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Sanchez, Contrite, Returns to Diversity Issue

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

"I Went Into the Interview With a Chip on My Shoulder"

Michael Days Stays, William Marimow Demoted in Philly

Nobel Literature Winner Is Also Newspaper Columnist

E-Mails Released on Sherrod Case Provide No Smoking Gun

Dobbs on Defensive After Nation Piece Charging Hypocrisy

Tamron Hall Hosting Afternoon Political Show on MSNBC

Steve Forbes, Washington Post Defend Running D'Souza

Rogers Plans Community Outreach to Boost Jet, Ebony

Short Takes

Rick Sanchez told George Stephanopoulos, "I was a little bit angry, and look, I will be honest with you. I hope you don't mind my saying, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it. If you look right now in our media, in prime time, there's not a single Hispanic, not a single African American."(Video)

"I Went Into the Interview With a Chip on My Shoulder"

Ousted CNN anchor Rick Sanchez appeared on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Friday and said his controversial comments last week were wrong and offensive, but added that "I went into the interview with a chip on my shoulder" because of the lack of Hispanics, Asian Americans or African Americans hosting prime-time news shows on the mainstream cable networks.

"I was looking at the landscape," Sanchez told host George Stephanopoulos. "I was wrong to scapegoat Jon Stewart."

Stephanopoulos played a clip of Time Warner Chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes saying that Sanchez might "someday" be hired back by CNN or one of Time Warner's other channels. Sanchez said he would go back in a minute because CNN "is a wonderful, wonderful organization. CNN didn't screw up. Rick Sanchez screwed up," he said.

In a Sept. 30 interview for a satellite radio show, Sanchez excoriated Stewart for hailing from a middle-class background that Sanchez said made Stewart unable to "relate to a guy like me." Sanchez went on to answer a question about whether Stewart, as a Jew, shouldn't also be considered a member of an oppressed minority group.

His response: "I’m telling you that everybody who runs CNN is a lot like Stewart, and a lot of people who run all the other networks are a lot like Stewart, and to imply that somehow they — the people in this country who are Jewish — are an oppressed minority? Yeah.' " Many reported the response as anti-Semitic.

"First of all, that's not what I meant," Sanchez told Stephanopoulos. "It was wrong, and I shouldn't have been so careless. What I was feeling got in the way of what I should have said."

He said he was fatigued and impatient, explaining that "I was working 14 hour days for two and a half months" and that "my daughter had a softball game that I desperately wanted to go to."

Stephanopoulos parried with Sanchez when the former CNN anchor said, "I was a little bit angry, and look, I will be honest with you. I hope you don't mind my saying, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it. If you look right now in our media, in prime time, there's not a single Hispanic, not a single African American."

Stephanopoulos: Liz Vargas.

Sanchez: In prime time hosting a prime time show, in the United States.

Stephanopoulos: "20/20"?

Sanchez: There's that "20/20." I'm talking about newscasts in cable news.

Stephanopoulos: Liz Vargas

Sanchez: That's true, that's fair. I'm referring to cable newscasts. Straight newscasts, not magazine shows. There's not a single Hispanic, a single Asian American or a single African American.

Stephanopoulos: Connie Chung did have a show at CNN.

Sanchez: There's a lot of people who've had shows a little bit in the past. I'm talking about right now, though, George. And I think it's significant, you know, that we do have some representation.

Stephanopoulos: So you do think you're a (victim) of prejudice.

Sanchez: Well, it's interesting the way you put that. No. I was wrong to say that. And I was wrong to scapegoat Jon Stewart.

I was filling a little bit put out. And I was feeling a little sensitive. And I was looking at the landscape and I was seeing that. And I externalized the problem and I was putting it on Jon Stewart's shoulders, and I was wrong to do that.

Sanchez went on to praise Stewart, saying that when he called the comedian, Sanchez asked why he was always singled out.

"Because you're the one I like," he said Stewart told him.

 

Philadelphia Daily News reporters Barbara Laker, left, and Wendy Ruderman, and Daily News Editor Michael Days react in April to the news of their Pulitzer Prize for investigative work. (Credit: Sarah J. Glover/Philadelphia Daily News)

Michael Days Stays, William Marimow Demoted in Philly

Michael Days will "absolutely" remain editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, the CEO of the paper's new owners told Journal-isms on Friday, even though Days' counterpart at the Philadelphia Inquirer, William K. Marimow, is being demoted.

