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Jewish Group Flies Latino Journos to Israel

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Friday, November 18, 2011

ADL Alarmed by Anti-Semitism Among Immigrants to U.S.

Website Keeps Track of Journalists Arrested During Occupy

Columnist Asks, Who's Sticking With the Second Mile Kids?

Journalists' Libyan "Fixers" Finally Get Their Due

Most Countries With Right-to-Know Laws Don't Follow Them

Heavy D Story Inspires Anchor to Rap During Newscast

Cain Campaign Physically Jostling With the Press

Why Sculpt a Fictional Rocky but not the Real Frazier?

Short Takes

Latino journalists on the Anti-Defamation League trip to Israel came from such news organizations as Globovision Venezuela, Hoy Chicago, La Raza, KUVN Univision Dallas, Boston Latino TV, Univision and La Opinión. (Credit: ADL)

ADL Alarmed by Anti-Semitism Among Immigrants to U.S.

Seventeen Latino journalists from the United States and Latin America returned this week from an eight-day, all-expenses-paid trip to Israel sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, which is concerned about what it considers an unacceptable level of anti-Semitism among Latinos, particularly new arrivals.

Fernando DiazAmong the participants were Rick Sanchez, former CNN anchor; Henrik Rehbinder, opinion editor of Los Angeles-based La Opinión, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the United States; Fernando Diaz, managing editor of Hoy Chicago and vice president/online of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists; and Nuria Net, deputy editor of Univision News, Univision’s online English language platform. Others included journalists from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.

Although the ADL has sponsored other such trips for Latinos, this was its first exclusively for journalists. "It's expensive," Michael A. Salberg, the ADL's associate national director and director of international affairs, said of the journalists' trip on Friday. "But we think the investment is well worth it. It's a first-in-a-lifetime experience to visit Israel. It generally has a transforming impact on most people.

"Because of the high profile of the conflict, we feel it's important to have opinion makers — and certainly journalists who are reporting it — understand it firsthand. . . . The most gratifying comments we got were, 'we were expecting a lot of propaganda, and we got none.' "

Sanchez agreed. "It was amazing," he told Journal-isms by email.

"It was beyond worth it," added Diaz, also by email.

"We went as journalists to try to understand a complicated conflict," Rehbinder said by telephone. "We heard very diverse points of view. Nobody agrees on what is the definition of a state, or self-determination. I came away with the idea that this is something that has to be solved by negotiation but there has to have a better understanding of the people.

"The most radical approach to peace is to sit in a room with one Israeli and one Palestinian. In some ways, they are very much the same. They eat the same food, they breathe the same air."

The trip followed the Nov. 3 release of the ADL's "2011 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Jews in America," a national telephone survey of 1,754 adults.

"Once again, Hispanic Americans born outside of the U.S. are more likely than Hispanics born in the U.S. to hold anti-Semitic views," the ADL reported. "According to the survey, 42 percent of foreign-born Hispanics hold anti-Semitic views, as opposed to 20 percent of U.S. born Hispanics."

It added of African Americans: "In the past four years, anti-Semitic views among the African-American population have remained steady, but are consistently higher than [those of] the general population. In 2011, 29 percent of African-Americans expressed strongly anti-Semitic views. That percentage is consistent with the findings of past surveys.

"The steady growth of the Hispanic population, now at 15 percent of the adult population, means that Hispanics and African-Americans together now [make up] 27 percent of the American population, a number that is sure to grow in the coming years. This population increase of the cohorts with a substantially higher percentage of anti-Semitic beliefs than the total population also means that anti-Semitic propensities in the coming years will be a challenge, according to the ADL poll."

The Hispanic population is projected to more than double between 2000 and 2050 (PDF).

Salberg is in charge of outreach to Hispanics and also of ADL programs in Israel. He speculated that first-generation immigrants from Latin America come from societies where the Catholic Church "hasn't quite caught up" with the teachings of the Vatican II, the historic Ecumenical Council from 1962 to 1965 that liberalized some Catholic teachings and absolved Jews in the killing of Jesus.

Rehbinder said that while he did not know whether it was accurate to say that Latino immigrants were more anti-Semitic than others, their home countries are less diverse than the United States. A diverse society "challenges your values. It's a product of adaptation," the editorial writer said.

Sanchez found additional satisfaction in a sympathetic piece Friday in the Jerusalem Post. Last year, in an interview for a satellite radio show, Sanchez excoriated late-night comedian Jon 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.

