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Alec Baldwin Vs. Black Photographer

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Sunday, February 17, 2013

"He Said-He Said" Over Allegations of Racist Rant

N.Y. Times' David Barboza Among Polk Award Winners

Report on Press Freedom Makes Depressing Reading

New "Digital Divide" Is About Executive Jobs, Capital

"Redskins" Label Recalls Times of Atrocities, Genocide

Human Stories Called Best Way to Report Gun Violence

Writers Note Influence of a More European-Looking Beyoncé

Yvette Cabrera Joins Investigative Startup

Short Takes

Alec Baldwin is caught in a photograph during a verbal spat with the New York Po

"He Said-He Said" Over Allegations of Racist Rant

"Actor Alec Baldwin allegedly called a black Post photographer a racial epithet, a 'crackhead' and a 'drug dealer' during a confrontation on an East Village street yesterday morning, prompting police to intervene," Leonard Greene reported Monday for the New York Post.

The story was noticed almost immediately by the right-wing "Isn't it great to be Alec Baldwin?" asked Breitbart's Larry O'Connor. "When you're Alec Baldwin you can do or say pretty much anything and there are no repercussions. You can even call a member of the media a 'coon' and a 'crackhead' and still be celebrated by Hollywood and by the Left because... well... because you're Alec Baldwin and you're a liberal. . . ."

G.N. Miller (Credit: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY)Greene's story continued, "Baldwin had first been approached by a Post reporter while walking his dogs outside his East 10th Street pad at around 10:50 a.m. He was asked for comment on a lawsuit against his wife, Hilaria, involving her work as a yoga instructor.

"The '30 Rock’ star grabbed the reporter, Tara Palmeri, by her arm and told her, 'I want you to choke to death,' Palmeri told police, for whom she played an audiotape of the conversation.

"He then called G.N. Miller — a decorated retired detective with the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau and a staff photographer for The Post — a 'coon, a drug dealer,’ Miller’s police statement said.

"At one point, Miller showed Baldwin ID to prove he’s a retired NYPD cop, which Baldwin dismissed as 'fake.'

"Cops were called, and Miller, 56, and Baldwin, 54, both filed harassment claims against each other.

". . . Although both men made police reports, it’s a case of he said-he said because the incident did not happen in the presence of a police officer.

"Neither police complaint will go any further, except in possible civil action.

"Baldwin’s spokesman, Matthew Hiltzik, called Miller’s accusations 'completely false.’

"Baldwin, through Hiltzik, denied making the racist remarks, adding, 'That’s one of the most outrageous things I’ve heard in my life.’

"But Baldwin has a history of making inappropriate comments to photographers.

"Last June, the day before his wedding, Baldwin shouted to a black photographer on the street, 'You gotta back up there Rodney.'

"The photographer’s name wasn’t Rodney."

New York Times economic correspondent David Barboza, right, with Hugo Shong at B

N.Y. Times' David Barboza Among Polk Award Winners

"Journalists who uncovered corruption at the highest levels of the Chinese government, exposed abuses at New Jersey’s halfway houses and, at great personal risk, delved deep into the Syrian civil war were among the winners of 14 George Polk Awards for 2012 announced Monday," Marc Santora reported for the New York Times.

Long Island University, which administers the awards, announced, "The staff of Bloomberg News and David Barboza of The New York Times will both receive the George Polk Award for Foreign Reporting, for investigative reports that untangled the financial holdings of China's political elite and uncovered corruption within the world's most populous country. . . .

"Barboza’s explosive three-part series in The New York Times, 'The Princelings,' probed into the far-reaching financial interests of officials and their extended families. The veteran Shanghai correspondent revealed that relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao had accumulated a secret wealth of $2.7 billion. At personal risk, Barboza took novel approaches to discovering family connections — including examining gravestones in villages and circulating photos from government ID cards to confirm identities.

Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab

"The ramifications of these revelations came at a cost for both outlets. Bloomberg's story was banned and remains blocked in China. The New York Times had started a Chinese-language Web site shortly before Barboza’s exposé, but within minutes of publication of the first article in the Times' series, the Chinese government blocked the newspaper's Chinese and English language websites. . . ."