"Michael and I have had lots of conversations," said Gregory J. Osberg, president and chief executive officer at Philadelphia Media Network Inc., the new owner of the Inquirer, the Daily News and the website Philly.com.

"I've found him to be creative," good with his staff and "very open to experimentation with respect to how philly.com and the Daily News can operate in an integrated operation," Osberg told Journal-isms.

William K. MarimowDays, 57, a Philadelphia native, is among the handful of African American top editors at daily newspapers. He joined the newspaper more than 20 years ago and was named editor in 2005. This year, two Daily News reporters, Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman, won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for a series on allegedly corrupt narcotics cops. "The series would NOT have happened without Michael Days," Ruderman told Journal-isms afterward.

"The company's new management told Marimow that despite his national reputation as an outstanding print journalist, he did not have the background in digital media necessary to lead the paper going forward," Christopher K. Hepp wrote Thursday in the Inquirer.

"Marimow, 63, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, will continue at The Inquirer as an investigative reporter.

"Stan Wischnowski, The Inquirer's deputy managing editor/operations and vice president for shared services, was named acting editor. He will be among the candidates to fill the open position, said Gregory J. Osberg, chief executive officer for Philadelphia Media Network Inc., the new owner of The Inquirer, the Philadelphia Daily News, and the website Philly.com.

"The demotion of Marimow and appointment of Wischnowski came as Philadelphia Media Network prepared to finally take control of the local media company.

"Philadelphia Media Network, owned by 32 financial institutions, purchased the papers and website at auction Sept. 23. The new company emerges from a 20-month bankruptcy Friday.

"Osberg said there were other executive-level dismissals Thursday. They included Richard Thayer, executive vice president for finance, and Scott Baker, general counsel."

Marimow's name has appeared in this column largely in connection with a dispute over sports columnist Stephen A. Smith. Marimow kept Smith out of the paper for two years after demoting him from sports columnist to general assignment reporter. Smith, backed by the Newspaper Guild and eventually an arbitrator, refused to accept the demotion. Smith's $225,000 a year was too much money, Marimow said.

Smith finally left the paper in June by mutual agreement. He did not respond to messages on Friday.

Bill Ross, executive director of the Newspaper Guild/CWA of Greater Philadelphia Local 38010, told Journal-isms via e-mail:

"Under the prior ownership, former CEO and Publisher Brian Tierney laid off over 200 Guild members, many of them reporters. I'm thrilled to get former managers back into the Newspaper Guild. Especially a former 2 time Pulitzer Prize winner when he was an investigative reporter at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Mr. Marimow has already signed his Guild membership application to rejoin the union, and seemed thrilled to join the ranks again."

Nobel Literature Winner Is Also Newspaper Columnist

Mario Vargas Llosa (Credit: Manuel González Olaechea)"Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa — author of some of the most celebrated literature in Latin America and a beloved figure in Miami, a city he has often visited — won the Nobel Prize for Literature on Thursday," as Fabiola Santiago wrote Thursday for the Miami Herald.

"In elegant and clear prose, Vargas Llosa chronicled the machinations of power and the powerful in Latin America in narratives that engrossed readers in the most intimate details of a character's life."

Nina Larson of Agence France-Presse added, "Unlike other literary figures who seek to avoid the limelight, Vargas Llosa embraces contemporary affairs with gusto. He writes regularly for newspapers and magazines, and travels frequently for research and to deliver lectures."

She said, "Early on he became a journalist, moving to France in 1959 where he worked as a language teacher and as a journalist for Agence France-Presse as well as for French television before establishing his reputation as an author."

Santiago wrote on Friday, "Vargas Llosa received an honorary degree from Florida International University in 1990 and taught a humanities course for graduate students in 1991. His son, Alvaro, also lived in Miami and was El Nuevo Herald's editorial page editor.

Santiago quoted Eduardo Gamarra, a politics and international relations professor at FIU: " 'Vargas Llosa's books are really shrewd and sophisticated political analysis,' said Gamarra, whose FIU office was next to Vargas Llosa's. 'He moved from his origins as an analyst on the left of center to the most intellectually coherent perspective on the right in the world today; profoundly democratic but firmly on the right.'

"Gamarra pointed to Vargas Llosa's column in Madrid's El País," for whom he wrote regularly, "on Sunday as an example of the shift.

" 'His criticisms of Chávez and Castro are not knee-jerk,' Gamarra said, referring to leaders Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba.

