Retweet of Anti-Muslim Video, ‘Pocahontas’ Cited

Ryan ‘Great’ With Snub From White House on Party

Press Groups Sue for Details on Leak Investigations

Yamiche Alcindor Leaving N.Y. Times for PBS

‘Journal-isms’ Makes the News

Conyers’ Wife Irritated by Media Attention

Baquet Talks Pain, Therapy, Blackness With Jay-Z

$75K to Help Puerto Rico Radio Stations Recover

Rodney McKissic, Sportswriter, Dies at 50

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Retweet of Anti-Muslim Video, ‘Pocahontas’ Cited

Over the past 24 hours, President Trump has delivered a concentrated dose of misinformation, self-sabotage, hypocrisy, and bigotry that stands out even by the standards of his short and eventful political career,” David A. Graham wrote Wednesday in the Atlantic, an analysis echoed by others in the news media.

“The president blew up negotiations to fund the government with a tweet attacking Democratic congressional leaders. He retweeted inflammatory and misleading anti-Islam videos from a bigoted far-right British politician. He joked about presenting a ‘Fake News Trophy’ to media networks.

“He called attention to Matt Lauer, the NBC host fired on Wednesday for sexual misconduct, despite Trump’s own past admissions of sexual assault. He baselessly implied that NBC host Joe Scarborough, a one-time informal adviser, might have been involved in the death of an intern years ago in Florida. And several outlets reported that the president privately continues to claim preposterous things, including that it wasn’t him on the Access Hollywood tape and that Barack Obama really wasn’t born in the United States. . . .”

The Native American Journalists Association homed in on Trump’s derogatory use of the name “Pocahontas” at a ceremony Monday honoring Navajo “code talkers” in referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

We call on our colleagues in journalism to be responsible and accurate in their reporting on this important issue that affects the perception of Native people and communities,” NAJA said in a statement Tuesday.

“Pocahontas was an Indigenous woman who, to this day, holds a significant place in the culture and history of her family, her tribe — the Pamunkey Indian Tribe in Virginia — and among the larger Native American community. NAJA agrees with NCAI [the National Congress of American Indians] that her name should not be used as a weapon of hate or prejudice, and it is inappropriate for anyone to use her name in a disparaging manner. . . .

“NAJA advises reporters to provide accurate context when referring to Indigenous historical figures such as Pocahontas. Just as the president has the power to twist the name of a powerful Native woman into a term of bigotry and hate, so do the media have the power — through ethical and accurate storytelling — to restore her honor and rightful place of esteem in our nation’s history.”

Anderson Cooper said on CNN’s “AC360,” “Today the President of the United States once again embraced the message of racist, bigoted bullies. It is easy to become numb to this sort of behavior, but we must not. Presidents of the United States are not supposed to stoke fear and hatred of Muslims. . . .”

New York’s Daily News, Trump’s hometown paper, editorialized with a headline that read, “Donald Trump is a madman: The President’s Wednesday Twitter spasm confirms what many Americans have long suspected.”

In the Chicago Tribune, columnist Rex Huppke wrote Wednesday, “Let us not soft-pedal what we have seen this morning: The president of the United States is an unhinged racist.”

Graham continued in the Atlantic, “It’s unclear what precipitated the meltdown. Trump was having a decent stretch in office, including relatively smooth progress for the GOP tax bill. Taken individually, none of these examples is all that unusual for Trump. His bigotry toward Muslims has been on display for years. He has blown up budget negotiations before. He frequently passes along unverified and false information. His hypocrisy about sexual-harassment allegations is not new. He has a weakness for conspiracy theories.

“Taken together, however, they offer yet another display of poor judgment and divisive leadership from the putative leader of the free world, and they again cast doubt on his fitness for his office. They are also further evidence that Trump’s hypocrisy, bigotry, and dishonesty are not an act. He means it all. . . .”

Ryan ‘Great’ With Snub From White House on Party

April Ryan (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

April Ryan (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson)

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will host the annual White House holiday party for the news media the party as usual on Friday, but it won’t be the usual party,” Paul Farhi wrote Wednesday for the Washington Post.

“Among those not invited this year is April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and a CNN contributor.”

“I am not going and never wanted to go,” Ryan, the National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year, told Journal-isms by email Friday. “I have been designated as an enemy of this White House. Why would I celebrate with them? I am great. I am busy today and not thinking about this party.”