Barboza has been based in Shanghai since November 2004. His seven brothers include writer Steven Barboza and photographer Anthony Barboza, who have each created work about various aspects of black life.

In another category, "An assiduous investigation and report showing how Walmart fueled its overseas growth through bribes has earned David Barstow of The New York Times and Mexican reporter Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab the George Polk Award for Business Reporting," the university said.

". . . Traveling across Mexico with Mexican reporter Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab, Barstow tunneled into databases and filing cabinets of local bureaucracies that govern construction permits and zoning issues. He discovered how Walmart had paid bribes in city after city to win approvals that the law did not allow. Barstow’s muckraking spurred investigations by the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and Mexican authorities into the wrongdoing and led Wal-Mart to examine its violations of the anti-bribery laws in several countries. . . ."

Report on Press Freedom Makes Depressing Reading

"An unprecedented rise in the number of journalists killed and imprisoned in the past year, coupled with restrictive legislation and state censorship, is jeopardising independent reporting in many countries, according to a report issued today," Roy Greenslade reported Friday for his media blog in Britain's Guardian newspaper.

" 'Attacks on the press,' the yearly assessment of global press freedom released by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), makes for depressing reading.

"It reveals a deteriorating environment for press freedom. In 2012, the number of journalists imprisoned worldwide reached a record high, a trend driven primarily by terrorism and other anti-state charges levied against critical reporters and editors.

"CPJ identified 232 journalists behind bars because of their work in 2012, an increase of 53 from 2011 and the highest since the organisation began its annual surveys in 1990.

"Its research shows that over the past two decades, a journalist is killed in the line of duty once every eight days. Seventy journalists lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012, a 43% increase from 2011. More than 35 journalists have gone missing. . . . "

New "Digital Divide" Is About Executive Jobs, Capital

"Today, in early 2013, American media and entertainment face a curious condition," Ernest J. Wilson III wrote for the Root. "On the one hand, African Americans and other people of color are flocking to movies, Twitter, television and blogs in ever-greater numbers and percentages. We are huge consumers of media."

Dean Ernest J. Wilson IIIWilson is Walter Annenberg chair in communication and dean of the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California.

He continued: "On the other hand, the Federal Communications Commission and the Hollywood trade and professional organizations report that the percentages of people of color (and in many categories, women) in senior positions are stagnant or actually declining. Minority ownership is also on the way down. With black ownership and executive ranks dropping, not surprisingly, black-themed shows are falling as well.

". . . the two most prominent factors that brought brother [Barack] Obama to the White House were information communication and technology, or 'ICT,' which Obama deployed brilliantly to mobilize his ethnic base. Yet as he himself has recognized, the most powerful tools of the modern world — again, ICT — are not getting into the hands of the most dispossessed, who need to use them to improve their lives with better education, better jobs and better citizenship.

". . . the first digital divide was about access to and consumption of the Internet, the World Wide Web and multiple 'cool' applications. Today, the second digital divide is about access to the senior positions and financial capital that would make media content more relevant to more Americans. . . ."

"Redskins" Label Recalls Times of Atrocities, Genocide

Doug George-Kanentiio, an Akwesasne Mohawk and co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association, explained the origin of the term "Redskin" in a message this month to the Cooperstown Central School District in New York.

". . . Altogether, the Mohawk Nation lost over 9,000,000 acres of land, an area which includes Cooperstown and all of the Adirondacks. This was done without our consent. In order to rationalize the theft of the land falsehoods were created which de-humanized our people. We were no longer friends but demons. We were labeled as savages and cannibals, warlike primitives without intellect. Among the most tragic of profanes were those books used in schools, which grossly distorted our history and passed on terrible lies about us.

"The use of 'redskins' was among the worse of these labels. That word originally referred to the Beothuks of Newfoundland, a peaceful people who colored their skin with red ochre as adornment and to keep the mosquitoes at bay. Their passivity was mistaken for weakness and after the waves of European diseases killed most of them those who survived were hunted and murdered for sport. By 1830 they were extinct. One of the reprehensible tactics was to remove the skins of the Beothuks and use them as covers for books and as leggings for the hunters.