Sanchez's response was, "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 journalists reported the response as anti-Semitic, and Sanchez was fired.

"Was all this necessary?" Jeremy Sharon wrote Friday in the Jerusalem Post. "It seems much more likely that instead of holding the kind of insidious, villainous anti-Jewish prejudices that he was accused of, Sanchez is simply extremely prone to putting his foot in his mouth. . . . And it is his general buffoonery that led Stewart to take numerous comedic pot shots at Sanchez on The Daily Show, which most likely triggered Sanchez’s outburst in the first place."

Diaz agreed with Rehbinder about the value of people-to-people contact.

"Too often Israel is covered within the political context of the conflict, and little is reported on the actual people there," he said. "We got to meet Israelis, Jewish, Arab and Christian, with diverse perspectives on the conflict, religion, diversity and history.

"As a result of the trip, I will pay more attention to issues there and work to ensure that the diversity of issues manifest there is also part of our coverage. In addition to deeper context on the conflict, I found dozens of stories about religions and history that would be very interesting for our readers and myself.

"I also hope to make it one day to Palestine.

"Lastly, meeting my colleagues both from the U.S. and Latin America gave me an opportunity to learn more about our industry and the challenges and opportunities we have as global Spanish-language media organizations."

Although the journalists came from some of the biggest media companies — Univision, ImpreMedia, Tribune Co. — all accepted the ADL's all-expenses-paid offer, considered a conflict of intrerest by the Society of Professional Journalists and some news organizaitons but not a problem at others.

Rehbinder told Journal-isms that in these days of tight budgets, he would not have been able to make the trip otherwise. He said he agreed on condition that there would be no commitment to write anything and that he use the information gleaned "as we see fit." Diaz said the same. "I accepted the trip on the agreement that there was no quid-pro-quo. There would be not commitment to publish regarding the trip or experience unless we deemed it newsworthy. And I checked it with my publisher."

Salberg put the trip in the context of ADL efforts against bigotry against all ethnicities. He pointed to anti-bias training the ADL offers to Department of Homeland Security agents who raid processing plants looking for illegal immigrants. The ADL also offers training to the New Jersey State Police, which has practiced racial profiling, to local police departments and to the FBI.

He said anti-Semitism among African Americans has been more difficult to counter since the heyday of black-Jewish cooperation during the civil rights movement. It's been harder "to identify a truly representative organizational leadership in the African American community. It's not as clear today."

However, Salberg said he would welcome the chance to reach out to black journalists as he has with Latinos.

Antwan Lewis of New York's WNYW-TV faced a struggle reporting on Occupy Wall Street on Thursday. (Credit: Daily News, New York)

Website Keeps Track of Journalists Arrested During Occupy

Josh Stearns, an associate program director at the media advocacy group Free Press, is keeping track of all journalists who have been arrested covering the various Occupy protests, and what they do, Chris O'Shea noted this week for FishbowlNY.

". . . this document has been a great resource to track journalists working on Occupy Wall Street stories around the country who've been arrested," added Choire Sicha of theAwl.com.

"So who are they? Only seven of the 25 arrested are full-time employed traditional news-gathering employees.

"A number were student reporters; a few were interns; a larger number were freelancers. Some work for traditional 'objective' news organizations; others work for 'non-objective' news organizations, like [AlterNet] and Indypendent Reader.

"This means something — mostly about the media and what it is now, possibly also who the police perceive as media and relation of reporter to demonstration. But with the exception of a [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel] photographer, two AP folks and one Daily News reporter, no major traditional news outlets have (yet!) had staff reporters or photographers arrested.

"As Erika Fry pointed out last month in CJR, this also has to do with who police departments consider a journalist, and why they decide that. (Turns out, wearing a shirt that says 'reporter' doesn't always help in the eyes of the police, as one Rochester student discovered.) A minimum of 40% of people news-gathering who were arrested are women."

Columnist Asks, Who's Sticking With the Second Mile Kids?

"If the powers that control State College endured a self-inflicted bad week while abruptly ending Joe Paterno's career, the last seven days have been no better for The Second Mile," Howard Bryant of ESPN.com wrote on Wednesday. He was referring to the charity accused by the government of being the place where Jerry Sandusky, the charity's founder, Penn State's longtime defensive coordinator, and accused pedophile, allegedly found his victims.