Farhi also wrote, “Ryan noted that this is first time in 20 years of covering the White House that she hasn’t been welcome at the annual party. She’s attended parties hosted by presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama (she said  ‘no’ one time during the Bush years because she was pregnant). And that includes years in which she’s tangled with other press secretaries, including Obama’s first, Robert Gibbs. . . .”

[A White House official said the slight had been inadvertentMichael M. Grynbaum reported Friday for the New York Times. He also wrote that “Breitbart News, the right-wing website run by the former White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon, received its first-ever invitation. Fox News personalities flooded the room, including the hosts of ‘Fox & Friends’ and Sean Hannity, who attended the party for the first time in years.” David Nakamura, a reporter for the Washington Post, wore a “First Amendment” lapel pin.]

Farhi also wrote, “CNN, which the president criticized repeatedly and sharply on Monday, said Tuesday it won’t attend. ‘In light of the President’s continued attacks on freedom of the press and CNN, we do not feel it is appropriate to celebrate with him as his invited guests,” a spokesman said. Instead, the network will cover the event as a news story and report on it “if news warrants.’ . . .”

Press Groups Sue for Details on Leak Investigations

Press freedom groups filed suit today to force the government to disclose more about how and when it obtains journalists’ communications, amid reports that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions is pursuing a record number of leak investigations,” Cora Currier reported Wednesday for the Intercept.

“The question the groups hope to answer is whether the Trump administration — openly hostile toward news media — has jettisoned or modified rules that limit the government’s ability to spy on journalists while they do their jobs.

“Those rules were made more stringent by former President Barack Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder in 2014, after outcry when it was revealed that the administration had secretly obtained call records from the Associated Press and surveilled a Fox News reporter, naming him a co-conspirator in a national security leak case. Holder pledged that his department would go after journalists’ records in criminal cases only as a ‘last resort.’

Carrie DeCell, a staff attorney with Knight First Amendment Institute, which is bringing the suit along with the Freedom of the Press Foundation, said that ‘we have seen the DOJ media guidelines that Obama released, but we understand that Sessions is reconsidering those guidelines, and the way the government uses subpoenas against journalists.’ . . .”

Yamiche Alcindor Leaving N.Y. Times for PBS

Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor

Yamiche Alcindor, a rising journalism star who has covered Congress and the 2016 presidential campaign since joining the New York Times in 2015, is leaving the Times to join the “PBS NewsHour” as its White House correspondent, the show announced on Thursday.

Alcindor will continue to serve as a political contributor for NBC News and MSNBC, the “NewsHour” announcement said.

“She is a terrific journalist and this was an irresistible offer for her,” Dean Baquet, executive editor of the Times, said by email.

Alcindor agreed. “I wasn’t looking to make a move and I really loved working at The NY Times. But this opportunity is amazing and I wanted to make the move,” she messaged Journal-isms.

As the “NewsHour” reported, “Alcindor currently covers Congress, the impact of the Trump Administration’s policies on working class Americans and people of color, and the intersection of race and politics in America. She was previously a national breaking news reporter for USA Today where she reported on the Newtown, Conn. school shooting, the death of Trayvon Martin, and police related protests in Ferguson, Mo. and Baltimore, Md.”

“I’ve read and watched Yamiche’s reporting with admiration and have been struck with how she combines an eye for detail, crisp writing and passion for the craft with a gift for communicating on air,” “NewsHour” managing editor Judy Woodruff said in the release. “I’m excited to have her join us on this critical beat.”

The announcement continued, “In March 2017, Alcindor — who described the late PBS NewsHour co-anchor and managing editor Gwen Ifill as one of her mentors — was presented an award in Ifill’s memory at the Toner Prize.

“Earlier this year, she was also named to The Root’s annual list of the most influential African Americans in the country [under 40] and to The 1804 List, an award named in honor of Haiti’s year of independence that recognizes influential Haitian-American leaders. In 2013, she was named the National Association of Black Journalists Emerging Journalist of the Year. . . .”

Ifill also left the Times for broadcast journalism, first at NBC News, and then at PBS.

