KGB Disinformation Goes Back to King Era

Editorial Says Indictments Reflect Trump Character

NBC Hypes Hours-Old News as ‘Breaking’

Twitter Suspends Trump Ally After Anti-Lemon Rant

Series: Detained Juveniles Subjected to Atrocities

Immigrants Pushed Deeper Into the Shadows

Inequality at the Root of Harassment Issue

Biracial Writer Gives Yuli Gurriel a Break

Financial Plan Helped Her Survive Brain Aneurysm

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Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963 (Credit: Library of Congress)

Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington in 1963 (Credit: Library of Congress)

KGB Disinformation Goes Back to King Era

On a day that saw indictments against three advisers to President Trump’s campaign in an investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election, including planted “fake news,” NPR Monday reminded listeners that Russians have targeted disinformation at African Americans for decades.

The FBI under then-Director J. Edgar Hoover ran a campaign to hound [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] in 1964, including with listening devices in his hotel and letters threatening to ruin him,” Philip Ewing reported. “Meanwhile, the KGB was eager to exploit King as an internal political insurgent against Washington, D.C. When he wouldn’t be used that way, the KGB also tried to undermine him.

” ‘King was probably the only prominent American to be the target of active measures by both the FBI and the KGB,’ ” historian Christopher Andrew and former KGB officer Vasili Mitrokhin wrote in their 1999 book “The Sword and the Shield.”

“Some of the details about the latest chapter in the story have become clear, but much about it remains either unknown or under wraps,” Ewing wrote. “Americans may learn more when the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee convene a trio of hearings they’ve scheduled for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 with three big technology platforms.

“Facebook, Google and Twitter — which have said they’ll send their top lawyers to testify — have discovered they sold ads to agents of influence as part of the Russian attack on the 2016 election. Agents also used the services to interfere in other ways, from amplifying controversy within the U.S. to organizing real-life events such as political rallies.

” ‘We can’t conclusively say these actions impacted the outcome of the election,’ Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in an Oct. 10 statement. ‘But we can say that these ads caused harm and additional resentment to young people who unselfishly fight for justice and equality for African Americans and other marginalized communities.’

“The work, known by intelligence officers as active measures, apparently continues. In the racially charged national debate over mostly black NFL players protesting by kneeling during the national anthem, Twitter accounts linked to the Russian 2016 influence campaign have tried to turn up the volume both on pro-player and anti-player accounts.

“Before that, there were the ads on Facebook. And the account called ‘Blacktivist’ led calls to action for African-Americans to ‘wake up’ and fight ‘mass incarceration and death of black men.’ And before that, Facebook users using fake accounts paid personal trainers to lead self-defense classes aimed at black activists, arguing that the activists needed to ‘protect your rights.’

“And before that — the thread goes back decades. . . .”

Editorial Says Indictments Reflect Trump Character

Harold Jackson

Harold Jackson

The indictment of Paul Manafort alone does not confirm President Trump’s alleged collusion with Russians attempting to manipulate the 2016 election in his favor,” the Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board, led by Harold Jackson, wrote Monday in one of the first editorials on the indictments.

“However, the charges against Manafort and his past associations with some of the world’s most notorious despots says something about the character of the man who chose Manafort to run his presidential campaign.

” ‘Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates were charged Monday in a 12-count federal indictment with conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, and making false statements. The charges stem from Special Prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of the Russia allegations. . . .”

The editorial also said, “The president circled the wagons in anticipation of developments in Mueller’s investigation and fired a volley of tweets both before and after the indictments were announced, suggesting that Mueller’s charges were irrelevant and that he was being treated unfairly. ‘Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign. But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus?????’ said one tweet, followed by ‘Also, there is NO COLLUSION!’

“The president’s certitude isn’t reassuring, given the character of the people he chose to navigate his route to the White House. At this point in Mueller’s investigation, there are still more questions than answers. But with these first indictments and one guilty plea, that may soon change.

“Confidence that the former FBI director will eventually uncover the truth grew considerably with his actions Monday. . . .”