"Meanwhile, big, famous names, from Mark Wahlberg to Cal Ripken to Arnold Palmer, who were on The Second Mile's honorary board of directors, have been as quick to treat the charity like Kryptonite as to stand up for the alleged victims.

". . . In a sports institution that uses the cliché of 'character building' as its oxygen, there is, in the courage department, a whole lot of suffocating going on these days. Ripken is currently in Japan working with children who suffered the devastation of the March earthquake and tsunami. He could use his power — even while distancing himself from The Second Mile, if he chose — to remind victims that whatever occurred was not their fault. Instead, he and the rest of those who keep silent have chosen to disassociate, to run for cover.

". . . Lives are often broken following child sex abuse. Somewhere, whether it comes from a celebrity or from a local person or from a national leader (preferably all of the above), a concerted effort must be made to assist the alleged victims' healing, and that effort should come with considerably more energy, more passion and more conviction than it takes to wipe one's name off a website."

Mark Viera, Jo Becker and Pete Thamel reported for the New York Times Friday that David Woodle, the interim chief executive of the Second Mile, "said in an interview Friday that the foundation was seeking to transfer its programs to other nonprofit organizations. The Second Mile’s leaders are looking at organizations that could, and would, carry forward the foundation’s work with disadvantaged youths. He would not say which organizations would be candidates."

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism reported that the Penn State saga is the fourth biggest U.S. crime story since it began tracking news coverage in January 2007.

Osama Alfitory, above, and Suliman Ali Zway "have both played an extraordinarily significant role helping journalists from all over the world get the story out of Libya — the sheer number they have helped is impressive, as is their dedication and determination working, and living, in extremely difficult conditions," said Tira Shubart, trustee of the Rory Peck Trust. (Credit: Patrick Wells)

Journalists' Libyan "Fixers" Finally Get Their Due

"Even those who do their job exceptionally well toil in relative anonymity. Those who become part of the story tend to do so only in tragic circumstances," Joel Gunter wrote this week for the British site Journalism.co.uk.

"Earlier this year, reports emerged that a BBC fixer had been killed in Afghanistan during an attack on a military compound. In August, NBC reported that a fixer in Libya had died in a rocket attack on his car.

"But the actions, and even deaths, of the industry's indispensable local support staff rarely make the headlines.

". . . In a 2007 survey of journalists in Iraq by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, 57 per cent said that one of their local support staff had been killed in the course of their work.

"The danger for fixers is very real. The recognition, however, is not.

"One small but significant attempt to redress that balance is the Martin Adler Prize. The prize, which is named after a Swedish cameraman killed in Somalia in 2006 and forms part of the Rory Peck Awards, recognises the work of local freelancers — cameramen and women, fixers, drivers or translators.

"This year's winners are Suliman Ali Zway and Osama Alfitory, two Libyan fixers who worked with some of the world's most established foreign correspondents during the country's tumultuous revolution.

"Zway and Alfitory were construction workers who quit comfortable jobs to volunteer for the Western journalists that flooded into Benghazi when the February protests turned to armed rebellion.

The prize administrators added, "Osama and Suliman's dedication and insight about Libya were so coveted by international journalists that they earned the nickname the 'A-Team'. Both are now journalists in their own right and have penned articles on difficult subjects for a new Libyan magazine, 'The Libyan'."

Most Countries With Right-to-Know Laws Don't Follow Them

"The promise is magnificent: More than 5.3 billion people in more than 100 countries now have the right — on paper — to know the truth about what their government is doing behind closed doors. Such laws have spread rapidly over the past decade, and when they work, they present a powerful way to engage citizens and expose corruption," Martha Mendoza wrote Wednesday for the Associated Press.

"However, more than half the countries with such laws do not follow them, The Associated Press found in the first worldwide test of this promised freedom of information. And even when some countries do follow the law, the information unearthed can be at best useless and at worst deadly.

"Right-to-know laws reflect a basic belief that information is power and belongs to the public. In a single week in January, AP reporters tested this premise by submitting questions about terrorism arrests and convictions, vetted by experts, to the European Union and the 105 countries with right-to-know laws or constitutional provisions.

"AP also interviewed more than 100 experts worldwide and reviewed hundreds of studies.

"Among its findings:

  • "Only 14 countries answered in full within their legal deadline. Another 38 countries eventually answered most questions, at least providing data.