(Credit: Courtland Milloy Jr./Washington Post)

(Credit: Courtland Milloy Jr./Washington Post)

‘Journal-isms’ Makes the News

“Journal-isms” and its author were the focus of a column Tuesday by Courtland Milloy of the Washington Post, who wrote, “Among the nation’s growing cadre of media watchdogs, Prince stands alone with a singular, 24/7 focus on making newsrooms more diverse and improving the coverage of people of color, no matter what.”

The photo above, which ran in the online version, was drawing as much attention as the text. Column.

Marion Brown discusses her sexual misconduct accusation against Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., on NBC's "Today" show.

Marion Brown discusses her sexual misconduct accusation against Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., on NBC’s “Today” show.

Conyers’ Wife Irritated by Media Attention

Monica Conyers wasn’t in a talkative mood Wednesday morning as the media camped outside her house looking for her embattled husband, U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit,” Perry A. Farrell reported Wednesday for the Detroit Free Press.

“John Conyers has come under fire because of sexual harassment allegations made against him and how they were handled by his office.

“As she was leaving the family’s house Wednesday morning, Monica Conyers said: ‘I’ll make a comment when you all disclose to me who has made the allegations.’

Farrell, who used material from the Associated Press, additionally wrote, “Monica Conyers became irritated with the media attention.

“ ‘Do you all go and stalk other people’s houses?’ Monica Conyers asked the media camped outside her house. ‘Do you go and stalk white people’s houses or just come to the black neighborhoods and stalk our houses?’

“Conyers said her husband wasn’t home and that she didn’t know his whereabouts. . . .”

James David Dickson and Melissa Nann Burke reported for the Detroit News, “A longtime family friend said Thursday that U.S. Rep. John Conyers . . .  has been hospitalized for ‘tremendous stress.’ “

Meanwhile, “House Democratic leaders called on Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) to resign Thursday . . . ,Elise Viebeck and David Weigel reported for the Washington Post.

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her three deputies, including the House’s highest-ranking African American, Rep. James E. Clyburn (S.C.), said Conyers must step down, after one of his accusers detailed her experience on national television. . . .”

Conyers was just one male figure caught up in sexual harassment allegations this week. Others included Matt Lauer of NBC’s “Today” show; Garrison Keiler, founder of Minnesota Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” and hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.

The swift removal of Lauer from the “Today” show on Tuesday brought a quick response from Douglas H. Wigdor, whose Wigdor LLP represents 23 current and former employees of Fox News.

“We commend NBC for apparently taking prompt action against Mr. Lauer after investigating a complaint of inappropriate sexual behavior and a violation of NBC’s standards,” Wigdor said in a statement Wednesday. “NBC’s decision stands in stark contrast to the way that Fox has handled similar situations.

Scottie Nell Hughes complained to Fox about being raped by, and coerced into a sexual relationship with, Fox Business Network Host Charles Payne. Rather than hold Mr. Payne accountable — Fox put him right back on the air following a sham investigation — Fox viciously attacked Ms. Hughes for reporting [Mr.] Payne’s conduct and leaked her name to the press.

“In addition, earlier this month, Fox fired Fox5 reporter Lidia Curanaj, after she filed a lawsuit alleging that News Director Byron Harmon harassed and discriminated against her because of her pregnancy, ethnicity and age. Mr. Harmon remains employed by Fox. Fox also informed former Fox News radio correspondent Jessica Golloher that she would be terminated the day after she utilized Fox’s complaint procedures in an effort to report gender discrimination and harassment. This conduct at Fox must end, and we call on Fox to stop protecting perpetrators of sexual misbehavior and to start protecting their victims.”

Fox News responded, “It is entirely false that Fox News retaliated against anyone who complained of harassment. Instead, we proactively reached out to women across our company to address their concerns and where appropriate, compensated them.”

Meanwhile, a Vanity Fair feature in which James Wolcott spotlights four New York Times journalistsJodi Kantor, Michael Schmidt, Emily Steel and Megan Twohey — who followed the trail of sexual harassment settlements and “set off a national reckoning,” might raise a question about whether  journalists of color are involved in pursuing the stories.

Baquet Talks Pain, Therapy, Blackness With Jay-Z

When I was a kid growing up in black New Orleans in the 1960s, O.J. Simpson was a god,” Dean Baquet, executive editor of the New York Times, began his report on his interview with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.