"This act of skinning Native people, both men and women, continued on along the frontier. It was an act of terror meant to instill fear and drive the Natives from coveted lands. It was justified by these stereotypes that were highly effective in undermining the dignity, pride and self-assurance of our people. We are, among all peoples in this hemisphere, the most misunderstood, the most libeled and the most despised because of the lies in the media, in popular literature and, sadly, in the schools. . . . "

Human Stories Called Best Way to Report Gun Violence

"On Friday, President Obama spoke in Chicago as a part of his post-State of the Union tour, pitching, among many things, a call to Congress to bring up votes aimed at stemming gun violence," Tanveer Ali reported Monday for the Columbia Journalism Review.

"The speech took place at a school two miles from his own home and just slightly [farther] away from a park where 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was shot dead in January, a week after performing at Obama's inauguration.

". . . in the days that followed her shooting, coverage of gun violence in Chicago has focused on the day-to-day of Hadiya's case — the shooting to the funeral to the arrest to looking at how the White House would respond. Journalists should work to continue this sort of coverage, bringing out the human side to future homicide statistics. By making relatability a mission, journalists would be able to bring more of the public into the debate about what can be done to curb the shootings.

"The media's current default reporting focuses on statistics, rather than individuals. . . ."

Writers Note Influence of More European-Looking Beyoncé

". . . If you haven't seen the photographs for Beyoncé's new world tour, you probably wouldn't even recognize her," Ernest Owens, a communication and public service major at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote Thursday for the Grio. His piece was headlined, "Beyonce, Colorism, and Why All of This Needs to End in 2013."

"Go on her official Facebook page or website and you will see an image of what looks like a Victorian white woman in the Elizabethan era. Her (prosthetic) blonde hair puffed and extended to reveal a face that is almost as white as snow. Lips red and her skin powdered. This is not the same bronze Beyonce that I saw rocking the stage in an all female band with her darker Destiny's Child counterparts.

"I was only left with memories of previous patterns that the multi-Grammy award winning artist had done in previous years in regards to her skin. And I asked myself the question: why, Bey?

"Let's not act like this is something new. Over the years, it seems as though Beyonce has gotten lighter as she has gotten older. . . . What does this say about our society for black women?

"It tells me that in 2013, an independent, confident and successful woman of color still struggles to have the confidence to fully embrace the skin she is in. If one of the most powerful women in entertainment feels she has to lighten her skin for projection, what does that say for the rest of us? . . ."

Meanwhile, Jenice Armstrong wrote Monday in the Philadelphia Daily News about Myra Boulware and Dana Winsley, a former stay-at-home mom and stay-at-home grandmom who are striking gold selling Beyoncé-style hair to black women, average sale $300 to $1,000.

". . . Boulware had also long been obsessed with having the long, flowing hairstyles that she saw Beyonce and other celebrities wearing," Armstrong wrote.

"She and her mother began frequenting hair events such as last July's Barber Wars International in Philadelphia and the renowned Bronner Bros. International Hair Show in Atlanta, where they stumbled across a supplier specializing in dark, natural Eurasian hair that hair didn't shed or tangle. Everywhere Boulware went, her long, lush locks attracted compliments. . . . "

Yvette Cabrera Joins Investigative Startup

Yvette Cabrera

"Yvette Cabrera, former columnist and investigative reporter for the Orange County Register, will join a dynamic team of reporters being assembled by executive editor Joe Donnelly for a startup journalism project called Mission and State, formerly known as the Santa Barbara Investigative Journalism Initiative," the project announced Thursday.

"The project was created late last year through a Knight Foundation grant awarded to the Santa Barbara Foundation and supported by matching grants from several local foundations and individuals. Mission and State will operate under the umbrella of the not-for-profit Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media and Public Policy. . . ."

Donnelly, formerly deputy editor of the LA Weekly, said in a release, "A close-knit, civic-minded community such as Santa Barbara that also faces serious questions about wealth disparity, services, environmental issues, immigration and education is a perfect place to explore how to deliver nuanced, narrative journalism digitally. We're hoping we can be at the forefront of forging an enhanced online journalism experience. But you have to get great stories first and I’m confident this team is more than up to the task. I am particularly pleased to have two of our four staffers with Santa Barbara roots and that all are from this region.”

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 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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