NBC Hypes Hours-Old News as ‘Breaking’

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt again opened his broadcast by announcing to dinner-hour viewers, “breaking news tonight(video). The “breaking news” — the words were also emblazoned on the screen — was “the first indictments in the Mueller investigation.” Except the indictments had come almost 12 hours earlier.

Brian Stelter provided the timeline in his “Reliable Sources” newsletter. “The #MuellerMonday news broke between 7:50 and 8am ET. CNN was first on TV, NYT was first on the web. The first wave of stories were just about Paul Manafort. The second wave, within minutes, was about Rick Gates. ABC, NBC, and CBS aired network-wide special reports shortly after 8am.

“Then came the third wave of stories — around 10:30 — about George Papadopoulos pleading guilty. A huge surprise. Between 10:30 and 11:30, you could feel a shift in the coverage. It began to sink in that Papadopoulos is more closely connected to the Russia collaboration scandal. . . .”

Broadcast news critic Mervin Block has long pointed out this routine hyping. “Lester Holt sure knows how to make news seem exciting. He does that by introducing a story on the newscast he anchors, NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ as ‘breaking news.’ But often the story has already been broken, even shattered,” Block wrote in January 2016.

In September 2016, Block wrote about David Muir’s abuse of the concept as anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight With David Muir.” “Funny how so many stories break during Muir’s half-hour broadcast, yet not breaking on CBS’s or NBC’s 6:30 p.m. newscasts,” Block wrote then under the headline, “ABC’s David Muir Not Intimidated by Facts.”

The website journalism.about.com gives this definition, “Breaking news refers to events that are currently developing, or ‘breaking.’ Breaking news usually refers to events that are unexpected, such as a plane crash or building fire. Breaking news can also refer to news that occurs late in the day, close to a news outlet’s usual deadline.”

Twitter Suspends Trump Ally After Anti-Lemon Rant

Roger Stone, the longtime Trump ally and a divisive figure in politics since the Nixon era, was suspended from Twitter shortly after blasting CNN reporters on the social platform,” Salvador Hernandez reported Sunday for BuzzFeed.

“Sources told BuzzFeed News the suspension is permanent.

“Stone unleashed a tirade against CNN anchors and commentators Friday night, just moments after the news organization published a report that charges had been filed in a sealed indictment related to special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“Stone, who was directly and indirectly involved with President Donald Trump’s campaign, aimed many of his comments at CNN anchor Don Lemon.

” ‘.@donlemon must be confronted, humiliated, mocked and punished,’ Stone wrote from his account Friday night. ‘Dumber than dog shit.’

“In another tweet, Stone told Lemon to ‘stop lying about the Clinton’s and Uranium you ignorant lying covkscucker.’

“A spokesperson for Twitter told BuzzFeed News they could not comment on individual accounts and directed a reporter to the company’s policy on abusive behavior. . . .”

From the Miami Herald's "Fight Club" investigation.

From the Miami Herald’s “Fight Club” investigation.

Series: Detained Juveniles Subjected to Atrocities

In August 2015, a security camera captured footage of 17-year-old Elord Revolte standing beside an interior wall at the Miami-Dade Regional Juvenile Detention Center,” Deirdra Funcheon reported Wednesday for Columbia Journalism Review. “As the camera recorded, another teenager — dressed like Revolte, in khaki pants and a maroon polo shirt — lunged at him, landing a blow on Revolte’s jaw. In an instant, a dozen similarly outfitted teens leaped out of their chairs and joined the beatdown.

“Within two days of the attack, Revolte died from his injuries. Though his death was ruled a homicide, no one was ever charged. Juvenile detainees later alleged that a staffer had instigated the fight; one claimed that Revolte’s assailants ‘were offered food and extra phone calls as rewards‘”

“Footage of Revolte’s assault anchors Fight Club, a multimedia investigative series by the Miami Herald focused on Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice. The Herald investigation revealed a system rife with problems: Staffers organized and bet on fights between kids; workers were hired despite their criminal backgrounds; 12 juvenile detainees died in state care since 2000. Guards earn starting salaries of $19,000 to $25,000 per year.