  • "Newer democracies were in general more responsive than some developed ones. Guatemala confirmed the AP request in 72 hours, and sent all documents in 10 days. Turkey sent spreadsheets and data within seven days. Mexico posted responses on the Web. By comparison, Canada asked for a 200-day extension. The FBI in the United States responded six months late with a single sheet with four dates, two words and a large section blanked. Austria never responded at all."

WNYW co-anchor Greg Kelly was floored to learn that the deceased rapper was behind the song, "Now That We Found Love." (Video)

Heavy D Story Inspires Anchor to Rap During Newscast

"This morning Rosanna Scotto was delivering news about Heavy D's funeral, which is set for today in Mount Vernon, NY, when her WNYW co-anchor Greg Kelly suddenly started rapping," Andrew Gauthier wrote Friday for TVSpy. Heavy D’s hit song 'Now That We Found Love' was playing underneath Scotto when Kelly recognized it from a mixtape he had 'back in 1992.' "

Cain Campaign Physically Jostling With the Press

"Herman Cain’s campaign rallies always attract a lot of attention. Throngs of well-wishers seek handshakes or autographs. An army of camera operators race around him as he disembarks from his campaign bus to mingle with the crowds," Amy Gardner wrote Thursday for the Washington Post.

"Lately, another common element has emerged from the fever-pitch of the Cain road show: physical skirmishes involving the press.

"One incident on Wednesday involved journalists jostling among themselves for position. Another featured a local police officer aggressively blocking a video journalist. In at least two instances, Cain's own private security guard physically blocked reporters, including one from The Washington Post.

"There were two confrontational incidents on Wednesday, prompting Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon to touch base with the reporters involved and also to acknowledge in an interview that the campaign needs to address the issue."

Why Sculpt a Fictional Rocky but Not the Real Frazier?

Joe Frazier (Credit: joefrazier.com) "So, it took Joe Frazier’s death to reveal that, in a few ways, American race relations are still in a pathetic state." Gregory Kane wrote Thursday for BlackAmericaWeb.com.

"And that state is this: When it comes to race relations, some white Americans are living in a state of perfect denial. Heck, it’s not even denial; it’s downright fictional. It doesn’t exist.

"Exhibit One: BAW contributor Chris Wilder’s commentary on Nov. 9 entitled 'Why a Joe Frazier Statue Should Replace Rocky.' Anybody read it? Every BAW reader should have read it. If you haven’t, I urge you to click here and read it now before you continue.

"The gist of Wilder’s column is that Philadelphians have preferred to honor a fictional white boxing champion, as opposed to a black real one.

"Isn’t there something terribly wrong with that picture?"

". . . Philadelphia didn’t 'give us' Rocky Balboa; the imagination of one Sylvester Stallone did. And his idea wasn’t even original."

Kane wasn't the only writer to note the lack of a statue for the real Frazier while one exists for the fictional Balboa. Philadelphia's Wayne Bennett weighed in in his "Field Negro" blog, as did Johnette Howard of ESPN.com and Jerome Solomon in the Houston Chronicle. Stanley Crouch said of Frazier in the Daily News in New York, "the life he actually lived was much more heroic, inspiring and tragic than anything Sylvester Stallone invented for 'Rocky.' ”

Tim Smith of the Daily News quoted Bernard Hopkins, who said his final goodbye to Frazier six weeks ago when Frazier came through Hopkins' car wash and lube shop in North Philadelphia:

When you look at ‘Rocky,’ Joe was the inspiration for that. He was that hard-nosed, blue-collar guy who wasn’t overly talented, who couldn’t naturally do the things that Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson could do in the ring. But if Joe didn’t have the tools, he used all he had and he got the best from it. He came forward even if it was disastrous for him like it was against George Foreman. His heart was bigger than he was.”

Short Takes

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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

ADL's Blind Spot when it comes to racism byJews towards Blacks

I always find it revealing that special interests groups like the ADL are always on a mission to indict other ethic and racial groups for allegations of anti-Semitism while ignoring the racism within white american jewish venues towards people of color.

The ADL has for years deflected and been in denial regarding this issue of course this refusual to acknowledge and confront the racism within the white jewish community here in America especially towards Black americans only widens the disconnect and discord .

Instead of sending people of color on junkets to Israel it makes more sense to stay within the confines of America and travel across city streets and subdivisons instead of continents to deal with this domestic issue of racism within groups of Americans towards each other.

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