them with little, if any, recourse, a Tribune analysis shows,” Ted Gregory, Cecilia Reyes, Patrick M. O’Connell and Angela Caputo reported Wednesday for the Chicago Tribune.

“In this tangled network that delivers water to the vast majority of the region’s residents, the Tribune found an upside-down world, one where people in the poorest communities pay more for a basic life necessity than those in the wealthiest.

“And the financial pain falls disproportionately on majority-African-American communities, where residents’ median water bill is 20 percent higher for the same amount of water than residents pay in predominantly white communities, the Tribune’s examination revealed. . . .”

Study Shows Racial Disparities in Plea Deals

A new study from Carlos Berdejo of Loyola Law School demonstrates for the first time that there are significant racial disparities in the plea deals that white and black people receive on misdemeanor charges — with black people facing more severe punishment,Jenn Rolnick Borchetta and Alice Fontier of the Bronx Defenders wrote Monday for the Marshall Project. The group provides public defense services to low-income people in the Bronx, N.Y.

“Berdejo analyzed 30,807 misdemeanor cases in Wisconsin over a seven-year period and found that white people facing misdemeanor charges were more than 74 percent more likely than black people to have all charges carrying potential prison time dropped, dismissed, or reduced. And white people with no criminal history were more than 25 percent more likely to have charges reduced than black people who also had no criminal history.

“This suggests, as Berdejo concludes in his report, that prosecutors use race to judge whether a person is likely to recidivate when deciding what plea to offer.

“Prior studies have found racial disparities in the plea bargaining process. The Berdejo study differs, however, in that it analyzes a detailed statewide data set of the entire life of criminal cases, from charging to sentencing, making it more reliable and expansive. . . .”

Writer Subpoenaed in Laquan McDonald Case

Journalist Jamie Kalven was instrumental in blowing open the story about Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting Laquan McDonald,” Yana Kunichoff reported Friday for Chicago magazine. “In an award-winning story published in Slate more than two years ago, ’16 Shots,’ he detailed the vast discrepancy between official police accounts and witness testimony — as well as autopsy records that revealed the young man had been shot 16 times.

“At the center of his story was a secret source.

“Now Van Dyke is facing trial for murder, and this week his attorneys subpoenaed Kalven to get him on the stand. Implicit in attorney Dan Herbert’s comments to the press is that they want Kalven to reveal his source.

“While ‘shield laws,’ or a concept called reporter’s privilege, exist in some states to protect journalists and their sources, not all situations qualify. Reporters around the country, including in Illinois, have faced the threat of jail time for not revealing who gave them information essential to their stories.

Chicago caught up with Kalven to discuss his reaction to the subpoena and the responsibility of journalists to their sources. . . .”

Telemundo Announces Investigative Unit

Telemundo announced Tuesday the creation of “Noticias Telemundo Investiga,” “its first-ever investigative unit for the production of multiplatform in-depth original reporting. ‘Noticias Telemundo Investiga’ will be tasked with the production of exclusive breaking news stories, investigative segments, exposés and documentaries on key Hispanic topics for all Noticias Telemundo platforms,” an announcement said.

“Investigative journalism has never been more critical for our viewers,” said Luis Fernández, executive vice-president of Noticias Telemundo, said in the announcement. “Allocating resources to long-term, in-depth reporting is a demonstration of our commitment to empower Latinos with useful information and the news that really matters to them. ‘Noticias Telemundo Investiga’ will reinvigorate our linear and digital platforms with original and exclusive content under Noticias Telemundo’s banner ”Telling It Like It Is’ (‘Las Cosas Como Son’ in Spanish).

“ ‘Noticias Telemundo Investiga’ stories will be part of ‘Noticias Telemundo’ newscast airing Monday to Friday at 6:30 PM/5:30 C and the current affairs show ‘Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart’ airing on Sundays at 12PM/11AM C. Viewers will also be able to access the segments on NoticiasTelemundo.com, Noticias Telemundo digital properties on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the Noticias Telemundo mobile app.”

Female Editors, Too, Were Silent on Harassment

Julia Wallace

Julia Wallace

For too long, the Baby Boomer generation has been silent about the issue of sexual harassment,” Julia Wallace wrote Monday for the Arizona Republic. “And we have let our daughters down.

“Back in 2002, I had just been named the first woman editor of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was visiting the city’s key leaders. I met with one of the top developers and community leaders in town. We had a cordial talk about Atlanta’s strengths and opportunities.

“As I prepared to leave, he grabbed me and kissed me on the mouth. I must have had a look of shock and/or horror. He stepped back and said ‘that’s how we say goodbye in the South.’ I just smiled and left. I chalked it off to the good ol’ boy nature of my new city. Now, I regret that I didn’t speak up in that moment and many others.

“#MeToo

“Many of us in our 50s and 60s broke many barriers and became ‘the first woman’ to hold a variety of jobs. We were celebrated for breaking the glass ceiling.

“But there was a dirty little secret under all that glass breaking. By our silence and smiles, we were complicit.

“The newspaper business, Hollywood, the health-care business, retail. The story is all the same; as women we were demeaned, objectified, ignored, belittled and more. . . .”

Wallace is the Frank Russell Chair and professor of practice at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

Kaepernick Book Deal Spotlights a Black Editor

Chris Jackson (Credit: YouTube)

Chris Jackson (Credit: YouTube)

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has signed a book deal estimated over $1 million, NBC Sports reported Tuesday,” Foluke Tuakli wrote for NBCBLK.

“According to reports, the book will be published under One World, an imprint under Penguin Random House led by Chris Jackson. Jackson, one of only few black editors in the publishing industry, is known for his works with author Ta-Nehisi Coates, civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, and hip-hop mogul Jay-Z. . . .”

Jackson was the subject of a Feb. 2, 2016, profile in the New York Times Magazine.

The facts of his life in publishing speak to his inevitable place on the inside: the glass-enclosed office; the bookstore — McNally-Jackson in SoHo, which he helped open with Sarah McNally, who was then his wife — that has now become a New York literary institution; his naming last year as a Publishers Weekly Notable of the Year,” Vinson Cunningham wrote.

“Still, he has also acted as a one-man A.&R. unit: He spends much more time corresponding with emerging writers than with the agents who are prone to sending him their most generic ‘black’ offerings.

Cunningham also wrote, ‘‘ ‘Chris is very independent,’ says Rachel Klayman, vice president and executive editor at Crown Publishers. Klayman worked with Jackson at Crown in the early 2000s, and has remained one of his closest friends in publishing since then. ‘At this point,’ she said, ‘he’s sort of an autonomous region. His list is so distinctive.’ To Klayman, who remembers the time — not too distant — when the conventional wisdom was that black books don’t sell,’ Jackson’s intellect and curatorial instincts have made room for new, original voices.

‘He’s just been so steadfast and consistent in pursuing these books,’ she said. ‘Over time, he has proven that there is a market for them. A very substantial market.’

“Despite his success, he still senses a certain condescension within the industry. . . . ”

Blacks Take Discrimination as a Fact of Life

Black Americans take the existence of discrimination as a fact of life,Gene Demby reported Wednesday for NPR.

“That’s according to a new study conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which asked black respondents how they felt about discrimination in their lives and in American society more broadly.

“Almost all of the black people who responded — 92 percent — said they felt that discrimination against African-Americans exists in America today. At least half said they had personally experienced racial discrimination in being paid equally or promoted at work, when they applied for jobs or in their encounters with police.

“But within that near-consensus, the respondents reported having different kinds of experiences with discrimination, which varied considerably depending on things like gender, age and where they lived. . . .”

Short Takes

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