“Over and over again, poorly qualified corrections workers baited detainees into fighting, often by dangling food: Snickers bars, Chinese food, and honey buns from vending machines. Guards were found to have sexually abused or begun relationships with detainees. When detainees got hurt or sick, staff was slow to attend to their injuries. Juvenile detention workers were rarely held to account, and problems persisted in juvenile corrections facilities run by the government as well as those run by private companies contracted with the state.

Fight Club was published online October 10, and in print on Sunday, October 15, as a pull-out section with 25 stories. Online, Fight Club included nearly a dozen additional stories, along with a powerful selection of security camera footage. . . .”

The Herald told readers, “Herald journalists examined 10 years of Department of Juvenile Justice incident reports, inspector general investigations and administrative reviews, restraint records, police files and court cases, state inspections, child welfare and prison records, emails, personnel files, surveillance video and handwritten witness and victims’ statements.

“They conducted scores of interviews with administrators, public defenders, prosecutors, judges, children’s advocates, consultants, parents and youths across Florida. They toured a half-dozen programs in two states and observed juvenile court cases. . . .”

Juan Rodríguez and his family : Wife Celia and daughters Karen, Kimberly and Rebecca, have built a life in Houston. That could change at month's end because Juan has been ordered to turn himself in to be deported to El Salvador (Credit: Maria DeJesus/Houston Chronicle)

Juan Rodríguez and his family: Wife Celia and daughters Karen, Kimberly and Rebecca have built a life in Houston. That could change at month’s end because Juan has been ordered to turn himself in to be deported to El Salvador (Credit: Marie De Jesus/Houston Chronicle)

Immigrants Pushed Deeper Into the Shadows

President Donald Trump has empowered federal authorities to deport immigrants here illegally, promised to punish so-called sanctuary cities and is pushing Congress to start funding a complete wall along our southern border,” begins a special report on immigration in the Houston Chronicle, “A New America,” which debuted Oct. 18.

“Fearful of being exposed and sent back to countries that may no longer be familiar or welcoming, immigrants are withdrawing even more into the shadows. The worry extends to their spouses and children, who, in many cases, are American citizens.”

The report follows four “storylines”:

  • Crackdown: “Donald Trump’s focus on immigration is straining the federal court system and significantly ramping up construction of new facilities to house detainees. In the first three months of his presidency, at least 113,828 immigrants were locked up in 180 different facilities across the nation — a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2016. Removing large numbers of people, especially from the interior of the country, is incredibly complex and expensive.”
  • Deeper Underground: “For decades, immigrants in the country illegally started businesses, bolstered the work force, bought houses and raised families in Houston with little fear of being questioned about their legal status. They helped build the city into a metropolis. Now immigrants, both those here legally and illegally, are keeping a low profile. Laws such as Texas Senate Bill 4, which allows police officers to question a detained person’s status, and aggressive federal enforcement have sparked fear in the city’s immigrant enclaves, leading to a retreat into the shadows.”
  • José Escobar: “On Feb. 22, José Escobar went to the Houston immigration office for his annual check-in. He’d held a work permit since 2012, granting a provisional stay of deportation. But Immigration and Customs Enforcement has different rules now. The 31-year-old father of two American children was detained and later sent back to El Salvador, where he hadn’t been since he was 15. He fell victim to a paperwork gaffe — his mother had sent for him when he was a teenager, an age when he qualified for temporary protected status. She assumed his permit would automatically renew when she reapplied for hers. It didn’t.”
  • Out of Time: “Candidate Donald Trump inspired anti-immigration fervor across the country — and created panic at Juan Rodríguez’s home. His family felt that Juan, an immigrant from El Salvador who was in the country illegally, would be in danger of deportation. Soon after the election, he was told that he wasn’t ‘a priority for this country anymore.’ An immigration lawyer came to his defense, and three high-profile attorneys signed on to assist Juan’s wife, a U.S. citizen, and their three American daughters in the legal battle.”

Elsewhere:

Inequality at the Root of Harassment Issue

So, now that the dam has burst on sexual misconduct at media companies, we’re good, right?,” Margaret Sullivan asked Sunday in the Washington Post.

“Don’t believe that for a moment.

“The appalling behavior that has been in the headlines for weeks isn’t going to stop just because some high-profile men have fallen from grace.