" 'They are intellectual indictments with a profoundly theoretical base.' "

E-Mails Released on Sherrod Case Provide No Smoking Gun

CNN contributor Roland Martin speaks to former USDA director Shirley Sherrod at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in July in San Diego. Martin apologized to Sherrod for his aggressive criticism of her when blogger Andrew Breibart released his  out-of-context video portraying her as a bigot. (Credit: Jason Miccolo Johnson/NABJ)Hundreds of pages of e-mails released to at least three news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act show that Obama administration officials knew they did not have all the facts last summer when they rushed to dismiss Shirley Sherrod from the Agriculture Department after learning of a video that painted her as a bigot.

But the e-mails, reported Friday by the Los Angeles Times/Tribune Washington bureau, the Associated Press and Salon.com, provide no smoking gun.

"The e-mails, some of which were redacted by the Agriculture Department, do not show whether the White House ordered the dismissal, long a point of speculation," Peter Nicholas and Kathleen Hennessey of the Tribune Washington Bureau wrote.

"Sherrod has said that when department Deputy Undersecretary Cheryl Cook called and asked her to resign, Cook told her the White House wanted her out, but USDA and White House officials have said the decision was made within the agency.

"However, the e-mails suggest the White House was watching with interest. 'Just wanted you to know that this dismissal came up at our morning senior staff meeting today,' Christopher Lu, who serves as Obama's liaison to the Cabinet, wrote to top Agriculture officials early July 20, the morning after Sherrod was ousted. 'Everyone complimented USDA on how quickly you took this action,' he wrote, adding that it would stop an 'unpleasant story' from getting 'traction.' 'Thanks for the great efforts.'

"Within the USDA, the messages show, government officials had moved at breakneck pace to try to beat the news cycle, leaving little time to ask questions, seek legal advice or consider Sherrod's side of the story."

"There's no doubt that the reported $6 million a year Dobbs raked in while bashing undocumented immigrants at CNN has helped him amass real estate and boosted his family's profile in the elite world of horse shows," the Nation said about Lou Dobbs, center. "But without undocumented immigrants, just who would look after Dobbs's properties?" (Video

Dobbs on Defensive After Nation Piece Charging Hypocrisy

Lou Dobbs defended himself Thursday and Friday "after a Nation magazine article claimed that the vocal critic of illegal immigration has relied on undocumented immigrant labor on his properties, including stables where the Dobbs Group owns horses," Michael Calderone reported for Yahoo News.

"On his radio program, Dobbs slammed the Nation's one-year investigation as 'a fairly typical hit piece' and a 'smear piece' before speaking with its author, Isabel Macdonald. He also described the liberal political magazine as a 'left-wing activist attack publication.'

"During the interview with Macdonald, the former CNN host repeatedly asked her if he or his company had ever hired illegal immigrants. 'The truth is,' he said at one point, 'I have never, nor has the Dobbs Group, at any time, hired an illegal immigrant.'

"Macdonald acknowledged that Dobbs himself hadn't, but countered that illegal workers tended to his grounds and looked after his show horses for four years. She claimed that the contractors and trainers whom Dobbs hired then employed illegal workers."

Ken Tucker reported Friday for Entertainment Weekly, "Lou Dobbs is under siege, taking to news shows ranging from 'Good Morning America' to MSNBC’s new 'The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell'. . . . 

Tamron Hall Hosting Afternoon Political Show on MSNBC

Tamron Hall is hosting a new hourlong political news show on MSNBC, "NewsNation," starting Monday at 2 p.m. She becomes the only journalist of color hosting a show on the cable network.

Tamron Hall"We recently added Richard Lui to our list of anchors, but he is reporting for Chris Jansing's show, 'Jansing and Co.,' so it's not technically his. Martin Bashir will also be starting his own show at some point, but it will not likely be for a couple of months," MSNBC spokeswoman Weesie Vieira told Journal-isms on Friday.

An announcement said, "Her new show will feature in-depth coverage of the day's biggest political news, as well as interviews with pundits and policy-makers. Hall has been with msnbc since July of 2007, where she has served as an anchor on our dayside programming, host of a 2009 'Dateline' series titled, 'You Might Be Rich,' and has filled in for Ann Curry and other anchors on NBC's TODAY.

"Her new show will feature in-depth coverage of the day's biggest political news, as well as interviews with pundits and policy-makers."