“We imitated his moves, his swagger. We didn’t want to just play like him. We wanted to be him, gorgeous and running in the California sun. We practiced his juking moves in the mirror, our hands too small to hold the ball loosely, the way he did. We even wanted to go to U.S.C., where he led the nation in rushing two years in a row. We were angry when he lost the Heisman Trophy to the white, All-American, clean-cut U.C.L.A. quarterback Gary Beban, known as ‘The Great One.’ We were triumphant when he won it the next year.’

Baquet’s 35-minute interview, posted Wednesday, is to appear in the New York Times Style Magazine.

He continued, “But O.J. was not a perfect hero for young black boys, even though he launched himself from poverty in San Francisco to superstardom. He was racially ambivalent. At a time when other athletes were starting to make their blackness a cause, he was trying to make his a footnote.

“So when I was invited to interview Jay-Z, I wanted to talk about his song ‘The Story of O.J.,’ from his most recent album, ‘4:44,’ in which he quotes the legendary, maybe apocryphal, Simpson line ‘I’m not black, I’m O.J.’

“I was less engaged by the rapper’s marital troubles or his infamous, caught-on-video 2014 elevator dust-up with his sister-in-law. But I did want to try to understand how, with an $88 million Bel Air mansion a freeway ride from neighborhoods where black people endure with so little, Jay-Z holds onto his younger self — a black man who grew up in the ’70s in the Marcy projects of Brooklyn.

“It seemed from his new body of work that examining this high-wire act of straddling two places had been stirring more deeply within him — much the way it stirs in me, a Southern black man who grew up revering O.J. and whose own success is infinitely greater than anyone in my early life would have imagined for me.

“What is it about the story of O.J. Simpson that moved us both? . . .”

A Twitter user named Kris was impressed. “y’all need to watch jay z’s full interview w ny times. that is the realest, most admirable conversation i’ve ever listened to,” she tweeted.

$75K to Help Puerto Rico Radio Stations Recover

The Latino Public Radio Consortium (LPRC) received $75,000 in support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to help noncommercial radio stations in Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria and re-establish essential communication services on the island,” the foundation announced Wednesday.

“The hurricane destroyed Puerto Rico’s power infrastructure and caused great damage to station operations on the island. The grant will be used to deliver radio equipment, power generators and satellite phones to WIPR, WRTU, WOQI, WVQR & UAGM Radio.

“ ‘This support will help us to advance the recovery of public media in Puerto Rico, whose services are so necessary in a time of crisis,’ said LPRC Executive Director Magaly Rivera.

“Noncommercial stations in Puerto Rico play a vital role in providing important news information and resources to local communities; especially when recovery efforts are still taking place to deliver essential items like food and water.

“In times of crisis providing an information lifeline to communities in need is vital to ensuring their regrowth and future success. To this end, supporting public radio in Puerto Rico is an urgent necessity,” said Karen Rundlet, Knight Foundation program officer for journalism.

“ ‘The LPRC has been gathering support and coordinating assistance from other noncommercial stations that have come forward to help the island’s broadcasters to get back on air and continue operations,’ explained Rivera.

“The award was made possible, in part, through a collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ). NAHJ launched the @ConnectPRNews initiative on Twitter and delivered portable radios to communities in the island. . . .”

Rodney McKissic, Sportswriter, Dies at 50

Rod McKissic

Rodney McKissic

Rodney McKissic, a sportswriter with the Buffalo News from 2001 to 2014, died in Buffalo  Tuesday of a brain bleed, his wife, Tracia, told Journal-isms on Friday.  He was 50.

At the News, McKissic covered the University at Buffalo football and men’s basketball programs in addition to Canisius College, Niagara University and St. Bonaventure men’s basketball programs, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He also wrote about the Buffalo Bills and minor league baseball, James Wojtanik, night sports editor, told Journal-isms.

Tracia McKissic said her husband had been laid off from the News in 2014 and became self-employed, continuing to write and starting a business, Rip N Run Errands. “He enjoyed that as a way to earn a little money, setting his own hours and helping out people who weren’t able.”

He had a history of kidney and other medical problems that are believed to have contributed to his brain bleed, she said.

McKissic had also been a sportswriter at the Cincinnati Post, the old Rochester (N.Y.) Times-Union and the News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash. In 1987, he became a co-founder of the Sports Task Force of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at First Trinity Lutheran Church, 1570 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda, N.Y. 14150. He leaves his wife and four children.  Condolences may be sent to the church or the John F. Roberts Funeral Home in Amherst, N.Y.

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