“Yes, maybe, after this month of eye-popping revelations about influential media figures such as Bill O’Reilly, Mark Halperin and Leon Wieseltier, news organizations will do a better job of taking internal complaints seriously. For a while.

“And maybe high-powered men will keep their pants zipped and their hands to themselves so that they won’t lose their positions atop the totem pole. For a time.

“The revelations do matter. But something deeper — more difficult— has to happen, too.

“Media companies have to address the deep-seated gender inequality that’s at the root of this mess.

“ ‘It shouldn’t be forgotten that sexual harassment is often more about abuse of power than sex,’ wrote former New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson, who with journalist Jane Mayer chronicled Anita Hill’s sexual harassment claims against Clarence Thomas during his 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearings in their book, ‘Strange Justice.’

“When Abramson was the top Times editor — the first woman to hold that coveted post — she promoted talented, qualified women so that half of her masthead was female. Good thing she moved fast; Abramson was fired after less than three years.

“That kind of equity makes a difference. Having a critical mass of female decision-makers, rather than a token presence, allows ideas to bubble up and voices to be heard in new ways. This is, of course, true for racial diversity, too. . . .”

After hitting a home run in the second inning off Yu Darvish, the Astros' Yuli Gurriel appears to mock Darvish in the dugout. (Credit: Twitter)

After hitting a home run in the second inning off Yu Darvish, the Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel appears to mock Darvish in the dugout. (Credit: Twitter)

Biracial Writer Gives Yuli Gurriel a Break

Yuli Gurriel blasted a Yu Darvish fastball into the left-field stands at Minute Maid Park and social media went into a frenzy, Dylan Hernandez, covering the World Series, wrote from Houston Saturday for the Los Angeles Times.

“Not because of the home run, but because of what he did when he returned to the Houston Astros’ bench.

“MLB’s international feed caught Gurriel pulling back the corner of his eyes while mouthing the word ‘chinito,’ which translates to something along the lines of ‘little Chinese boy.’

Dylan Hernandez

Dylan Hernandez

“Darvish is from Japan.

“My initial reaction: OK, that’s kind of silly, but why is everyone so upset?

“Before we go any further, I should probably let you know about my background. My father was born in El Salvador and my mother in Japan. I was born in Los Angeles. So if you have glanced at my picture in these pages and wondered why I have such a strange-looking face, well, there’s your answer. . . .”

Hernandez also wrote, “Really, it’s the context. This might be a hard concept to grasp for anyone who is monocultural or monolingual, but believe me when I tell you racial terms aren’t said with the same level of maliciousness in Spanish as they are in English. Even racist-looking gestures, like the one Guerriel made, aren’t made with the same level of vitriol. Not close.

“Of course, just because something is done playfully doesn’t necessarily make it OK. . . . ”

Financial Plan Helped Her Survive Brain Aneurysm

A year ago, my life changed dramatically,” Sharon Epperson, CNBC senior personal finance correspondent, told viewers over the weekend. “It took a traumatic event — a brain aneurysm to be exact — for me to truly understand how important it is to be financially prepared for the unexpected.

Sharon Epperson

Sharon Epperson

“A brain aneurysm is a bulge in an artery in the brain, and can appear with no symptoms. When it bursts, like mine did, it’s often fatal. Without warning, I was suddenly disabled, uncertain of whether or when I could ever be able to return to my career (I resumed my position at CNBC at the end of September.)

“In my reporting on personal finance, I often tell readers and viewers that it is vital to have a financial plan. Now I know first-hand that advice can be life-saving, especially when an unexpected disaster changes your life.

“The most important lesson I learned: Bring your loved ones up to speed on your financial life while you are well, in case you are unable to do so if you’re hit with a medical emergency or become disabled.

“Thankfully, my husband and I had planned ahead, and you can, too. Here are five steps we took to avoid a financial disaster if one of us was ever hit with a medical emergency. . . .”

Short Takes

 At Northwestern University, Britt Julious, left, moderates a panel of journalists Rembert Browne, Doreen St. Félix and Wesley Morris on Thursday. (second item)


At Northwestern University, Britt Julious, left, moderates a panel of journalists Rembert Browne, Doreen St. Félix and Wesley Morris on Thursday. (second item)

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