Steve Forbes, Washington Post Defend Running D'Souza

"Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, defended the controversial article by Dinesh D'Souza that wrongly reported numerous facts, has drawn criticism from even one Forbes columnist, and required two corrections after the fact," Joe Strupp reported Friday for Media Matters for America.

"Speaking to Media Matters for America late Thursday, Forbes said the article's essential analysis was correct and the post-publication corrections were not a big deal. . . .

"At issue was D'Souza's claim in the Sept. 9 cover story that President Obama's policies should be understood as a manifestation of his African father's 'hatred of the colonial system.' Forbes had said it 'stands by the story' and that 'no facts are in contention,' but D'Souza's article contains numerous falsehoods and distortions that Media Matters has revealed."

The Washington Post published an op-ed piece by D'Souza advancing the same argument on Friday.

Asked why, Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt replied:

"D'Souza's theory has sparked a great deal of commentary, from potential presidential candidates as well as from commentators on our own pages. Here are links to some of the criticism we have published:

[Eugene Robinson: "Gingrich, unhinged on Obama"]

[Richard Cohen: "Republicans under a spell"]

[Jonathan Capehart: "How Newt Gingrich thinks"]

"Under those circumstances, I thought Post readers, many of whom may not read Forbes magazine, might welcome a chance to read and evaluate for themselves what D'Souza is saying."

Clockwise, from left: entertainers Usher, Mary J. Blige, Taraji P. Henson, Nia Long and Samuel L. Jackson appear on Ebony's 65th anniversary cover.

Rogers Plans Community Outreach to Boost Jet, Ebony

"Johnson Publishing Co.'s new CEO Desirée Rogers plans to reach out to historically black colleges, sororities, fraternities and churches to help reverse the circulation slide of the company's flagship magazines, Ebony and Jet," Lynne Marek reported Monday for Crain's Chicago Business.

" 'I'm going to go to the community — I'm going to go direct," Ms. Rogers said in an interview following a speech to the American Magazine Conference in Chicago.

"Currently, the average age of a Jet reader is 37; the average age for Ebony is 41. Ms. Rogers wants content of the magazines to expand their appeal to younger readers by incorporating more social media and interactive options, she says.

"Ms. Rogers, who took her post at the Chicago-based media and cosmetic company in June after leaving her job as White House social secretary in February, aims to beef up the iconic African-American magazines' content, web presence and events. She'll seek new advertisers at a time when the industry is trying to stem the flow of ad revenue to alternative Internet options.

"She's already signed up New York-based Citigroup Inc. and Schaumburg-based Motorola Inc. as first-time Johnson advertisers. The company also will roll out an iPad app next week."

Short Takes

  • Bobbi Bowman, diversity consultant for the American Society of News Editors, has become editor of the Patch.com hyperlocal website for McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington. "They saw what I was doing with the McLean Ear and offered me a job," she told Journal-isms, speaking of the website she started this year. "I'll do the same thing" for Patch.
  • The Institute for Justice and Journalism invites journalists nationwide to apply for its 2011 fellowship program, "Immigration in the Heartland." Selected Fellows will participate in a weeklong conference in Oklahoma and Texas starting March 5. The program plans to explore immigration issues being played out across the nation, including state legislative actions and education and legal topics. Application deadline is Nov. 30.

  • Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry provided riveting radio Friday as he visited the "Politics Hour" of "the Kojo Nnamdi Show" (audio) on Washington's WAMU-FM to denounce an essay Nnamdi wrote for the Washington Post on the outcome of last month's D.C. mayoral primary. Neither man changed his position as Nnamdi tried to maintain his host posture while defending his essay. Barry supported City Council Chairman Vincent Gray, who defeated incumbent Adrian Fenty in the Democratic primary. In one passage challenged by Barry, who is now a City Council member, Nnamdi wrote, "If the template, in 2010, for black Mayors who connect favorably with black voters is Sharpe James [of Newark] and Marion Barry, even after their jail terms, then maybe Vince Gray needs to hurry up and get himself locked up so he too can 'keep it real.' "

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Richard Prince's Journal-isms originates from Washington and is published Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It began in print before most of us knew what the Internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a "column." For newcomers: The words in blue (on most computers) are links leading to more information. The Web site BugMeNot.com provides passwords and user names to some registration-only news sites, but use may be illegal in some states. Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.

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Comments

Sanchez bullied by Stephanopoulos

Thanks Richard for providing us with a blow-by-blow beat down of the contrite Sanchez. As embarrassing as this is, watching a man grovel for his career and a path back to the very place he openly criticized days ago, it is a lesson for me.

The interviewer responds to the charge that there isn't a single minority sitting in a similar position as himself by coming prepared to toss out a name. That sort of stupid human trick is why I don't watch his (or any other) news show. It's a slap in the face to intelligent folk. 

Sanchez yet again proved his criticizers correct in demonstrating that he doesn't prepare well for getting on the air. Obviously, he knew the careful framing of his point would be contested in any regard. The point is that folks like Stephanopoulos are on the side of arguing the point rather than recognizing the point and seeking to do something about it.

And Sanchez is being marched through a gauntlet of public contrition by his pathetic push to get back on the other side of the door where folks who look like him are scarce. To reach the carrot dangling in front of him, which CNN's CEO sarcastically tossed onto the floor outside his office, Sanchez will have to recant in such a way that the next person who dares say what he said would face a barrage of contrite Sanchez clips.

It's a brilliant ploy by the power brokers to keep the powerless "in their place." 

To take Stephanopoulos' perspective, if there is one Hispanic in a prominent on-camera seat and there was once an Asian in a seat of prominence, what's the problem?

So, there's no African American. Hey! did you not see Connie Chung? So shut up about it!

If Sanchez had any hair left on his body and wasn't covered in ashes and sack cloth, he might've had the fortitude to use Jon Stewart's comedic nastiness and agree with Stephanopoulos' innuendo:

"You know, you're right George. What the heck was I thinking? You've made a brilliant point that there really isn't any problem here. Let's see your list again of minorities who have made it to the seat you're sitting in now over the past 30 years.

"I'll update my list now and quietly leave the set."

Then Sanchez gets his pen ready and lets a roll of toilet paper unravel off the desk.

Stephanopoulos defends media status quo

The point George made to Sanchez is that George is more interested in defending 
the record of media decision-makers than recognizing the point made by those 
challenging that record. 

The record is indefensible and the point gets lost at the moment any of us begin 
to belabor the Vargas issue, or worse, take the bait on the historic Connie 
Chung. 

The point Sanchez was making is there is a seriously tilted playing field; and 
the power brokers at all major news media are responsible for making excuses why 
there is such a dearth of top level on-air talent that represents the diversity 
of the viewers. 

The underlying problem with that point is that Sanchez has already suggested the 
reason why journalists of color are having such a difficult time reaching the 
plateaus that George Stephanopoulos and others with lesser journalism pedigree 
than their journalists of color counterparts have reached, is due to the power 
structure ... which Sanchez intimated is disproportionately "run" by folks who 
are like Jon Stewart.

He is deathly afraid to climb that hill again, as his carcass is strewn about 
the media landscape now. And his groveling for his career is providing a 
highlight reel that will be replayed the next time a journalist of color gets 
enough courage to step "out of their place" and speak truth to power.

It's sad the way this man got beat down by a puppy like George and is crawling 
through the gauntlet of contrition to chase the carrot dangling outside of the 
office of CNN's CEO.

sad.

The Silence of the Lambs...

Now only was Stephanopoulos expressing the view of the privledge class by offering up a couple of token people of color as proof that inclusion and diversity is present in MSM it is quite apparent that nothing is going to change..

Hispanic journalists remind me of Arab-Americans after 9-11 waving flags only works at parades.....

Michael Days

I am very happy that Michael Days will remain Editor of the Philadelphia Daily News. Both the Daily News and Philadelphia will be the better for it.

As Business Editor some years ago, Michael was instrumental in our taking on one of the newspaper’s first computer-assisted investigative reports, on mortgage-lending patterns by local banks.

As Assistant Managing Editor at the time, Michael saw to it that we got the resources to produce a report that discovered – among other things – that African Americans earning $100,000 or more a year were TWICE as likely to be rejected for a mortgage in Philadelphia than Whites with half the income.

The report – “The Color of Money” – placed second in statewide competition and no doubt presaged many other such investigative reports that would inevitably come on Michael’s watch, including this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner.

"I've found him to be creative," good with his staff and "very open to experimentation …,” as his new boss says. Can’t get any better than that.

Congratulations, Michael, and thank you very much. Best wishes.

Todd Beamon

Freelance Editor and Writer

Milwaukee

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